A Celebratory Feast

What a great weekend.  The weather was fantastic, there was tons to do and it was a perfect time to hang with friends and family.   Since forever, our family gets together each week for Sunday dinner at my mom and dad’s house.  Everyone just comes together to spend some time and have a good meal.  

This weekend we were celebrating my mom’s birthday, so instead of having her cook, I prepared a few things I thought she might like and we dined al fresco in the backyard.

On the menu was Farfalle with broccoli, local bbq’ed steaks, and Torta alla Gianduia (or, in plain english, hazelnut cake).

Pasta with broccoli and anchiovies
Farfalle with Broccoli

“Farfalle” means butterflies in Italian and refers to the shape of pasta being used in this dish.   You could really use any shape of pasta here, but the farfalle or bowtie pasta always makes the dish feel kinda summery.  It is super easy to make and quick. 

The recipe is from none other than my ultimate idol, Giada Delaurentiis, and includes anchiovies.  Now don’t be scared of adding these little fishies into the dish.  They get added to a pan with olive oil, butter, crushed garlic and red pepper flakes and just melt away.  They add a nice salty flavour and I can’t imagine omitting them.  The original recipe says to add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt but since the anchiovies are salty to begin with I don’t bother.

We then barbequed a few steaks that were purchased from our new favourite place:  Wild Acre Cattle Co. in Woodslee.   Wild Acres (1947 Myer Road, 519-919-4050) has naturally raised and fed cattle.  No hormones,  no steriods.  To tell you that there is a difference in taste between what we buy at Wild Acres and what we used to purchase, would be an extreme understatement.

Since Woodslee is a bit of a drive for us, my parents purchase a large quantity, bring it home and put it in the freezer.   I have never been a steak or meat eater.  Mostly because it usually leaves me with a heavy feeling in my stomach.  But this beef is not like that and I find myself eating an entire steak to myself.  Anyways, definitely worth the drive out to Woodslee.

Torta alla Gianduia
Torta alla Gianduia

Now for dessert, I tried out a new recipe from Nigella Lawson which I saw on the website Bake or Break.   It was a rich, chocolatey cake with ground hazelnuts inside and…..nutella!!!   How can you not like this cake??  But as much as I love nutella and all things chocolate, I can only take it in small doses.  So I whipped up some cream and added a dollop with every slice served.   Not really sure what difference that makes, but dam did it taste great!

Overall, dinner was a hit.  It’s always great to spend time with family and every moment of beautiful weather when it comes our way.

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