Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: RED VELVET

Arabela, Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop

Hello Everyone! Finally we are back on track with Review Sundays! It’s been a while hasn’t it? Anyway today’s review will be on a popular Italian Restaurant on the little streets of Liliw, well known as the shoe and flipflop capital of the province and the Southern Luzon area. The first time I visited Liliw was back in 2010 if I am not mistaken. My cousin introduced this place to me while my family and I were visiting his place in Lucena. I don’t remember how many pairs of shoes I bought for myself, but I’m guessing that we had at least 3 or 4 pairs of shoes/flipflops each between the 4 of us for under ₱1,500 (approx. AUD$44)! After shoe shopping, we’d head on over to Arabela for lunch. This has since become a must do every time we come down to Lucena to visit my cousin and my family; in 2010, 2012, and our recent March 2015 trip. Since our last visit in 2012, Arabela changed the look and colours of their interior from, if I’m not mistaken, pastel green to orange. They still kept their low ceiling which is what I love about this place – it makes me feel tall! People who are just a tad bit taller than me would have to bend over while walking around the restaurant, and be cautious when standing up from their table if they have forgotten how low the ceiling is.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop
Just for a reference, my sister who is standing up straight is about 5’2″

But before I begin, here’s a little history on Arabela:

Bobby and Antonette Camello, husband and wife, owners of Arabela, named after their two daughters: Ara & Bela, started in 2002 with literally two tables. Back then, the two tables were not intended to be used by customers, but instead used for selling pasta dishes & pastries to buyers within the neighbourhood. The couple were then inspired to set up a formal food business as they gained an increasing number of customers that keep on coming back. The business, transformed into a coffee shop/restaurant, opened in October 23, 2003 with 5 tables, a seating capacity of 15 persons, and a capital of ₱100,000. From there it grew beyond the owner’s expectations, and today Arabella can accommodate up to 40 persons with an array of dishes to choose from – steaks, pizza, pasta, pastries, coffee, blended drinks, and more. Arabela has earned its publicity through word of mouth and personal blogs on the internet which were all unsolicited. To date, they have been able to maintain their character and uniqueness – the ambience and of course the good food.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - SPECIALTY DRINKS: STRAWBERRY FRAPPÉ, RIPE MANGO & STRAWBERRY SHAKE
SPECIALTY DRINKS: STRAWBERRY FRAPPÉ (₱120.00), RIPE MANGO (₱100.00), & STRAWBERRY SHAKE (₱100.00)

An array of fresh fruit shakes, smoothies, and drinks to choose from on their menu; I went for the ripe mango fresh fruit shake and it was very refreshing even though it was a rainy day.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - FRESH SALAD: CEASAR SALAD
FRESH SALAD: CEASAR SALAD
Romaine leaves with bacon (₱200.00)

This was also a starter dish that we shared amongst ourselves alongside the four cheese pizza. A good dish, but again nothing too special – nothing quite stood out to me to really praise the dish for it great flavour.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - PIZZA: FOUR CHEESE XL
PIZZA: FOUR CHEESE XL
Mozarella, red cheddar, romano & parmesan (₱325.00)

A great dish to kick off our feast at Arabela, but in my opinion there wasn’t anything special about the taste, I mean it’s just a four-cheese pizza.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - PASTA (PASTA IN WHITE SAUCE): FETTUCCINE WITH HAM & MUSHROOM
PASTA (PASTA IN WHITE SAUCE): FETTUCCINE WITH HAM & MUSHROOM (₱100.00)

This was a dish that my cousin ordered, and when it came to her, she showed the plate to me and gave me a sad look – I understood her pain. It was a massive deep dish, that made the pasta look tiny and underwhelming. I’m not sure if it filled her up, but it certainly wouldn’t have filled me up! Even though I didn’t taste this dish, it looked quite plain.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): FISH IN WHITE WINE
HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): FISH IN WHITE WINE
Dory fish fillet cooked in white wine sauce serve with pasta (₱220.00)

