The Nag’s Head Hotel

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Looking for more cheap meals out in Sydney? Well, look no further.

I think it’s pretty great that all these restaurants do specials on certain nights, it’s great for students and it’s a great excuse to go out on a Tuesday or a Wednesday or a Thursday, anytime really.

The Nag’s Head Hotel is another of those nifty places that has different specials every night, so whenever you decide to head over you’ll end up with a tasty $10 meal. Mondays feature gourmet pizzas, Tuesday’s dish is the rump steak, Wednesday is schnitzel day, and Thursday’s got a nice spread of fish and chips. The bar meals are also only $10 for lunch on Monday through Saturday.

And Saturday is Super Saturday! With $3 schooners of local beer from noon to 5pm. Any excuse to day drink as a student is a good excuse in my book.

I’ve only had Monday pizza’s but I’ll definitely be back for more. It’s a cozy little restaurant with booths and benches and sports playing all the time. You can accompany your pizzas with a nice pitcher of crisp Aussie beer and enjoy the company.

I was in some great company and I knew they wouldn’t comment on my garlic breath after eating a whole pizza of garlic prawns so I decided on the Alaskan. Along with the prawns the pizza is topped with onion, roasted capsicum, wild roquette and lemon aioli. Fancy, right?

And delicious.

The prawns were little, but they nestled well into the cheese and veggies and the fresh roquette gave it a nice texture. I really don’t know what makes something Alaskan though. I remember in high school I used to always order the Alaskan roll at the local sushi place, which consisted of salmon and avocado and didn’t give me the sense of being in Alaska either.

The pizza’s aren’t enormous but the toppings make them a bit more hefty. I could only finish half of mine but that meant I was getting two meals out of one and brought it home for dinner the next night. My friends were a bit hungrier though and managed to finish theirs without much trouble.

I also tasted the Neapoli with feta cheese, baby spinach, olives, fresh tomato and basil pesto which was a nice refreshing combination. I am now a big fan of putting feta on my pizza and will be trying out some homemade versions of that soon.

And I tested out the Hot Hungarian. I’ve found that usually when a meal in Australia is labeled ‘hot,’ they’re not kidding. Though it may have also been that the bite I tasted was covered in several jalapenos, yet it was still surprisingly tasty. The jalapenos were accompanied by spicy pepperoni, basil pesto and mushrooms.

(Couldn’t grab a picture before they dug in.)

With five other options for your meal you can test out a new one each week without getting sick of it. Overall it’s a very low key, comforting Monday night out and the pizza’s are usually much more expensive so take advantage of the deal while you can.

The Nag’s Head Hotel
162 St Johns Rd Glebe NSW 2037
Tel: (02) 9660 1591 Fax: (02) 9660 0780
http://www.nagshead.com.au
info@nagshead.com.au

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New York Cheesecake Recipe

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Cheesecake is one of those things that can actually feed your soul. As dumb as that sounds I really believe it is impossible not to feel happier after eating a bite of perfectly creamy, delicious cheesecake.

The other day was one of those days where things seemed to be piling up and weighing down on my shoulders without reason or warning. To cure this and make that stress load feel a little lighter I decided to ditch studying for the day and bake a cheesecake instead. And it was a great idea.

The other day my roommate made a Japanese cheesecake which was a new experience for most of us, it was delicious but it wasn’t the kind of cheesecake I am used to.

It’s never good when eating cheesecake makes you yearn for even more cheesecake. Isn’t it supposed to be a very special treat that you have once every few months and have to savor and dream about until the time comes round again that you can justify eating heaps of sugar and cream cheese and biscuits?

I decided to ditch that common sense and instead declared it Cheesecake Week in Apartment 1834. And I headed off to the supermarket to buy my supplies.

As I’ve said before baking is never the cheapest option for a student but this recipe wasn’t too bad, I also was missing a few necessary tools but I made do with what I had and everything turned out fine.

Recipe from Good Taste, May 2008:

New York Cheesecake

Preparation time: 30-40 minutes

Cooking time: 90 minutes

Ingredients (serves 10, supposedly, we managed to let 9 people get a taste of this so I guess that’s about right. )

1 250 gram packet of plain sweet biscuits ( I used Arnott’s Nice)

125 grams unsalted butter, melted

750 grams of cream cheese, at room temperature (Philadelphia cream cheese is undoubtedly the best kind to use for a cheesecake but since it was pretty expensive I used 500 grams of Philly cream cheese and 250 grams of a store brand lite cream cheese, I figured that as long as the majority was good quality it would be fine and it was)

215 grams (1 cup) caster sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp finely grated lemon rind

2 tablespoons plain flour

4 eggs

1 300ml container of sour cream (again I used a cheap store brand one to save a few bucks)

Instructions:

First of all, make sure all of your ingredients are on the counter on your workspace so that they will be room temperature when you use them.

