Thursday, 23 January 2014

Super Luigi

The problem with being gluttons, and the problem with being lazy is that you don’t want to stop and eat at just any old place. It has to look fantastic, smell fantastic, there should be lots of people sitting outside (also looking fantastic) and of course the menu has to appeal. I lost track of the number of times we sat at a table, looked at the menu and got up again. Somedays I was the one suggesting we get up, the other days I refused to move.

We had walked past a little square filled with gravel and lined with hedges a few times and it looked like the kind of place I’d love to spend an afternoon at. Hunger and thirst got the better of us, and we ended up at Trattoria da Luigi on Piazza Sforza Cesarini, for one of the best meals we had in Rome.


Super appealing
nestled in the square
Of course we would like to sit outside, under white umbrellas and sip cool wine! (White for me, Red wine for F). Wine, shade and a place with free wifi meant that we didn’t really speak for the first fifteen minutes of our meal. Which is ok in the new world, there’s always whatsapp to annoy the person sitting across you.

Hello
We decided that the restaurant was wonderfully inviting, as was the staff and we could take our time over lunch. Tea really, because it was 5pm. We ordered a portion of Mixed Bruschette with Olive, carciofi (artichokes) and pomodoro (tomatoes) to start with. Because we come from India we expect teeny tiny portions of starters and compensate by ordering more than we should. Each Bruschette was easily the size of my hand, and slathered in delicious toppings.

mmm

F’s Spaghetti alla Carbonara was silky, spicy and tasted delicious wrapped around a fork. My Spaghetti alle Vongole Veraci (with real clams) was light, and didn’t overpower with the taste of seafood. The clams were fresh and the flavours went together perfectly.

slurrrp

divine
We ended our meal with their home made tiramisù, and would have stayed there much longer than we did had we not felt the call of our beds. I highly recommend Trattoria da Luigi, and would have loved to go back to try more of the menu had we had the time. The only question I asked - where was Mario?? 




Thursday, 2 January 2014

Fasta Pasta

Spending time in Italy has made me want to stay in the kitchen all day, making oodles of noodles.. erm.. pasta. The taste and texture of freshly rolled pasta is leagues ahead of the ready to cook Barilla ones. 

I have a KitchenAid at home, and if you had one, you would know that the main machine is just the beginning. there are accessories for EVERYTHING and as a gadget freak, I just have to have them all! I started small, and bought myself the pasta maker to go with my recent visit to Italy. I have never used it. In fact, my brother has spent more time with my KitchenAid than I have. I'm going to blame this on lack of space in my tiny 4 foot by 6 foot kitchen, and a job where I'm working impossible hours right now. It's ok though, I get to eat what my brother cooks. Thank you Culinary Institute of America! 

We came home one night, expecting to eat delicious sous vide steak and pasta and found flour everywhere. On the counters, on the floor and some suspiciously stuck to the ceiling. Rather than offering to help, I opted to spend the next hour watching TV and snoozing outside until dinner was ready. 

The meal itself was pretty amazing - I couldn't eat much beyond my pasta, and ended up taking all the left overs to work the next day. Herb rolled pasta with a sausage bolognese sauce, or a portobello mushroom sauce, garlic & rosemary oven boiled potatoes, and chicken stuffed with spinach and feta and wrapped in bacon with caramelised onions. 


Getting ready to roll. Lightly tug the sheets

I can't help but instagram
Herbs pressed between 2 sheets

Come out looking amazing

This is how we roll
Individual portions waiting to be boiled
So pretty! 
And the longest yard...
Someone cut off Rapunzel's hair!

Salad with infused oils (spring onion & chilli)

Individual pasta portions
With sausage bolognese

Potatoes!!
Chicken with spinach, feta & bacon
 Now you tell me - is there really room for dessert? 

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Yowtch!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have become vegan. It wasn’t by choice, I’m not enjoying it and I don’t intend to lord it over you just because I’m vegan. It’s been an interesting week – I miss coffee and I find that soymilk is a poor substitute for the real thing. On the plus side, I decided that if I had to struggle with this, I’d spoil myself a little. Hello, pumpkin spiced lattes. 