From the menu, my mom wanted a pasta dish, and knowing her preferences, I ordered this for her. She prefers olive oil-based dishes as well as fish – so this was the perfect pick for her. At first glance, it almost looks like they overdid the garlic just a bit too much; garlic slices tossed through the pasta and minced garlic on top of the fish? Yeap, that’s quite a bit! Other than that, the fish was cooked well, still moist on the inside, but again nothing quite special.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): VONGOLE
HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): VONGOLE
Clam in olive oil with garlic (₱230.00)

This was the dish thAT I had, and at first I didn’t want to order this dish because I can make a good vongole myself; but nothing else in the menu stood out to me. Vongole for roughly AUS$6.00? That’s value for money there as the dish had a generous amount of baby clams! Taste was good, but again nothing too special for me.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (TOMATO BASED): SHRIMP POMODORO
HOUSE SPECIALS (TOMATO BASED): SHRIMP POMODORO
Pieces of shrimp with pomodoro sauce (₱230.00)

This dish I only got to taste a bit of, and I can’t remember what it tasted like so I asked my sister. She said that it was a bit salty for her liking (she finds everything she eats salty anyway so it’s hard to trust what she says), and that she didn’t like the biscotti because it was too thick for her liking (I liked it).

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (CREAM BASED): SIRLOIN FETTUCCINE
HOUSE SPECIALS (CREAM BASED): SIRLOIN FETTUCCINE
Strips of sirloin in fettuccine sauce (₱210.00)

I ordered this dish for my other sister because I’ve never heard of sirloin fettuccine before. I imagined a nice char-grilled sirloin steak, striped and tossed through a classic fettuccine in creamy white sauce – but no, it looked like boiled(?) strips of sirloin garnished on top of an ordinary plate of fettuccine.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK PORK 2PCS
HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK PORK 2PCS
Served with mixed vegetables and mashed potato or rice (₱200.00)

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK BEEF 2PCS
HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK BEEF 2PCS
Served with mixed vegetables and mashed potato or rice (₱230.00)

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (ANGUS BEEF): MESS OF SIRLOIN
HOUSE SPECIALS (ANGUS BEEF): MESS OF SIRLOIN
Served with rice and mixed vegetables (₱200.00)

The three dishes that you just saw above I cannot comment on the taste just because my uncle and my cousins had these dishes. I saw the disappointment in my cousin’s face when his food arrived to the table – two tiny pieces of ribs for a person who could probably eat a whole rack of ribs for a meal. He had to order another rib dish to feel satisfied enough. But just by looking at the three dishes above, they don’t really look that appetising to me.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: CHOCO LAVA
DESSERTS: CHOCO LAVA (₱110.00)

Probably my favourite out of the two desserts we shared – the cake was definitely molten and very rich in chocolate goodness.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: RED VELVET
DESSERTS: RED VELVET (₱135.00)

I am a huge fan of red velvet; I even made this cake for my birthday last year and it’s not that I’m being cocky or anything, but mine was definitely better. This cake was a bit dry and crumbly for my liking and the taste was average. The thing that was appealing about this was the design on the plate that surrounded the cake, or as my mom referred to it “the placemat.”

Most of the pasta (and even meat dishes) portion sizes were really small; maybe I’m just used to seeing bigger portions of food having lived and dined in and about Sydney for the past 4 years. Then I look at the price and I thought, yes, it makes sense now why the portions are relatively small – think approximately $3.00-$6.00 Australian dollars on average per meal from this restaurant.