Preheat oven to 160°C. (I was using a fan forced oven so I lowered it to about 145°C because apparently you’re supposed to do that). Grease the inside of a 23cm springform pan with butter or Pam.

Place the biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. (I don’t actually own a food processor so I just put the biscuits in two ziploc bags and pounded them with a frying pan until they turned into a ‘finely crushed’ powder. The act of destroying the biscuits with a frying pan was also extremely beneficial in making me feel better and more relaxed.)

Add the butter and process (or just stir with a spoon) until well combined. Transfer to the pan. Use a straight-sided glass to spread and press the biscuit mixture firmly over the base and side of the pan, leaving 1 cm at the top of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Meanwhile, use an electric beater to beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon rind in a large bowl until just combined. (I also don’t own a grater, which I really should because it’s quite practical, but I decided not to spend the $4 at the grocery store out of principle, for some reason I thought it would be horrendous to spend an extra $4 on this cheesecake, anyway, I just used a sharp serrated bread knife and basically grated the rind off the lemon that way, it was pretty successful except for the fact that it took quite a while, I would probably recommend just buying a grater, the one at the supermarket was even on sale when I went, I don’t know what I was thinking.) But to get back to the recipe, beat the flour into the mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until combined. (But make sure you don’t beat too much since you’re not supposed to overbeat the cream cheese or it’ll get too many airpockets.) Stir in the sour cream until just combined.

(You can tell I’m such a neat and organized chef.)

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the base. Place the pan on a baking tray and bake for 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours or until just set in the center. (It is actually a bit tricky to tell when your cheesecake is done but if the sides are firm and the middle is still a bit wobbly then it is done and will set while it is cooling off.)

Turn the oven off. Leave the cheesecake in the oven, with the door ajar, for 2 hours or until cooled completely (this will prevent the cheesecake from cracking). Place in the fridge for 4 hours to chill. (Though good luck keeping hungry roommates away for that long).

 

Tortillas de Patatas Recipe

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This is one of those recipes that came up when we were trying to find a way to use up a bunch of almost-expired eggs. I don’t have a lot of experience with tortillas de patatas but it is very similar to a frittata, something a little more in my range of cooking knowledge.

Tortillas de patatas is a great idea for a large meal, we were trying to feed 12 people and it was perfect for such an occasion. Translated it means potato tortilla, but it’s really more of a potato omelet, and it’s a very common dish in Spanish culture. It’s also very versatile, the main ingredients are eggs, onions and potatoes and traditionally it is made with just those ingredients but we decided to stretch ours a bit and add zucchini, tomatoes and capsicum as well. If you’re looking for a bit more flavor you could also throw in some cheese or meat, such as bacon or ham.

Tortillas de patatas is a relatively simple dish, the only tricky part is flipping the tortilla. It does require a bit of skill and balance but if you’re really worried about it just use a small pan and the whole thing becomes much easier. We ended up just splitting everything up into four small pans so we would reduce the risk of broken and ugly tortillas. The recipe also takes a little while but if you get a bunch of people together to help out with chopping the potatoes and onion and everything then it goes much more quickly. Turn on some Spanish tunes and make sure you dance at least a little during all the slicing and cooking.

Recipe from About.com:

Ingredients:

12-14 medium potatoes, peeled

2 whole yellow onions

10-12 large eggs

2-3 cups of olive oil for pan frying

Salt to taste

Instructions:

Cut the peeled potatoes in half lengthwise. Then, with the flat side on the cutting surface, slice the potato in pieces approximately 1/8″ thick. If you slice them a bit thick, don’t worry – it will simply take a bit longer for them to cook. Peel and chop the onion into 1/4″ pieces.

In a several non-stick frying pans heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Carefully place the potatoes and onions into the frying pan, spreading them evenly over the surface (this recipe makes several small tortillas so spread everything out into 3 or 4 frying pans). The oil should almost cover the potatoes. If you want to add some zucchini or capsicum in you can do it now. You may need to turn down the heat slightly, so the potatoes do not burn.

