My New Italian Girlfriend

Saturday 29/1/2005

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Diary and Notes

Today, I am in Venice. I'm sitting outside a small trattoria near the Gallerie dell'Accademia, drinking a glass of Monetefalco Sagrantino (1985 - an excellent vintage) having just eaten a simple, yet delicious meal of bistecca del porco con funghi e piselli. Don't you wish you were me?

Don Dadi Croccanti has asked me to entertain his yongest daughter, Nicoletta, (photo right) while he and Maria are away on 'business'. Her parents have leant me their weekend flat in the Santa Croce district, overlooking the grand canal until Wednesday. It's a tought job being an internationally renowned scientist, famous chef and mafiosi minder at the same time, but somebody has to do it.

Nicoletta has become a little tipsy from the sparkling company, fine wine and the delicious meal Alfonso cooked us. It seems quite strange, when we were growing up in Sicily we used to climb trees and pull each others' hair. Now I begin to see her in a different light and every time she leans over and whispers "Mi brucio" into my ears, I shiver with both desire and fear.

Fear for what her father will do to me when he gets back on Thursday.

Cake Blog

A cherry and custard danish.


  • Italian Style Pork Steak
  • Farfalle with Garlic and Butter
  • Bread


  • Pork: Pork steak, olive oil, fennel seeds, mushrooms, frozen peas, white wine vinegar, capers, mustard, single cream, black pepper.
  • Farfalle: Farfalle pasta, olive oil, garlic, butter, fresh parsley, parmesan cheese.


  • Warm some olive oil in a pan and add a few fennel seeds. Leave the oil to infuse fo a few minutes then turn up the heat and add the pork steak. Brown on both sides then add a drop (and that means not much) white wine vinegar, it should sizzle and steam. Turn the heat down and then add the capers and sliced mushrooms. Cook slowly until the mushrooms are soft then add the peas. In a bowl mix a good spoon of dijon mustard and some single cream (this helps to stop the mustard forming into lumps). Remove the cooked steak and leave somewhere warm. Add the cream/mustard to the pan and stir until the sauce has warmed through, season and pour over the steak.
  • Cook the farfalle until nicely al-dente. Warm some olive oil in a pan and then add some butter. Melt the butter and then add some minced garlic. Fry gently (don't let the garlic brown) for about three minutes, add some chopped parsley and stir in the farfalle. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with grated parmesan.