Caponata Con Sarde

Though many people throw up their hands in horror at the thought of Morrison’s Supermarkets as ‘Pie Central’ there can be little doubt that they consistently have a great variety of fresh fish and at a good price.  Lidl [OMG not another portal to shopping hell!] usually has excellent large, purple, and largely seedless, aubergines at about half the price of other supermarkets.  Plus they have a great selection of Olives too!

For this recipe for 4 you will need:

8 Fresh sardine fillets; 2 large Aubergines, cut into about 1 cm slices; 4 large tablespoons of green olives; 4 garlic cloves, fine sliced; 1 red onion, fine sliced; 2 tbsp large capers; white wine vinegar, half small glass; 2 tbsp dried oregano; flat leaf parsley or coriander to garnish; and good quality olive oil. I can Organic Italian chopped tomatoes. Good quality broad ribbon pasta, Manfredini or Riccia are my favourites.

Heat a large solid pan, and pour in a good measure of olive oil.  Lay in the aubergine slices and turn to coat evenly.  Sprinkle the oregano and turning the heat up cook them on high ’til golden brown on each side. Then add the onion and garlic and continue cooking for a few minutes, ensuring that the garlic doesn’t begin to burn.  Add the olives and capers then pour over the vinegar and stir.  When it has evaporated, add the tomatoes, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.  Then add 4 of the sardine fillets, stir in, and simmer for another 10 minutes.  

Meanwhile bring your pasta water to a rolling boil, adding a tsp of sea salt and a shot of olive oil.  Feed in the pasta, about 100 – 125 g per person if they enjoy their food, 75 g if they are ‘sparrows’

Check for seasoning [if you really must!]  Then, while the pasta cooks, lay the other 4 fillets on top, neatly arranged so you don’t have to squabble over portions afterwards.  When the pasta is AD, drain and serve onto warmed plates or dishes.  Spoon on the Caponata, with one fillet per person and sprinkle the parsley or coriander.   Buono Appetito!

If, by any faint chance, you have any left over after serving it is equally delicious eaten cold as an antipasto




I was looking in the Bookshop window
When the train rumbled in
I turned, affecting nonchalance, and
Leaned against a cold stone pillar
Heart racing, mind whirring

A small and pretty bird-like woman
Wrapped against the cold, came into view
I thought, can this be her?
No, surely not, and then you smiled
At me!

All I did that day was gabble like a fool
Delighting in your company
And tripping over my tongue
All the time we [I] talked you seemed
To see something that amused you

The strangest feeling I was less than two
But, somehow, more than one
I found your voice enchanting
Tiny hands punctuating your story
With laughing, questing, eyes

I nervously asked, “Shall we meet again?”
You only took two years to answer
And then said, “Yes, why not?”
I sat there, pasta sauce on my pink tie
And thought, “This doesn’t happen to me”

All we did that day was mingle footprints
In the dust of our past, but
You were kind, and gentle, wise and
Astonishingly, you seemed to like me too
And so the smallest seed began to grow