Risotto

Pea and Spinach Risotto

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Recipe adapted from The Healthy Chef

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1L stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 500g green peas (frozen or fresh)
  • 4 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon juice

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute onion and garlic until softened.
  2. Add the rice and stir through for about a minute.
  3. Add 2 cups of stock and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until absorbed. Continue adding stock and then water, 1 cup at a time, waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before adding more.
  4. Blanch the peas for 1 minute in boiling water and then drain.
  5. Add half the peas into a high performance blender or food processor and puree with half the spinach until smooth. Combine the pea and spinach puree along with the whole peas and spinach into the risotto and stir through.
  6. Add parmesan, salt, pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice to taste.

Overall:

I don’t think I’ve ever made a risotto this green before! This risotto was creamy and light, and tasted almost too good to be healthy.

The Grand Hotel – Richmond

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The Grand Hotel in Richmond recently celebrated their 130th birthday and I was lucky enough to be invited along to take part in the festivities. The party started with drinks at the main bar and a quick glimpse at the Grand Dining Room. It is impressive to note that The Grand has been a winner of The Age Good Food Guide’s Chef Hat award nine times over the last decade, and is the only pub in Australia to consistently hold such a prestigious accolade. The Grand Dining Room is well known for their simple authentic Italian food which is served up by Michelin trained head chefs Federico Frigato and Mattia Aloisio.

Grand Hotel Richmond

After a while we were guided upstairs and encountered a smaller bar and three rooms. As we chatted, some enticing canapes came around. The first canape we sampled was cured ocean trout with citrus and berries, the second was poached veal tongue crostini with salsa verde and the third was tomato and basil bruschetta. All were very delicious!

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We were soon led into the Nesso room and was informed that the kitchen was down a chef and that we had to make our own dinner!

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So we each put on a T.Serafina apron, grabbed a rolling pin and began to roll out some clay.

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We then each received a beautiful piece of fresh Cone Bay barramundi and were told to be as creative as we liked in terms of flavouring this fish dish. I decided to go with potatoes, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olives, braised leeks, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Fish

Head chef Mattia Aloisio then instructed us on how to wrap up our barramundi so that it could be baked for our dinner. This whole process was so much fun and I couldn’t wait to taste my creation! We were then led into the Como room which had been stunningly transformed by event stylist The Three Piece Suit with stationary styled by Lauren Skorsis. And it was here where the incredible feasting began!

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Pepper Crusted Venison Carpaccio with Goat Cheese Mousse and Beetroot

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Agro Dolce Quail with Porcini Mushroom Puree, Brussel Sprouts, Quail Egg and Black Truffles

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Broad Bean, Pecorino and Mint Risotto

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Mortadella Cappelletti in Brodo

Fish Cooked

This was the moment we had all been waiting for! We made good use of our rolling pins and had a blast smashing these little terracotta parcels open!

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The result? Perfectly cooked barramundi that was delicate and moist, with a beautifully intense flavour. And as it turned out, the ingredients I added tasted fantastic in combination with the fish so I had a little bit of a ‘phew!’ moment after having my first bite.

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Caprese Palate Cleanser – basil, tomato, buffalo mozzarella

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Lemon Delizia – lemon parfait, almond crumble, limoncello gelee, candied lemons

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Candy Buffet

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A big thank you to Zomato and owners Barnie, Tiur, David and Katie for organising such an amazing night filled with spectacular food!

And finally if you sign up to become a Grand VIP member (which is free), you will receive a complimentary six course degustation dinner for your birthday! How amazing is that?

The Grand Hotel – Richmond

333 Burnley St, Richmond, VIC

(03) 8658 3459

http://www.grandrichmond.com.au/

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*Disclaimer: I dined as a guest of The Grand Hotel.

Mazzitelli

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Pan fried gnocchi with ricotta, napoli and mozzarella

The gnocchi itself was on the dense side however the sauce was light and full of flavour.

★★★☆☆

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Risotto with roast duck, porcini mushrooms and red wine

Delicious flavours, well cooked rice, super crispy duck, fabulous comfort food.

★★★★☆

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Layered eggplant lasagne with 24 month Grana Padano

I am a fan of eggplant and no doubt found this dish to be very tasty. If only there was a bit more eggplant and a bit less sauce.

★★★☆☆

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Cheese Board – Mauri Gorgonzola, Tallegio and Grana Padano served with house made fig and walnut toast

★★☆☆☆

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Buttermilk Panna Cotta with strawberry, basil and housemade biscotti

Light and creamy, slightly tart and yogurt-like from the buttermilk.

★★☆☆☆

Overall:

Fantastic service, warm intimate atmosphere, enjoyable Italian fare. Note that the pasta and risotto dishes here constantly change which means something new and exciting to try at every visit.

