Pranzo Delitalia, Supper Club, Manchester

This weekend I went to my first ever supper club, and what an absolutely delightful experience. I first found out about Pranzo Delitalia on Twitter, they called themselves the Secret Supper Club – very intriguing indeed. I had made contact with Valerio (one of the two fine hosts,) who told me that after their recent trip to Italy to visit family they were coming back to Manchester with new recipes, authentic Italian ingredients and a desire to cook up a storm in the kitchen for some hungry food bloggers. Excited and armed with a bottle of Italian red for the hosts, off I went…

Pranzo Delitalia is run by a cool and trendy young couple, living in Manchester city centre. On arrival we were greeted by Valerio, who met us at the door and escorted us up to their very stylish first floor apartment. Our coats were hung and we were seated. A charming yet modern, open-plan kitchen and living area – with a table in the middle set with beautiful white crockery, fresh flowers and cute little napkins hand-wrapped with strands of wicker. An apt playlist of Italian music was playing through the speakers and we were offered soft drinks to accompany our meal (they don’t have a licence to serve alcohol, but if you do wish to drink it you’re welcome to take along your own.)

Cooking for us on the night was Nadia – Valerio’s other half who’s joined him on his trips back to Italy to attend cooking courses there and pick up all the insider tips from the experts – Valerio’s mother and Grandmother. Nadia does all the cooking for their Supper Clubs, and what a talented lady she is.

We had been sent the menu a few days in advance, so it was clear the hosts were well-prepared to feed us a delightful Italian feast. And so it was.
 
The Food

Antipasto – Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Cooked aubergine and caciocavallo cheese covered in Nonna’s passata 

I am a real fan of aubergine because of it’s versatility, so to image it cooked with cheese and tomato passata sounded wonderful. The aubergine itself had more bite than I had expected, but this ‘al dente’ style served the dish really well, as sometimes when overcooked aubergine can by soggy. It was thinly sliced and lightly covered in a rich, beautifully seasoned homemade passata. The cheese was a finely grated dusting on top – a sharpness to it that cut through the rich tomato really well. Portion size was perfect, as there was also a fresh baked loaf, soft butter and olive oil to accompany.

Primo – Tortellini alla Panna

Meat-filled parcels of tender pasta prepared in a rich cream sauce

After a short wait, allowing some time for us to properly acquaint ourselves with the other guests, it was onto the next course. This time we were treated to homemade pasta – light, yet rich in colour and the flavour the pasta itself was absolutely beautiful, as good as I have eaten in some top Italian restaurants. Gently filled with soft Prosciutto, this has got to be the ultimate Italian combination. The rich cream sauce was just a very, very light coating – apparently exactly how it is supposed to be served the authentic Italian way in Emilia-Romagna. And just how Valerio’s mother serves it. So delicious and well executed I could have eaten the whole thing three times over.

Secondo

Filetto di Maiale – Emilia-Romagna pork fillet cooked in a rosemary and white wine sauce served with potatoes

Our plates were cleared and after another break we were suitably ready for the next delight. Thin and tender pork loin wrapped with the most delicious stuffing, including sage and other herbs. The sage was pungent but went well with the light rosemary and white wine sauce. The sauce itself was a delicate accompaniment and not too heavy at all. The potatoes were served mashed – creamy and buttery and very well seasoned. As a second course I thought this dish was perfectly balanced between the natural saltiness of the meat, the fragrance of the fresh sage and the rich and creamy potatoes. Lovely portion size too.

Dolce – Panna Cotta alla Vaniglia

Vanilla seed and passion fruit panna cotta

After our tastebuds had been relished to a wealth of savoury delights – it was time for something sweet. As my sweet-tooth isn’t as finely tuned as others, I was very pleased to see there was passionfruit involved in the dessert course, as it adds a slightly tart sharpness. Some of the other guests, whom which confirmed their sweet-tooths are well exercised on a regular basis (naming no names), confirmed this dish also hit the spot for the sugar-lovers. Served with a lovely homemade ginger biscuit and a dollop of fresh cream. The Panna Cotta was light, creamy and the vanilla came through nicely which balanced well with the tart of the passion fruit. Five completely empty dishes (and the same can be said for all of the courses) confirmed this was a winning dessert for all. Delicious.

Overall the menu, cooking, setting and ambiance of the whole night was really enjoyable. I would highly recommend Pranzo Delitalia Supper Club to anyone in the area who is looking for a dining experience a little bit different to the usual restaurant dining. Both Nadia and Valerio were welcoming and friendly, making us feel right at home from the outset. I think they did a fantastic job of the whole evening and would certainly consider returning for more Supper Clubs at their place in the future. Thanks very much to them both for all their efforts.

 


I was invited to Pranzo Delitalia on a complimentary basis as they were looking for a critique on their food from a food blogger’s perspective. I can however honestly say that I would love to return to one of their Supper Clubs in the future as a regular guest.

