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we love wine, we love food and we love sharing


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Trogir – Croatia – would not recommend a visit

For the last leg of our holiday we traveled to Trogir which is a short coach ride away from Split. We would not recommend that you visit the area if you have spent time in Split because Trogir is a smaller, less impressive and touristy version of the former.

We visited the number one restaurant according to TripAdvisor at the time Don Dino and were hugely disappointed by the set lunch. Although we ordered two different pasta dishes the sauces were the same, the gnocchi was hard and the feta salad should have just been called a feta plate and was really salty. It did not really hit the spot.

Luckily we stayed in a really lovely apartment Ulica Matije Gupca 25 which had a lovely outdoor courtyard. We made use of this for a few of our meals enjoying a takeaway pizza from Riva one night and a large picnic from Konzum (the local supermarker) on another.

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Although the majority of the restaurants and cafes felt incredibly busy and bit ‘samey’ Café Bar Dovani is worth a visit for its ice cream Sundaes, one of which looks like Spag Bol!


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Review: Wild Mushroom Tortelloni – The Fresh Pasta Company

We were given a free pack of Wild Mushroom Tortelloni courtesy of The Fresh Pasta Company to try out. It came in nicely designed packaging and looked very appetising, so we really hoped that it would taste as good as it appeared. We were not disappointed!

Wild Mushroom Tortelloni

The pack suggested that you served the pasta with some butter. I decided to create a basic sauce to accompany the pasta made from some Italian staples (see recipe below).

As it is fresh pasta, it cooked within 4 – 5 minutes. There were 4 – 5 ravioli per person, which I initially thought was a rather small portion, but I was surprised by how filling the pasta was. I am glad that we stuck to a simple sauce, as the quality of the pasta really shone through. A heavy tomato-based sauce would have detracted from the subtlety of the mushroom filling. If we had one comment, it would be that the mushroom filling, although ample, could have had more of an intense mushroom middle – but that is because we love strong flavours. We would be more than happy to pay for a box of pasta from The Fresh Pasta Company http://www.thefreshpastacompany.co.uk – it puts other pre-packaged Tortelloni to shame!

Wild Mushroom Tortelloni2

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 pack of fresh basil leaves (25g)
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • A handful on pine nuts (30g)
  • 30g grated Parmesan

Serves 2

Instructions for sauce:

  1. Melt the butter over a medium heat in a frying pan
  2. Add the basil leaves and cook until lightly fried
  3. Add the ground nutmeg and the pine nuts
  4. Cook the ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water until just cooked through (4 mins) and drain
  5. Add the ravioli to the sauce and mix well
  6. Add grated Parmesan to taste and serve

 


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Spagetti con le cozze (Spagetti and mussels)

Today we are in a seafood frenzy! The weather may be cooling down (sniff) but we are determined to continue to eat fresh, light, summery foods that remind us of our summer holidays! “Oh I do like to be beside the seaaaaside” and on that musical note, here is what we had on the menu today.

Our aperitivo was the cocktail of the month – Spritz accompanied by le tartine. Today’s selection included sliced rustic baguette topped with salmon, lemon and parslay, a soft cheese and chive spread and warm smoked mackerel with tarter sauce. Our main was Spagetti con le cozze. You can get mussels from most large supermarkets. We need to be honest, they are farmed and have never frequented the seaside (a small amount of imagine can ignore that) but they are usually fresh and very tasty.  To complete the meal we had a fresh fruit salad. YUM.

Spagetti and mussels

Here is how we made the main course:

Ingredients:

  • A net of mussels
  • Half a glass of white wine
  • 220g spagetti (for a big man and a normal girl!)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ dry chilli
  • 1 ripe tomato medium
  • 3 tblspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Parsley and basil
  • Black pepper, white pepper and salt

 Directions:

  1. Rinse and clean the mussels well and then drain properly
  2. Place a pot on a hot hob and add the mussels and the white wine (no oil)
  3. Cook for 3-4 mins until they open – if any do not open throw them away
  4. Remove from the heat as shell 90 % of the mussels saving the rest for decoration – also save some of the cooking juice in a cup
  5. Using the same pot bring salted water to the boil and cook the spagetti (3 minutes less than the suggested time)
  6. Get a pan on a medium heat with oil and fry the garlic and chilli for 3 minutes so that they start to release the flavor without the garlic turning brown
  7. Add all the mussels and fry over a high heat for a minute
  8. Add finely chopped tomato
  9. Season with salt and black pepper
  10. Add some of the saved cooking juice to create a nice sauce (use judgment of how much)
  11. Cook for 3 mins
  12. Remove from the heat
  13. When the pasta is ready drain well
  14. Put sauce back on hob and mix in the pasta
  15. Add white pepper, parsley and basil and fry for one minute
  16. Serve straight away!

