Friday, 22 June 2012

Ristorante New Station, Trastevere, Rome

This was a bit of a mixed bag of a meal. We wanted something near to our apartment and this was only 1 stop on the tram and seemed to be well regarded on Trip Advisor. We arrived at about 8 and being as most Italians don't eat til about 9pm it was a bit quiet to being with, but slowly filled up with locals as we ate.
We had a glass of prosecco each, (only 3 euro a glass and it was really good!), I chose the tonarelli (square shaped freshly made pasta like spaghetti) carbonara and mr the rigatoni alla norma. The carbonara was unfortunately unbearably salty and I didn't enjoy it - the rest was cooked just fine with crispy guanciale (like pancetta but not smoked and made from a pork cheeks) and the pasta was really fresh. A shame.

Mr's dish was beautiful however as I had serious envy. The rigatoni was in a smokey tomato sauce with chargrilled aubergine and courgette and sprinkle with a sharp hard goats cheese.

We also couldn't pass up pudding, an excellent authentic tiramisu and a little chocolate pudding with a melting chocolate heart and vanilla cream.
So I would say do go here but avoid the carbonara. The whole meal came to €36 which was a bargain.

New Station
Via Giuseppe Parini, 4
Trastevere, Rome

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Thursday, 21 June 2012

De Spar

Bit of a random one here but I am quite impressed at all the good food the Italian branches of Spar stock.

We stopped off after a long day of sightseeing and filled up on sourdough, pizza Bianca, pizza Rosso, fresh local peaches, mozzarella, smoked cheese and some excellent olives. I was also impressed that they sell courgette flowers there. And in most  other supermarkets in Rome - even the tiny ones attached to train stations.

Oh and we also bought some tea bags because we were having tea withdrawal. Doesn't quite taste the same as the stuff back home though...

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Pizza Florida, Rome

Another day another pizza!

We first tried to find La Renella in Trastevere but failed miserably, only to find out later (via Google) when we looked it up that we walked it past it a million times, and the words La Renella are obscured by ivy. So we will return there later.

So, we decided to carry on into the centre and find something on our way to the Colosseum. Just opposite out tram stop I spotted Pizza Florida which I'd also read about, hungry and a bit sheepish after the previous mishap we made a beeline.

There was so much choice, it is quite hard to figure out what you want. We both chose a white base pizza. Mr the potato, cheese and 'tartufo' truffle and me the mozzarella proscuitto. Both with the trade mark crispy crispy base and fluffy middle generous with topping. Both cost us about 6 Euros, bargain.

We strolled towards the colosseum pizza in hand quite happy to have saved our pizza fortunes.

Pizza Florida
Via dei Florida, 25

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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Best Cappuccino Ever? Sant'Eustachio cafe, Rome

This is the best cappuccino both of us has ever had. The service may have been slightly rude and we did have to pay I think probably 1 euro more to have it outside at a table but it was totally worth it.

As the name suggests it is on Piazza di Sant'Eustachio, just near Piazza Navona. You can buy the beans to takeaway too, which I wish I had done. But we did come away with some beans from Tazza d'or which also made a decent (not the best) coffee.

Sant'Eustachio Caffe
Piazza di Sant'Eustachio

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San Crispino Gelato, Rome

I've decided to blog on the go from Rome, using the blogger app which I hope will work ok. This also means I'll write all the details down when I still remember them!

Today, our second day in Rome, we visited the San Crispino gelateria near to the Trevi Fountain. Written about in all the guidebooks I've read and several blogs.

From the picture you can see it is pretty hard to tell it is a gelateria, we walked past it trying to find it. It is on a small street, it definitely pays to walk a few streets away from the main attraction to get better food

I chose the hazelnut meringue and the honey gelato flavour, whilst mr went for the pistachio and the caramel meringue. Four euros for two scoops which is pretty dear but it was excellent, especially the meringue flavours.

There was a sign up saying if you fly from Fiumicino airport you can buy tubs to take back, in special containers to prevent melting. Shame we are going from Ciampino!