Leave in the pan until the potatoes are cooked. If you can poke a piece of potato with a spatula and it breaks in two easily, your potatoes are done. Drain the mixture in a colander. You can also drain it over a plate and save the oil for later.

Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat with a whisk or fork. Add some salt and pepper and a bit of chilli pepper if you like a little heat.

Pour 1-2 tbsp of olive oil into each of your smaller frying pans, and heat on medium heat. Be careful not to get the pan too hot or you may burn your tortilla! When hot, pour a little of the egg in, then some of the potatoes and onions, alternating until they are all in the pan.

Press down on the potatoes and onions slightly so they’re covered by the eggs. Allow the egg to cook around the edges. You can also cover the pan in aluminum foil so it cooks more quickly. Then you can carefully lift up one side of the omelet to check if the egg has slightly “browned.” The inside of the mixture should not be completely cooked and the egg will still be runny.

When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Take the frying pan to a sink. Place a large dinner plate (12”) upside down over the frying pan.With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will “fall” onto the plate.

Our first attempt wasn’t the prettiest, but it was definitely tasty.

Place the frying pan back on the range and put just enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the pan warm for 30 seconds or so.

Now slide the omelet into the frying pan. Use the spatula to shape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes.

Slide the omelet onto a plate to serve. If eating as a main course, cut the omelet into 6-8 pieces like a pie. Serve sliced French bread on the side.

Spaniards usually eat this as an appetizer and place a piece of the tortilla on top of each slice of bread. Usually they use smaller pieces when doing this but we just put our big pie-size pieces on the bread anyway.

We also made some bruschetta to go on the side.

To make bruschetta simply slice a French baguette into small slices. Lay the pieces out on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place them in the oven on grill or broil for just a few minutes to make them crispy.

To make the topping dice several tomatoes then add salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, and a touch of balsamic and toss to mix. All the measurements are really to your liking. If you have fresh basil throw some of that in as well.

Once the bread is crispy scoop a spoonful of the tomato mixture onto each piece and enjoy!

But even after all this we still weren’t full, so we had a delicious dessert as well.

This was an ingenious and tasty little dessert that was a perfect finish to the meal. Props to my friends who came up with this little dish.

All you need is a can of raspberries in syrup, prepackaged raspberry jam rolls and a tub of vanilla ice cream and voila!

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe

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Having lived in Italy myself and now living in Sydney with an Italian roommate I am used to having a lot of pasta around. Sometimes it’s nice to create a wonderful blend of flavours and make a big sauce to go with the pasta and other times you’re just looking for something simple and tasty. Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is just that. Also known as Spaghetti Aio Oio or “the one dish that all Italian men know how to make.”

Translated it is simply spaghetti with garlic and oil and while that may sound boring it is actually quite delicious. And if you don’t eat too much it’s a pretty healthy meal as well. The ingredients needed for this recipe are basic staples you should keep in your kitchen since you’ll use them in countless other recipes. Plus this is honestly one of the cheapest meals you’ll eat all semester so you can feel good about that too. So if you want to spice up your life tonight, have some good old pasta the Italian way.

Recipe:

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 pound of spaghetti

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente.

A few minutes before the pasta is done heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is lightly browned.

Drain the pasta and transfer to the saucepan tossing to coat. Add a little extra oil if it seems dry.

Sprinkle with a dash of salt and serve immediately.

Tommy’s Beer Cafe

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Glebe is full of nice little restaurants, tasty cafes, and small pubs so you’ll always be able to find something nice to eat or drink. But to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck I recommend hopping around and checking out the weekly specials at each place. Many restaurants offer one or even five nights where they serve one of their popular dishes for a discounted price. Last week I tried out Tommy’s Beer Cafe for their $15 Pork Belly. Tommy’s is one of the more student friendly restaurants that offers a special five nights a week. Mondays they serve Buffalo Cheeks, Tuesday is Hunter Schnitzel, Wednesday is Veal Goulash, Thursday is Pork Belly and Friday is Pork Knuckle. While I actually haven’t tried most of these dishes I had heard amazing things about pork belly and decided to check out this cute little place on a Thursday. Tommy’s is a Czech restaurant and they also serve a delicious selection of beers including Delirium, Gambrinus and Frantizkaner Weissbier (my personal favorite).

