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La Cucina at The Italian Larder

La Cucina

This month we had our second ever La Cucina Club. Following the success of the first we were a little nervous, they were big boots (or bowls?) to fill.

Giovanni brought his A game and made a delicious three course meal – including a unique Italian inspired cheese cake that went down a treat.

If you missed this La Cucina, you can still get the recipes down below.

 

Aubergine, Scamorza with Porchetta

Serves 4

2 Medium Aubergines
2 eggs
Breadcrumbs
Vegetable Oil for Frying
200g Porchetta
250g Scamorza (Smoked Mozzarella) sliced thickly

Rinse the Aubergines and cut into thin slices across the width, arrange them into layers in a colander and sprinkle each layer with salt. Allow to stand for 30 mins.

Rinse the slices under running water to remove the salt, squeeze them between your hands to remove any excess water and then dry with kitchen paper. In a bowl beat the eggs. Put the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl.

Take a slice of the aubergine arrange a slice of the scamorza then Porchetta then top with another slice of the aubergine. Secure the sandwich with a cocktail stick to keep it together.

Completely immerse the slices into the beaten egg then dip into the breadcrumbs taking care to make sure the sides are also covered.

Bring the vegetable oil up to a high temperature then put the aubergine sandwiches into the oil and fry till crispy.

Take out the oil and dab off the excess oil with kitchen paper.

If you want to cook in the oven put the Aubergine Sandwiches on baking paper and bake in oven at 180 degrees for 20 mins turning over halfway through.

Serve with a green salad.

 

Mushroom Soup with Orzo & Beans

Serves 6

100g Tinned Cannellini Beans
100g Tinned Chick Peas
100g Tinned Borlotti Beans
50g Orzo Pelati (soaked for 30 mins)
200g Dried Porcini mushrooms (soaked for 10 mins)
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 onion (chopped)
1 Clove Garlic (chopped)
1 Litre Vegetable Stock
250g Pancetta Lardons
Bay leaves, Rosemary, pinch of Chilli
150g Chopped Speck (optional)

Heat the oil in a pan add the onions and garlic pancetta and Speck. Leave to cook for 5 mins then add some of the vegetable stock and the mushrooms (and liquid) with the herbs, leave to simmer for 20-25mins adding the vegetable stock as needed.

Finally add the beans and chickpeas and the cooked Orzo simmer for another 5 mins. Then Serve.

Events at The Italian Larder

3 Steps To The Perfect Salad - Italian Style

Perfect for lunches at work or lazy summer meals in the garden, salads are healthy and delicious. Unfortunately they can also get boring… fast. See our top 3 tips to keeping your salad interesting:

Step 1 - Vinegar
Changing the dressing can change the entire salad. Olive oil may be the key ingredient but adding dashes of balsamic vinegar or balsamic cream can give your salad a whole new flavour.

Step 2 - Mozzarella
Sliced mozzarella or, even better, mozzarella pearls (bocconcini) will add a deliciously smooth texture to your salad. Use this to contrast against crunchy nuts or crispy lettuce.

Step 3 - Chilli Oil
Using a Redoro Chilli Oil to add heat to your salad will not only boost the flavour but give a different experience entirely. Use moderately for a more mild effect or let loose if you are really brave.

Using a few simple ingredients to switch things up can change the whole character of the salad. Try the tips above and if you are looking for more inspiration we are always delighted to help simply pop in store and speak to our resident Italian food expert Giovanni.

What’s your favourite salad? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Charcuterie Board at The Italian Larder

Top Tips For Your Charcuterie Board

From cosy dinner parties to large banquets, the humble charcuterie board is an instant and easy crowd pleaser. While never complicated, the best charcuterie boards are an art form in themselves and cater to everyone’s tastes.

The best charcuterie boards need a mix of familiar and daring, with the majority of the board being high quality cured salamis that people know and love. For your more daring guests you should also add a mix of other speciality meats to give your charcuterie variety and memorability.

The Meats

Cured meats are the star of your show, they form the bedrock of your board. It is best to start on familiar ground with the two most famous varieties: Milano and Napoli, both are fine grained salamis that are renowned for their slightly sweet taste. Another meat platter staple is a delicious and authentic Parma ham.

To add some spice to the board, consider a punchy ventricina, which has spices added to the meat to add some heat, or a spianata picante - a long flat meat that adds some kick and some different shape to the board. Spianata traditionally comes in two forms picante (hot) and dolce (sweet), both look great when layered on a charcuterie board. For even more variety and to go the extra mile I also recommend a delicious spianata al tartufo, which has pieces of truffle in the meat.

Whole-Muscle Cuts

To add more texture to your charcuterie board it’s always a good idea to add some thinly sliced whole-muscle cuts, like bresaola - a lean, tender beef cut that originates from the Italian Alps. The meat is aged for at least two or three months which gives it a distinctive purple colour.

Another good option here is guanciale (pork jowl). It has a strong flavour and is similar to pancetta, which is also a good choice.