You may have also realised that I’ve said for many of the dishes above that they weren’t anything special in terms of overall flavour; I don’t want this post to appear biased and end up being a comparison between Arabela’s menu to others that I’ve had in Sydney because in my eyes, Arabela cannot compare. So I’ve asked my sisters and my mom to give a fair and honest rating for the food, and they gave an average score of 4.6 out of 10. My mom said: “[the food is] very simple, nothing special, but for local Filipino’s, it’s probably something special for them because Arabela is the only of its kind within the area.” Which is very true because from what my cousin has said, a lot of the foreigners come to dine at Arabela, and every time we’ve been, we’ve had to queue up for a table. Ambience though is a sure 8/9 out of 10; like I mentioned above I find the low-ceiling concept quite a unique dining experience. Service: 8/9 out of 10 as well. Value for money is arguable in terms that for us it is affordable, but for an average Filipino on an average/below average income, this place is probably too fancy for them.

Arabela, Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop
503 Rizal Street
Liliw, Laguna
Philippines, 4004

– Ally xx

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Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Hello Everyone! Before I begin, I would like to dedicate this post to my little sister April who would’ve been 17 years old today. She unfortunately showed no signs of life when she was born.

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Today, I am finally ending this short pizza series on a high with this pizza recipe from SORTED Food. I’ve been wanting to give this recipe a go for a very long time and I’m glad that I’ve managed to cross this off my list of things to make, and will continue to make over and over again. So, during the process of making this dessert pizza, there is one step where you have to place the pizza in the oven with the Nutella spread and hazelnuts to bake before adding the berries on top. When I took the pizza out to do this, I saw that the Nutella started caramelising. I stupidly, without thinking, put my finger in the Nutella spread because I wanted to know whether it has hardened… And I burnt my finger. My first reaction (of course) was to quickly put it in my mouth… And thus I also burnt my tongue. Well done Allison. Well done indeed. Other than this little stupidity of mine, the pizza was a success. The flavours were on point and that mascarpone cheese to top it off was pretty amazing.

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Of course you may use other berries as well, those that are in season wherever you are in the world. Fresh or frozen, it doesn’t matter. I really wanted to try it with boysenberries since I absolutely LOVE them. I saw punnets of them on the shelves at Coles a few times during December-January time. But by the time I came around to making this pizza, the berries were off the shelf and they didn’t even have any frozen ones *sob*.

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 8-10 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

  • Classic New York Style Pizza Dough Recipe
  • 1 punnet (125g) blackberries
  • 1 punnet (125g) blueberries
  • 1 punnet (125g) raspberries
  • 1 punnet (125g) strawberries, sliced
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Roasted hazelnuts
  • Mascarpone Cheese
  • Nutella

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Place your pizza stone in the oven as well to heat it up.
  2. Roll out your dough to a circle the same size as your pizza stone on a lightly floured surface as thick or thin as you want.
  3. Brush around the edge with a little water, then create a wall of raspberries all the way around. Fold the edge over the raspberry wall and seal it in by pressing down on the damp dough to form a stuffed crust.
  4. Spread a thin (or if you are that type, a generous) layer of Nutella onto the dough and top with the roasted hazelnuts (place them in to oven for about 5-6 minutes if your hazelnuts are raw). Don’t forget to lick your spoon, or whatever utensil that you used to spread the Nutella with, clean!
  5. Carefully remove the stone from the oven and quickly slide the pizza over the top of the stone. Place it back in the oven and bake for about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and top the pizza with the berries and bake in the oven for a further 3-4 minutes or until cooked all the way through. It should not take more than 10 minutes in total.
  6. Remove from the oven and top with mascarpone cheese and fresh mint leaves.

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Garlic & Rosemary Pizza

Garlic & Rosemary Pizza

Hello Everyone! Sorry for the lack of updates on the blog! I did say in the last post or so perhaps that I’d be travelling during this time and that I was unsure of whether I’d have, not so much the time, but more the internet connection to be able to post updates for you guys – and that’s exactly what happened! The first week of my trip I was staying in Sta. Maria Bulacan where my grandmother is currently residing has no wi-fi connection. I am now in Lucena at my cousin’s place with internet!

