Sunday, 20 July 2014

Barilla and my journey with pasta + Good food and Wine show 2014 highlights.

If you have read my previous posts, you know how much I loathe making fresh pasta (have had countless pasta disasters, lets not go there) so when it comes to cooking pasta, dried pasta is my go to simply because it is fuss free, convenient and it can sit in my pantry, ready to go whenever I need it. 

Barilla Pasta has always been the go to brand in my household, it was the brand I picked up when I first cooked pasta 10 odd years ago, till today, you can always find at least one Barilla Pasta product in my pantry.

Barilla Pasta is one of the most well known pasta brands, So there is no surprises there when it is the best pasta you can find in Italy, the home of everything Pasta. (I haven't been to Italy yet, but am definitely making plans for the near future, this will have to do for now!)

Barilla not only has an extensive range of dried pastas but also sauces too.  (Psst their pesto is addictive and all things delicious) 
They are forever expanding (as is my waistline) and now even have a cooking school in Annandale!
You can find their extensive product range, some mouth-watering recipes and read more about their latest adventures on their webpage

I think the people at Barilla knows that I love my carbs and were running low on pasta, because they kindly sent me a lovely hamper of goodies, including my favourite pesto, yum! 

Barilla hamper

So today I share with you guys, 2 of my go-to meat-free dinners, that can be easily made with a few simple ingredients. I work crazy odd hours so when I get home late and want something warm and comforting, I whip up one of these for a quick dinner and keep leftovers for lunch the next day. Both these recipes are quick and easy to whip up and are easily inter-changeable for your favourite pasta swirls and shapes. 

Pesto mushroom spaghetti 

250g of mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 jar of barilla pesto genovese
1/2 cup of your favourite Barillia pasta
salt and pepper to taste
1 chilli. sliced lengthwise
a grating of parmesan to serve 

1. cook pasta as per packet instruction and drain
2. in a separate frypan, heat a tablespoon of oil and cook off mushrooms until it release its moisture, add 1/3 jar of pesto genovese, stir through and remove from heat.
3. combine drained pasta, mushrooms, chilli and the rest of the pesto, toss to combine. add salt and pepper to taste
4. serve immediately with a (generous) grating of parmesan. 

Spicy 4 cheese tortellini with tomato and ricotta sauce

1 pkt of Barilla tortellini
1 jar of Barillia ricetta speciale pasta sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of capsicum finely diced
1 cup baby spinach 
1/2 cup chicken/vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 chilli. sliced lengthwise
a grating of parmesan  and sprig of chervil to serve 
1 spicy chorizo, finely cubed (optional and omitted in mine)

1. cook tortellini as per packet instruction and drain
2. if adding chorizo, cook chorizo, baby spinach and capsicum and add in tomato, stock, cook till reduced then add in chilli. 
3. add in drained tortellini, toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. 
4. serve with parmesan and chervil.

Viola, now you have 2 simpel recipes under your belt (or in my case, somewhere along my digestive tract)

Now that you are hungry (Well at least I hope you are!), check out what I got up to at the GFWS 2014!

Good Food and Wine Show 2014- Sydney Showgrounds

This year's GFWS was held at Sydney Showgrounds as the Exhibition centre no longer exists in its former location. The location is a bit out of the way but is equally spacious compared to the former location.

Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we started bright and early with a breakfast cooking class with Sammy and Bella from MKR. This is also not a normal cooking class in any way or form. Why you ask? well, can you answer how often does one has deep fried pasta at 9am in the morning? not you? me neither, so this was an eye opening (literally, I was still half asleep) experience for me. (Not that I ever say no some deep fried goodness...)

These deep fried goodies are called seadas, a traditional scandinavian breakfast pastry filled with ricotta and percorino and drenched drizzled lightly with honey. 

My Seadas ready for frying!

the saeda ingredients

Until this cooking class, I've never even heard of saeda before, how was I going to make one? panic settled in and I looked at my cooking buddy for help, she was probably as clueless as I was judging by her expression. Thank god Sammy and Bella was really patient and tolerated my lack of seadas making skill.

the pro/ cooking buddy cutting up her pastry

Barilla biscuits 

The Barilla peeps were super thoughtful, knowing it was so early and none of us would of eaten yet, they provided us with biscuits for breakfast. sugar and carbs, healthiest breakfast ever. 

Time to deep fry!

Once you have wrapped your seadas, allow the bubbling hot oil to give them some colour. Once golden brown, remove and drizzle with a bit of honey. 

seadas innards

Seadas is a delicious sweet breakfast that would be perfect with a cuppa or coffee. If you are interested in making deep fried pasta for breakfast, grab the full recipe at Sammy and Bella's site!

Armed with the piping hot seadas, we head to the Delongi stand for some coffee and Adriano Zumbo tim tams (salted caramel!) Coffee and chocolate, I really couldn't think of a better (ahem.. healthier) breakfast.

but for the health conscious (psssh not me!), there were Jordan's museli a few stands away. I have their oat clusters with freeze dried strawberries a few days a week because its so tasty and healthy. At the GFWS they had a few new products, I sampled their new blueberry oat cluster which was pretty delicious too, quite hard to decide which one was better though! 

An apple a day keeps the doctors away!

Then we came upon these beauties. Warning, this may change your views on toffee apples forever. why? well, these beauties are in fact massive Tim Tam and Snickers coated apple! No more breaking your teeth toffee apples! 

We managed a quick round the how before the public came in, it was nice to enjoy the show without the crowds. (See below).