Lard

The term lard may be off putting to some of your more finicky guests, but thinly shaved slices of Lardo sprinkled with some herbs are delicious with toast and full of great flavour.

The Extras - Bread

With even the greatest of charcuterie boards many people spoil it with the bread. There are many fancy breads in the world but when you are serving delicious, high quality meats you want to keep it very simple. Homemade toast with a high quality olive oil and rubbed with a little cut garlic cloves is delicious but easy to prepare.

To really add something special to your board, wrap Parma ham around grissini (breadsticks). We have a variety of grissini flavours, so you can offer guests a range of delicious options.

Sides

A mixture of sides, such as olives and sundried tomatoes, are perfect to finish off your masterpiece. There doesn’t need to be a large amount of them, just enough to wet your guests’ appetites.

A very impressive recipe is to top crostini with pesto and parmiggiano reggiano cheese and then dab a little balsamic vinegar on top. If you have ever been to one of our tasting events or La Cucina club you will have seen how quick and easy these are to prepare and how delicious they taste. They also make fantastic canapés.

Presentation

As with all art forms presentation is key. Salamis like Napoli and Milano can be rolled while other meats can be layered over each other. Serving the meats on a plain wooden board has a rustic charm and then you can finally garnish them some with parsley and olives to add some extra colour.

Quantities

When judging quantity it is best to assume approximately 141 grams (5 ounces) per person for a meal by itself and maybe half that if you were to be serving it as a part of a larger buffet.

So those are the key ingredients for the perfect charcuterie board. Excellent as a buffet at a sumptuous gathering or a relaxed meal among friends. The most important thing to remember is that a charcuterie board will always be judged on the quality of the meats used. Watery, plastic processed Parma hams just won’t do it.

At the Italian Larder we are always happy to help, so do pop in and see us if you have any questions, need something special or are simply looking for inspiration. Alternatively, we can create a custom charcuterie boards for you, pop in store and speak to a member of staff.

 

Events at The Italian Larder

La Cucina Takes Over the Larder!

Wednesday 16th of March was our first ever meeting of La Cucina Club.

This was an exclusive event where Giovanni cooked one of his favourite Italian meals right in front of guests, talking them through each step. Afterwards, guests tasted Giovanni’s delicious creation with a glass of prosecco.

To make sure you don't miss out on the next La Cucina event, just email dan@theitalianlarder.co.uk to register your interest.


If you're not already on our email list, you might want to join up now. Scroll right down to the bottom of this page and send us your email address to make sure you're always the first to know what's going on at The Italian Larder.

BYHP Christmas Hamper Raffle

A Thank You From BYHP!

We are delighted to let you know that as a result of your generosity, our Christmas Giant Panettone Raffle raised £357 for the Banbury Young Homelessness Project.

This will go a long way to support vulnerable young people in our local area. Every single penny makes a huge difference to the work BYHP is able to undertake.

BYHP offers a number of services including Family Mediation and Counselling, Housing and Homelessness Advice and an Employability training course called Unlocking Potential which incorporates a weekly job club. In addition, BYHP runs a Peer Support Group for the Young People as well as a food bank stocked by kind donations from the local community.

Last year BYHP helped over 260 individual young people, often seeing them many times during the year, assisting them with a range of issues and providing them with the support that they need to change their lives.

La Tua Pasta

The Best Fresh Pasta This Side of Italy!

La Tua Pasta is the name behind some of the very best pasta you will taste outside Italy. We're delighted to welcome them to the Italian Larder for a demonstration and tasting.

La Tua Pasta is the first choice for international retailers, big names like Selfridges, gourmet delicatessens, restaurants, hotels and the London cognoscenti at Borough Market.

We're thrilled to be able to represent La Tua Pasta across Oxfordshire.

NEW: Freshly Prepared Dishes

We know what it's like. We've all been there. You know what you really fancy to eat, but you just don't have the time or the energy to make it.

We're really excited to be introducing Freshly Prepared Dishes. No corners cut. No compromises. Just really delicious meals lovingly prepared by our very own masterchef Giovanni, ready for you to take home and enjoy.

Quality counts so quantities will be limited. Take-home meals are available at weekends and when it's gone, it's gone - no second helpings!

So come down to the Italian Larder and indulge yourself with a proper takeaway. You know you deserve it.

New Selection of Wines and Spirits

The Italian Larder is delighted to present a brand-new and carefully selected range of premium and popular spirits at remarkable prices.

Our wine selection comprises reds, whites, roses, Champagnes, proseccos and fine wines.

View our Wines | View our Spirits

A Continental Lunch to Take Away Every Lunchtime

Alongside our new store and ever-expanding range of continental delights we will now be offering you the chance to experience the authentic taste of the continent to take away at lunchtime!

Giovanni, our resident expert on all things Italian, will be preparing the freshest and tastiest focaccia sandwiches with a choice of superb fillings using our own specially selected ingredients.

To order in advance simply call us on 01295 265684 and we will have your order ready to collect in an instant at a time to suit you. Alternatively just pop in and take your pick from our pre-prepared selection at the deli counter.

