Philippa James visits A Slice of Sicily
PUBLISHED: 08:31 17 May 2010 | UPDATED: 09:47 20 April 2016
Cookery editor Philippa James enjoys the taste of Italy and some flavours from closer to home
I first met the exuberant Ettore (Etti-Spaghetti, as he is affectionately known!) and his lovely wife Catherine at the farmers’ markets. Etti now has vibrant delicatessen and conservatory-style bistro in smart premises on Priory Lane in Penwortham, where all the food is prepared and served from one of the tiniest kitchens I have seen!
I popped in on a Monday, expecting this to be a quiet day to catch up, but the place was buzzing with a mixture of chatter from the busy kitchen, where I spotted Dario, Etti’s brother, and banter from the customers.
As well as the standard panninis, pastas and pizzas, my eye was particularly drawn to the sea bass Siciliana with lemon and white wine but this had, not surprisingly, sold out, so I decided on one of my favourites, Lasagne al Forno; so much for a quick lunch. Etti laughed: ‘Pheeeleeppa, daaaarling… we don’t do ‘small’, we do Italian portions, big, bigger, and biggest!’
The dish, with a mixture of pork and beef (which surprised me) from Anderton’s in Longridge, was meltingly tender. Etti also uses their meat to create his famous, and huge, hand-made ‘coarse’, Italian sausages, which contain no rusk.
Most of the fresh goods are locally sourced and Etti said: ‘I’ve been stubborn from the first day, that’s why I joined Made in Lancashire, so I could get the best of local produce.’
Etti’s vegetables are bought locally, as are his fantastic salad items, from Moss Bank Farm, near Rufford, where Etti has been known to help harvest his order when they’ve been busy. Even his milk comes from just up the road, at Holme Farm Dairy; it is little wonder that the business receives so much regular, local support.
The growth of this highly successful venture has been steady and organic. There are food and wine tasting evenings and talk of some exciting new recipe ideas which Etti is working on. Catherine crafts the ceramic items which are on sale.
It is lovely to see that although the business is doing so well, a Slice of Sicily www.sliceofsicily.co.uk still offers an early bird menu, although, if you are planning to visit later in the week, I would highly recommend you book first.
Philippa gets saucy
I bumped into David Entwistle recently and was delighted to hear of the continuing success of his grandma’s recipe for Lancashire Sauce.
Since introducing Lancashire Sauce to the public by selling one bottle from the counter of Entwistle’s Deli in Ramsbottom around five years ago, production is up to a truly staggering 30,000 bottles per year!
Grandma Elizabeth Entwistle who created the sauce, which is now proudly named after her, lived in Church, near Accrington where she died in 1977 having kept the recipe a close secret and the sauce was used only in the family home.
It was not until David was in his early 30s that he realised the potential of this very special sauce that his parents Kath and Ken had continued to make at home. He decided that one day he would let the public enjoy this very special delicacy, but other business commitments prevented him from doing so until 2001, when David and his wife Sarah opened Entwistle’s Delicatessen in Ramsbottom.
The Deli was used as a platform to launch the unique product that David believes can become as popular as the more well-known of the “Shire” sauces.
The versatility of Lancashire Sauce is unrivalled and can be used on anything from cheese on toast to black pudding, meanwhile adding flavour to soup or stock and is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
A good shake of the bottle is needed to awaken the mixture of spices. David says: ‘Just treat it as you would use salt, pepper, vinegar or a stock cube.’
Lancashire Sauce www.lancashiresauce.co.uk became available nationwide in 2009 and is now on sale in Dubai, thanks to Lakeland. Meanwhile new outlets are constantly requesting Lancashire Sauce and bottles have been sent across the world upon request.
‘Even though my son James and I make every bottle and we still label by it by hand, I never get fed up making it or tasting it. It is such a good product; it just makes your food taste better!’