Sunday, 9 December 2007

Tuna Sorrento

Sometimes I think that someone reading this blog would think that I'm obsessed by food and yarn. The answer is yes, and no. Yes, I'm a foodie and Knitter, but no - I do spend my days thinking about other things and working on other projects.

Having said that, I'm proud of my ability to turn a couple of dull, boring ingredients into a really good meal. Take last Sunday night, when I turned some wizened, forgotten-in-the-bottom-of-the-veggie-drawer parsnips into Parsnip & Lemon Soup. (Having just re-read that post, I realise that I seem to be making a habit of this.) Sunday is the day we usually play role-playing-games at the club DH runs, so food on Sunday night is always rushed and relatively uninspired. Tonight, I made Tuna Sorrento and baked potatoes.

Tuna Sorrento is my take on a sandwich filling from The Sandwich Box, in Warren Street, W1, near where I worked for five years in the mid-1990's. In those days, The Sandwich Box was owned and run by an Anglo-Italian guy, Frank, and his family (his wife, his mother, his uncle). Every year, they'd close for a few weeks over the summer and go home to Italy.

We used to call The Sandwich Box "Frank's". In the days prior to Starbucks, Frank's was one of the few places you could buy a decent takeaway cappuccino in London and for the not-so-exorbitant price of 60p. After a night of little sleep, when I felt almost hungover, I'd pop into Frank's and buy a second breakfast, my "Jewish Girl's Special"; a bagel filled with egg-and-bacon-mayonnaise, topped with extra bacon and sometimes a slice of cheddar as well. (What can I say? I coined the name in a fit of self-mockery.)

My favourite lunch from Frank's was a sunflower seed bap filled with Tuna Sorrento. (A bap is a large bread bun at least 5 inches in diameter and 1.5-2 inches deep.) I'd probably buy it at least once or twice a week before I left Warren Street in 1997.

Frank sold up in the summer of 1999. He'd been mugged a couple of years earlier, fetching cash from the bank, and then the shop was robbed. He told the regulars that his heart had gone out of the business. He'd been there for 15 years. I missed his last day by a couple of weeks; popping in to my old office to meet some friends I saw the "under new management sign". I don't know if the new management ever made Tuna Sorrento nor if they're still there 10 years later.

Tuna Sorrento


2 x 180g/6oz cans tuna in brine, drained
1 x 400g/14oz can cooked kidney beans, drained
2-3 spring onions, chopped
1/4 - 1/3 cup mayonnaise


Combine all the ingredients, beating in the mayonnaise until the tuna forms a smooth paste-like consistency and the beans are a bit mushed up. Grind over some black pepper and use as a sandwich filling, or on baked potatoes, or even stir through some pasta.

- Pam (Frank, where-ever you are, this one is for you)

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