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Mazzitelli

144 Bridge Rd, Richmond, VIC

(03) 9427 1887

http://www.mazzitelli.com.au/

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Tipo 00

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House made focaccia with ricotta and basil oil

★★★☆☆

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Gnocchi di patate

(braised duck, porcini mushroom and pecorino pepato)

Perfectly textured gnocchi that was light, smooth and springy, while the duck and mushroom sauce was simply delicious .

★★★★☆

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Verdura

(green beans, snow peas, witlof, goats cheese and almonds)

★★★☆☆

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Riso carnaroli

(moreton bay bug risotto)

Well cooked risotto, strong distinguishable taste of moreton bay bug.

★★★★☆

Overall:

Named after the finely ground flour used to make pizza and pasta, Tipo 00 is a place that offers simple yet quality Italian fare. No wonder it was one of Melbourne’s best new restaurants of 2014 according to the Good Food guide. I highly recommend getting the chef’s menu which allows you to sample a delicious range of starters, pasta and dessert.

Tipo 00

361 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC

(03) 9942 3946

http://www.tipo00.com.au/

Tipo 00 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beletti Restaurant Cafe Bar

161 Lonsdale St, Dandenong 9793 1600

 

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Chai Latte

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Duck Risotto

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Linguine E Gamberi

 

Thoughts:

Chai Latte – when it comes to chai lattes, this place has always been highly ranked on my list. Perfect for those who like their chai lattes to be sweet, aromatic and not overly spicy = Excellent

Duck Risotto – a generous amount of oven roasted duck pieces cooked with arborio rice, mushrooms, peas (which the dish could have done without) and red wine sauce = Good

Linguine E Gamberi – a light and tasty combination of linguine, prawns, cherry tomatoes, onions, basil, rocket, olive oil, chilli and garlic = Good

 

Overall:

The food can sometimes be a hit or miss depending on what you order, but the chai latte is always good (for my taste anyway). The service is attentive and the decor quite elegant. Note that this place is in the Entertainment Book.

 

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Basilico

216 Blackburn Rd, Glen Waverley 9887 6288

 

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Al Salmone gourmet wood fired pizza

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Polpette Al Sugo (Meatballs) Risotto

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Belgian Dark Chocolate and Strawberry dessert pizza

Thoughts:

Al Salmone pizza – thin crispy pizza base topped with slices of tomato, cheese, salmon, finely chopped leek, fresh basil, spanish onion, spring onion and cracked pepper. There was a generous amount of salmon on this pizza which made it noticeably salty, however the sweetness from the leek and onion helped to balance this out = Good

Polpette Al Sugo Risotto – tender Italian meatballs in a Napoli sauce. The sauce itself was tasty but the risotto was unfortunately hard and undercooked = Not bad

Chocolate and Strawberry dessert pizza – thin crispy base topped with deliciously melted dark chocolate brownies, fresh strawberries and four massive scoops of sweet vanilla ice cream. The base was superb and the ample amount of topping was fantastic. Hands down the best dessert pizza that I have tasted so far! = Excellent

Overall:

Great pizzas (there is a large selection of gourmet wood fired pizzas to choose from as well as original wood fired pizzas), average service, casual family-friendly dining atmosphere. But seriously, come for the Chocolate and Strawberry dessert pizza!

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Tutto Bene

Shop M28 Southgate Plaza, Southbank 9696 3334

 

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Bread and olive oil

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Slider of the day

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Zucca risotto

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Anatra risotto

Thoughts:

Bread and olive oil – Tutto Bene’s very own brand of award winning olive oil is simply marvellous! Robust and fruity, the olive oil here is definitely something special and is even available for purchase = Excellent

Slider – crumbed scallops with celeriac and truffle = Good

Zucca – roasted butternut pumpkin, sage, crushed toasted walnuts and Taleggio. The sweetness of the pumpkin combined with the aromatic Taleggio cheese and the addition of walnuts for added crunch made this dish very enjoyable = Excellent

Anatra – organic duck, porcini mushroom and sage. Whenever I have risotto anywhere, I somehow always compare it to this one. With generous amounts of succulent duck, this simple dish is mouthwateringly delicious. My only concern is that it has become saltier these days than how it used to be (I must remember to tell them to add less salt next time), but I still love this dish anyway = Excellent

 

Overall:

The translation of Tutto Bene in Italian is “everything’s good” and it is a very fitting name for this restaurant. The food here is fantastic, particularly their risottos which are one of their house specialities. Be sure to also try their terrific in-house produced gelati (note that flavours vary from season to season). The service here is generally excellent, while the dark elegant decor and amazing views of the Melbourne city skyline provide a wonderful dining atmosphere.

 

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