After a productive week, a bottle of well-deserved Prosecco turned into 2 less justified bottles, which lead onto my first experience at ‘Revolver’. Great fries, electronic music (not really our thing but good music anyway), vodka tonics and to top it all off – a burger I had prepared earlier from Ben’s ‘Hamburger Gourmet’ book.
Saturday the sun was out so we enjoyed seeing a familiar face and alpaca at ‘Rose St Artists Market’. We had breakfast at ‘Grace Café’ – the perfect BRAT and baked eggs. A recovery afternoon followed before dinner with friends at ‘The Panama’ on Smith Street, which was a beautiful lofty space, impressive food but even more impressive cocktails, which we will be back to sample soon.
Sunday again the sun was shining so we enjoyed breakfast outside at ‘Richmond Hill Café and Larder’ and looking through books decided to try and find some courgette flowers from South Melbourne market for a fresh pasta dish that evening. Unfortunately they are not around any longer, October-April being the season to buy them in Australia. I had stuffed them with basil and ricotta in the summer but felt a shame we had not made better use of them whilst being around as they were delicious.
I had enjoyed having a garlic and chilli string in the kitchen for the past few months, not only because it looks nice but is handy and cost effective. Georgie, at ‘Georgie’s Harvest’ explained to us these are not yet ready to purchase, so we ended up with fennel bulbs, pomodoro tomatoes, pancetta, basil and some interesting pasta shapes I will cook with this week. I also bought some fresh olives, which I am curing myself – let you know how that goes.
Here is the dish I put together, feel free to add toasted crumbs to the spaghetti as you serve it up, for a bit of crunch.
Ingredients – To serve 2
- 2 small fennel bulbs
- About 30g butter
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- Pancetta (as much as you like) I used about 40g chopped into small squares. You could also use lardons, bacon or even sausage meat
- 4 large pomodoro tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- Fresh basil, about 1 handful
- Spaghetti or another pasta shape
First put the tomatoes in a pan of water so they are completely immersed and boil until the skins start to crack. Drain in a colander and leave to cool. Now wash the fennel bulb and remove the feathery leaves from the top and discard any tough outer layers. Heat the butter in a large frying pan, slice the fennel and cook in the butter until the edges start to brown, add a bit of olive oil if it starts to look dry. Add the garlic and fry this for about 2 minutes before adding the pancetta for a further 5 minutes or until it also starts to brown.
Peel the tomatoes and chop them before adding to the frying pan, adding pepper (the pancetta and salted spaghetti should be enough salt) and simmering whilst you bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the spaghetti. By the time the spaghetti is cooked, the sauce should be reduced to the right consistency so add the basil leaves and drain the spaghetti before tossing it in with the sauce and serving.
Here are links to the places we visited this weekend….