The recipe, first proving, second proving and on it goes. Throughout the night, these blokes work hard so that these perfect loaves get to our tables. I can barely wait to see the end result, but, of course, you’ve got to wait for it to cool a little. Then it's finally ready to come out of the oven, golden in colour.
I love tapping the bottom of them to reveal the hollow sound of beautifully cooked bread loaves. I can’t really think of anything more pure. Breaking through the hard crusty exterior, revealing a soft yet dense inside – just like me. But what do you do with the leftovers? Panzanella is the greatest answer in the summertime. This crusty, stale bread salad is laden with fresh tomatoes, the best olive oil and great balsamic vinegar, and can accompany any summer meal or become the meal itself.
Though this is one of the simplest dishes to make, the secret to a great panzanella is not to skimp on the ingredients. You might have to pay a little bit extra for a really good extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar, but, trust me, these two will go a long way in your culinary adventures.
I first met Vince Garreffa years ago. He introduced me to White Rocks veal. He grows and sells it in Western Australia and I’ve had it on my menu in one way or another ever since. I reckon it’s the best veal in Australia; in fact, I know it is. It’s grown quite large and the animals are fed lots of milk. Their muscles become fully developed with pale flesh that is full of flavour and silky smooth to eat. I love using the primal cuts, but one of my favourite dishes is the osso buco.
This tomato and white wine braised Milanese classic is so tasty it will make you cry. I was excited to see Nino Zoccali’s take on osso buco, done in a more Southern Italian style and his take on the gremolata is inspired.
Getting out into the forest with Aron Michielli and his family was like a breath of fresh air. I think this was one of my favourite stories to shoot for Italian Food Safari. It's was great to learn which exciting ingredients are growing in our own backyard and be shown around by someone whose traditions have always included the hunt for wild mushrooms.
To see Ruby, Aron’s daughter, chasing the elusive fungi, desperate to fill the basket, was inspiring. By the time she’d finished, there was not "mush room" left in the basket, which meant we were off to the kitchen to cook the catch of the day and enjoy it over a glass of wine like the "funghis" we are.