Jul 112011

I love Italian food.  I have a newly discovered passion for seafood.  Combine the two and I am one happy camper!

We were chatting with our B&B hosts in Launceston (from the lovely Kurrajong House) and of course I asked for recommendations for dinner.  Novaro’s was the first place Julie mentioned and she kindly offered to make a booking for us.

We arrived at 6.30pm (we’re early eaters) and by 7 the restaurant was turning people away.  I should add, it is quite cute and tiny, and it was a Wednesday night.  The hostess knows Julie and provides lovely service, although it does drop off a bit after a large group arrives.

It’s our honeymoon, so of course we are trying not to be too concerned about money.  The abalone is a novelty – neither J or I have ever tried it.  It’s served as an entree, thinly sliced with mushrooms and butter on linguine.  It adds a certain saltiness and texture to the dish, and the whole dish is tasty, but I must confess I don’t really see what all the hype is about.  I would have been equally as happy with just mushrooms!

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Our mains are fantastic – I have the prawn linguine and J has the seafood linguine.  The sauces are slightly different – one more chilli based, one more garlic I think but both are buttery and rich.  The seafood is fresh off the boat and generously portioned.

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I feel we had dessert, but my memory is failing me and I can’t find any photographic evidence.  I do remember some kind of complementary liqueur with the bill, which was a nice touch!

Novaro’s is a bit of a Launceston institution, and it’s easy to see why.  They aren’t reinventing the wheel when it comes to Italian food, but they are doing traditional food well.

Novaro’s Italian Restaurant
28 Brisbane St
Launceston, Tas
Ph: 03 6334 5589
Web:  www.novaros.com

Jun 032011

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I find kneading pizza dough exceptionally relaxing and a nice way to spend a few minutes on a Saturday afternoon.  My go to recipe is now this one from Jamie Oliver – it always rises, it makes heaps of dough (which can also be frozen), and it produces a beautiful crust.

I think pizza is misunderstood – it doesn’t have to have millions of toppings, it doesn’t have to be unhealthy, and it certainly doesn’t have to be difficult.  This is a bit of a different take on pizza, using lots of delicious vegetables.  The original recipe can be found here.  However, I found the end result to be slighly lacking, and to improve it I would recommend brushing the vegetables with some pesto, or even a combination of oil, honey and seeded mustard just after roasting – I think this would really take the dish to the next level.

May 312011

This is a small, busy Italian restaurant in Hobart.  A small word of warning – take your jacket if you need to go to the bathroom, as it’s outside and down a short flight of stairs – this proved to be quite chilly after the warm restaurant!  Also, bookings are virtually essential.

For our entree we had some great deep fried stuffed green olives (stuffed with some kind of meat?).

J then had slow cooked lamb shanks with confit tomatoes (conveniently taken off the bone before they reached us).

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I had beautiful fresh, light, crab ravioli – with confit tomatoes, basil and zucchini.  Confit tomatoes were a particular highlight – I must experiment!

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We finished the meal with a shared trio of gelati, but I’m afraid it did not rate as highly as the icecreams at Mecca Bah in Brisbane!  (try the apple, or the date).

Overall this was a great first night in Hobart.  To be honest though, in the major centres in Tasmania it seems it is hard to go more than a few blocks without tripping over another great restaurant.

Piccolo Restaurant and Wine Bar
323a Elizabeth St
North Hobart
Ph: 03 6234 4844

Mar 162011

I saw this a few weeks ago on Smitten Kitchen.  Never one to follow a recipe down to the letter, I made a few adaptations.  Particularly, instead of cream I subbed natural yoghurt, and I added some peas into the cooking pasta in the last few minutes.  I also threw in a leftover beef sausage, chopped up, for some extra protein and staying power.  It really is a ridiculously simple recipe but it has so much flavour.  It’s like a little lemon party in your mouth.  It’s light, yet still comfort food, and it made me very happy one Friday night.  I challenge you to order and pickup/have takeaway delivered in less time!

The recipe is here.  Make it.  You won’t be sorry.  And have a look around while you’re at it, check out her amazing photography skills and delightful dishes.

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Mar 062011

[singlepic id=196 w=500 h=333 mode=watermark float=center]Occasionally I am fortunate enough to get invited to special events in the Brisbane food scene.  Last night I attended the “relaunch” of dell’Ugo New Farm, hosted by the Robertiello family.

It was a sophisticated affair, where the drinks and canapes flowed.  The restaurant has recently been renovated and has the open and welcoming style of restaurants I visited in Italy.

Special mention goes to the Prosecco cocktail, with strawberries and mint.  It was refreshing, light and delicious, and looking around at my fellow guests, it seemed to be in high demand.   Another favourite was the polenta with porcini mushrooms and truffles – I stalked the waitress when she brought these out!  Rather than discussing the restaurant’s “signature dish”, we were all treated to a sample of Casarecce al ragu’ di carne mantecati con parmigiano – described on the menu as “Our signature rich meat ragu’ with home made Casarecce with tomato and basil”.

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The relaunch had a large cross-selection of people – there were fellow food bloggers, PR people, Italian nonna’s, family, friends, restaurateurs, and even Phillip Johnson, owner and local celebrity chef from E’cco Bistro.

I will be back for dinner and drinks soon dell’Ugo!  Thanks for the invite, and a great night.

Full disclosure: drinks and nibbles were complimentary.

Jul 232010

[singlepic id=108 w=500 h=333 mode=watermark float=left]  This is a lovely easy recipe and is beautiful with fresh green prawns.  It’s a great mid-week recipe because it’s quite quick to prepare, and the sauce is smooth and silky.  I think it’s a nice change from having a tomato based sauce.

This dish reminds me of an amazing scampi (small prawns) pasta we had in Venice.  We had visited the amazing fish markets in Venice earlier in the day and had heard good things about the seafood at this restaurant.  After some language confusion we were presented with an enormous serve of fresh, fragrant garlic and tomato scamp pasta.  It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, and it was so simple.  I’m still working on recreating the taste – it all turns upon the quality of your seafood.

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