The restaurant is a cute, cozy little place with a bar downstairs and a couple wooden tables and benches, with a few more tables upstairs. If you happen to be seated upstairs make sure you take it easy on the alcohol though since those stairs are crazy steep. I’m sure they’ve had more than one unfortunate customer who had a few too many Weissbiers take quite a tumble down to the bottom of the stairs.

The service was really good and fast and the food is absolutely delicious. I actually think $15 is still a bit pricey for a meal but if you’re going to splurge this is definitely a place to do it. $15 is also quite a good price for pork belly since usually it is much more expensive.

The pork belly is served with crackling and really is amazing. Pork belly with crackling usually takes up to 3 hours to cook in the oven but the result is so moist and succulent. The meat just pulls apart effortlessly, coated in rich juices with a taste and texture that just melts in your mouth. The crackling was definitely a new taste sensation for me, it’s crisp and chewy and balances perfectly with the softness of the pork, together they become a chorus of different flavours and textures that you really can’t get enough of. The pork belly is served on a bed of light, fluffy mashed potatoes, nestled against a mound of warm, tangy sauerkraut, and topped off with a sweet apple chutney. It is also accompanied by a few pieces of grilled csabai which reminds me of a chewy, smokey chorizo and bathed in a warm layer of a savoury, slightly acidic sauce.

For a meal this heavenly, the $15 seems like such a bargain.

http://www.tommysbeercafe.com.au

123 Glebe Point Rd

Glebe NSW 2037

Phone:02 : 9660 6870

Chocolate Cupcakes

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Since my friend’s 21st was coming up I figured it was time for me to finally do some baking in my new apartment. There is a website I have been using for cupcake recipes for quite a while because the recipes are always delicious and always pretty easy. Chocolate was the requested flavor for the birthday so I decided to go with the classic, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Baking on a budget is always pretty tricky. I usually avoid recipes with lots of spices and complicated things like cinnamon sticks or anise. Even without those ingredients though it is easy to spend a lot trying to do some home baking, but nothing can beat a homemade cupcake and sometimes you just gotta spend a few extra dollars.

This recipe however, was pretty cheap compared to most and since my lovely roommates also love to bake we already had some of the ingredients on hand. I recommend getting everything at a big supermarket and getting the store brand of everything possible, you’ll save the most money that way.

For some reason I expected this recipe to make a pretty big batch of cupcakes, I guess it always just seemed like a lot when I was only baking for 5 people, but we managed to get 18 good cupcakes which was all we actually needed. The mixture has a very soupy consistency but the cupcakes turned out fine so I’m guessing it was supposed to be like that. They don’t rise very much so make sure you fill up the cupcakes cups at least 1/3 of the cup. The frosting is also a strange consistency. We actually realized that we could mold it into little shapes since it wasn’t very sticky and it was really thick. It tasted delicious though, since it was mostly butter and icing sugar. Overall these were some very tasty cupcakes and I would definitely recommend checking out http://mingmakescupcakes.yolasite.com/ for any other cupcake recipes you need in the future.

Recipe: (from Ming Makes Cupcakes)

Sis’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Cupcake ingredients:

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup buttermilk

3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder

1 stick of butter or 113 grams for people in Australia because apparently they don’t really sell butter in sticks here…

1/2 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

Ingredients for icing:

1 stick butter

5 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder

1 lb/ 500grams confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup milk

Instructions:

In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in room-temperature buttermilk. In a saucepan, melt butter and cocoa together at a low temperature. When smooth, add water. In a separate bowl, sift together sugar, flour and salt. Add cocoa mixture and egg and mix at low speed. Add buttermilk mixture and vanilla and beat until smooth. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

For the icing:

In a saucepan, melt butter at low temperature. In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa and sugar. Add melted butter, vanilla, and milk and beat at low speed until mixed. Frost cupcakes generously. (Frost them very generously because this recipe actually makes quite a bit of icing).