Enjoy

S&H 


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A meal to remember: New Years Eve 2012

Never ones to shy away from a challenge, this New Years Eve S&H provided part of the catering for the New Years Eve party that we had been invited to. Collating our thoughts and ourselves together at 11am we gazed over the menu and the mission that lay ahead of us. The brief “an Italian / English fusion” (so we all stuck to what we know best). The aperitivo, starter and dessert were to be supplied by our party host whilst we took on the task of the Primi and Secondi courses for 10 guests (including the hosts mother-in-law – yipes!)

BeefWellington

Armed with a raviolo cutter and as defiant as a warrior going to war, Marco began hand making 150 ravioli. This was no mean feat. After creating his pasta dough and mixing 2 kilos of very fresh ricotta that had been bought in Naples the day before (we will explain about cheese transportation in another blog) with mint, the process of carefully filling, folding and cutting the raviolo began. A back breaking 4 hours later we had several trays of perfectly made pasta treats hiding in the corners of most of the rooms!

Alongside him James created a fresh mushroom duxelle that was to be one of the layers for two epic Beef Wellingtons (some of which slipped into a few of the ravioli for us to try – we are going to start a ravioli company where you can choose your fillings because mushroom and ricotta is amazing, but I digress). Earlier in the morning he had been to visit the local butcher and had purchased two incredibly succulent beef fillets which he part cooked for 20 mins and allowed to cool. He covered each of them in a layer of mushroom, wrapped them in Parma ham and chilled them in the fridge so that they were firm enough to handle. He then egg washed and wrapped both in a layer of puff pastry. These were then placed back in the fridge, ready to be cooked later. He then created yet another show stopping chicken and lamb ragu tomato sauce for the ravioli.

We tarted ourselves up, loaded the food and went to the party! On arrival we enjoyed some bruschette and Spritz. We then got down to business, cooking and eating and enjoyed the following menu:

  • Apreitivo: Bruschette, anchovies and squid in Ink
  • Starter: Scallops on mint pea pure with bacon
  • Primi: Raviolli in a tomato sauce
  • Secondi: Beef Wellington served with grilled confit potato and peas
  • Dolce: Tiramisu

The next day we polished off the left over Ravioli (eyes bigger than our stomachs, again) with the ragu that had developed some serious flavors overnight and was even more spectacular the second time around.

Happy New Year everyone. The Sober and Hungry team are very much looking forward to all the food we are going to cook, share and eat this year!

S&H


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Keeping Traditions Alive: Making Cavatelli Pasta with Nonna

One of the best things about being in the S&H team is that two of our members are proper Italians, with proper Italian parents, in a proper Italian village with an amazing Italian Nonna who has been making pasta from scratch all her life! I have been lucky enough to sit with Nonna Olimpia and learn the art of making Cavatelli Pasta and fair play to Nonna; this pasta is labor intensive and time consuming work… here is how it is done…

How to Make Cavatelli

  1. Take your ball of dough and divide it into quarters
  2. Lay the dough out on a lightly floured wooden surface and divide again
  3. Take a piece of the dough and roll it into a long and thin tube
  4. Divide the tube into pieces 1 inch long with a knife…and now – here is the fun part!
  5. Firmly press your three middle fingers onto the piece and pull back. You find that the motion causes the dough to curl up into hollow shape with wobbly edges from your little finger tips!
  6. After rolling each Cavatelli toss onto a lightly floured tray and begin again!

Don’t be put off if the first few don’t work – experiment with different amounts of pressure and keep at it!

The S&H Team want to make sure that these old traditions like making Cavatelli do not become a memory of the past. So go on – give it a go!

 Cavatelli Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Warm water
  • 1 Pinch of Salt
  • 4 Cups of 00 type Flour

Instructions

  1. Pour the cups of the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle.
  2. Using a circular motion, slowly incorporate the flour into the water. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Knead the dough together until a soft, but not sticky dough is formed.  It can depend on the day, but if the dough still remains sticky add more flour.

Cooking from fresh

They only take a few minutes to cook in a pot of salted water on a rapid boil and once your little beauts are ready they float to the top!

S&H