AUTHENTIC ITALIAN SPICES // ciao gusto, from ocado

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Our new kitchen-diner has had an unexpected side effect… I’ve discovered a new appreciation for cooking.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to put Gordon Ramsay out of business, but my swish new surroundings, with its open plan design and all its extra kitchen top space, has inspired me to spend more time in the kitchen.

Turns out, cooking is actually quite enjoyable when you have space, appliances that actually work and a nice view out over the garden (before, I looked directly at a concrete wall). Now I don’t actually mind spending time in the kitchen, whereas before it was somewhere I spent as little time as possible.

When I was given the chance to try some authentic Italian spices from Ciao Gusto, I immediately started thinking about the dishes I could make.

Ciao Gusto – which translates to ‘Hello Taste’ – is part of ITALIA DEL GUSTO, an alliance of over 30 Italian food and wine companies that brings authentic local cuisine to our doorstep. And the really great thing? Ocado (where we do our weekly shop) has a dedicated range of Ciao Gusto products, so you can purchase them alongside your regular online shopping and have them delivered straight to your door.

Looking through the range of Cannamela spices, I spotted the aglio macinato (garlic powder) and instantly knew what I wanted to do with it – crunchy roast potatoes, seasoned with garlic salt.

After parboiling the potatoes and drizzling them in a bit of olive oil, I gave them a good shake to fluff them up and sprinkled them garlic powder, pink salt and fresh cracked pepper. After about 35 minutes in the oven, set at 180 degrees, the potatoes were golden brown and smelling divine. 

Which was only a patch on how good they tasted – elevated beyond a regular roast spud by the garlic powder, they were melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I ended up thinking about them so much afterwards, I made them again the next night!

I’d also bought a jar of Cannamela aglio e peperoncino (garlic and chilli), which I tried sprinkling on fresh spaghetti noodles. On their own it was a teensy bit too spicy for my tastebuds, but served with homemade meatballs it added an extra layer of flavour and a lovely warm kick.

Authentic Italian ingredients Ciao Gusto noodles

But it’s not just spices I’ve been buying from Ocado’s Ciao Gusto range – my favourite cafetiére coffee brand is Lavazza, and we always use Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil.

I’m not great with dairy, so I also adore their Valsoia range of soya products, which includes ice-cream (just as creamy and yummy as the dairy version), vegan lasagne and soy milk.

A genuine taste of Italy, straight to our tables. 

• a collaborative post with Ciao Gusto

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