La Bella Italia- Petone Wins Again.

Last night I went out for a meal with a friend. Normally we go to a place where the Mr wouldn’t eat and decided to throw a bit of variety in and head out for Italian. We both like to use the Entertainment Book voucher and that did help with making the decision to go to La Bella Italia.

We met for a sneaky pre-dinner pint at Sprig and Fern. I enjoyed a limited addition red IPA. As it was a Friday night it was bustling and a great atmosphere. After our pint and chat, we walked to the industrial area where La Bella Italia is based. We had booked and on arrival, I was happy we did as it was busy.

My dining partner and I often order exactly the same and have very similar tastes. This time we realised we were both conflicted between two choices. We took the logical route and ordered one of each and shared. Both dishes were delicious and sharing was a fantastic idea.

The dishes we shared were-

Cannelloni di Crespelle -Crepes filled with spinach, ricotta and pecorino cheese with sage butter.

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They were good and very tasty. Rather than the cannelloni tubes, they were actual delicious crepes. We both really enjoyed these. I would have this dish again and eat it all. The balance was perfect.

Margherita- Fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes – san marzano

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We attacked the pizza before I got a good photo. This pizza was excellent, I think it would be my favourite in Wellington. It reminded me of the pizza I get in my hometown (Brighton) where there is a big Italian community. The base tasted of being cooked in an authentic way, the cheese was stringy and there was a good splash of a decent olive oil. I would go back for pizza.

For dessert, we didn’t share. That is not something either of us would do! I choose the Bombolone. I did enjoy them but I can’t say they left me amazed, they were just good. My dining companion had the Attaccadito and found it a little dry. On the way out I noticed an orange and almond cake in the cabinet and next time I will inquire about that.

We did have a lovely meal and a lovely time. It is a great place for people watching as there is no place to hide and it is well lit. I look forward to going back one day.

Bombolone -A warm cinnamon donut with vanilla gelato

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Two Ingredients Bolognese -Convenimince.

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On Sunday I went to The Wellington Food Show, it was entertaining but there was rather a lot of wine for a food show and me and wine are not friends any more. The best parts were watching chefs in the theatre, having a wonderful lunch from the Origin Gourmet Food Truck  and buying beef from Green Meadows Beef.

Green Meadows are excellent on the social media front and  great to follow on Twitter and you can find them here. I found out about their new product Convenimince through Twitter and I was curious about  the ‘Grass-fed beef mince blended with sautéed onion, red capsicum, garlic & a hint of magic.’ As I bought a 4 choice deal pack at the show I brought a packet home with me.

I have been pondering over what to do with it and after over complicating things I talked myself round to keeping it simple, really simple. I chose to do a two ingredient bolognese and it was very good. I had to fight the urge to cut up and onion or clove or garlic. I felt proud of my achievement as I love to add things. I am pleased I managed it.

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Dinner was delicious and it made a brilliant midweek staple dinner easy. We will certainly be buying Convenimince regularly as the taste was excellent and flavourful .It would make great patties, meatballs and kofta.

All I did tonight was –

Brown the Convenimince in a little olive oil.

Added the tinned tomatoes, I used Wattie’s Crushed and Sieved.

Cook with lid off for 10-15 minutes until liquid has reduced.

Cook for a further 10 minutes with lid on,  stir occasionally.

Serve with pasta of your choice.

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Cumin Potatoes with The Lucky Sod’s Little Diggers.

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We love these spuds and the name of the company. I find that when I pick up a bag of Lucky Sod’s I know I am getting quality potatoes.

Summer in New Zealand means little potatoes and invites to barbecues that ask you to bring a plate. For those not in NZ, it doesn’t mean you have to take a plate but to bring some food with you to be shared with all. Potatoes are often over looked and I have the perfect recipe for you to impress the host. These cumin potatoes are excellent for dinner too, we had them tonight with stir fried vegetables and a sausage.

With the recipe you can crisp the spuds up two ways. Either carry on cooking them in the fry pan and keep flipping or pop them in the oven in a roasting pan. I have used a disposable baking tray to take them to barbecues  and they have vanished quickly. They are best kept at room temperature.

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Cumin Potatoes- Muffinmum.com

  • Servings: this recipe 2-3 people
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This recipe can be increased easily and they work just as well. Make sure your pans are big enough to have a single layer of potatoes.

Ingredients

500g potatoes (I use Lucky Sod Little Diggers)

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp cardamom

Salt and pepper to season

Oil for frying

Method

Cut potatoes so they are all even sized

Boil potatoes in salted water until a knife can be interested

Drain

In a large fry pan heat enough oil to just cover the base

Add the cumin seeds and brown

When they are brown add the potatoes

Stir the potatoes so they are covered in seeds

Cook for 2-3 minutes and keep stirring and

Add remaining spices, salt and pepper

Give everything a very good stir so all are covered and yellow

You can either keep cooking in the fry pan and stir regularly until brown and crispy

or

Place in a roasting tin and pop into the hot oven at around 180℃ and roast for 40-45 minutes stirring occasionally until nice and crispy.

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Dinners this week-a run down to help keep me sane and reduce waste .

My recipe folder-going back to 1997.

My recipe folder-going back to 1997.

I always plan our dinner before we go shopping, I am not the kind to stick to the list completely and will swap things in and out depending on what be on sale for the week. I also look for things that can be used over several dinner, like a family bag of salad. Recently on the New Zealand’s own Campbell Live Show there was a segment on food waste and it got me thinking about how good we have got at not throwing food away.

Back in the day, when we were young and childfree, we were terrible. When I think about the things we threw away I want to hang my head in shame. Not saving the half of the Indian takeaway for the next day was one of our worst moves. All that wasted curry and rice. Bad, or what?

So, how did we get better? We started to use the freezer more, planned dinners and shopped weekly. We also stopped doing one thing, buying all the things. There now has to be a reason to buy something. It isn’t about money saving, it is about use. With eating out, we started going out at lunch time and having a full meal. On the rare occasion we do get a take away we either share one dish or save it for the next day.

If you want to read a few more ideas have a look on the Facebook page- Love Food Hate Waste.

This weeks meal plan-

Monday-Steak with polenta chips

Tuesday- Slow cooker BBQ chicken in taco’s

Wednesday- Broccoli pesto pasta- didn’t happen, we had Tomato sauce and 5 minute bread instead.

Thursday- Beef mince chilli ( Miss Muffin will have a toned down version)

That is far as I have gone this week, I am out on Friday so I am pretty sure the other two will have bacon!