Wood Fired Italian Ham, Portobello Mushroom & Mascarpone Pizza

Wood Fired Italian Ham, Portobello Mushroom & Mascarpone Pizza

Rushing about meant I didn’t have time to cook anything special for dinner. So I popped a shop pizza in the oven. I had a Specially Selected Wood Fired Italian Ham, Portobello Mushroom & Mascarpone Pizza from Aldi. It had a great doughy base, good proportion of toppings and some nice flavours. I have had this pizza before and I would have it again.

Should note I did add some extra salami slices and olives to the pizza.

Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza

I have had the Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza before, which apart from the chilli I had enjoyed. On a visit to Bella Italia for my birthday back in April I decided to have the pizza again. The Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza comes with basilicata sausage, tenderstem broccoli, red chilli & garlic topped with mozzarella and pecorino cheese on a creamy mascarpone base with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

I did enjoy the white base, and toppings. I did this time remove most of the chillis.

Mushroom & Truffle Romana Pizza

Last November went out in the evening to Cabot Circus, with a plan to do some shopping and have some pizza at Pizza Express.

I had tried to book a table online at Pizza Express, but the system was saying no availability. So when we arrived at Cabot Circus, I went in person to book a table.

We then went off and did some shopping.

We went to Pizza Express early, but they had a table. We sat down and looked over the menu. For a starter we ordered gluten free dough balls.

For my main course I went with the Mushroom & Truffle Romana Pizza.

Mushroom lovers, this one’s for you. Mixed mushrooms, béchamel, mozzarella, Gran Milano cheese, garlic, rosemary, a generous splash of truffle oil, parsley and a double pinch of black pepper come together in an indulgent vegetarian delight on a Romana base.

Took their time to bring us our main courses. We think our order actually got lost and had to be done again.

When my pizza (finally) arrived, it looked great.

Mushroom & Truffle Romana Pizza

I did enjoy the pizza, the white base was tasty and there was a lot of mushrooms on the pizza. I enjoyed the truffle oil. I think if I was making this for myself I would use a variety of mushrooms for flavour and texture.

I did enjoy the pizza, I think the service could have been better though.

Creamy Pizza

We had spent the day in London, having driven up and parked at the Westfield Centre, we decided we would eat there before heading home.

I had some vouchers, so we went to Zizzi, and they also do a decent gluten free pizza as well.

I quite like a white base, so after looking over the menu I went with the Rustica Slow-Cooked Beef & Burrata Pizza. 

With slow-cooked beef, smoked burrata and scamorza cheese, mushrooms and rocket on a white base.

It was rather tasty.

Time for a Calzone

At the beginning of May we went out for a birthday meal. Having had a nice meal at Zizzi in April we decided to visit them again. We once more sat outside, the weather was better in May than it was in April.

We had booked our table and though we had to wait for a while, well we had arrived early, but we were then shown to our table. I looked over the menu, and thought about what I would have. 

I am never sure if I like the concept of the calzone or not. I have ordered them over the years, sometimes they have been great and other times not so much. This time I decided that I would go down the calzone route. There were a couple of choices on the menu, but I went for the Calzone Pollo Spinaci. This was a calzone stuffed with roasted chicken, speck, spinach & mushrooms, in a creamy mozzarella & Bechamel sauce, topped with coppa ham.

The food took a little time to arrive, but I was quite impressed with the presentation and size of the calzone.

Calzone Pollo Spinaci

I am not so sure this was a pizza, with the creamy filling it felt a bit large a really large pasty, but made with bread rather than pastry. Having said that, I did like the filling. I quite like mushrooms and spinach, and the creamy sauce was really nice.

The coppa ham on top seemed to be an afterthought, and it didn’t add too much to the dish in my opinion, but it did make the calzone look nicer.

Overall we had a nice meal.

That was an interesting pizza

Back in July we went out to eat for a family celebration. We went to Bella Italia at Cribbs Causeway, having quite enjoyed our last visit there in June. The fact they do some good gluten free dishes was also a factor in us choosing it.