Garlic & Rosemary Pizza Ingredients

3 pizzas down and just 1 more to go after this recipe. I prepared this post and the next even before I left for holidays, but as I said, I didn’t have the connection. Today I have a very simple pizza recipe for you. The first time I had this pizza was back home in Brunei at a restaurant called Fratini’s. I was with my Mom and two younger sisters at that time for a 50% off dinner promotion during the month of fasting for Muslims known as Ramadhan. If I’m not mistaken (since I am talking about several years ago), we ordered their winning dish Linguine Fratini which was quite a hefty dish, but sharing that between 4 people was not enough; just. So we decided that we wanted to order a pizza too, to share, but nothing to hefty as the pasta dish. So the waiter/waitress at the time recommended the garlic and rosemary pizza, which we ended up ordering at the end. When it came to the table, I was actually quite shocked. “Where’s the sauce?” I asked myself. Everything that I knew about what pizza was meant to be, stuffed crust, tomato sauce, and cheesy goodness, all gone. But when I had a slice of that pizza, I was in heaven. It was like garlic bread, but in pizza form. It was delicious that I didn’t even want to share the pizza with anyone else!

My pizza came out a little too tan for my liking, and didn’t really have the same flavour I experienced back then. It was nonetheless still tasty, however I think I overdid the salt a wee-bit too much.

Garlic & Rosemary Pizza Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 8-10 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients to a small bowl and let it sit for about 30 minutes to an hour for the fresh garlic and rosemary leaves to macerate in the olive oil.
  2. Preheat oven to 220C. Place your pizza stone in the oven as well to heat it up.
  3. Roll out your dough to a circle the same size as your pizza stone on a lightly floured surface as thick or thin as you want. Then drizzle the olive oil mixture over the top of the dough.
  4. Carefully remove the stone from the oven and quickly slide the pizza over the top of the stone. Place it back in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked all the way through. It should not take more than 15 minutes in total.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve with any sort of pasta dish as a side!

Garlic & Rosemary Pizza

Garlic & Rosemary Pizza

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Smoked Salmon Pizza

Smoked Salmon Pizza

Hello Everyone! This pizza was actually the last pizza I made before flying off, so it was basically a pizza with anything I had left in the fridge to top it off with (except for the smoked salmon though, I bought that especially for this pizza). I have a few others up my sleeve but I haven’t had the chance to try them out. Maybe I’ll do another pizza series later on in the year when I get around to making them again.

If you read my very first post on the pizza series, you would’ve read somewhere that I was inspired to make my own pizzas from a DIY pizza night that my friend Tara held for her birthday last year. I made sort of the similar thing as tonights post. What I had planned was to do another stuffed crust pizza recipe, but I realised, once I had lined the walls of the pizza and sealed it, the dough that I rolled out was too thin in the middle. So what I ended up doing was folding the dough back in and instead of it being a stuffed crust pizza base, I incorporated the mozzarella cheese into the dough.

Smoked Salmon Pizza

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Place your pizza stone in the oven as well to heat it up.
  2. Roll out your dough to a circle the same size as your pizza stone on a lightly floured surface as thick or thin as you want.
  3. Top with a handful of mozzarella cheese and fold the dough in again to incorporate the cheese into the dough. Or, if you prefer a stuffed crust, brush around the edge with a little water, then create a wall of the mozzarella cheese all the way around. Fold the edge over the mozzarella wall and seal it in by pressing down on the damp dough to form a stuffed crust.
  4. Spread a thin layer of sauce onto the dough. Be very careful not to overdo the sauce; if you use too much sauce, it’ll be too rich and also will bubble over the pizza and burn. A quarter cup to a third is just about right per pizza.
  5. Top the pizza with the bocconcini, capers, and red onion. If these aren’t quite to your fancy, then get creative and top your pizza with your favourite toppings.
  6. Carefully remove the stone from the oven and quickly slide the pizza over the top of the stone. Place it back in the oven and bake for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and top the pizza with the smoked salmon. Then put it back in the oven for a further 2-3 minutes or until cooked all the way through. It should not take more than 15 minutes in total.
  7. Remove from the oven and top with fresh rocket leaves and chilli flakes before serving.

