Buongiorno is full of easy and delicious meals that make for a lovely family brekkie on the weekend, or something special and different for guests who like being entertained in the am (if you have young kids, its a lot more practical than the pm). The book contains a glossary of Italian ingredients along with basic techniques like roasting and skinning peppers (capsicum), making whipped marscapone cream, tart pastry, pesto, pizza dough and tomato sauce.
Reviewed by Magdalena Ball
Buongiorno! Breakfast and Brunch, Italian Style
by Norman Kolpas
Photography by Chris Cassidy
Contemporary Books (McGraw Hill), 2001
Being a “morning person”, I’ve always loved breakfast and brunch. My appetite is always heartiest first thing in the morning and the meal seems to hold the promise of the day ahead – full of excitement and potential. Plus you can eat almost anything you want, comfortable in the knowledge that you’ll probably burn off the calories during the rest of the day. Every country naturally his its own breakfast traditions, from the large soup size coffee cups and flaky croissant of France to the variety of small and large Fruhstuck of Germany with its healthy quarks and cereals and not so healthy meat platters. Of course there is also the NY Bagel and American pancakes, waffles and French toast, the English “fry-up”, Scottish porridge and the tropical fruit platters. One of the best countries for breakfast though is Italy. Those great Italian expressos coupled with a wide variety of rich egg dishes, fruit dishes, great breads, fancy pancakes, waffles and crespelle and for a later brunch, cakes, pizzas and pastas.
Buongiorno is full of easy and delicious meals that make for a lovely family brekkie on the weekend, or something special and different for guests who like being entertained in the am (if you have young kids, its a lot more practical than the pm). The book contains a glossary of Italian ingredients along with basic techniques like roasting and skinning peppers (capsicum), making whipped marscapone cream, tart pastry, pesto, pizza dough and tomato sauce. There are tips on making good Italian coffee (the mainstay of any breakfast), and a range of drinks, alcoholic and juice based, egg dishes like scrambles, baked eggs, frittatas, folded omelettes, Italian quiches and stratas. Many of these are quite innovative with unusual ingredients and combinations, and most can be easily served for a light lunch or dinner as well. The “sweet spiced ricotta and panettone strata” is particularly delicious and great for Xmas morning (and best with free range eggs for a rich taste and great yellow colour).
Griddle favourites take already delicious American favourites like pancakes, waffles and French toast to a new dimension, using ingredients like ricotta, nuts, compote toppings, polenta and panettone breads to vary consistency and flavour. If fresh fruit like nectarines, peaches, plums or berries are in season, the “toasted hazelnut waffles with marscapone and nectarines” is delicious, and no more difficult than normal waffles.
Pastas, risottos, polentas and semolinas are a bit heavier than usual breakfast fare, but the recipes are very flexible and quick, and if you are having a late brunch and skipping lunch, may be just right. Even the lasagnas and risottos are light, featuring ingredients like ricotta, fresh vegetables and fruit. The baked goods section contains a range of brushettas, relying on a good supply of sourdough bread (you can make it yourself but developing a great starter isn’t easy and the book doesn’t cover it) along with light pizzas and even a sausage and egg calzone (not for dieters!). The biscotti recipes are really nice, especially the “chocolate, orange and honey,” and if you are a muffin person, you’ll love the Italian style muffins, cakes and scones. Add some flavoured breakfast butter and your guests will swoon. You can also opt for the heavier meat dishes, or the much lighter fruit ones, which include some traditional desserts like panna cotta and a very rich cherry-chocolate hazelnut tart with frangelico.
The book is full of full page colour pictures, and none of the recipes are difficult. For more information on Buongiorno visit: Buongiorno! : Breakfast and Brunch,…