We had a lovely warm welcome from the staff and they showed us to our table. We had a good look over the menu.

I had a starter, it was the Tomino con Parma. This was soft Italian cheese wrapped with prosciutto ham and fresh sage, baked in the oven and served with pasta fritti. I hadn’t seen a picture and was a little surprised by what I got.

Having said that, it was an interesting starter, but I really didn’t think much of it, and I wouldn’t have it again.

For my main course I went with the Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza, this was pizza with Basilicata sausage, tenderstem broccoli, red chilli & garlic topped with mozzarella and pecorino cheese on a creamy mascarpone base with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza, this was pizza with Basilicata sausage, tenderstem broccoli, red chilli & garlic topped with mozzarella and pecorino cheese on a creamy mascarpone base with a drizzle of balsamic glaze

What I liked about the pizza was that this was quite different to regular pizza, the addition of broccoli and a white base was really nice. I liked the different cheeses as well. It was tasty, but for me there was a little too much chilli on the pizza.

Overall I have been impressed with my most recent visits to Bella Italia. The food has been more interesting, better quality and the service we have had, has been excellent. Well impressed.

In the end we ended up at Amarone

Edinburgh Castle

I have been to Edinburgh many times for work and have eaten out there when staying overnight. I had an excellent French meal back in November 2019. However though I have been there for work I have never been there for a personal visit. So when planning a short holiday for the summer we decide we would visit Edinburgh in August for a short city break.

On our first night we decided that we would go to Bella Italia, but they were full, so we then decided we would visit Wagamama which was just around the corner from the hotel. You can’t book a table for Wagamama, you just have to turn up and hope for the best. Alas there was a long queue for Wagamama so we needed so go somewhere else, and of course we hadn’t booked anywhere else either.

I was looking at booking a place on my phone when we checked across the road from Wagamama and there was an Italian restaurant called Amarone which was open and had free tables.

Amarone

So in we went and were shown to a comfortable booth. The decor was nice if a little over the top really, however as the place had once been a bank you realised that explained the high ceilings. It reminded my of Harrods with the lights and pillars and use of brass.

There was quite a good menu, however it was a limited menu due to Covid restrictions in the kitchen.

I chose a pasta dish, the rest of the table, one had a vegan pizza, the other two had gluten free pizza.

Linguine ai Frutti di Mare, this was mixed seasonal fish and shellfish with olive oil, garlic & parsley. I was given a choice of rich tomato or bianco sauce, I had the bianco sauce.

Linguine ai Frutti di Mare

This wasn’t a huge dish of food, but there was a generous serving of fish and shellfish. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the sauce was delicious. I really enjoyed this plate of food.

The vegan pizza was interesting and tasty. The Ortolana Vegana was a hand-stretched & stone-baked sourdough pizza base, vegan mozzarella, marinated and grilled courgettes, aubergine, mixed peppers, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.

Ortolana Vegana

I had a slice and it was interesting and tasty, not so sure about the vegan mozzarella.

The gluten free pizza were simplistic but tasty.

gluten free pizza

The service was warm, friendly and efficient. We had a lovely welcome and given time to both order and eat despite the busyness of the place. Certainly somewhere I would go again if I was back in Edinburgh.

Time for a simple pizza

It was September and we had spent the day in Bristol and having missed lunch we went to Zizzi in Cabot Circus, one of our regular haunts as they do a really nice gluten free pizza.

Though the place looked empty, they initially said that they were full (well all the tables were reserved). However as we arrived in mid-afternoon, if we were there for just an hour then we could have a table. We only wanted a main course, so decided that was okay.

I am guessing that though there were plenty of free tables, the challenge was more of a staffing issue than a seating problem.

We looked over the menu and I did quite fancy a pizza. I wasn’t sure what kind of pizza I wanted and there were a fair few choices.

In the end I chose the simple Rustica Margherita.

Rustica Margherita

Sometimes I quite like simplistic dishes. In this case I really enjoyed the pizza, it was cooked well, the base was nice, crispy with some doughy parts. The tomato sauce was nice as was the mozzarella.