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Cee’s Raspberry & Coconut Cake

As you know, this weekend my good friend Charlotte (Cee, for short) came to stay with me, and we went on a bit of a foodie marathon! If you read my previous post you will know that Charlotte spent the last couple of years living in Australia and working as a deckhand/cook on various different fishing boats. It was her job to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole crew – including snacks to tide them over during the long and gruelling working hours. What a woman!

Having pretty much made ‘a cake a day’ for 14 months, it’s clear her baking skills have improved vastly and she even adapted some of her own recipes. Being in a very male-dominated environment during her time at sea, she admits, she didn’t always make the stuff that she liked best – as she had to please the majority. Now she’s back on dry land in the UK, I asked her what she felt like baking and it was this – her Raspberry & Coconut Cake, which ultimately the lads on deck just found a little bit too ‘girly’). After all, it is pink, white and very pretty!

Yesterday, we spent the day shopping for ingredients in and around the Knutsford area, then got to work in the kitchen. Cee’s recipe takes about 20 minutes to prepare and 50 minutes to bake in the oven. You will need some parchment paper and a baking tin approximately 23cm squared.

What you need:

  • 250g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 55g hazelnuts, ground up to a fine powder (in a food processor or using a pestle and mortar)
  • 150 frozen raspberries

For the coconut topping;

  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 40g butter
  • 15g dessicated coconut
The cake mixture, with the frozen raspberries on top
With the coconut topping, sprinkled on top
Fresh out of the oven, Cee’s Raspberry & Coconut Cake! ❤

What to do:

  1. Position a shelf in the centre of the oven, and preheat to 180°C. Grease your baking tray and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time until just combined.
  3. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the flours and hazelnut powder. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin, and sprinkle evenly with the frozen raspberries.
  4. To make the coconut topping, combine the flour and sugar in a bowl. Rub in the butter, then stir in the coconut.
  5. Spread the coconut topping evenly over the cake mixture and raspberries in the tin.
  6. Bake at 180°C for about 50 minutes. Stand the cake for 5 minutes after baking, then turn onto a wire cooling rack. Turn the cake upside down to cool.

This mixture should make about 12 squares of cake!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Fries & Slaw

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Slaw & Fries… YUM
After sharing the photo of this dish last night on Facebook and Instagram, it’s had a really positive reaction so I thought I’d better get the recipe up ASAP!

So last night, my friend Charlotte (Cee for short) came round and I hadn’t seen her in a long while. She’s been living in Austraila on a working holiday, then travelling the world for the last 6 months and this was the first time I’d seen her in almost 3 years. In Austrailia, she worked as a deckhand/cook on various fishing boats. Some were shrimp boats, some pearling boats. As well as getting stuck into the hard graft of the fishing, she also did a lot of cooking. A cake a day on most occasions!

We were therefore surprised (but very happy) to discover on Cee’s return that we both have found a love and comfort in food that we can now share together.

Cee is joining me this weekend at my place in Mobberley, for a good old catch up but also to get our bake on. Last night we rustled up this amazing Buttermilk Fried Chicken (based on Gizzi Erskine’s recipe from Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts).

Here is the recipe if you want to try it at home. All in all it takes about 15 mins to prep, then 15-18 minutes to cook each batch of chicken (depending on how much you use). This recipe serves 4 hungry people.

What you need:

  • 2 free range eggs
  • 100ml buttermilk
  • 50ml ice cold water
  • 30-50ml hot sauce (I used 50ml of Encona Original Hot Pepper Sauce)
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • Oil for frying, I used approx. 1.5L vegetable oil

What to do:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or in a wok over a medium-high heat, to 180°C. If you don’t have a Thermometer and are using the wok method (like me) then don’t let the oil smoke – if it does it is too hot. Use a small piece of bread to test it first, if the bread browns nicely after a few seconds – it’s ready.
  2. Beat the eggs and buttermilk together with the water in a bowl, then stir in the hot sauce.
  3. In another bowl, combine the flour, black pepper, white pepper, salts and garlic powder.
  4. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then coat well in the seasoned flour.
  5. Fry the chicken in the oil in batches, starting with the thighs as they take the longest (17-18 minutes). Then the drumsticks, which take about 15 minutes.
  6. Tip: to check if the chicken is cooked, take a piece out of the fryer using a slotted spoon and cut open to check the meat is no longer pink.
  7. When ready, drain on kitchen paper and serve (they will keep warm in the oven whilst you cook the next batch).

This recipe really was delicious and so perfect for a weekend treat! I served this with homemade coleslaw (recipe to follow) and regular oven fries seasoned with plenty of salt & pepper.


If you try this recipe I would love to hear how you get on! Use the hashtag #sophiesscran in your photos.

Enjoy!
Sophie -x-