Next up on our agenda was a pasta cooking class with Barilla's Executive Chef, Luca. Or as Luca calls it, an Italian romance dish. 

Let me take a selfie

But before we get our hands dirty, I think a selfie is in order! 

Barilla Exexcutive Chef:  Luca Ciano

A chef in training with some snazzy knife skills.

My cooking buddy is a chef in training, so I delegate all the cutting to her, after all, you really don't want to have any of my DNA in the pasta right? 

Casarecce alla Norma in the making.

The dish we were making is Casarecce alla Norma, which is Casarecce pasta with eggplant, tomato and ricotta. This dish is simple to make and it has my favourite eggplant in it! yum! 

The completed dish

A quick grating of parmesan later, the dish was completed. Easy? heck yes! the best part is not having to clean up after! 

                                                 a selection of Barilla's extensive range. 

Other highlights of GFWS 2014

After filling up ourselves on carbs, we did a quick wander around to do more food hunting. 

 Nudie stand

salted caramel spread

Bryon Bay chocolates 

Dr Oteker Pizza

Custard and co Cider

Unfortunately, we were too full to do anymore eating. The GFWS was a lot of fun and I can't wait for next year's one already! 

the take home gourmet hamper 

At the Barilla cooking class, we were also given a gourmet hamper to take home and create out own dishes, so keep an eye out for more Barilla pasta goodies on my Instagram

Keen to get your hands on some Barilla products? These goodies are available at your all your major supermarkets and independent grocers. For more information, visit their website. or follow them on Instagram

So dear readers, are you pasta-ed out yet? either way, let me know what your favourite pasta dish is below! You can check out more of my pasta ramblings here and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for live updates. 

Milkteaxx attended Barilla's cooking class at GFWS 2014 and received products thanks to Barilla, opinions are however, her own.

Till next time,


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Battle of the Ramens: Sydney

It has been a while since I've done a "battle of" post.

The last installment was when everyone was still swooning over froyo like it was the hot guy doing chin ups at your local gym.

Seeing that we are well in the depth of Winter (ugh!) I thought it would be more than appropriate to do some heart warming ramen post. 

There is gonna be a lot of noodle slurping, so settle down with a mug of miso soup and read on!

It's no secret that I love ramen (no, not Raymond), springy noodles sitting in a bowl of piping hot broth, delicious soft boiled eggs, slices of porky goodness and various condiments. heart AND soul warming. 
I am no ramen connoisseur but I have had my fair share of ramen. I sincerely apologise if you were one of those humans that I forced to go ramen hunting tasting with me.

1. Hakata- Maru Ramen, Market City

Huddled to the side in the Market city food court, Hakata-Maru is no stranger to the ramen scene in Sydney. It may be in a food court, but it is definite standout amongst all the other eateries, toting a traditional yatai (food cart) shopfront straight out of the streets of Japan.

Monday, 7 July 2014

#Devonbynight Devon Cafe, Surry Hills does dinner.

I may not have been trained to sniff out truffles, but I can tell you where to go if you want truffles with eggs. at night. 

Does a place come to mind already? have you been drooling over the pictures over Instagram? 

did someone just say Devon Cafe? 


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Sultan's table, Enmore

It's late and you are starving, you find yourself in Enmore, where do you go? 
Those were my exact thoughts when I hit up Sultan's table. 

There are many delicious sounding restaurants along Enmore Road but many are neglected for the plethora of choice on the more lively King St. But sometimes it is good to stray away from the main strip because that's where the local's best kept secrets are. Case in point.


Sunday, 29 June 2014

Mint Pho, Burwood

I didn't want to get out of bed this morning. why?

1. It is Monday
2. my bed was warm 
3.. it was still dark and the wind was howling outside.
4.. I didn't have any breakfast prepared. 

What got me up and out of bed was the promise of a heartwarming pho for dinner. 

Note: if you ever want to motivate (or bribe) me, food is the way to go. 

I love eating out in Burwood as it is centrally located and has always been known for its electic mix of cuisines. You'll be sure to find a cuisine you love, be it Mediterranean or the chock-a-block full, Asian cuisine. 

What there is not a lot of in Burwood though is the good old Vietnamese staple,  pho. 

The good old pho, refreshing in summer and heart warming in winter, how can you go wrong? 
especially when Mint Pho promises wagyu beef pho! (Which I only spied after placing my order).


Monday, 23 June 2014

Candelori's Ristorante e Bar, Smithfield Relaunch Party

Did you know that Italian food is 3rd highest ranked favourite cuisines worldwide? 
Did you also know that you can get a delicious Italian feast outside of Leichhardt and harberfield? 

Well, you sure can at Candelori's at Smithfield, the locals here swear by their authentic Italian fare here.

did someone say mozarella?

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Ordering online: Menulog

Gone are the days of paper menus and calling up restaurants to place your orders.

I have to admit, so much has changed in the last 10 years, especially when it comes to communication, all to our own convenience of course. We can now see and hear people on the other side of the world with a click of a button and my baby nephew knows how to use the ipad and iphone than i do (yep sad, but it's true!)

I am glad to say that this technology has also been reciprocated to ordering food online. I can be pretty sometimes (too many fingers in too many pies!) so if i haven't had time to do any food prep over the weekend, I am often found ordering takeaway during the week. Whilst takeaway has the impression of being unhealthy, Menulog has captured a great variety of local restaurants that allow a range of cuisines delivered to your doorstep with a few clicks on the website or on their smartphone app.

Best of all, it is simple and quick!