Smoked Salmon Pizza

Smoked Salmon Pizza

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Anchovies & Capers Pizza

Anchovies & Capers Pizza

Hello Everyone! To kick off the week, we have something that might not fit people’s fancy. Yes, you read the title right, ANCHOVIES. I know a lot of people hate anchovies, in fact I heard from my manager while she was doing research for her client that there is even a ‘National Pizza with Everything (except Anchovies) Day’ which falls on the 12th of November. Both my manager and I found this ridiculous because we both love us some anchovies. If you too are part of the haters club, then just substitute the anchovies in this recipe for something else.

Anchovies & Capers Pizza

The links to the pizza dough and white-based pizza sauce is linked below in the ingredients list. Now, if you’re like me and don’t have a peel (a shovel-like tool used by bakers to slide loaves of bread, pizzas, and other baked goods into and out of an oven), then make sure that you roll out your pizza dough onto baking paper to ease in transferring the pizza onto the pizza stone.

Anchovies & Capers Pizza Ingredients

Anchovies & Capers Pizza

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Place your pizza stone in the oven as well to heat it up.
  2. Roll out your dough to a circle the same size as your pizza stone on a lightly floured surface as thick or thin as you want.
  3. Brush around the edge with a little water, then create a wall of the mozzarella cheese all the way around. Fold the edge over the mozzarella wall and seal it in by pressing down on the damp dough to form a stuffed crust.
  4. Spread a thin layer of sauce onto the dough. Be very careful not to overdo the sauce; if you use too much sauce, it’ll be too rich and also will bubble over the pizza and burn. A quarter cup to a third is just about right per pizza.
  5. Top the pizza with anchovies, bocconcini, capers, cherry tomatoes, chilli flakes, and olives. If these aren’t quite to your fancy, then get creative and top your pizza with your favourite toppings.
  6. Carefully remove the stone from the oven and quickly slide the pizza over the top of the stone. Place it back in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked all the way through. It should not take more than 15 minutes in total.
  7. Remove from the oven and top with fresh rocket leaves before serving.

Anchovies & Capers Pizza

Anchovies & Capers Pizza

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

White Pizza Sauce

White Pizza Sauce

Hello Everyone! Before we knuckle down to the pizza business, I just want tot cover one more basic recipe. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t discriminate when it comes to pizza toppings, but there are times when I can’t stand tomato-based sauce spreads on my pizza. Most of the time I don’t mind, but there are times when I prefer not to have them and I don’t have a clear definition to explain why. It might be the flavour? Too acidic at times for me perhaps?

White-based sauces can never go wrong for me, which is why you’ll notice in a few of the upcoming pizza recipes, I stuck to a white-based pizza sauce. The recipe is very simple and basic. There’s nothing difficult about it other than getting the balance of flavours right. Get creative and spice it up the way you want to! The original recipe, along with a pizza topping recipe, can be found at Macheesmo. I was actually out of plain flour at the time I made this sauce, and since I was at that time flying off in a week’s time, I wasn’t bothered to buy a whole 1 kilo bag for just a tablespoon’s worth. So I used what I had… Wholemeal flour!

White Pizza Sauce Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | MAKES SAUCE FOR 3-4 REGULAR-SIZED PIZZAS

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large red onion, minced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp plain (or wholemeal) flour
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, bring the heat down to low and add the minced onions. Cook and soften the onions a bit, but don’t brown them. Have a little patience and let the onions cook low and slow until they are translucent.
  2. Then add in the minced garlic and cook for a few more seconds, followed by the flour which will help thicken the sauce. Be careful not to over cook the flour or your sauce won’t thicken correctly. Stir it around for about a minute or two.
  3. Slowly pour the cream over the flour mixture while constantly stirring or whisking to avoid the forming of lumps.
  4. Once all the cream in stirred in, let the sauce simmer for a few minutes until it thickens. It should be the consistency of a light gravy. Season it with a pinch of salt, pepper, fresh thyme, and done!

