This Wednesday night Family dinner was particularly special Nonno turned 81 today, this is Papa’s side of the family. So this was a combined birthday dinner with our weekly dinner, the only difference was there was more food, people and special Grappa to be had after dinner. This Nonno is more “Italian” than the other one. When you greet him you have to say hello and how are you in Italian or you will be corrected. I have got this routine all worked out now but run into trouble when I do this, he then forgets that I can’t speak Italian and starts having a conversation with me, I just smile and nod that usually works.
The nights feast started off with chill and garlic barbecued prawns that Papa cooked, this was his job for the night. Zia made all of girls a Prosecco and pomegranate spritz. Just a glass of Prosecco ( Italian dry white sparkling wine) and pomegranate seeds spooned into the glass for colour and sweetness. It was so beautiful to look at with the magenta bubbles rising to the top.
We ate the barbecued prawns outside on the porch, I had never seen prawns being peeled so quickly they all were naturals, in one quick movment. It was a twist with the head and peeled the body and legs shell off all at once leaving the tail on to hold while eating. I didn’t even have to peel any, My Italian Man was doing it for me. All of the women didn’t have to peel any their men did it for them like it was their duty, It was very sweet. We sat out here for a while enjoying the light of the afternoon and listening to Nonno tell us this will be his last birthday, he tell us this every year.
When it started to get dark we all piled into the huge table and started to chat away while the finishing touches of dinner were being made. Tonight’s feast included two huge slab Lasagna’s, a few salads, bread and the home made family wine. I selected a little of everything for my plate very excited to eat this lasagna its one of my favourites, but it was different this time. I was a bit confused not eating the usual glorious traditional beef lasagna, this time it was a turkey version. Very strange. I found out that this was not an experimental dish Mamma wanted to try but leftover turkey that had been kept frozen from Christmas. It made me laugh, they will never waste anything it can always be created into something again. It was nice but just not a good a the usual. I would never say that though.
After cleaning up we had the birthday cake, the glow from the candles shone on Nonno’s beaming face showing how happy he was that we were all with him celebrating another year. Candles were blown out and a wish made, it was now coffee and grappa time. Zia had made the birthday cake tonight, very appropriately named ‘Mamma’s cake’ she got the recipe from the ever faithful ‘Women’s weekly Italian’ cook book. It was a coffee/ Kahlua sponge with custard filling and frosting. It was to die for. ( I will post the recipe shortly)
We were all full and happy and Nonno and his sons were well into the grappa having a very interesting discussion but I had no idea what was going on because they had switched to talking in Italian, they do this after drinking grappa. If I followed them closely you could get the idea from their animated hand gestures. The night was ending and we all said our goodbyes with the awkward ‘which way are you going’ double kiss from Nonno.