The other night we had Italo’s famous “boat dish” for dinner. When I say famous it means it has been a dish that I have classified as our first party dish, during our food journey and life together. I remember some 30 years ago, we lived in a small apartment on Burnley street in Richmond, very close to where Victoria Gardens is now, however this was before this shopping centre was built.
We were just married, and we were going to have some of Italo’s school friends over for dinner. He had told me about this boat dish, featuring prawns, cream and puff pastry. Italo had first learned about this dish at the Avanti restaurant, where he worked. A chef called Ralph, had cooked the dish, which Italo had enjoyed and later learned to make it by watching Ralph making the dish.
For me I was fascinated with the dish right from the start, because it was so different from the Mediterranean diet that I was getting accustomed to, or maybe I was drawn to it because it reminded me of the Swedish cuisine. To be honest I was not really sure what the magic and fuss was about and it certainly had me in its spell.
It was just the other night when Italo cooked me the boat dish, that the significance of the dish, daunted on me, like a tonne of bricks. As I was sitting there and really enjoying the taste of the dish. It brought me back to our first dinner party. I remember we had a good night that night and the dish tasted good, however it did not taste as good as it tasted tonight that was for sure.
I started thinking about magic and what makes something a magical experience. You cook and learn a new recipe and some of those recipes become part of your favourites and others you never cook again. Why is that?
I think that when you season things with love that is when the real magic happens.