We're going to try Giolitti later in the week which I think is just one shop rather than a small chain like San Crispino. Our host tells us Michelle Obama is also a fan. ;)

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Friday, 15 June 2012

"white" pizza revisited

I found a recipe in Olive magazine for courgette and ricotta pizza which inspired me revisit my white pizza recipe.

The base was first spread with ricotta mixed in with crushed garlic and seasoning. Then very finely sliced courgette (a mandolin is good here, or the slightly ineffective slicer thing on a grater), black olives, basil and a little sprinkling of parmesan. It was gorgeous, less heavy than tomato + mozzarella and the perfect summer recipe.

We're growing some (pretty sad looking) courgette plants this year so I'm hoping to recreate this again with our homegrown yellow courgettes, if they grow.

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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Saffron Ice Cream Company

The Saffron Ice Cream Company are a small business not to far from me making fantastic ice cream from a little barn in the wilds of North West Essex. I thought I'd do a little shout out for these guys and my local readers! They have a regular slot at the Saffron Walden market on a Saturday and I've also seen their ice cream being sold in the Eight Bells pub and also my favourite new tea room, Teacake in Shepreth.

The focus is on mainly locally produced ingredients and seasonal flavours. They have a 'seasonal flavour chart' which tells you when the different flavours are produced depending on the time of year, which is such a brilliant idea, I love it. Right now Henham Honey & Lavender and Summer Strawberries & Cream are in season. They also have year round mainstays - Chocolate, Vanilla and Ginger. And even better the ice creams are produced without any horrible preservatives that you can't pronounce.

If you spot them on your travels I urge you to try them out, they sell little and big tubs at the market, and also at these farm shops in Cambridgeshire.

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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

We're Going To Rome..

a picture of coffee seemed apt, 
this was actually a shockingly bad cup in a cafe in London, hoping for much better in Rome. 

This time next week we'll have just landed in Rome and all ready for a much needed holiday.

I'd love some recommendations from my readers of places to go, and very much more importantly, places to eat. We're staying in the Trastevere area which seems to be the place to be for interesting shops and restaurants.

Any tips gratefully received. :)

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Sunday, 3 June 2012

My Favourite Tea

Tea is very important to me, whilst I do drink coffee I am a tea drinker at heart. Since going to my first Secluded Tea Party I have been broadening my tea horizons a lot. A 'normal' cup of black tea with milk is my staple and early morning wake up call but I have lots of different kinds in my kitchen which all serve different purposes. Peppermint, rooibos, rhubarb and custard, earl grey, lady grey, chai...

So I though I'd do a little run down of my favourite tea and tea companies, there are lots of independent tea companies around making some great blends.

Rhubarb & Custard by Tea Box Online

One of the first teas I tried in the quest to broaden my tastes. This is a rooibos tea with rhubarb and sunflower, it is naturally sweet - works with or without milk.

I am drinking a cup of this right now. Good if you like a traditional cuppa, it is caffeine rich so good for an afternoon slump or for keeping you alert whilst writing blog posts! I also bought their Tea & Biscuits multi-pack which is a great way to introduce yourself to all their range, and they are a really ingenious gift idea for tea lovers.

Shout out for a local company! Kandula Tea are based in Cambridge, their loose leaf and tea gems are stocked in lots of local delis and shops in and around the city. 
I've just placed a big order from Kandula for peppermint, pink ceylon (which is actually pink, lovely) and English breakfast. Their chai tea is just gorgeous. I tried some as recommended with some chocolate, they go so well together. The loose leaf blend (and the tea gems) come with real whole spices in it and it tastes really fresh instead of the usual musty chai you get. Really looking forward to receiving my order.

Pukka are an independent tea company but slightly bigger than the others I've featured, they have about 40 staff and they sell health food products as well as a great range of teas. Their teas are available in most supermarkets in lots of different flavours. Their three mint tea is one of my regular cuppas, I drink peppermint a few times a day and this one is the most minty of the teas you can buy in mainstream shops. They have loads of different flavours which I want to try, and also I am a sucker for their lovely packaging. 

Hope you enjoyed my tea round up, what is your favourite tea? Do you have any other independent tea companies to recommend? 

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