One of the places that has always piqued my interest is Italy. I think my love of all things Italian originated from the fact that when I was a child, my parents looked after students who had come to the UK to study. We had all sorts of students from different countries, but the on that stuck in my head was an Italian student that we had living with us for 6 months. She was only about 20 but her father ran his own restaurant in Italy and so her culinary skills were second to none. She would teach me the odd word and phrase in Italian, cook for us at the weekend and well, basically looked upon me and my family as her own.
So when I was asked to devise an Italian Hamper for Ocado from the Ciao Gusto family of authentic food and drink, I couldn’t wait. I simply adore Italian food so have been in my element producing a package of what I would love to receive. I’ve also added to the hamper, a menu of what can be done with the contents to give the recipient an idea of what they could expect if they took a weekend trip to Italy therefore it takes out the research they would have to do as I’ve done it all for them already!
My hamper contains:
Giovanni Rana Tender Spinach and Ricotta Tortelloni
Medusa Grilled Mackerel Fillets
Negroni Speck Dry Cured Smoked Ham
Parmareggio Parmigiano Reggiano Grated Cheese
Amica Classic Croutons
Amica Wholemeal Croutons
Auricchio Ready to Bake Provolone
Bonomelli Grape and Strawberry Tea
Chef Parmalat Four Cheese Cooking Cream
Chef Parmalat Cooking Cream
Lavazza Decaffeinated Arabica Coffee
Misura Delight Biscuits with Yogurt
Misura Delight Cocoa Biscuits with Hazelnut
Noberasco Organic Pistachios
Noberasco Soft Figs
Ponti Sundried Tomatoes
Menu is downloadable here: Italian Hamper Menu
The Ciao Gusto range is a lovely collection that gives you a wonderful insight into traditional Italian cuisine. It seemed incredibly popular when I bought it too as I had filled my basket up with a limoncello cake and fruit in syrup, yet sadly it was all out of stock, so I’ve been a little traditional and taken artistic license to give you a taste of some of my favourite flavours too.
Fancy making the Chestnut Budino for yourself?
Make a custard (There is a perfect one at BBC Good Food)
Then put all the chestnuts in a saucepan, add a cup water, and heat. Blend with a stick blender. Put this to one side.
Boil 100g of sugar with the same amount water (basically just so it covers the sugar) until it reaches 120-130 degrees, then pour over chestnut puree. Blend again with the stick blender for 10 mins. This is your sweet chestnut puree.
Finally mix through custard and serve in dish. Easy peasy and utterly magnifico!