Nice Pizza

To celebrate a birthday we decided to end up at Zizzi in Cabot Circus. The place was busy, and we had to wait about ten minutes for a table. Well to say the place was busy, was a bit of a poor description. There were plenty of free tables, but I think they were short-staffed, so couldn’t serve all the tables, or cook the food. Regardless of the reason, there were empty tables, and we were shown to our (small) table.

The welcome was warm and friendly and it was easy to order our food. Our dietary requirements were taken care of and we pursued the menu.

I went with the Rustica Primavera, which is their stretched pizza with goat’s cheese, artichokes, spinach, fire-roasted peppers, olives, mozzarella, sunblush tomatoes, super green pesto & rocket.

Rustica Primavera, which is their stretched pizza with goat’s cheese, artichokes, spinach, fire-roasted peppers, olives, mozzarella, sunblush tomatoes, super green pesto & rocket

The pizza was cooked well and there was an abundance of toppings, even so I would have liked a but more artichoke. The pesto was nice, and I quite like fresh rocket on my pizza, I feel I am eating something healthier than it actually is.

I really enjoyed my pizza, there is something consistent about the quality of the food and the service at Zizzi, which means I go there a lot, more than other chains. Having said that, looking over the blog, I realise not only am I going to Zizzi a lot, I am also basically eating the same pizza each time I go.

Time for a tasty pizza (again)

It was a nice pizza

Rusty Pizza

I think it’s time for a change, not just from Zizzi, but also from pizza.

Trofie Pasta

It’s surprising how many different pasta shapes there are and how different they can “taste”. Some shapes work better with thick sauces, others with thinner style sauces.

Trofie pasta is quite a weird style for pasta, but I do enjoy eating it, and find it goes well with pesto.

This was a fresh Trofie pasta, a Pizza Express brand that only takes a few minutes to cook. I have bought dried Trofie before, but have been pleased with the Pizza Express fresh Trofie pasta.

I used a jar of pesto and added some toasted pine nuts. To toast pine nuts I use a heavy frying pan, add NO oil and heat on the hob. I then add the pine nuts until they are toasted, not too brown and be careful you don’t burn them.

I find pine nuts quite expensive, usually paying £2.50 for a small bag, but I really do like them in pasta with pesto. They also work well in salads.

Overall a quick and easy, but very tasty pasta dish.

Mozzarella, Tomato & Pesto Salad with Rocket & Pine Nuts

Fancying a salad for lunch I found this Mozzarella, Tomato & Pesto Salad with Rocket & Pine Nuts in Sainsbury’s.

Pesto Pasta with Mozzarella and Tomato

It was quite nice. The pesto wasn’t overpowering, there was enough to cover the pasta and there were ample pine nuts too. The pasta was the right texture, the sunblush tomatoes were nice and the mozzarella was fine.

Overall it was a nice packaged salad and certainly much nicer than a sandwich.

Simple Pesto Pasta Salad

I do quite like pasta based salads which are basically can be best described as cold pasta! Though there is a little more work required than just letting cooked pasta going cold…

For this salad I cooked some fusilli pasta twists and after they had cooked, I immersed them in cold water. Iced cold water would be better, but I had no ice, so just plain cold water would do. This is for two reasons, firstly to make the pasta cold, ready for the salad, secondly to stop the cooking process. If you just cooked the pasta an let it go cold, it would go all soggy as it continued to cook after you drained it. So even if you intend to eat your pasta salad later, still plunge it into cold water to stop the cooking process. Just as an aside this is often how restaurants “cook” pasta. They cook the pasta until just about done, before plunging the pasta into ice cold water. They can then finish the cooking of the pasta when needed and it will only take a minute to finish the pasta before adding a sauce.

So with the cooked pasta I added a couple of spoonfuls of basil pesto and some chicken.

Mixed and served.

You could add some fresh basil leaves to up the basil flavour. Another option would be to add some cooked spinach.

Linguine with pesto, green beans and rocket

I wanted something quick and easy to cook, I decided to cook linguine.

