Francesinha – Cafe Santiago Porto, Portugal
Francesinha pronounced Fran-ze-zin-ya (little Frenchie) is a local speciality in Porto. Made from bread, ham, sausages, pork and steak. If that wasn’t enough, this protein layered monstrosity is stacked into a sandwich and then topped with a pan fried egg, cheese, fries and a spicy beer sauce. Phew… that’s enough to make you sweat.
Locals in Porto love and I mean LOVE their francesinha. The people of Porto even get together with friends to have francesinha night outs at their favourite spot but this will often end up with arguments on where they should actually go to get it. On a good day, you can expect a heated debate over the best francesinha and don’t expect any two opinions to be alike. Locals will often argue and argue on who does it best. Your favourite may not necessarily be their favourite. In fact, they probably despise where you get your francesinha. Often the difference lies in the quality of meat but it really boils down to that special beer sauce and that finicky thing called personal opinion. The common ingredient in the sauce is beer and each restaurant will have their own special spices that they add to give it their own unique flavour.
As consensus goes, Cafe Santiago seems to be the most popular place to taste this. I would recommend sticking to Cafe Santiago or to go somewhere recommended by a local. Locals will often eat this speciality on average once a week to once a month, or even once a year. It can be pretty heavy going. But all in all, when everyone gets that craving, they just have to have it.
Mussels with white wine, garlic and cream sauce – Poules Moules, Bruge
Apart from the quintessential eats like Belgian chocolate, waffles, fries and beer. There is the must have item that towers them all. Belgian Mussels – Belgium’s national dish.
Moules Frites they call it, meaning Mussels and Fries. The approximately 1.5 kilogram serve will have you bursting at the seams yet you will still find yourself gorging your way through, suckling each and every shell. Waste not want not. They’re not little pissy ones either. You can see these mothers from out of space!
Belgian mussels can be prepared in a variety of ways. You can have them with white wine, shallots, parsley and butter. Or simply steamed with celery, leeks and butter. My favourite is when they prepare it with white wine, cream and garlic. Otherwise you can have it with Belgian beer instead of white wine.
Mussels typically can fetch up to the 30 euro – 50 euro mark, after all we in Belgium. Not cheap! The two places that I tried Belgian Mussels, came highly recommended to me by Belgian locals and rated as great value (approx 25 euro) and extremely good. I am talking “these are the best mussels of my life, type of good and I would come back to Belgium just for these.
Long time no post! I apologise for the radio silence. I have been crazy busy with relocating to London and planning my trip around Asia, Europe and US. Now that that things have settled down, you should be hearing more from me again, particularly from the likes of London ☺
My first stop in Europe is Belgium and all I want is a waffle. It’s been a dream of mine to eat a Belgian waffle in Belgium. Do you also have these types of foodie fantasies that need living out?
I am told it is best to buy them from the mobile waffle van because these are guaranteed to be fresh. The waffle vans prepare an exact amount of waffle batter for that day and they cook these to order. Some places prepare the waffles where they reheat these to order and in my opinion you can’t beat a fresh waffle. You have to get in quick though because once the vans sell out, they’re out! In Bruges, I found the mobile waffle van in front of city hall. I order my waffle with Belgian chocolate and strawberries. All waffles come with a Belgium flag. Cute! One bite and I am in love. I am going to have a waffle everyday. That’s a total of 4 days and 4 waffles. Yeah!
I discovered during my time that there are actually two types of waffles you can find in Belgium and not just the one. There’s the Liege waffle and the Belgian/Brussels waffle both with their own distinctive characteristics.
Liege waffle with Nutella
Swine & Co. is brought to you by the Urban Purveyor Group. The master minds better known for Saké Restaurant & Bar, Ananas Bar & Brasserie, The Cut Bar & Grill, The Argyle, The Lowenbrau and Bavarian Bier Café.
The name Swine & Co really provides the basis and inpsiration behind the menu. Expect to see pork, pork and more pork. A glorified Mr Crackles, the menu is full of gusto, serving up crispy pig’s tail ($19), black pudding ($22) & lamb brains ($15). There’s more pork to be had with their mains of pork belly ($34) or suckling pig ($40) with a promise of that quintessential crackling. You can even eyeball that beautiful little piggy spit roasting away before you decide to take it or leave it. Even though, it should be mandatory. For lunch time only, they have a deli menu serving up more deliciousness with pork belly rolls ($12), reubens ($14) & a sinful concoction of prosciutto, provolone jaffles with truffle butter ($11).
But today. I fully intend to get porked.
Black pudding with Hervey Bay scallops, foie gras, lime caviar and a quinoa crisp ($22)
I love pasta and pesto. As a combination of the two or in two separate counterparts. I love it.
Ever since I have discovered a delicious way of enjoying pasta without the calories and carbs, aka zucchini pasta. I have been on the hunt for a delicious basil pesto recipe to go with it, that doesn’t sacrifice on flavour and is low in calories. A perfect 5:2 diet recipe!
I am happy to report, that I have finally found the one! Courtesy of Weight Watchers I’ve adapted their recipe. I skip the toasting of the pine nuts completely and just blitz all the ingredients.
I’ve started on the 5:2 diet and I have been sharing on my instagram @foodpornnation what I eat on feast days and 5:2 diet recipes on my fast days. Essentially you consume a quarter of your calorie intake to receive the benefits of fasting rather than actually having to fast (no eating). On the upside, you get to have your cake and eat it too!