The service was efficient and we all enjoyed our food.

We went out to eat

Our initial idea was to go to the cinema, though there was nothing at the cinema we could watch, so made the decision we would go out to eat at Bella Italia at the Mall. Virtually all the major chains in Weston have closed now, so wanting to ensure that the menu had gluten free options, we decided to head to the Mall. 

Well as we hit the M5 northbound it was chocked full and slow moving, we thought we made a mistake. But eventually it thinned out and we could go faster. We got to Bella Italia just in time.

We had a lovely warm welcome from the staff and they showed us to our table.

We had a good look over the menu. It looked like there was a lot more on there than when I last looked (which was probably last summer).

Though I like starters I usually don’t have a starter, but as others in the family were going for garlic bread, I looked over the possible choices. The calamari would have been an obvious choice for me. So I decided on the Calzonetti ‘Nduj, as I was thinking about pasta for my main course. However a last minute change of thought resulted in me actually ordering the Arancini al Granchio

There are crispy rice balls filled with crab, prawns and fennel with a side of lemon & cracked pepper mayonnaise.

They were very nice, not outstanding, but they were nice. You could taste the crab and the mayonnaise with the crunchy exterior.

For my main course I went with a pasta dish, Salsiccia Mezzaluna.

Fresh mezzaluna pasta filled with Luganica sausage & radiccio, cooked in a sage butter and finished with toasted hazelnuts and a beef dripping pangrattato crumb. 

This just sounded divine and to be honest it was totally delicious. The pasta was al dente, the filling had a nice flavour, I think it could have been stronger, but I loved the sage butter and the toasted hazelnuts and pangrattato crumb added real silkiness and crunch to the dish.

I loved it.

I wasn’t full, so went for a dessert, the raspberry and pistachio semifreddo with white chocolate and marshmallow sauce.

This was nice, but I felt it could do with more pistachio and more sauce. Having said that I really enjoyed it.

As for the rest of the family, my better half went with the  Funghi Crema made with chestnut mushrooms in a porcini, mascarpone & pecorino cheese sauce with fresh mafalde pasta ribbons.

She really enjoyed the dish and it looked great.

My youngest had a gluten free Marghaerita, whilst my son had the gluten free Pepperoni with tomato, mozzarella, salami piccante, red onion, garlic and rocket.

They both enjoyed their pizza.

My son also had the warm gluten free chocolate brownie with white chocolate chunks served with vegan vanilla gelato and a sprinkling of honeycomb.

He finished off the plate of food

This was probably one of the best meals I have ever had at Bella Italia, really enjoyed the experience, the food and the service.

We waited a day…

With the easing of lockdown restrictions, restaurants from the 12th April were allowed to open for outside eating only. To be honest I wasn’t that excited about this, however with my birthday on the 13th we made the decision to go out to eat to celebrate. Last year on my birthday we were in the full lockdown and there was very little we could go and do, so had a lovely celebration at home and we had a fish supper with stir fry. So this year we were thinking could we do something different and could we go out to eat. 

We booked a table at Zizzi at Cabot Circus in Bristol. This is “outside” but is in many ways under some kind of cover as well. So if it did rain, it shouldn’t have too much of a negative impact on the experience. We did wrap up warm though.

We had a warm if slightly confused welcome from the manager and we were shown to our table.

The paper disposable menus provided a wide choice, but I did quite fancy pizza so I went with the Rustica Primavera which has goat’s cheese, artichokes, spinach, fire-roasted peppers, olives, mozzarella, sunblush tomatoes & super green pesto.

It looked great when it arrived.

Rustica Primavera

I really liked the freshness of the spinach, rocket and fresh pesto on the pizza. Though I like goat’s cheese, I actually think that I might prefer this pizza without it. The dough base was nice, and as it was stretched some areas were thin and cripsy, whilst other parts of the pizza were thick and doughy. I liked the olives and artichokes along with the tomatoes and peppers.

I have had this pizza before, and enjoyed it back then too.

Overall a very tasty pizza.