Secret Parisian Bars & Divine Delights

We’re in Paris for my upcoming fortieth birthday!

I found the restaurant on Instagram and just had to go…

No bookings mean we have to wait for a table, but how joyous to do so! We have a drink downstairs in the speakeasy. You are given no directions, and clandestinely enter through a “no entry” meatlocker to find a dim, red velvet walled bar. The menu suggests a flight for the tastebuds; sweet, sour, acidic, dry…a cocktail to match. Relax & chat while you wait listening to some hip hop chill.

We get a text message that our table is ready! Dinner is fun; the servers are friendly and happy to help with recommendations. They don’t even mind our lame attempt at ordering in French.

We have prosciutto & melon to start which is light and sweet and delicious. For mains he has the steak with roast potatoes and cheesy polenta which he exclaims is heaven on earth. I have the Instagram pizza which is large and delicious; bubbly, fluffy woodfired dough and wafer thin slices of ham and mushrooms. We have a side salad that is so big it could feed a herd of rabbits! We ambitiously order a bottle of red wine, but have some green tea to help digest while we share a heavenly dessert; a slice of some godly creation where tiramisu meets banoffi pie. Divine.

Seriously, there is nothing bad to say about Pink Mumma. Go, eat, drink and save room for dessert.

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cook | eat

this salad has simple yet sophisticated ingredients that are really so effortless to pull together.

we had this on a Friday night after a long week at work. we wanted something light yet decadent, and we didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen; relaxation, wine and chats were needed, and this dish pairs perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • Bunch of watercress; washed & trimmed
  • Prosciutto; roughly torn
  • Camembert; the best quality you can afford
  • Fresh figs; washed, dried, halved and grilled for a couple minutes each side (2 per person)
  • pistachio nuts; shelled and dry toasted in a dry pan (handful for two)

All these ingredients don’t really have measurements; just add to taste or increase/decrease according to numbers of people eating.

No dressing is needed because the figs caramelise on the outside and stay juicy on the inside which lends a lovely liquid to the salad.

Method:

Assemble in pretty layers of ingredients, the smaller more delicate ingredients towards the top. Serve with or without a glass of crisp, slightly sweet rosé or a mature Blanc de Blanc champagne.

Folonomo :: restaurant review

For love not money is the ethos of this place and their name reflects that using the first two letters of each word in the saying.

It’s Sydney’s first “profit for purpose” restaurant, where after operating costs, all profits go to charity.

The food is sustainable and ethically sourced, but it’s beautiful, tasty, fragrant and inspires long comfortable dinner talking & laughing with your love or a bunch of friends.


Simple dishes (rump steak with kipfler potatoes & eel butter) yet complex with texture (braise lamb shoulder with ‘dirty rice’ that consists of three different types of rice with crunchy toasted seeds and duck mince).

Their kitchen is small but lively and sitting at the counter you get to see the dedication to quality and the enjoyment that is had by the chefs and cooks to produced these dishes. It’s fun efficiency, especially when the night starts to wind down and “staffies” beers are cracked as a reward to a job well done.

All plates are for sharing and we had one of the two sides; the cauliflower rice with silverbeet lemon & mint and it was to.die! The soft yet still firm cauli mixed with pops of mint, wholesomeness of the silverbeet and crunch of toasted seeds was a true party in my mouth! It was a fresh side to lighten the richness of the steak & fall-apart lamb dishes.


Again, dessert was shared; this heavenly French pastry bread called ‘kouigin amann’ buttery and toasty and served with baked pears, firm and caramel-y, lemon curd and in-house vanilla icecream. Oh.My.God. Seriously.


It’s BYO wine/champers at the moment while they wait on their liquor license.

5 dishes, wonderful staff, good food, good atmosphere, $125. Leave a hefty tip because it all goes to charity!

//all photos my own//

amaretti & pumpkin risotto

Tonight’s weeknight dinner; amaretti and pumpkin risotto with spinach & dill served with shredded poached chicken.


I picked up this little pack of risotto from a local providor, and thought it a beautiful star of a mid-week dinner.