Let the sauce cool down to room temperature before saucing your pizza. If you have any left overs, you can store it in a fridge and it will keep fine for a few days. You may find that it will solidify; don’t freak out. It’ll turn back into a sauce once in the oven.

White Pizza Sauce

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Classic New York Style Pizza Dough

Classic New York Style Pizza Dough

Hello Everyone! It been a while since I last posted, and I had my reasons for that. If you aren’t following my page on Facebook, then you would’ve missed out on the announcement I made over there. I decided to take two weeks off as during those past weeks I was busy finishing up a submission so that I can hopefully graduate from my degree, finalising my packing (seriously packing up 4 years of your life was a pain), and travelling to two countries altogether in that span of two weeks. I’ve finally settled down in my hometown Brunei and have a whole lot of recipes lined up for the next month. During this time I will also be travelling so I do apologise if things aren’t running as smoothly as it was before.

Classic New York Style Pizza Dough

Before I left the beautiful city of Sydney, I had been firing up the oven and creating a few homemade pizzas. So for the next two weeks on the blog, I will be covering these recipes, kicking off with how to make your own basic pizza dough! Now, if you don’t have a pizza oven, you can still make pizzas in a regular oven. It is highly recommended that you get a pizza stone as well if you want to cook them in the oven so that your pizza cooks all the way through without taking forever to do so.

I was inspired to try out making my own range pizzas from the lovely Tara; she celebrated her birthday last year with a DIY pizza night at her place. And the pizzas that came out of the oven that night were to die for! I simply had to do a repeat – all for myself that is! *cheeky grin* Anyway, this simple pizza dough recipe should be able to make one large pizza or two small pizzas. Also, you can find the original recipe that I followed on American Food.

Classic New York Style Pizza Dough Ingredients

PREP TIME 2 HOURS 35 MINS | COOKING TIME | MAKES DOUGH FOR 2 REGULAR-SIZED PIZZAS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 & 1/2 cups bread and pizza flour, plus 1/2 cup extra
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (not hot!)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
  • 1/2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 & 1/4 tsp instant dry active yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Start by adding the water, yeast, and sugar, and a 1/2 cup of the flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir well and let it sit for at least 20 minutes to proof. The mixture should become bubbly, if not then your yeast is probably dead and you will have to start your mixture all over again. To check if your yeast is still alive, proof it first by using the same ingredients excluding the flour.
  2. Then, add in the olive oil, salt, and the remaining 2 cups of flour, and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it is together enough to turn out onto a lightly floured work surface to knead.
  3. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, while adding more flour a little at a time. The dough should be soft, elastic and slightly sticky dough. Add just enough flour to keep it from sticking to the work surface as you knead.
  4. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Drizzle a few drops of oil and coat the top of dough to prevent the surface from becoming dry. Place a kitchen towel over the bowl and place in a warm spot for 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
  5. Punch down the dough and divide into 2 balls. Place in large zip lock plastic bags and refrigerate overnight.
  6. When ready to use, remove from fridge, and let the dough come up to room temperature before using.

Classic New York Style Pizza Dough

Classic New York Style Pizza Dough

Classic New York Style Pizza Dough

Stay tuned for the next upcoming two weeks for some easy pizza toppings that are sure to please either yourself or a crowd! Likewise, you can get creative yourself and come up with your favourite flavour combinations to top your own pizza now that you’ve got the dough down.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pastabella - PRIMI (PASTA): CARBONARA

Pastabella

Hello Everyone and hello to an all new Review Sunday! I’ve visited Pastabella twice now; the first time was for Marissa’s birthday dinner at the beginning of this month, and the second time was two nights ago when I caught up with my friend Rowena from back home. Both times did not disappoint; the food was absolutely amazing and the dining experience was taken to the next level with great company.

