la lingua italiana

Australian-English is my first language. My only language. However, I did believe my grasp of the international-food patois would enable me to dine around the world. I can pronounce chah-bah-tah (ciabatta), broo-sket-uh (bruschetta). I can order in many languages… Laksa, Spatzle, Biryani, Pho, Pad See Ew, etc… See, takeaway menus are educational. I even know, but I’m not sure how, gamberetti are prawns/shrimp. Possibly because I have read every, and own most of Marlena de Blasi books, and whole swag of other pick-up-your-life-move-to-Europe, grow stuff and eat-drink it novels.

What eventuated after our His n’ Hers Saturday grocery shopping suggests I still have a ways to go… On Saturday, at Lamonica IGA, I chose a nice little lamb roast, enough for dinner Sunday night and Monday night roast leftovers, or so I thought.

Midway through Sunday afternoon, I checked the weight of the roast with a view to timing the slow bake process. “Capretto”, I remarked to the G.O., “do you think it’s the cut?” But, even as I was saying the words, the dots were joining. “It’s quite small, isn’t it, even for a lamb roast?” as my fingers automatically clicked up Google search and entered the term.

Oh dear. Capretto. Kid. Baby goat. Oooh. Not what I’d intended. Funny how these things work, only days before, instigated by I can’t remember what, the G.O. and I had a ‘goat as food’ conversation – I’d eaten it more than 20 years ago in Fiji as a curry, and liked it well enough, but not in my food culture so never bothered with it. The G.O. had eaten it while working in the outback, on a catch & eat basis, baked over a fire, similarly 20+ years before.

So no taboo for us, just no idea how to cook it or with what. Google again. Look through the pantry cupboard and fridge. Confer with the G.O.  Cobble together a cooking plan based on ingredients to hand and several on-line recipes.

Inspired by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial’s In My Kitchen post recently I had cast my mind over my own kitchen, and came up with… boring. Plus, I don’t usually do foodie posts but given my unintentional purchase, I offer up:


His n’ Hers Baked Capretto


1.150 kg Capretto leg

Approx. 1 cup of pitted green olives.
I used half Sicilian green olives, and half fresh deli green olives stuffed with fetta, plus the remaining dressing.

A few shakes of onion flakes

Big pinch of white pepper

Big pinch of mixed herbs

Big pinch of chilli flakes

1 tablespoon raw sugar

1 cup chicken stock

Big splash of olive oil

½ cup white wine

¼ large lemon squeezed

3 garlic cloves (in this instance they came in the deli olives)

½ kg baby potatoes not peeled, thinly sliced


In a plastic container that seals well, add all the ingredients (including the ¼ lemon rind), except the potatoes. Marinate for as long as you can, tossing from time to time. We marinated ours for 1 hour in the fridge and ½ an hour on the bench just prior to cooking.

When ready to cook, place the sliced potatoes evenly around the base of an oiled heavy casserole dish which has a lid.

Place the Capretto leg on top of the potatoes, and pack the cuts with the olives and drizzle the marinade over it and the potatoes (omitting the ¼ lemon rind).

Place in a cold oven, set for 160 degrees Celsius fan forced oven and cook for 2.75 hours, turning after 1.5 hours.

Remove Capretto leg and place on warm plate on cook-top to rest.

Drain pan juices into stainless steel jug or small saucepan.

Return potatoes to warm but turned off oven to finish for approx 20 mins while the meat is resting.

Add small amount of flour to pan juices and whisk. Reheat to warm and thicken slightly before serving.

Our side dish was fresh green beans & shallots, sliced and briefly sautéed in butter & white wine, lightly seasoned with white pepper.

We had a bit of everything left over, enough for Monday night dinner supplemented with an ad hoc bread salad.


Bread Salad


Good sized ripe tomato roughly chopped (with juices)

2 slices white Italian loaf, slightly toasted, cubed

Handful of cubed Provolone Dolce

Left over green beans with shallots, slightly warmed


Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Sea salt, raw sugar to taste


Toss ingredients together in bowl 10 mins before serving.

Bread salad, some of it anyway

Recommended Wine:

The rest of the N.Z. Monkey Bay Pinot Gris I used in the marinade was a perfect accompaniment.

bon appétit

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28 thoughts on “la lingua italiana

  1. When I was a young boy, if we didn’t have lamb for Easter, we had “baby goat”. (I didn’t feel right writing “kid”.) I can’t possibly remember how it was prepared but I can say that your preparation looks delicious! That was quite a meal you prepared, especially considering you weren’t expecting Capretto to be, well, Capretto. 🙂


    1. Thank you. From you, high praise indeed 🙂 Next time I venture to Haberfield I’ll probably see if they have another Capretto leg (I hadn’t noticed it previously), as it was a very nice meat, flavoursome, dense but light, and a serving was sufficient. I probably could’ve cooked it as I would a lamb leg (with my usual garlic, mustard & rosemary) but once I read a few Capreto recipes, I was inspired!


