Pig Pasta Bake & Caprese Salad……

Pig Pasta Bake & Caprese Salad……

Spring has finally arrived! This meal is a perfect way to mix comfort food with a fresh summer salad.

What you need:

  • Olive oil
  • 400g of chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 400g handfuls of mixed fresh mushrooms, cleaned and torn
  • 200ml white wine
  • 500g dried spaghetti
  • 500ml cream
  • 200g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 200g thick cut bacon cut into little cubes
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves

What you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Heat a saucepan big enough to hold all the ingredients, and pour in a splash of olive oil, once heated add the oil and bacon. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown them gently in the oil. Add the wine and mushrooms and turn the heat down. Simmer gently until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the wine has reduced a little.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water. Add the cream to the pan, then bring to the boil and turn the heat off. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the drained spaghetti to the creamy sauce and toss well. Add three-quarters of the Parmesan and all of the basil and stir well. Transfer to a ovenproof baking dish or non-stick pan, sprinkle with half the remaining cheese, a small bunch of basil leaves and bake in the oven until golden brown, bubbling and crisp. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese before serving.

While the pasta is in oven prepare the caprese salad. Slice tomatoes thickly and place a basil leave and piece of mozzarella and repeat until you complete a whole circle on a plate. Season with salt and drizzle with balsamic and olive oil.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Top 3: Brisbane’s Best Beef Pho….

Everyone loves a good soup. For me, I find them delicious but a little dainty. In my piggy opinion, if it doesn’t have meat or carbs, it is an entrée. So I love it when two desires for soup and sustenance are met in the form of a Vietnamese Pho. They are filling, light, wholesome, clean, warm, refreshing, spicy and good for you, what more could you want?  So if you live in Brisbane and feel like taking a little trip to Saigon via a soup I suggest you go for a beef Pho at one (or all) of these restaurants:

My Pho Bar

This is hands down the best pho I have ever had! I have no reason to ever go to, or near Jindalee other than to get my beef Pho fix. As the name suggests Pho’s are the specialty, you can get them with a variety of meats but I suggest you go the rare steak. Thinly sliced, raw lashings of beef are dropped into the hot soup right before they are served making them tender and perfectly cooked. They are served in a huge bowl big enough to feed an army but if you are feeling brave you can attempt the pho challenge which consists of a mammoth bowl with 800g of noodles, 800gm of meat and a couple of litres of soup. If you finish it within the hour you get it for free!

Shop 6, 19 Kooringal Dr, Jindalee, QLD 4074 – (07) 3376 9746

My Pho Bar on Urbanspoon

The Vietnamese

The interior of this place is about as bland as the name. But, what they lack in creativity and style they make up for in flavoursome food and serious bang for buck. You can get a small or large pho here, the small which is actually big will cost you only $9. It tastes delicious and is served with a side of bean shoots, Vietnamese mint, lemon and chilli, like all good phos should be. It is a popular place in the heart of China Town so you better book before your beef!

194 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006 – www.thevietnameserestaurant.com.au

The Vietnamese on Urbanspoon

Trang

This place is as popular as the pho is good. The food is ridiculously cheap and it is Brisbane’s worst kept secret. If you want to venture to West End for your pho fix I recommend you get there early, book or keep the table small if you want to get a seat. There is food coming out of the kitchen faster than Usain Bolt so you know it is fresh. Here you can get a huge pho for under $10 and it is BYO too… what more could you ask for?

Trang – 59 Hardgrave Rd, West End, QLD 4101 - 07 3255 1610

Trang on Urbanspoon

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig

Comfort Food at Comfort at My Table…..

Comfort at my table… pretty self-explanatory really. A brilliant cook/artist (Nims), who has a undenialble love for all things feminine and vintage wants people to feel comfortable at her tables. Well, its working! All the pigs around town are willing to put up with uncomfortable queues to taste her culinary creations, both on the plate and on the walls.

Amongst the industrial streets of Milton you can find this not-so-secret sanctuary filled with fresh flowers, kitsch furniture and the smell of freshly baked goods wafting throughout. The place is always bustling with girly girls, Paddington hipsters, ladies who gossip, and blokes and business men who seem to love the potions that are fit for the hungriest pigs!

The menu has all the traditional favourites with a unique twist, just like the cafe itself, and is conveniently divided into Sweet and Savory. Whenever I see ham on a menu I struggle to look past it, so without much hesitation I opted for the green eggs and ham. I was presented with thickly cut ham straight off the bone teamed with creamy scrambled eggs mixed with homemade pesto. And if that isn’t enough to tempt you, it also comes with a smokey tomato relish… perfection.