Pastabella is an Italian restaurant that is all about fresh house-made pasta and wood fired pizza. Now it may not have the best looking ambience in comparison to the other cafés and restaurants on the same street, but it had a homely feel to it. The inside space was like sitting down in your own dining room, while the outside space felt like your backyard or patio area.

There is this man, a cheerful guy he is, who I believe may quite possibly be the owner of Pastabella, greeted us with a smile, a cheeky joke and a laugh, which I thought was quite pleasant because it set the mood for us. I absolutely hate it when you’re greeted with snotty and unpleasant waiters/waitresses, but no, none at Pastabella! You could easily joke around with this man as well and he even returned the favour. When he served us, he asked “who ordered the spachatella?” I raised my hand and he placed the dish in front of me. He then asked “and who ordered the gamberi?” I mean, I was with one other person at that time so it was obviously Rowena’s dish. Nonetheless I responded by saying “I think someone inside ordered this” while I tried to point through the glass windows at a table inside. He the responded by saying “oh okay” and took about two steps away from our table, then quickly turned around, laughed, placed the dish in front of Rowena, and said “she’s a cheeky one isn’t she?” Golden. There were many other funny encounters but I’ll end up writing a whole paragraph or two more about that!

Pastabella - PRIMI (PASTA): BOSCAIOLA
PRIMI (PASTA): BOSCAIOLA
House-made fettuccine pasta with mushroom, bacon, and shallots in a fresh creamy sauce ($18.00)

This dish was quite similar to their carbonara, minus the mushrooms of course and add the egg. I had a little taste of this from my friend’s plate and I quite enjoyed how the cream sauce was nice and relatively thin, but still very flavoursome.

Pastabella - PRIMI (PASTA): CARBONARA
PRIMI (PASTA): CARBONARA
Famous Italian dish of house-made spaghetti pasta with bacon, shallots, egg, and cream ($18.00)

Carbonara is like a classic favourite of mine, but I always try to stray away from ordering it for two reasons mainly. The first is because I can make my own carbonara and secondly, for me I find that carbonara anywhere is the same. When this came to our table though, I have never seen anything like it! When I say that, I am actually referring to it’s presentation. I’ve had my fair share of carbonara’s and never have I seen it being served with a raw egg yolk sitting on a bed of pasta. It tasted amazing! The sauce was rich and absolutely divine, but I probably would struggle to eat a whole plate of it just because the richness and creaminess gets to you at a certain point.

Pastabella - PRIMI (PASTA): CHILLI CON GAMBERI
PRIMI (PASTA): CHILLI CON GAMBERI
House-made fettuccine pasta with tiger prawns, rocket, garlic, and olive oil, cooked in a white wine sauce with a dash of chilli ($22.00)

I had a little taste of this off Rowena’s plate – the tiger prawns were cooked to perfection. Plump, juicy, and soft; nothing of that rubbery texture that I’ve had at a fair share of other places. This dish here was perfection. The pasta was cooked well and I remember Rowena saying that she gets skeptical when dishes say ‘chilli’ but they don’t live up to that level of spice that she expects. This dish did not disappoint her tough! To quote her, “they used legit chillies”. I felt though that those who cannot take the heat will complain about the ‘dash’ of chilli – did not feel like dash! But I’m not complaining; I love the spicy kick!

Pastabella - PASTABELLA SPECIALS: RISOTTO MARINARA
PASTABELLA SPECIALS: RISOTTO MARINARA
Traditionally cooked risotto with mixed seafood in our traditional napolitana sauce garnished with fresh parsley ($26.00)

This for me tasted really good; the seafood was cooked to perfection and flavours were on point. But like other marinara dishes that I’ve had, I feel like they all taste the same.

Pastabella - PASTABELLA SPECIALS: SPACHATELLA, PISTACHIO E PANA
PASTABELLA SPECIALS: SPACHATELLA, PISTACHIO E PANA
A traditional Sicilian style pasta cooked with fresh cream, sprinkled with roasted pistachio nuts, and topped with pecorino cheese ($25.00)

I was intrigued by this one because never have I ever had a pasta-pistachio combination before. I love pistachios, and I know they have a very distinct taste to them as well. This pasta tasted so great! The pistachios really enhanced the flavour of the dish and was finished off nicely with pecorino on top. It was something that I’ve never tasted before, and I couldn’t even compare it to any other dish in terms of flavour.

