Panettone Heaven – Our Trip to The New Farm Deli


“If your mother cooks Italian food, why should you go to a restaurant?”
~ Martin Scorsese

Tradition has always been important to me. Maybe it’s because I’m a Virgo. Or perhaps I have Royal Blue in my Aura. Or maybe it was the way I was brought up. I’m not sure.

One of my favourite traditions when I moved from the bush to New Farm in Brisbane, back in the 1990s, was to visit the New Farm Deli. A family owned and run delicatessen it had first come onto my horizon because my Italian-food loving grandparents Marga and Ceddie would take me there as a child, to source the many wonderful ingredients my grandmother would cook with. Suddenly I lived just blocks away, and it had incredible coffee and food and shelves and cabinets full of marvels that just weren’t available anywhere else in Brisbane.

When I was growing up, Christmas was always a family thing. A coming together of grandparents and cousins and groaning tables full of food, and always a card table to some other small table where the excess kids were sat. It was also a full-on cooking saga of epic proportion.

As I grew up it was me who became the cook. Often I would spend almost my entire Christmas Day in the kitchen, prepping, cooking, serving and then cleaning up. I didn’t mind. It was my idea of heaven, to make and serve food to the people I loved. Most of antipasto came from the New Farm Deli. It has become a new tradition for me.

Now I am grown, old even, married with no kids, and with our families greatly diminished in numbers and scattered to the winds. That really ended my previous family Christmas traditions, and so we started a new one – Orphans Christmas – where we invite other lonely people to share a meal and some company. With supplies from the deli, of course!

My husband’s Mum comes from a proud Italian heritage, and because of her (and my own maternal grandmother’s love of all things Italian) I was introduced to Panettone, an Italian sweet bread loaf a little like a cake – fluffy and risen and studded with candied and dried fruits or amazing fillings of sweet custard or chocolate chips. The New Farm Deli was where we would buy them and over time I learned the many ways of serving or cooking with them – although my favourite still remains eating a slice fresh with a good coffee or a glass of sherry or prosecco.

You can start a new tradition at any time! Ours now is to have Panettone, a freshly squeezed orange juice or glass of champagne for breakfast, followed by good coffee and perhaps one more slice… We also save our very best Panettone for New Year’s Day, and eat it on the verandah with our friend Carly who stays with us at that time of year. We make coffee, eat Panettone and pull cards for the year ahead. Glorious! Panettone will also make the basis of our Christmas Lunch Dessert this year, but I’ll blog that recipe and a few others next week.

Vince Anello and his staff have added a fine selection of Panettone over the years. I defy you to find a better selection in Brisbane, or perhaps Australia. If you live in or close to Brisbane why not go visit, grab a coffee or a meal at the cafe and then wander the deli, choosing your Panettone and a basket full of other delights for yourself or as gifts. It’s a lovely tradition and a delicious one!
Hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx

PS. If you want to start another new tradition for yourself why not grab one of my YOM Planners to help you live a more mindful, grateful and connected life in 2019, or get my Meditation Mala and bonus online course so you can start a tradition of regular meditation for yourself. It’s all here in my shop.

Slow-Cooked Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

Spaghetti bolognese – a firm favourite in our house.  Sorry about the steam obscuring this pic – did I mention it’s cold here?

It’s been a cold, wet week at my farm. One of my favourite easy dinners in this sort of weather is home-cooked spaghetti bolognese. When we come in from the paddocks at the end of the day, all muddy and cold, there’s nothing better than a hot shower to warm back up, and then a bowl of spag bol in front of the fire, with a glass of red wine. It’s a great meal for feeding a crowd, or a cohort of hungry workers!

My grandmother taught me this recipe, and taught me that the secret is the slow cooking. I usually make the sauce during the day and simmer it for at least a couple of hours – the longer the better as it gives the bolognese sauce a divine, silky richness.

Ingredients:

500g lean beef mince, 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, one stick of celery, 1/2 capsicum (bell pepper), 2 bay leaves, olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, sage, rosemary and basil) *note – if you can’t get this blend use oregano, 1 cup of mushrooms, 2  x 400g tins of diced tomatoes, 1 empty tomato tin of water, 1 heaped teaspoon stock powder, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, 1 cup of red wine.

500g of dried spaghetti, and some parmesan cheese to serve. This will give four hearty serves, or six moderate serves.

♥ The meat I’m using is our own organic beef, and the onion, garlic, celery, capsicum and parsley have all come from the vegetable garden.  I’m also using some home-grown zucchini and field mushrooms from a neighbour instead of pasta for my own dinner!  There is something very satisfying about eating food that has been sourced locally, or grown by us.

Method:

Finely chop the onion, garlic, capsicum (bell pepper), celery, mushrooms and parsley. Put a large heavy-bottomed saucepan on to low heat.  Add a slug of olive oil and cook the garlic, onions, celery and capsicum until fragrant but not coloured.  Add in the meat, turn the heat to medium and brown off the mince, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.  Season well with the herbs, salt and pepper.

Add in the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, stock powder, sugar, mushrooms, bay leaves, vinegar, water and wine. Stir well to combine.  Bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer, and slow cook the sauce, stirring occasionally for two to three hours or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.  Keep an eye on it, and if it looks like it is drying out, add a little more water or another slurp of wine!

To serve, cook your pasta until al dente.  Drain and place a generous portion of meat on top of each plate or bowl of pasta.  Grate or shave a little fresh parmesan cheese over the sauce.  This meal goes well with a crisp green salad and some crusty bread.  You may also like to drink the remainder of the red wine.

Fresh crusty sourdough baguette – perfect with dinner! (And the cook maybe ate one or two pieces with butter and vegemite as a pre-dinner snack…)

My lazy salad is a bag of greens from the Byron Bay Farmers Markets with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Low carb/gluten free option: Grill a large field mushroom per person.  A few slices of zucchini (courgette) are also good.

Grilled vegetables are a great low carb, gluten-free alternative to pasta

Top with the Bolognese sauce, and some cheese, if desired.

I often cook a double batch of the bolognese sauce, as it freezes really well.  The mince is  delicious on toast for breakfast (or lunch), and is also good for stuffed baked potatoes.  I sometimes substitute the mince for the beans in this easy recipe, so that it becomes Easy Italian Bake.  Enjoy!