 

Shrimp and Veggies over Pasta Recipe

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After stocking up on fresh vegetables at Paddy’s Market on Sunday I was trying to think of a way I could combine most of them together. I also wanted to try out this new recipe for healthy alfredo sauce so I decided to make a shrimp and veggies dish and put it over some pasta. It turned out surprisingly well and was an overall filling and cheap meal. The recipe did take me a while since I had to wash and chop all the vegetables but you can really customize it however you want to fit with your time or taste needs.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

Alfredo Sauce recipe is from a Ellie Krieger for Food Network Magazine recipe

1 small zucchini, chopped

About 5 full mushrooms, sliced

1/2 medium onion

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 of a 500g bag of spaghetti

About 9 uncooked shrimp (I bought a big bag of uncooked frozen shrimp and just separated them into a couple ziploc bags and put them back into the freezer so when I want to use shrimp in a meal I only need to defrost one bag)

A few small heads of broccoli

Olive Oil

Salt

Pepper

1/2 tablespoon flour

1/4 cup of Light Evaporated Milk (apparently this has 95% less fat than full cream)

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/3  cup shredded parmesan cheese

I know it seems like quite a few ingredients but you really just need the basics, the spaghetti and the ingredients for the cream sauce and you can add whatever you want onto that.

Instructions:

Chop all your vegetables into the desired size and chop the garlic into tiny pieces.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti acording to the package instructions.

Put your frying pan on the stove, add about a tablespoon of olive oil and let it heat up for a minute.

Add the garlic and let it sautee for a minute.

Next add the onion and cook for 2 minutes or until they begin to get soft.

Add the zucchini and mushrooms and sautee for 2 or 3 minutes.

Make sure your shrimp are defrosted and deveined. I like to cup my shrimp in half so that it seems like there are more of them but you can use your judgement on that one.

Once the zucchini and mushrooms have cooked for a few minutes add the shrimp and continue cooking until they are pink and fully cooked.

While those are cooking put your broccoli into a microwaveable container and add a tablespoon of water, cover the container and microwave for 3 minutes.

When the broccoli is steamed and the veggie/shrimp mix is done set them aside and begin the cream sauce.

Whisk the flour and low-fat milk in a bowl. You can use the same saucepan you were just using before. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the saucepan and wait about 30 seconds to make sure it’s hot. Add the flour-milk mixture and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cheese; stir to melt. 1 minute.

Once the sauce is done add the broccoli and veggie/shrimp mix and stir it all together to combine.

Add the cooked pasta to the saucepan and mix everything together for about a minute to make sure everything is still hot.

Sprinkle on some salt and pepper and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Amazing Cuisine on the Amalfi Coast

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One of my excursions while living in Rome was a trip over Easter weekend to the Amalfi Coast.  I had been looking forward to it for ages and luckily we got some really good weather for the trip. We stayed in Sorrento and visited Capri, Meta, Naples and Positano over five days. And of course, one of the best things about the trip, was the food.

On our first day we ventured over to Capri, famous for it’s beautiful scenery, the Blue Grotto and the caprese salad.

Photo credit: Luana Perez

We explored the town for a while before venturing up to the top, which is technically Anacapri and sat down to have our lunch.

I had tagliatelle con salmone which was delicious. It looks like a small serving but the delicious buttery cream sauce that coated it was extremely filling. The salmon was also incredibly fresh and tender.

Photo credit: Molly Pittman

My friend ordered caprese ravioli which was delicious as well. Caprese ravioli consists of a thin sheet of homemade pasta which encloses a caciotta cheese, parmesan and marjoram filling and is topped with a tomato and basil sauce.

The two specials of the day were fresh gnocchi with pumpkin and shrimp or fresh gnocchi with mushrooms and shrimp. Both of them were so unbelievably rich and all the components worked so well together to create an incredible Capri-comfort style dish.

Photo credit: Luana Perez

This was the gnocchi with pumpkin and shrimp. I don’t think I’ve ever had pumpkin with pasta before but it was an incredible combination, it was creamy and sweet and infused with fresh cheese which made it ten times better.

Photo credit: Courtney Broderick

This is the gnocchi with mushrooms and shrimp. If you can think of the most gourmet and rich version of macaroni and cheese this would probably be it.

We stayed in Sorrento at this place called Seven Hostel. If you’re a student travelling through the Amalfi Coast I highly recommend staying here. It’s a beautiful hostel with access to ferries that will take you everywhere you need to go and they’ve got a bar in the lobby that’s pretty popular for people that live in the area. They also do student specials on drinks and you can get some amazing cocktails for just 5 euro.

One of the bartenders there, named Daniele, is really awesome and loves to create his own cocktails which are so delicious, one of his signature drinks has lychee in it and is unbelievable. So if you end up at Seven Hostel definitely look out for him.

Our next day we headed over to Positano to spend the day lounging on the beach. For lunch we picked a nice little restaurant right by the water.