See our Lunches page for more information.

A Special Thank You to All Who Came Along

A huge Thank You to everyone who came along to the Grand Opening of our new Banbury store (on the Wildmere Industrial Estate) on Saturday 12 September.

It was spectacular to see so many familiar faces alongside some new ones. We hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did!

We will be sure to keep you updated with the latest news about tasting events, special offers, competitions and much more. The easiest way to stay in the loop is to follow us on Twitter or "like" our Facebook page.

New Range of Vinegars & Olive Oils Now in Stock

In response to your requests over recent weeks we have ordered a large selection of Redoro Oilve Oils which include a range of flavoured oils and old favourites such as the large 5lt tins.

Alongside this we have also expanded our range of simply supreme vinegars with a brand new selection from artisan manufacturers Giuseppe Giusti.

These include classics such as the Modena, as well as a selection of flavoured vinegars ready and waiting for you to indulge in.

New Range of Spanish Meats Now In!

We are delighted to announce we will now be stocking a brand-new range of mouth wateringly delicious Spanish meats, varieties include, Sliced Chorizo, Jamon Serrano and many more.

Pop down for a sample!

Your Larder Deserves The Best of the Best

Take your pick from our extensive range of herbs and spices from as a little as £1.50 a tub!

This offer is strictly limited. Once they are gone they are gone.

We pride ourselves on sourcing the finest and most authentic flavours from across the continent so this is definitely not one to be missed.

Beer & Sausages at The Italian Larder!

A big thank you to everyone who came along to our Beer & Sausages Tasting.

As always it was fantastic to see so many familiar faces as well as new ones!

To find out about our next tasting morning, keep an eye on this page or follow us on Twitter or Facebook

Grazie Mille!

The Italian Larder Goes Greek...(Kind of)

As many of you will have noticed we have been gradually expanding our range of products over recent weeks and months.

In light of these changes we are delighted to announce that we will be piloting a new range of Greek delights for your comment and enjoyment.

Highlights include our range of Biskotakia which come in a variety of flavours such as Cinnamon, Almond & Clove and Orange.

We will also have a selection of our new Tapenades for you to try. Flavours include Kalamata Olive with Fig & Mint, Green & Black Olives with Sundried Tomato, Feta & Greek Basil, Green Olives with Goats Cheese, Rosemary & Chilli and Green Olives with Florina Peppers & Chilli.

Ευχαριστούμε! (Thank You...you will get used to it we promise!)

Wine of the Month

April 2015: Gran Rose Prosecco NV

Gran Rose Prosecco

Start your bank holiday with a bang with our delightful Gran Rose Prosecco.

Many of you will already be familiar with this delicious sparkling wine from our Panettone & Prosecco Tasting which took place at the back end of last year.

Easter bank holiday is renowned for being a holiday for family, friends and indulgence and what better way to celebrate than with something a bit special.

Our Gran Rose Prosecco has an aromatic bouquet accompanied by a fresh fruity flavour with lashings of strawberry, ideal as an aperitif or even better with a slice of our traditional Italian Colomba Cake!

Available now at The Italian Larder.

Mmmm Pesto...

We recently gave customers the opportunity to try our simply exquisite Gran Cucina Pesto!

All Gran Cucina Pesto is lovingly and authentically prepared to traditional family recipes in “The Big Kitchen” in Northern Italy using only the freshest and highest quality local ingredients available.

As always it was wonderful to see you all, details of our next tasting will follow in due course!


Pocket Coffee - When It's Gone It's Gone!

Ladies & Gentlemen, Pocket Coffee has arrived in Banbury!

Pocket Coffee by Ferrero offers the truly authentic taste of continental café culture on the go.

Made with 100% authentic Arabica Coffee these little beauties are sure to impress even the most discerning coffee aficionados amongst you!

The soft liquid centre of the crisp chocolatey outer shell oozes a deliciously sweet luxurious liquid guaranteed to give you the boost you require.

These are sure to sell out fast so be sure to stop by and pick up yours for just £2.49 a pack!

Wine Tasting at The Italian Larder

As expected our recent Wine Tasting went down a storm. A massive thank you to all who attended.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a rundown on what you missed!

Our lucky customers had the opportunity to sample an array of breath-taking wines hand-picked from some of Italy’s most famed vineyards.

They also enjoying the company of sommelier Massimo Rotoloni who is an expert in all things grape related. Massimo has spent many years working in some of the most renowned wine regions across Italy.

Highlights of the day included our truly luxurious Barolo La Curiosa from the mountainous region of Piedmont in Northern Italy as well as an intense and fruity Friuliano which offers a well-rounded and velvety finish.

Keep a look out on our Facebook and Twitter pages for news of our next tasting event!

Enjoy a Free Coffee While you Browse

We love our coffee so much that's we'll take any excuse to make a cup. Just come and visit the shop and enjoy a cup while you check out our range of continental food, drinks and treats.

And if you're really lucky we might be running a sampling session featuring something delicious from the deli counter or from our selection of meats or cheeses...