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Bertolli Spread Olive D'Oro Awards

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Renowned chef and restauranteur Gennaro Contaldo has launched the inaugural Bertolli Spread Olive D'Oro Awards, in partnership with Olive and BBC Good Food, to mark 50 years of Italian Food in the UK.  Members of the public can vote for their favourite delis and trattorias here on the BBC Good Food website to celebrate and support these businesses in their local community.

The Top 10 Delis and Top 10 Trattorias that receive the most votes will receive a Bertolli Spread Olive D'Oro Award and those with the highest votes in key cities throughout the country will also be recognised.  To encourage everyone to vote and visit their favourite establishments, everyone who votes will be in with a chance of winning a luxury holiday for two to Italy.

To launch the campaign I was invited along to a Masterclass at La Cucina Caldesi, hosted by the owner himself, the lovely Giancarlo Caldesi.

I had a really fun evening, Giancarlo is very charming and kept making us chuckle as we were divided up into pairs and cooked a dish to be served to everyone at the end of the Masterclass.  Bertolli have kindly given me permission to share the recipes on my blog.  Other delicious recipes can be found on the Bertolli website.

Here's the Main Course (which I cooked with my partner) that was served at the conclusion of the Masterclass:

Pollo alla Pancetta

Servings: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

4 corn fed chicken breasts
100g (5oz) Gorgonzola cheese
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
8 thin slices Pancetta
25g (1oz) Bertolli spread
100ml (4 fl oz) red wine
225ml (8 fl oz) chicken stock
1 tsp cornflour
Fresh thyme to garnish

Flatten the chicken breasts slightly and place a quarter of the cheese on each breast with a quarter of the pepper slices.

Roll up and wrap each one with 2 – 3 slices of pancetta. Secure with cocktail sticks.

Melt the Bertolli in a large frying pan, add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally until lightly brown.

Pour in the wine and stock, cover and simmer gently for 30 – 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Blend the cornflour with a little cold water to make a smooth paste and stir into the pan. Cook gently, stirring, until the sauce thickens.

Serve the chicken with the sauce and garnish with thyme.

Our Starters were:
Bruschetta with tomatoes, orange and mint

Serves: 4 (as a starter or light meal)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

8 slices ciabatta (about 20g each)
1 clove garlic, chopped
40g Bertolli Light spread
250g mini plum tomatoes
1 orange
½ small red onion
A small handful of mint leaves
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Preheat the grill, griddle or barbecue. Toast the ciabatta on both sides until golden and slightly charred. Remove from the grill and keep warm. Mix the garlic and Bertolli Light spread together.

Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes into quarters. Using a zester, remove the zest from the orange and place it into a bowl. Pour over just enough boiling water to cover and leave to ‘blanch’ for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

Remove the orange skin and pith with a sharp knife and throw it away. Chop the orange segments into 1cm cubes, and peel and finely dice the onion.

Shred the mint leaves finely. Mix with the tomatoes, zest and olive oil and season to taste.

Spread the garlic Bertolli Light over the ciabatta slices and spoon over the tomato mix onto the warm ciabatta.Serve immediately with a little olive oil to drizzle over. The tomato mixture will keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours, but always serve it at room temperature to make the most of its flavour. A rich
Italian red wine is a perfect accompaniment to this simple recipe.

Crispy squid with easy garlic and paprika mayo

Servings: 2
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 minutes

200g squid, cleaned
2 tbsp. plain flour
2 tbsp. semolina
350ml vegetable oil
2 large egg yolks
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ - ½ tsp. ground smoked paprika
Lemon wedges, to serve
4 slices ciabatta
30g Bertolli spread

Cut the squid into 1.5cm tubes and divide the tentacles into pairs. Place the whole lot into a large freezer bag. Add the flour, semolina and a large pinch of salt to the bag. Seal the top and shake everything together until the squid is evenly coated. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Heat 250ml of the oil in a deep frying pan over a high heat. While it’s warming up make the mayo.

Place the egg yolk, garlic, paprika and a pinch of salt into a mortar and mix vigorously with the pestle (or use a bowl and the end of a rolling pin instead). Slowly add the remaining oil, drop by drop, mixing really well between each addition. Continue for about 3-5 minutes until really thick and all the oil has been used up. Season to taste.

Drop a little of the flour mixture into the hot oil, if it sizzles and turns golden then the oil is ready for cooking (approx. 170deg C). Add the squid and cook in batches for 2 minutes, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve warm with lemon wedges for squeezing over and a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise for dipping. Keep the rest in the fridge for another occasion. A chilled glass of dry Manzanilla or Fino sherry makes a perfect accompaniment with some toasted ciabatta spread with Bertolli.

Cooks tip: if your mayo decides to curdle and split, don’t panic. Whisk an egg yolk into a clean bowl and then very slowly whisk the split mixture into it, drop by drop, until thick and glossy.

Photo courtesy of Bertolli

And our delicious and light Dessert was:

Orange crema Catalana with saffron

Serves: 8
Preparation time: 10 minutes (plus infusing and chilling time)
Cooking time: 30 minutes

600ml double cream
3 strips pared orange rind
1 small pinch saffron strands
1 cinnamon stick, broken
6 large egg yolks
75g caster sugar, plus an extra 6 tsp for the topping
Ice, for cooking

Place the cream, orange rind, saffron and cinnamon into a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Bring to just below boiling point then remove from the heat. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes to infuse. Strain the mix through a fine sieve.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until the sugar has completely dissolved. Gradually add the cream mixture, whisking until combined.

Return to the saucepan. Place over a very low heat and cook, stirring continuously without boiling, for 20 minutes or until the custard has thickened.

Pour the custard into 6 x 200ml ovenproof brûlée or ramekin dishes. Leave to cool completely at room temperature, then cover and place in the fridge overnight, or for at least 4 hours until firm.

When you are ready to eat, preheat the grill to high. Sprinkle the extra sugar over the custard. Place the dishes into a deep roasting pan filled with ice. Cook under the hot grill for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar bubbles and caramelises. Alternatively use a cooks blow torch.

Cooking tip: You can freeze any unused egg whites by tipping them into empty ice cube trays, defrost as you need them and use immediately.

I had a brilliant evening with other bloggers and magazine writers plus the lovely Giancarlo Caldesi who was very charming and kept us all entertained.  The food we prepared was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, especially the visit from the gorgeous chef who popped over from the restaurant attached to the cookery school ;o)  

Don't forget to visit www.bbcgoodfood.com/bertolli to vote for your favourite Italian deli or trattoria in the Bertolli Spread Olive D'Oro Awards.


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