  2. Sounds yum! I don’t have a problem eating goat either, I haven’t seen it in our local butcher but if it was I probably would give cooking it a go. I have eaten it before and found it delicious.
    It is mostly the name of things that gets us, isn’t it. Capretto sounds good, baby goat, sad…. When I say we are having venison the kids say yum, if I say deer they are not as happy.


    1. Thank you. What you say makes sense… I think I’m like your kids. There’s not much I won’t eat but sometimes my head rules… It took me until my 40’s to be able to handle a raw chook without wearing rubber gloves…


  3. we kept milking goats, so the little buck kids were sold off every year to the italians who called around to ask for them …. of course we could not bring ourselves to eat our own kids … although we ate someone else’s pet lamb! well done with your leg of goat 🙂


    1. Thank you. I like that story. I think it’s often the way, although when I was kid, my Pa’s chooks were served for dinner, the most memorable the rooster who attacked me, and was mercilessly dispatched by the hero of the day…


  4. Ella, this dish looks fabulous — too bad there wasn’t more of it! 😉

    Ever since I can remember, my husband and I have made our meals for the entire week on Sunday evenings. Between both of us working, going to the gym, wanting to spend some time together before bedtime, cooking every night just wasn’t an option; so, we do the whole hoopla on Sunday; however, occasionally — happened this week — we run out of food before Friday (Friday and Saturday are date nights out) and it’s like we have forgotten we are capable of cooking. We sort of look at each other like “Well, now what?”
    Anyway, the fact that you your meal was much smaller than expected reminded me of that.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I am not much of a lamb eater, but should we buy some, I will check back in!

    ~ Cara


  5. Ah those romance languages. In these here parts (need to git the rite accent), it’s cabrito (Spanish for young goat meat). Ya’ll will see signs for cabrito (usually slow-cooked whole on rotisserie / grilled over mesquite) along the highway in central and south TX – and in some grocery stores – especially ones that cater to Mexican/Latin American foodies. Probably need red beans and rice to go with it. (all of it needs cilantro) Monterey, Mexico is supposed to be the cabrito world headquarters, ya’ll.
    Thanks for the interesting post – we tend to cook lots on Sunday – so we’ll have leftovers for the first of the week


    1. Thank you – I was laughing as I got into the accent. Goat is also popular in Australia with many [food] cultures, just not my WASP-plain fare heritage, but as a wannabe foodie the cabrito versions in your parts sound delicious, and I’ll keep my eye out here, and my tastebuds primed.


      1. Ditto with the laugh here. We never ate it
        Cabritto used to be a joke and considered “poor people” food – but now it’s “trendy” here
        You just have to laugh.
        Check Mexican food sites for ideas – but most say it need to cook 3-4 hours, I think


  6. You make me smile, ED! I can speak a little yum cha.. 😉

    Capretto – my ex-BIL (who was Nepalese) used to drive a long way to buy goat meat for his curries. My husband, on the other hand, won’t go near the stuff! But he might if he could see how tender and juicy your dish looked!

    PS. I can’t believe your kitchen is boring! x


  7. Thanks… my kitchen has it’s moments… like last week when cleaning the oven I broke the outside glass somehow – it exploded across the breadth of the room. Don’t even think about how much it costs to replace your sister’s (who we rent the apartment from) Smeg oven door… Back to the capretto, I think your husband would find my WASP version quite acceptable 🙂


  8. Baby goat (known as chotto here) is a specialty dish in Andalucía, often served with an almond sauce.

    I enjoyed reading your recipe, EllaDee. People LOVE recipes, especially ones that look delicious, like yours 🙂


    1. Thank you. Almond Sauce sounds lovely. Given kid is not as widely available (yet) here, I can’t say it will make a regular appearance but if I see it, I’ll be buying it.


  9. I think you should do the recipe thing more often. Although for my part without the dead goats. PhilMOTH was spot on with the cabrito thing. It’s popular in Spain too as a fast fried bar tapa.

    anyway, what I really wanted to say was that at one point I was working at my immediate boss’s house (Chief Exec) on some urgent media work over the weekend and he offered me ciabatta. See – a – batter. Um. I couldn’t bring myself to correct him. My conscience is still guilty now. And because of that, sadly partner and I also now mispronounce it permanently 😀


    1. It happens like that doesn’t it… one little thing develops into a private coded language. I own that my pronunciation tends to Aussie… I have French colleagues and the debate rages over Mo-et vs Mo-ey.

      It took me a while to process the ‘kid’ thing. I enjoyed creating the bread salad which I hadn’t done before.


  10. I loved reading this! When I was studying Italian in Italy, sometimes it was a bit hard to work out what the food in the university cafeteria was. One day it was a dish with veges and baby octopus in a sauce. I worked out what it was, but my room mate commented how nice the pasta was. Someone then enlightened her that it was baby octopus, and she wouldn’t eat another mouthful.


    1. Thank you. What a great anecdote. Sometimes eating is mind over matter. I’ve conquered a few foods I thought I never would – baby occy being one… it drove me mad watching everyone else enjoy their bbq squid, so I woman-ed up and gave it a try and loved it 🙂


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