Heat a little oil in a saucepan, then add the risotto and stir for a minute til fragrant. Add 125ml of white wine and stir til absorbed, then slowly stir in 500ml of water, a little at a time til all absorbed (about 12 mins).


When cooked add in a good handful of baby spinach and some chopped dill, a little butter and season to taste.


Serve with grilled or shredded poached chicken.


Enjoy! Serves 2

//all photos my own//

weeknight feeds | chicken cacciatore 

I love the simplicity of this dish; not only is it super quick and easy to make but it bursts with delicious Italian flavours!

It’s a one pan weeknight wonder! Just adjust the ingredients for however many people you’re feeding.


Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • a punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup deseeded kalamata olives
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • handful fresh thyme leaves
  • sea salt & ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • flat-lead parsley

Optional:

  • couscous to serve
  • garden salad to serve

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180•C.
  • Drizzle an oven proof dish with olive oil, sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place into dish.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients in a haphazard manner
  • Cover with foil and place in oven for 40-45 mins, removing the foil for the last 10 mins.
  • Sprinkle with parsley before serving
  • Tastes best with couscous and garden salad
  • Serves 4

kale & walnut pesto | paleo recipe of the week

kalewalnutpesto

People are always asking me what I do with kale. 

I primarily use it to make green smoothies, as a side veggie for dinner (think sauteed kale & mushrooms) or in my scrambled eggs/omelette for brekkie.

But I’ve found a new use! Kale & Walnut Pesto; totally paleo friendly and great with grilled/steamed fish or chicken. Yum!!! Adapted from a recipe found [here]

Kale & Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup plain/raw, roughly chopped walnuts (or nuts of your choice like blanched almonds or macadamias)
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • about 3 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup grated sheep or goats hard cheese (or Parmesan cheese for those not inclined to the sheep or goat variety)
  • ½ – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil or macadamia nut oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method:

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add nuts and stir constantly (or gently shake pan) until toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let the nuts cool.

Pulse garlic clove in food processor until it is chopped finely, about 30 seconds. Add kale, toasted nuts & cheese and pulse until chopped. You may have to stop the food processor, open the top, and push the kale down toward the blades.

With the food processor running on low, add olive oil in a steady stream until you get the consistency you want. I used just over 1/2 a cup of macadamia oil.

Season to taste with salt and pepper (about 1½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper).

Enjoy!

chorizo cabonara & catalan market salad

Let’s not tell Jay, but if I could have a second husband it would be Jamie Oliver. That Englishman can cook!

I stalk follow him on Twitter & Instagram and he recently posted this recipe, which of course I just had to emulate for dinner.

Give it a try; it’s pukka!

jamie

For the salad

  • 25 g pine nuts
  • 1 red chicory
  • 1 green chicory
  • 2 clementines
  • 100 g baby spinach
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 45 g Manchego cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon runny honey

For the pasta

  • 320 g dried penne
  • 70 g Iberico chorizo
  • ½–1 fresh red chilli
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 heaped tablespoons fat-free natural yoghurt

Method:

Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Large frying pan, medium heat • Large lidded pan, high heat

START COOKING
Toast the pine nuts in the frying pan for a few minutes, tossing often • Put the pasta into the lidded pan, cover with boiling salted water and cook according to packet instructions • Finely slice the stalk ends of the chicory and click apart the upper leaves into a serving bowl • Peel and finely slice the clementines, add to the bowl with the baby spinach, then pick over the mint leaves • Shave over a tiny bit of Manchego and scatter with the hot nuts, returning the frying pan to a medium heat

In a cup, make your dressing with the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and honey, then season to taste and put aside • Finely slice the chorizo, chilli and rosemary leaves and put into the frying pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of pepper, then squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher and move everything around until lightly golden

Beat the egg, lemon juice, yoghurt and remaining finely grated Manchego together in a bowl • Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of the starchy cooking water • Toss the pasta into the chorizo pan, remove from the heat and mix well with the creamy sauce, loosening with a splash of cooking water, if needed, then season to taste • Dress and toss the salad, then serve with the pasta

Serves 4

tuck in!
tuck in!

Recipe from Jamie Oliver online [here]. My pics.

is this the best pizza ever? | +39 Pizzeria

the entrance on Little Bourke St

[via]

Pizza is my weakness. I’m referring to proper Italian pizza, not that tasteless cardboard Pizza Hut and Dominos peddle in the guise of “pizza”.

