Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

zucchini pesto pasta

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.

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fpn - lasagne

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.

zuchinni pasta sheets - fpn What you will need:

  • Mandolin slicer
  • Kitchen towel/paper towel
  • Oven dish

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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.

collage - fpn

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.

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collage - fpn

For a wood fired pizza that is absolutely delicioso, head to Fratelli’s Wood Fired Pizza in Cremorne. The Pizza is as it should. It’s simply, tasty and all topped on a delicious pizza base, that’s thin, crusty with a bit of chew. There are even lovely little air pockets, creating more flavour and texture, with its lovely burnt rounded edges flaking away with each bite. The setting is a mix of dine in and take away where you get the “it’s your local” feel, making the service really homey and friendly.

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Uccello is tucked away on Level 4 of the Ivy and overlooks the Ivy Pool, which I find weird as I have never really seen this with my very own eyes in broad daylight. Think Pacha. It’s a great spot if you are wanting to make the most of the great sunny weather and make use of a city slicking roof top pool. You can eat, eat, eat and let it all hang out. Minus the itsy bitsy teeny weeny.

Headed up by David Lovett, the menu promises an authentic Italian experience, with a less is more approach. It focusing on good quality produce and it shows. The seafood is incredibly fresh, the pasta is hand-made and flavours are subtle yet tasty enough to make each and every dish truly sing.

The highlight of meal, apart from eating all this gorgeous food was seeing Karl Stefanovic in the flesh. I have a massive man crush on him! You really have to love a man that can make you LOL in the morning when you have your cranky pants on and panda eyes are in full swing!

collage - fpn

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The Bather’s Pavilion is separated into a restaurant and cafe, owned and operated by Serge Dansereau. There is also a kiosk to cater to those passing on by looking for a quick bite. (The kiosk is also very good). You can’t book at the cafe. Simply turn up and grab a seat.

The cafe does a great breakfast and an even better lunch. I would know, I am permanently stationed there for breakfast. The best pancakes in the world are being served right here. Fluffy and thick. Baked chorizo eggs and eggs benedict are bang on the money too. The venue also promises stunning views of Balmoral Beach. So gorgeous, you’ll be swept away and misplace yourself at a beach holiday resort. Amen.

fpn collage (more…)

I’m a regular here and this is easily one of my favourite lunch spots around work. Every time I walk in I’m greeted with a, “Ciao bella” and if I’m lucky enough I will get a kiss on the cheek, breathing an Italian charm into the place. Even if I’m walking along the street and they spot me, it is still ciao bella time.

Serving up outstanding dishes with quality ingredients, everything is reasonable priced and well-portioned. I would go so much as to say that they serve the best Italian in the CBD. It is best to book or come in just at 12 to beat the lunch rush. Otherwise, get your food to go and they’ll knock off a couple of dollars. Somewhere between the $2-$4 dollar mark.

The lunch menu is organised by antipasto, panini, salads and pastas, where you can order your choice of pasta and sauce. The menu is waited on by super charged energizer bunny staff who hop, skin and leap around you efficiently. Their full-of-life personalities are so infectious that it can’t help but always seem to brighten up my day.

linguine boscaiola

More often than not, I will order the linguine boscaiola ($16.50). It is the ultimate, served with pancetta, mushrooms, caramelised onions in a cream sauce. The use of pancetta and caramelised onion add another dimension to this favourite. The pancetta creates a lovely smokiness and chewiness while the caramelised onions carries a sweetness into this savoury dish.

The side of parmesan is served in a generous bowl, so you can sprinkle as much or as little as you like. Most places tend to serve you pittance and I think this tiny detail makes such a difference to the experience and taste of your meal, especially when the parmesan is of such a high quality.

Garlic bread ($5.50) is beautifully fragrant and crusty, it is the perfect contraption for dipping, especially into somebody else’s plate!

linguine w peas

Linguine with peas, pancetta, garlic, chilli & truss tomatoes ($16.50) is not for the faint hearted. It packs a bit of a kick and is full of flavour with the chilli and garlic. Again, the sauce takes on a delicious smokiness with the use of pancetta. This is so stunning, it’s hard to think I am on my lunch break. Shouldn’t I be at a food court somewhere?

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osso bucco

I’ve never had osso bucco before. So, with a shiny new pressure cooker, I decided to give it a whirl and I was amazed at the results.

Now… I’m in love with my pressure cooker and with this recipe! Just perfect for the colder months.

The result is fork tender melt in your mouth meat served with a beautifully rich and flavoursome sauce.The best bit is all in that marrow – sucking out that rich gooey goodness. Delish.

If that’s too sickly for you, each mouthful will still bring warmth and comfort in every bite. This meal will not disappoint, I guarantee it. osso bucco collage - fpn

 

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In the heart of the CBD, we find ourselves tucked away in one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney – Pendolino.

Awarded a “One Hat’ out of a possible Three Hats from the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, I am always shell shocked as to why Pendolino is only given the one.

Being the veteran that I am, I became quite vocal of what we should order. I go in and advocate that we must try the beef carpaccio and the hand made ravioli with burnt butter sage sauce.

beef carpaccio

The first thing that immediately impresses upon you is the beautiful scent of truffles when the beef carpaccio is placed in front you. To taste every single morsel of flesh is phenomenal with its melt in your mouth texture. It is so tender it doesn’t even require so much as a chew, only a gentle slip into your mouth. The aromatic notes of the truffle, the saltiness of the testun barola cheese and soft crunch of the rocket cress deliver a delicious and sensory overload.

four cheese ravioli

This is a dish I simply can not do without. The hand made ravioli is expertly tended to and made to perfection. Resulting in the perfect thinness of pasta that is tightly wrapped around a delicious filling of spinach, parmigiano reggiano, gruyere, buffalo mozzarella.

The filling is beautifully plump and strikes the perfect balance between the mixture of cheese and the burnt butter and sage sauce. And the experience of the buttered sage leaves disintegrating along the roof of your tongue feels incredible.

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It’s been a year since my last visit and admittedly I was a bit hesitant.

I was brought back by another birthday girl and couldn’t bear to say no. We stopped for a quickie and mysteriously got in during the lunch hour.

Woo… and no lines too!

bread and olive basket

bread basket – complimentary
fat green olives on ice $6.00
Large green olives, black olive tapenade & crispy “music bread”

We were given a complimentary bread  basket while we grazed over the menu. I found that the bread this time round was a vast improvement since my last visit. Crusty and fragrant with a dash of olive oil and herbs.

The green olives were plump and delicious with the olive tapenade positively moorish.

prosciutto, pear and pecorino

It is said that the prosciutto has been hand picked by Jamie Oliver himself all the way in northern Italy. Levoni is rumoured to be dedicated to breeding and cultivating livestock of the highest grade up until its slaughter. With that kind of value proposition I couldn’t very well pass it up, now could I?

The prosciutto came salty, supple and gloriously pink. It’s delicious… yes. But it isn’t the best I have ever had but still… Jamie’s is tasty enough.

The salad was similarly tasty but we were disappointed to be only given 3 slices of pear.

spaghetti bolognese

spaghetti bolognese $12.50
entree size

The spaghetti bolognese was fairly tasty with the pasta al dente and the bolognese rich and meaty. It just had that distinctive tinned tomato aftertaste that made me smack my lips together in question and ask, “Is that aluminimum I taste?”

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