Mr D’Acampo, celebrity chef and world record enthusiast. More interestingly, he shares his birthday with me, 17th July if you want to send a card.
For the February outing of the Victoria Inn Foodie Club, we drew a celebrity chef from the random pot of themes, Mr Gino D’acampo. Personally, I was nonplussed at this happening as I snobbishly don’t quite count Mr GD as a proper chef. Sorry, but smiling on Ready Steady Cook and giving the odd housewife an even odder thrill with your big eyes and toothy grin doesn’t automatically result in knowing your asofetida from your elbow, no matter how personable you are (I’m looking at you too, Ainsley).
But Gino we got, so Gino we took to google in search of a good night’s eating. Having a main course allocated should have been a godsend on this one, it is usually the category with most wiggle room but it seemed that the majority of Mr D’Acampo’s mains tended to be a variation on mixed meat with a bit of chilli. Had I not briefly conferred with Charlotte before shopping for my dish, all three mains served would have been meatballs! I may have been quick to judge however, as there certainly was some good stuff on offer and us Fooders can only take so much credit for that as it all began with a funny little Italian man who once went in to the jungle and survived a couple of seasons with Worrell Thompson. Let see what we managed to come up with.
One of the few not Italian dishes of the night- a hot chilli and prawn soup and BOY did it pack in the spice. Stuart had us all in clear sinused heaven with this one, really tasty and Thai in origin. Worth looking up to recreate.
Beef carpaccio with a zesty salad. Fantastic offering from Sheena thanks to a great seasoning mix and some highly delicious beef. Tender and tasty and a joint winner for my favourite of the night.
Meatball mains number one from either Charlotte or Amanda. Pork and beef in a slightly chillied tomato sauce. Both were good, both from the same recipe and both tasted very different! Go figure.
Meatball mains number 2, from Charlotte or Amanda. Please see previous meatball accompanying text.
My stuffed peppers- roasted and filled with a mix of ricotta, capers, rosemary and lemon juice. Bit tart, but not bad at all. Shame I forgot the chilli oil drizzle to serve but the parmesan crisps off camera made a fine garnish.
Ever had a risotto that seemed to be missing that certain something? That certain something is chocolate, honey and cinnamon. Made be Ian, demolished by all these were lovely.
A white chocolate mousse with fresh mint leaves and black pepper. This was some heavy going dessert fayre let me tell you, dense and creamy and highly satisfying. We all agreed that it was good but could have used a little more mint, I bet it would make an awesome icecream. Good work Tom.
Oh good god. My other joint favourite of the night, a chilli chocolate mousse. It was just incredible, creamy and chocolatey with a subtle chilli drop off in the background and mega sickly. Divine. Jason made this and had some misgivings on the texture but everyone else loved it.
Beautifully presented Tiramisu shots from Matt, accompanied by a whacking great traditionally served tiramisu also. Cakey coffee-ey creamy goodness from the dessert maestro.
And there you have it, in conclusion we can say that Gino loves a bit of chilli and should maybe stick to the puddings as they were all marvellous. Though credit where due, if you stray away from his obvious Italian classic recipes there’s some more interesting stuff to be found, especially that yummy soup.
Next month, South America!