Over the last couple of years I’ve been slowly working my way through Sydney’s top 10 pizza restaurants (according to the SMH Good Food Guide) and I must say that although Number 3 on their list is Rosso Pomodoro in Balmain, in my heart (and tummy) it is Numero Uno!

Even though I’m in Melbourne, after last night’s perfectly paired pans, my heart has to make way for a new contender. Drum roll please…. +39 Pizzeria on Little Bourke Street.

Oh. My. Lord. it is good pizza. The perfect base; a crust that is crispy yet chewy with the beautifully imperfect shape that only hand spun dough can produce, cooked in a stone oven so it randomly leaves its charred fingerprints on the pizza lip. Topped with the minimalist of ingredients that are traditional, well-thought and executed.

the interior

[via]

last night’s blackboard

From a list of 17 pizza choices, this is what we had.

Starting with wine and an entree

the vino: Gran Sasso Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

Like all of their ingredients (I mean ALL including the waiters and down to the salt & pepper on the tables) the wine is Italian. It has a medium body & tannins and tastes of smoky leather and berries, similar to a young shiraz. It’s good!

Collezione Bruschette

The collection of three bruschetta are (L) porcine mushrooms, (M) cherry tomato, buffalo mozzarella & basil pesto and (R) cannellini bean puree with speck.

Diavola

The Diavola is a spicy pizza with Italian tomato salsa, Fior Di Latte (mild cow’s milk mozzarella-style cheese), salami & chilli. Jay & I both agree that the Diavola at Rosso Pomodoro is actually better, but the base on this one….wow!

Sole E Luna & Insalata Mista

The Sole E Luna is a half Calzone pizza filled with ham and Fior Di Latte & half Margherita pizza. I am in heaven! It is possibly the best pizza I’ve ever eaten (big call I know)! We also have the Insalata Mista which is mixed leaf salad with a citrus dressing. I don’t know why I get so excited over well dressed salad leaves but this salad is so divine!

Although their dessert menu looked amazing (house-made Tiramisu & cannoli, Nutella pizza with strawberries & a variety of gelato) we’re too full for dessert. Probably just as well, since I’m waaaaay over my calorie intake for the day! But for an extra couple of kilometers on the treadmill, it was totally worth it!

+39 Pizzeria | 362 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
http://plus39.com.au/

recipe | zucchini flower, mint and pecorino penne

I love a change of season! After a crappy wet summer, Autumn has bought Sydney clear blue skies, lots of sunshine (with only a few scattered storms) & temps in the low-mid 20°C’s.

Correspondingly, I love the change in seasonal produce. My local fruit & veg store is a hop, skip, jump away from me so I try to buy all my fresh produce there; it’s so much cheaper than the local supermarkets and surprisingly the weekend Growers Markets too (have you seen this sketch by the Brits? sooo funny!). Zucchini (aka green courgette) and their delicate little flowers are in season so what better dish to make than one with pasta al dente and a scattering of pecorino! Delish!

recipe by Emma Knowles via Australian Gourmet Traveller

zucchini flower, mint & pecorino penne

Serves 4
Cooking Time Prep time 10 mins, cook 10 mins

12 female zucchini flowers
80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ Spanish onion, thinly sliced
Finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
400 gm dried penne
1 cup (loosely packed) mint, coarsely torn
50 gm pecorino, finely grated, plus extra to serve

1 Detach zucchini flowers from baby zucchini. Tear flowers in half and thinly slice baby zucchini into rounds, then set aside.
2 Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add zucchini flowers and cook until crisp (2-3 minutes), remove with a slotted spoon, drain on absorbent paper and set aside. Add garlic and onion to oil, sauté until tender (2-3 minutes), remove from heat, add lemon rind and juice, season to taste and set aside.
3 Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (6-7 minutes), drain (reserve 2 tbsp pasta water). Return pasta and reserved pasta water to pan, add onion mixture, mint, pecorino and zucchini, season to taste and toss to combine. Serve scattered with zucchini flowers and extra pecorino.
Bon appetit!