I’ve got a mini challenge going with Starbucks at the moment – I want to see how many times it takes for them to spell my name correctly. Round 1 took 4 days. Round 2 is a bit shaky, I’m confusing them by not spelling it most days. 

It turned out that it was a friends’ birthday on Saturday night and they had booked a private room in Yauatcha for dinner. Damn this veganism I say! I’d been waiting to eat at Yauatcha for MONTHS, and it just never came together. Today was a night for eating, and one of the advantages of being a food blogger is that everyone lets you order for them. Bring on the food! 

You know when you have 20 people for dinner they’re not going to show up at the same time, so we ordered dim sum in batches. First up the Crispy Prawn Cheung Fun – delicious crispy prawn spring rolls wrapped in Cheung fun noodle and dribbled in sauce. 

Step 1 - place
Step 2 - sigh
Step 3 - pour
Step 4 - observe & then pounce
The Crispy Duck Roll was good, but needed the hoisin sauce that came with it to complete the dish.  I didn’t like the salt and pepper squid; there was too much batter, not enough squid. One bite was enough to keep me away from it. I loved the Fried Turnip Paste - it's a recent discovery, and the one I ate at Yauatcha was crunchy from the outside, fantastically flavoured and soft on the inside. 

Crispy duck roll
Salt & pepper squid
Fried Turnip Paste
I loved the Peking Dumpling – a soft pork dumpling drenched in what I can only compare to hot and sour soup. It comes served in a soup bowl, with a soupspoon. The accompanying sauce was sweet, sour and every so slightly spicy. The Prawn and Chive dumplings also came stuffed with prawny, chivey goodness – this is becoming a hot favourite of mine no matter where I go. 

Peking Dumplings

Prawn & chive

The Prawn & Enoki Mushroom dumpling was soft, plump and delicious. The mushrooms gave a really earthy taste to the prawn stuffing. The Baked Chicken Puffs were ok, nothing to write home about and definitely avoidable with an extensive, delicious menu available to you. I’ve eaten Char Sui Pao in every restaurant in Mumbai and I have to say that Royal China is still head and shoulders above the rest. The bun here was puffy and soft, but didn’t have that pack of flavor I look for. 

Prawn & enoki

Chicken Puffs
char sui pao

The most amazing dumpling I tried was the Edamame and Truffle dumpling – an Edamame paste dribbled with truffle oil, wrapped up like a little bag of gold. Delicious. It takes a bite to get used to the texture, but once you do, you will definitely order more. 

I was too full on Chinese tea and fantastic dumplings to hazard the main course, so unfortunately I have no review for anything that doesn’t come in a bamboo steamer. Because it was 2 people’s birthdays, we ordered 2 cakes for dessert. The Raspberry Delice was a raspberry dark chocolate mousse, with a raspberry jelly and hazelnut brownie accompanied by raspberry ice cream and a Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse, which was a chocolate mousse with hazelnut jelly and honey ice cream. 

tea?
edamame and truffle - aammmaazing
So good they deserve 2 pictures
I ate 3 slices of the raspberry delice – it was well, delicious! There are tiny bubbles of something crunchy in the mousse and make for a delightful surprise every time you pop one. 

Raspberrrrry

I can’t believe it took me so long to go eat at Yauatcha! It’s definitely a meal I’ll repeat, again and again and again. 

Funny fish

Private Dining Room

More fish

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Enchanting Edinburgh

I spent 3 and a half days walking around Edinburgh, happy to be back in the cold once more, and ecstatic to be eating different kinds of food. I've been to Edinburgh 3 times now, and each was the lead up to a trip we made for a wedding. The city comes alive in August during the Fringe Festival, and we spent many hours walking around, trying to catch shows and picking at the different food stalls. Unfortunately for me, I had to upgrade my phone a few weeks later and hadn't backed up my images. These are what I managed to salvage. 



Sashimi bowl


i was awesome

Yes, do...






look at his big toe! 


My favourite meal
Divine