This is by far one of the best sandwiches I have ever had in my life. The bread especially was so soft and delicate and just melted into the sandwich while still being dry and crisp on the outside. Inside the sandwich was arugula, tomatoes, buffalo milk ricotta and sliced beef drizzled in a balsamic vinaigrette. It was such a soft and flavorful sandwich and unlike anything I have ever tasted before.

That night we went to a local restaurant in Sorrento for dinner. The specials were pretty cheap so we all ordered the fisherman’s special. It was a wonderful mix of cherry tomatoes, mussels and clams over pasta. It was covered in a buttery light tomato sauce that seemed to coat each and every single piece of tagliatelle perfectly. The seafood was so fresh and had probably been caught just outside the restaurant. In my experience so far if you see the meal ‘fisherman’s special’ on a menu in any place close to the sea in Italy it will be an unforgettable meal (in a good way).

On Easter Sunday we headed to Meta to do some more relaxing at the beach. We were a bit worried that we wouldn’t be able to find any restaurants that would be open but we came across this one place called Tico Tico and decided to eat there.

I had been straying from my budget a little bit at this point so I was trying to be good and order the cheapest thing on the menu but I soon realized that for 2 euro more I could get this dish and I couldn’t resist. The description was just so enticing that I couldn’t bring myself to order anything else. It was fresh homemade fusili with shrimp, tomato and eggplant in a creamy tomato sauce. And it was to die for. It was so creamy and perfect, there really is a very different taste between dried pasta and fresh homemade pasta. It has so much more flavor and is incredibly tender and smooth. The shrimp and eggplant also worked really well with the creaminess of the sauce. I am not even a big eggplant fan but when it is cooked like this that it becomes so tender it is almost falling apart, it is really amazing.

Overall I would definitely recommend the Amalfi Coast as a summer vacation destination. Or even an Easter break vacation but I’m sure the water is much warmer in June and July. Just make sure you taste some of the local seafood in whatever form they want to serve it to you, you won’t regret it.

Sunday Night Stir-Fry

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Every Sunday night my five roommates and I get together to have a family-style dinner. My family is currently half a world away so I really enjoy these meals. We each take turns as to who the chef is and they get to decide what our meal will be. So this week we had a chicken and vegetable stir fry. We had just been to Paddy’s market in Chinatown and were armed with heaps of fresh veggies.

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Recipe: Serves 6

(I don’t have exact measurements of all the vegetables we used but you can pretty much eye it out for yourself depending on how much you like each one.)

2 big heads of Broccoli

Oyster Mushrooms

2 Red Capsicums

Snap Peas

Leeks

4 small bunches of Bok Choy

1 large Zucchini

3 cloves of garlic

500gr of chicken

4 cups of Rice

Sweet Chili Sauce

Soy Sauce

Canola Oil

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

Before you get started make sure you wash and chop all your veggies.

Cut the zucchini into quarter moons.

Cut the capsicum into long strips, you can then cut the strips in half if you want small pieces.

And this is why you should check and wash all your fresh veggies. Hello little slug!

Chop the garlic into little pieces, slice the oyster mushrooms into medallions, simply pull apart the bok choy, cut the broccoli into smaller heads, and slice the leeks into little circles. Also, if you want to make sure your snap peas are really cooked you can boil them in water for just a minute before adding them to the stir fry. Set all your ingredients out on your work station.

Chop your raw chicken into small pieces.

Begin cooking your rice according to the package instructions or if you have a rice cooker simply add the rice and water and switch it on.

Once all your ingredients are the proper size you can begin heating the wok. Heat the wok over high heat, once the wok is hot, add 1 tablespoon of canola oil and swirl around to coat the side of the wok. Continue heating until it is very hot.

Make sure you heat the wok before adding the oil or it will burn.

Once the wok has become very hot you can start to cook the chicken.

While the chicken is cooking add some salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.

Once the chicken is cooked slide it onto a plate and save it for later.

Return the wok to the stove and add another tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic, zucchini, capsicum, mushrooms, broccoli and snap peas and cook for 3 minutes. Next add the leek and bok choy.

Add 1/4 cup of sweet chili sauce and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Toss to combine.

Cook for about 5 to 7 more minutes until everything is done.

Add the chicken and toss to combine. Continue cooking for one more minute to make sure the chicken is still hot.

Once it’s done set the wok and the rice on the table and begin serving!

Serve with another sprinkle of salt, a twist of pepper and a healthy dollop of sweet chili sauce. Enjoy!