My lovely daughter and I have just returned from a few days in Lucca, Tuscany, with my very dear friend J. I have only ever been to Rome which, after a near miss with a pick pocket, I was left feeling slightly disappointed. But Lucca was a wholly different experience altogether. I can see why J loves it so much and returns every year (check out her blog - Paninigirl@wordpress)
Even on a budget, Lucca was not an expensive place to eat and the food was so obviously prepared with pride; from the simple pizza slices to the beautiful cakes and colourful gelato. This cake was no exception. Bought by the lovely Bonnie for a supper at her apartment, it came encased in a folded gold card box, looking like a gift from Melchior. a light layer of dark chocolate mousse sandwiched between two layers of soaked sponge and then entirely enrobed in a thin layer of Italian meringue which was scorched gold with a blow torch. Sprinkled with fine cocoa. I have yet to try and make it as I do not own said blow torch. Next stop Amazon.
When I first went to visit J in California, on the night of our arrival she had prepared a beautiful supper of Lasagne made with Italian sausage. I had never tasted a lasagne so delicious and the Italian sausage was gorgeous. Ever since then I have tried to buy them, but nothing has come close. I tried to recreate the flavour by chucking fennel seeds in, but that didn't work. But then, by chance and by Googling something very unrelated, I came across this recipe, which called itself a recipe for sausage but advised not to bother putting them into casings as they will only be broken open and the meat extracted for cooking anyway!
I made it and they were perfect (still not as good as J's lasagne!)
We had them the night before last with some fresh tagliatelle I had made and a rich tomato sauce. Last night I piled three flour tortilla wraps with a layer of tomato sauce with broken and fried pieces of the sausage meat, cheese on top, in the oven, delicious!
900g minced pork
1 tbls ground fennel seeds
1 1/2 tbls sweet paprika
1 tbls finely minced garlic
1 tbls black pepper
3 tbsp Red wine vinegar
Mix all of these together and, hey presto, sweet Italian sausages.
First time I have made these, definitely learnt how not to make them...I didn't whisk the egg whites enough, and probably over cooked the little chaps too. b=But they were nice, didn't have the chewy centre of which I have read, they were quite hard.