Tag Archives: Italian

Vegetarian Lasagne

lasagne_1

Meat Free Week is upon us! I’ve been on a bit of a flexitarian kick (I’m so GQ) recently–that is, eating vegetarian the majority of the time. Less meat and far healthier food for a few weeks and I’ve really noticed a difference, particularly in my complexion and the feel of my skin. I know alot of -arian things can be trendy, as can various changes in diet, but I think it’s best to eat what works for you Continue reading

Simple Polenta & Eggs

Since there is nothing better than no fuss food…

Simple Polenta with Eggs
Packeted, uncooked polenta, according to serving instruction
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Eggs (preferably organic and/or free-range)
Garlic cloves
A few handfuls of baby spinach leaves
Olive oil
Butter
White vinegar

Cook polenta according to packet instructions, mixing in plenty of parmesan and butter (or olive oil, for a more health-conscious weekday meal). Meanwhile, soft poach the eggs in boiling water with a tablespoon or two of white vinegar. Slice garlic into fine slivers and saute in a frypan with a little olive oil until almost coloured golden, then add a few handfuls of spinach leaves. Wilt the spinach and allow the garlic to finish colouring before removing from the heat. When all is done, scoop your desired serve of polenta into a warmed dish and gently place a poached egg on top. Serve with the wilted, garlicky spinach, and season all with plenty of sea salt flakes (trust me, they’re better and worth the investment), fresh cracked pepper and parmesan cheese.

Recipe is inspired by Jamie Oliver’s “Polenta with Eggs” in Jamie Magazine, The Italian Issue, 2012.

Jamie’s Italian, Sydney

Jamie Oliver’s new joint should be a destination on the list of anyone in Sydney who likes and/or eats food.  I was pretty chuffed to discover that this little restaurant was opening earlier this year, and was pining for a good opportunity in my schedule to go.  Although I debated making the trip for my birthday, a sooner occasion came along when The Malaysian, Graceward & I trekked out to Surry Hills & the CBD for some fun on one of those sunny days we’ve managed to get this spring…

It didn’t take long to decide Jamie’s would be dinner.

Crunchy Salad, Crispy Squid with Garlicky Mayo

I had read two or three horror stories about trying to get in to Jamie’s Italian (no bookings for less than 6 people), so we tried to arrive ‘early.’  We got there around 5:30pm, were given a buzzer and told it would be around 45 minutes.  With a 150 metre radius for the buzzer, the host told us we were welcome to have drinks in the (crowded) Jamie’s bar, or go somewhere else for drinks and come back.

In all I don’t think we waited more than 20 minutes before our buzzer went alight and vibrating and we headed back to the restaurant, thankful we had picked a bench to wait on rather than sculling drinks upon our unexpectedly early paging!

Jamie’s Italian is very reasonably priced (I was actually shocked when I saw the menu online), nicely decorated and has a trendy vibe.  The table waiters were extremely prompt and friendly (we were served by a guy named Jamie!) — happy to explain and making sure our water was always topped up.

I started my night out with a frizzante (sparkling wine) and the waiter offered us a selection of Brasserie bread and olive oil on the house (though, apparently in most cases you need to ask for this.  Remember to do so because the bread is fantastic.)  Following that we ordered some Crispy Squid with garlicky mayonnaise ($12) as antipasti.  The squid was perfectly crisp and the mayo made it completely moreish.

For mains we ordered the Spaghetti Bolognese ($12 half /$19 large), Crab & Squid Ink Risotto ($15.5 half /$26.5 large), and Monachelle Puttanesca ($12 half /$17.5 large).  (Mains not pictured due to lighting at our table.)
My favorite was the Puttanesca — “Seashell pasta with a tomato sauce, capers, chilli, anchovies, parsley, black olives & herby breadcrumbs.”  The herby breadcrumbs which adorned each serve added an amazing crunch to the pasta dishes, really setting them apart from other italian restaurants I had eaten in.

We also ordered the Humble Green Salad ($6) and Crunchy Salad ($5.5) to share.  The Humble Salad, a salad of cos (romaine), mint leaves, buttermilk and parmesan, is delicious, and I’ve already replicated it at home.  The crunchy salad, a salad of shaved root vegetables, was great as well but better suited to pair with a meat dish.

Panna Cotta, Brasserie Bread, The Ultimate Chocolate Brownie

Now, I’ve read several blog posts on Jamie’s, and few people seem to be mentioning the desserts.  Let me tell you: even if you have eaten elsewhere and all you have room for at Jamie’s is dessert…GO!  We ordered The Ultimate Brownie ($8.5) and the Creamy Panna Cotta ($8.5).  First of all…where else in Sydney can you get good dessert for $8.5?  The brownie was gigantic, gooey on the inside, and is made of chocolate, raspberries and amaretto!  The Panna Cotta was so perfectly sweet and flecked with vanilla seeds.  Totally the best Panna Cotta I have had.

Jamie’s Italian
107 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW
(02) 8240 9000
www.jamiesitalian.com.au  

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Favourite 15 Minute Dish…Crushed Cherry Tomato Pasta

After stumbling upon this recipe on the beautiful Donna Hay’s website it has become almost a weekly staple for my friend “Bing Bong” aka The Malaysian and me.  And also since finding it, variations of this recipe have been popping up in every magazine and website imaginable.  It’s so classic you could call it stylish.  It’s so simple you will be eating in less than 20 minutes.  It’s so cheap you’ll think you’re a college student.

This dish is perfect at any time of year and can be manipulated and augmented to suit different tastes or cravings.  Add some bacon (my favourite thing to do!), add some onions, serve it warm, serve it cold.  Splash in some dry sherry to flambeau the tomatoes.  Endless possibilities, yet so humble I’m almost ashamed to write about it.  Not.

Crushed Cherry Tomato Pasta
a manipulated recipe from donnahay.com

Elements:
200g spaghetti (preferably organic.  You WILL taste the difference, trust me.)
500g cherry tomatoes (can substitute grape tomatoes.  Choose what looks fresher at the market.)
50g butter
3 cloves (yes, three) garlic, crushed with a fork
3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, also reserve and chop stalks
Shaved parmesan to serve
Sea Salt and black pepper

Method:
Cook spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes til al dente.
Drain the pasta and return to the saucepan to keep warm.  If needed, add a lug of olive oil to keep the spaghetti from sticking into a great glob.

While pasta is cooking, chop and prepare remaining ingredients:  halve the tomatoes, chop parsley, measure vinegar, crush garlic.  (You will want to be prepared as cooking goes very quick once the pasta is done.)  Put your plates or bowls in the oven on it’s lowest setting to warm them.

When the pasta is done cooking, put a wok or large frying pan on medium heat.  Add the butter to the pan and cook til melted.  Add the garlic and parsley stalks and cook for about 1 minute.  Now add red wine vinegar, tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Using the back of a fork, gently crush about half the tomatoes.  Tip the pasta and parsley into the wok/frying pan and toss together.  Season to taste if needed.  Dish out onto the warmed bowls or plates and serve with shaved parmesan.