My fellow piglets were generous enough to let me do my “market research” and taste their dishes, which were a feast for the eyes as much as they were for the appetite. To my left I tasted the mushroom breakfast – sauteed mushrooms  topped with ricotta and grilled lemon, delicate and delicious. To my right I got to taste the savory mince… this is when the food envy set in. The spoon full of mince I tasted was like a party in my mouth, appropriately teamed with 2 fried eggs and sourdough toast, I definitely know what I am ordering next time.

The joy didn’t stop at the main course. Here you can find a range of different coffees, drinks and teas to start, finish or accompany your meal. May I suggest you start with the lemon in hot water, which is great for digestion and you will need it if you plan on finishing off your meal. Or, if you want to conclude with a cookie – there is an abundance of sweets in the cabinet, all freshly made in-house. I highly recommend you wear comfortable pants when you want to go to get comfortable at these tables.

The Bitter: It is busy…. long waits on weekends and when you finally get seated there is a long wait for food
The Sweet: These days tables are being replaces with milk crates, but here you have space to move and art to admire
The Damage: Huge meals for slightly less than average – you can get a meal and coffee for around $15.

Oink Oink,

Truffle Pig.

Shop 5,19-23 Cribb St - Milton, QLD 4064 - comfortatmytable.com.au

Comfort at My Table on Urbanspoon

Bean On Dean Scene………

Bean on Dean is a small little sanctuary and an ideal place to enjoy a perfectly brewed coffee and light bites in Brisbane’s western suburb of Toowong – an inner city area starved of decent places to enjoy a morning pick-me-up and a good quality meal. Bean on Dean has undoubtedly brought this dire little strip of shops to life and the pigs of Toowong (including myself) have welcomed Bean on Dean with open, caffeine-deprived arms.

Bean on Dean is the brain child of a mother and daughter team (Ashley and Tracy) who are as passionate about their coffee as they are about their art. The team here are as relaxed as the atmosphere… you’re welcome to stay for a coffee, a snack, a meal or you can just enjoy a sunny saturday with your dog by your side. Unlike many of Brisbane’s busy breakfast haunts, you won’t be shuffled away to make room for the next impatient piggy patron while you’ve barely swallowed the last spoon full of your scrambled eggs. They have done a brilliant job of accommodating all of Toowongs demographics – the ladies who catch up over cappuccino, the young professionals on-the-go and the hungover uni students looking for a filling feed.

Meals here are basic but brilliant and can be found on the “Lite Bites” menu. I have tried a few items, all of which hit the spot! Firstly I had the most popular item, the ‘Kerfuffle” which is sourdough topped with avocado, Danish feta, rocket, olive oil and balsamic on the side to taste, a combination done widely and not always done well, but they nailed it. On my second visit I went for another one of their gourmet toppings on toast –  sourdough piled with soft cheese, cured meat and rocket with beetroot relish on the side…. if you serve a slice of pig well, you have a loyal customer in me, hence why I keep coming back.

Despite being the perfect place to relax on a lazy morning, Bean on Dean pride and label themselves as an expresso bar, and they have an impressive bright green coffee machine to match the title. Although I am no expert in this department, I know a good coffee when I taste one, and I know they are great when I order 2, which I did. So if you are the i-don’t-have-time-to-dine-out type like many of their customers, you can grab a toastie or muffin to go to accompany your campos coffee in the mornings. Convenience, quirky and a can’t go wrong option.

The bitter: Not open on Sundays, probably when I need a coffee and breakfast close to home the most!

The sweet:  Quick, easy, friendly cheap and deeeeeelicious!

The damage: You can get a perfect coffee, a tasty meal and an art exhibition for under $20

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

45 Dean street Toowong, QLD 4066 - (07) 3870 5445

Bean on Dean on Urbanspoon

Truffle Pig Bolognese………

Cows and pigs are barn yard friends and are even better friends in a big bowl of bolognese! I have finally mastered the perfect bolognese sauce, which tastes even better the next day (they aways do).

What you need:

  • 250g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • 1.5 brown onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Dried oregano & basil
  • 4 brown swiss mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 800g crushed tomatoes
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 3 table spoons of tomato paste
  • Good quality parmesan
  • Pasta either tagatelli or spaghetti

What you need to do:

  • Add the onion and garlic into a heated pot with a splash of olive oil and let them sweat
  • Add the veggies, herbs, tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato pasta
  • Fry the bacon and brown the mince before adding to the sauce
  • Cook the sauce for as long as possible on a low heat, stirring occasionally for the best flavour
  • Cook the pasta, preferably good quality pasta from the markets
  • Season the sauce to taste before stirring the sauce through and topping it off with basil and parmesan

*Tip: add a big pile of spinach on top save yourself making a salad, it tastes delightful!

Think your bolognese is better than mine? Send me your recipe so I can test it myself.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.