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A taste of Venice

Druid's Glen occassionally run an Italian evening called ‘ A taste of Venice', which I enjoyed recently. Johnathan is committed to finding high quality and fresh ingredients, leading to his dictum ‘If the food does not have flavour raw it will not taste any better cooked.' I particularly liked the antipasti that night, which included some unusual dishes, so here are Johnathan's suggestions to get your Italian night started with flair.

Serves:  4


Sage Potato Crisps

200g Peeled potatoes
8 Leaves of sage
Slice potatoes paper thin. Place one sage leaf between two slices of potato. Brush with a little olive oil and place between two sheets of baking parchment and bake in a moderate oven until crisp and golden

Breaded Olives

30g Dried breadcrumbs
2 medium eggs
Roll olives in flour, then egg wash, then breadcrumb. Deep-fry until golden. Bake again in the oven at 170C until crispy when needed. Bruschetta Topping

2 Plum tomatoes
6 Basil leaves finely sliced
20g Red Onion finely chopped
½ clove Garlic finely minced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Sugar to taste
Salt/Pepper to taste
Quarter tomatoes and remove seeds. Finely chop the flesh into 2mm cubes and mix with all other ingredients and season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar. Roasted Peppers

1 Red pepper
1 Yellow pepper
2 tablespoons Olive oil
Toss the peppers in the olive oil and roast in the oven at 170C for 30 minutes.
Remove and place in a plastic food bag. Tie the top and leave to cool. Then remove and peel, keeping the juice, but discarding the stalk, skin and seeds. Cut into thin strips and season with salt, pepper. Add the liquid and serve.

Optional Accompaniments

Sun blushed tomatoes
Grilled Artichoke Hearts
Olives (green and black)
Marinated anchovies (not salted)
Pickled garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
All of the above items are available from good delicatessens.


Arrange all the items on dishes in the centre of the table for the guests to share.

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