Venice, Italy, 2 July 2013
Last night I made dinner on a gondola for an elderly german couple who were touristing in Venice. And they loved it.
It all started when my friend Tiffany and I were mind-mapping quick money ideas at the beach. It is quite difficult to find a job in Italy, especially when you don't really want one.
"We could do supper clubs," she suggested, to which I nodded enthusiastically.
In the meantime we had a mojito and called our friend to ask if he had any contacts or foodie ideas we could get hold of. To which, he asked, "would it be possible for you to make dinner for two on a gondola?"
"Of course," I replied, mojito in hand. Tipsy, we thought of an easy and typically italian meal that could be enjoyed on a moving gondola.
To start with, we made some cichetti, which are typical Venetian bar snacks. (These are great ideas if you're having a dinner party because they keep people entertained and drinking their wine faster.)
Fresh bread sliced with different toppings: ricotta, sun-dried tomato and basil/ cream cheese, prosciutto cotto (ham) with artichoke/ cream cheese, prosciutto cotto (ham) and emental cheese drizzled with balsamic glaze/ ricotta cheese, grilled crushed walnuts and balsamic glaze.
The cichetti with caprese salad: Fresh tomatoes, burrata cheese (but mozarella is great too) and fresh basil leaves.
Figs rolled in prosciutto crudo (parma ham)
Rocket salad with beef carpaccio, lemon dressing and parmesan
Tiramisu for two (recipe to follow)
A tiramisu that will really pick you up..(Tira-mi-su= Pick-me-up)
This recipe is slightly adapted from my mum's tiramisu and the classic italian recipe. The yoghurt adds a lightness that will bring you right to the clouds.
4 Eggs, separated
1 packet Savoiardi (ladies finger biscuits)
1 cup strong Americano coffee (preferably NOT instant coffee)
2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons sugar for the coffee
100g icing sugar
20g Cocoa Powder (to powder at the end)
250g Mascarpone Cheese
100g or 1 small plain yoghurt
Pinch of salt
Start by making your coffee.
Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar to the coffee.
Add the rum.
Put the coffee a large bottomed bowl, large enough that there is enough space to dip the savoiardi biscuits in.
Take two large bowls.
Separate the eggs yolks from the whites, making sure there is absolutely no yolk in the eggs whites. Put the whites in one bowl and the yolks in the other.
With an electric whisk, beat the egg whites until they are firm.
Add the mascarpone, the yoghurt and the icing sugar to the egg yolks and beat with the electric whisk until well combined and fluffy.
With a large spoon, at the beaten egg whites to the mascarpone mixture.
Take the dish you will use for your tiramisu.
Dip the savoiardi biscuits in the coffee until just absorbed (not too mushy but still quite drenched in coffee, that way the tiramisu is not too wet nor too dry) layer on the bottom of the dish.
Layer the mascarpone and egg mixture.
Do another layer of the biscuits and the mascarpone mixture.
Continue until you have no space left.
(If there is any mixture left, it is always nice to make mini tiramisu's for everyones breakfast the next day using glasses or any other container you wish)
Leave to refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
Just before serving, thoroughly dust cocoa powder on top.