I took a large pan of boiling water and placed the linguine to cook. I also in another pan cooked some sliced green beans.

When the linguine was cooked, I drained it and added a splash of olive oil. I then stirred in some pesto, pine nuts, the rocket and the cooked green beans.

Though nice on its own, I served mine with some chargrilled pork steaks.

Jamie Oliver, I do like your Pesto

Last week I mentioned how disappointed I was with Jamie Oliver’s Italian Sausages. Well this time I was trying out his pesto.

To be honest I was a lot more impressed.

Unlike other pesto I have used, this had a lovely smooth flavour, you could taste the basil, you could taste (and feel) the pine nuts, the parmesan was not overpowering as it sometimes can be in pesto and the olive oil was subtle without the harshness of cheap oil you find in some cheap pesto.

It worked well with the linguine I had.

I will be buying it again.

Jamie Oliver, I do like your Pesto!

Basil & pine nut margherite

If you are looking for an interesting pasta starter than the basil & pine nut margherite fresh pasta from Sainsbury’s Taste the difference range could be a good choice.

The egg and spinach flower shaped filled pasta is stuffed with a basil and pine nut filling (a bit like pesto).

Cooking in just a few minutes I served mine with a quick sauce made from creme frache and parmesan cheese, then adding some freshly ground black pepper.

Linguine with pesto

Needed a quick supper tonight, so cooked some really nice linguine pasta. Once it was cooked I tossed it in olive oil and added a couple of teaspoons of pesto. Tossed again and served with some freshly grated parmesan.

Simple, quick, yet delicious.

Rante Restaurant, Radisson SAS Hotel, Espoo, Finland

Last July I was in Finland and I went to the Rante Restaurant in the Radisson SAS Hotel in Espoo in Finland is an Italian restaurant which also serves some Finnish dishes.

I had originally walked into Haguland (Tapiola) to see if I could get a meal there (as I am generally not a great fan of hotel restaurants) and couldn’t find anything open or the only other choice was McDonalds.

So after quite a nice walk, I went back to the hotel and went into the restaurant. I sat down at a table and looked over the menu.

I decided that an antipasto would be nice, followed by carpaccio and then the reindeer.

For the antipasto I asked for prawns in pesto, and thought this would arrive quickly.

Fifty minutes later it did!

A small bowl of small prawns in pesto arrived, I don’t know why I thought they would be grilled prawns, but they were not.

I did not have to wait as long for my next course, beef carpaccio.

This was superb, coming with some weird leaves (more like grass) and some what I think were very large pickled capers!

I then thought ah not too long to my main course, couldn’t have been more wrong, forty minutes later it eventually arrived.

Well the reindeer was certainly worth the wait and certainly not what I expected. On the way to the Hotel from the airport I used a Yellow Line taxi, these are communal shared taxis, one of the occupants, a shipping consultant for the Silja Line, had mentioned in passing conversation that when he had reindeer he had found it very strongly flavoured akin to venison. So I was expecting the reindeer fillet to be very strongly flavoured, but it wasn’t it was very delicate, tender, almost melt in the mouth. It came with a fantastic sauce, a few vegtables. I had asked for the chive mash to be replaced with french fries (as that was what I fancied.

I decided against a desert as the neighbouring table had to wait an age for theirs and it was getting late.

Overall I was pleased with the quality of the food, the only real disappointment was the prawns.

The carpaccio and the reindeer were excellent.

Trofie Pasta with fresh basil pesto, pine nuts and grated parmesan

Trofie Pasta with fresh basil pesto, pine nuts and grated parmesan.

Trofie Pasta with fresh basil pesto, pine nuts and grated parmesan

Fresh Trofie pasta.

Into a pan of boiling water (no salt, no oil).

Cook for ten minutes.

In a blender/grinder, handful of basil leaves, olive oil, blitz and blend. Add more basil leaves and more oil, blitz.

Drain pasta.

Dribble olive oil in.

Toss and coat pasta.

Add basil pesto, handful of pine nuts, handful of grated parmesan.