Scientific trials of intermittent fasting showed that the benefits include lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, alzheimer’s/dementia & what we all love to hear, WEIGHT LOSS!
For ladies, this means consuming 500 calories and for gents 600 calories for two non-consecutive days. On other days, there is no calorie restrictions. You can eat your ice cream, burgers and cheese and enjoy all these health benefits as long as you do not overindulge too much, which is ideal for a foodie like me. It sounds a little crazy but when you watch the documentary, Eat, Fast and Live Longer you will be pleasantly surprised – click here to watch. Dr Michael Moseley and Mimi Spencer, subsequently released The Fast Diet Book, which is also very compelling. It will change your life as it has changed mine. This is something I will adopt for the rest of my life, this I am certain of.
500 calories probably sounds a little steep, but I have found if you are smart and spend your calories wisely, it is very achievable. So far, I am really enjoying the challenge of coming up with recipes that are delicious and fit in with my fast days. All of which I will begin sharing with you.
Pictured from left to right – Zucchini Lasagne – recipe here (185 calories) & Zucchini Pesto Pasta – recipe to come (165 calories).
After a number of requests on my instagram account, I thought it was time I share my zucchini lasagne recipe with you! This has past the boy test, who is my biggest critic and also happens to hate zucchini. He loves it, I love it and I know you will love it too. What I love about this recipe is that it tastes exactly like a lasagne. I don’t feel like I am missing out. It is packed full of vegetables and nutrition, coming in with a total of 7 vegetables. The zucchini sheets taste and feel exactly like pasta. I can promise that you will not even notice the difference between zucchini lasagne sheets and proper pasta lasagne sheets. The béchamel sauce has been replaced with low fat ricotta and parmesan on top. Otherwise, you can make a cauliflower béchamel based sauce as a healthy alternative and layer that on top.
Check out – Teresa Cutter’s (The Healthy Chef) White Sauce, 10 ways
This zucchini lasagne is low calorie, low carb, gluten free and absolutely guilt free. Each slice is 185 calories. Perfect for 5:2 diet followers. Unless you would prefer a large slice, this still comes in at 250 calories. So women can have 2 large slices for lunch and dinner and there is your fast day done! Just divide the lasagne into 6 portions instead of the suggested 8. I threw in some eggplant as an experiment to increase my vegetable intake. The result was an even richer and meatier meat filling. It is so delicious I will never make it without eggplant again. If you want to go completely vegetarian just replace the meat with more eggplant or any other vegetables.
What you will need:
- Mandolin slicer
- Kitchen towel/paper towel
- Oven dish
Ormeggio at The Spit is located at D’Albora Marinas and enjoys stunning views of Middle Harbour and Pearl Bay. The restaurant is headed up by Executive Chef Alex Pavoni and serves up Italian food in a traditional way but with a contemporary twist. In the last two years, Ormeggio has claimed 2 hats by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide in 2013 & 2014, and has been awarded the hatted honour since 2009.
From 6pm every Sunday, Ormeggio at the Spit hosts a Stressless Sunday Dinners where you can enjoy a 6 course degustation menu for $69 per person. The 6 menu items are taken from their al la carte menu and can change week in and week out. Thank you Chris, MAB vs Food blog for putting me on to it.
To start, the biodynamic veal tonnato (veal tartare) sets the scene with its magnificence and it is literally quite mind blowing. The veal pieces arrive with dried capers and dried anchovies. Something I have not had before giving it a brilliant crisp wafer crunch and saltiness to the velvety veal. The tuna mayo was deliciously intense and creamy with the shaved bottarga giving it a delectable oceanic touch.
Since publishing this post, Stokehouse have announced 11 March 2014, that they have pulled out of the Bennelong project and will not occupy the Sydney Opera House site.
Guillaume at Bennelong sadly closed its doors to the public on the 31st December 2013, after making the controversial decision not to renew the tender with the Sydney Opera House. The announcement of this news was almost as heartbreaking as the thought that the venue would be turned into a bistro style restaurant and cafe. To the disappointment of onlookers, it was widely known that the Sydney Opera House insisted on creating a venue that was more accessible to the public. However, all is not lost. Guillaume Brahimi is currently renovating his new restaurant in Paddington, for a late April to early May opening. It will be named Guillaume, taking over the Darcy’s restaurant site and is said to be a more relaxed dining experience than its Bennelong self.
It will be interesting to see the Stokehouse by Bennelong, with the Van Haandel Group securing a 10 year lease. Opening day is set for May 2014, where the venue will see a two tier site with casual dining on the upper level and a more sophisticated two hat dining experience on the ground level.
I wanted to visit Guillaume at Bennelong one last time before it was all over. You can read about my first visit here. Today, we sat down to 4 courses for $150.
My burger blitz continues at Rockwell and Sons. Rockwell and Sons is located on Smith st, Collingwood, about 500m from the very first Huxtaburger in Melbourne. It breathes an industrial small bar feel where Manu Potoi (ex-Attica), and Casey Wall (ex-Cutler and Co) take on a menu that is a cross between American dude food and French cuisine. The menu is organised into share plates, sandwiches and sides where you can get your paws on a generous serving of crispy duck confit wings ($12). Or perhaps you can have the chicken liver parfait ($14), or the smoked lamb ribs with Kentucky BBQ sauce. It isn’t American food without the obligatory fried chicken (in this case sandwich $12) and mac n cheese ($8), of course! Nothing is priced over $14, which is great when you consider the pedigree behind the counter.