Saturday, 6 November 2010

Return of 'T.V.V'

Hey you!

I've been plagued with guilt for not posting on this here blog for a while and, to be honest, I am in no position to post what with Uni deadlines looming! That said, I started this blog to tell you about the life of a vegetarian foodie and food is still very much central in my lil' world so it is with that thought seared in my brain that I find myself tapping away this Saturday afternoon.

I enrolled at Uni with the view to nurturing my love of writing and getting intimate with the craft; I am currently working on an original short story along with various writing styles which are all well and good but leave little time for my true passion: food and all things linked to it. So, imagine my outright joy when one of my fabulous lecturers casually mentioned in one of the induction meetings that we would be focusing on food for one of the modules. Food writing, food in movies, reviews, a cookbook etc etc - to say I was chuffed is a shameful I was getting an education, furthering my writing AND indulging my love of food!!! To give you an idea of what classes entail: last lecture we watched Pulp Fiction and had to identify and discuss the food that appears in the gangster flick and why...bloody brilliant, pun intended.

So, sat in my flat last night I was mulling over the prospect of actually posting on my blog and giving you lovely people something to delicious to get your teeth into...but what to do?? I have deadlines, assignments, reading!! Then it hit me, why not post some of the assignments I am given in my food related class? EUREKA!!

So, here's one to start you off,I was recently given an assignment where I had to create a biography of a particular food item/recipe. I immediately went for arrabbiata as the debate surrounding this sauce is as famous as the sauce itself...exactly what is the authentic recipe? Well I go with the Roman's on this one as this is indeed a Roman dish so one would hope they'd know their stuff.

Here's the food bio along with my favourite recipe:

Arrabbiata Sauce

Arrabbiata, or ‘angry style’ in its direct translation, is a racy tomato sauce for pasta; typically penne due to its tubular shape and surface ridges allowing for maximum sauce cling. It is fiery and unapologetic, treasured by Italians who squabble over its authenticity, whatever it may be.

Routed in Rome, there are literally hundreds of recipe variations. Roman’s will tell you that olive oil, garlic, dried chilli, fresh tomatoes and parsley are the ONLY ingredients required. Websites referring to the recipe’s origin, such as and seem to obey the ‘rules’ whereas claims onions to be a principle ingredient and that some add a cup of parmesan before serving. If taken too seriously, it can become a minefield of accuracy insecurities.

Playfully described as ‘The Cantankerous Tomato Sauce’ by due to the heat from the chilli (and the fact that it evokes passion/preciousness/anger in its devotees), this recipe appears to be used to represent a person who knows their stuff, culinary speaking. An episode of I’m Alan Partridge shows Alan having lunch with a significantly more successful colleague. Alan, unsure of what to order, looks to his co-eater who asks for ‘penne all’arrabbiatta’ in a faux Italian accent with a side of superiority; ‘this guy knows where he’s going in life’ is supposed to spring to mind at this point.

It should be known, though, that the appeal of this dish does not lie cheaply in its sassy name or in its status among its groupies. It has a vibrant yet simple flavour: something Italians are serious about. Italians do not deal well with ‘fuss’ when it comes to food and instead put their faith in top quality ingredients simply brought together. This sauce is exemplary of this ethos…if you get it ‘right’!


(serves 3-4)

60ml extra virgin olive oil

3/4 clove of garlic, finely sliced

1tsp (or more, according to taste) crushed red chilli flakes

3 medium peeled tomatoes, chopped

2 tbl sp fresh parsley, finely chopped



Heat the oil in a large frying pan. When hot add the garlic and chilli flakes, cook until the garlic is golden brown (not too much or it will be bitter). Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes and a good pinch of salt. Cook uncovered until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

In the meantime cook pasta to packet instructions or until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce, stir to fully coat. Serve in warmed bowls with a sprinkling of parsley on each one.

Next up will be the review I did of the new Nigella Lawson book, Kitchen. This afternoon I am attempting her tomato curry with coconut rice so I will include that also, along with my opinion on it..naturally!

Until then x

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