In my opinion, the pizzas that we ordered were nothing really special that would make me want to go all the way back here for more. Don’t get me wrong, the pizzas were good, but it’s more like there are other pizza places that are nearer to where I live that are just as good.

Pastabella - PIZZA: ITALIANA
PIZZA: ITALIANA
Napolitana & mozzarella cheese base with eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, artichokes, olives, and garlic ($23.00)

Pastabella - PIZZA: PASTABELLA
PIZZA: PASTABELLA
Signature Pastabella sauce, grilled chicken, mushrooms, and olives ($20.00)

Pastabella - DOLCI (DESSERTS): PIZZA ALLA BANANA
DOLCI (DESSERTS): PIZZA ALLA BANANA
Banana and custard pizza, drizzled with a delicious caramel sauce and lightly sprinkled with icing sugar ($14.00)

After a filling feast, we just had to have dessert, and we definitely made the right choice. Wood fired dessert pizza with a custard-base sauce, fresh bananas, and caramel sauce – what a combination! Though I love the taste of fresh bananas, I probably would’ve loved them to be fired in the pizza oven for a few minutes to caramelise. I bet that would be AMAZING.

Pastabella - DOLCI (DESSERTS): PASSIONE DI FRUTTI
DOLCI (DESSERTS): PASSIONE DI FRUTTI
Banana, passionfruit and custard pizza, sprinkled with icing sugar ($15.00)

I know, you’re probably thinking that this is exactly the same as above but with passionfruit instead of a caramel sauce. Well you are totally right! But this was supposed to be a dessert pizza with peaches and passionfruit instead of banana. To my dismay, they had run out of peaches that night, and they asked if banana was okay. Well, I couldn’t do anything about it, so I just agreed to it. Not disappointed on the taste though because it was just as good as the last time I had their pizza alla banana dessert!

I definitely recommend this place if you want to spend a quiet date night with friends or even your special someone. There’s just something about ambience that makes you feel right at home, and eating great traditional pasta and pizza with good company that makes Pastabella a great dining place.

So based on all that, I’d say that this place is a definite 9.5 for food (just a slight disappointment that they didn’t have peaches for the passione di frutti dessert pizza we ordered), ambience probably 8, and service an easy 10. Value? I’d probably give it an 8.5? The portions were decent for the price in my opinion!

Pastabella
89 Glebe Point Road,
Glebe, NSW
Australia, 2037

– Ally xx

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant
I have had the greatest pleasure of attending the re-launch of Bar Surry Hills with my lovely +1, Yvonne Wang. The story behind this photo was that the two ladies sandwiching Yvonne and I “photobomed” our photo.

The Bar is now open with an all new Italian kitchen, featuring a menu themed with all your favourite pizza and pasta selections! It is located on the ground floor of the Rydges Hotel Surry Hills, and is just a 5-minute walk from Central Station, and is open daily from 11 am until late, making it the perfect venue for a business lunch, an after-work cocktail, a romantic nightcap, a private party, birthday, or a special event.

The overall experience was a good one, and I was glad that I got to share the night with the lovely Yvonne Wang. As we entered the venue, it greeted us with a warm welcome. We were led towards the bar to grab our complimentary beverages (from Sydney Brewery Beers, to various cocktails, and wine). Towards the left of the entrance to the restaurant was the charcuterie station – a display of aesthetically beautiful Italian bread and a selection of various cold cut meats, sliced on the spot for you as you wait in line to grab a charcuterie plate for yourself (or your table).

We waited around for a while with our drinks until a table cleared. We then sat down and had all the food circled and brought to us – breadsticks with oil-marinated olives, bruschetta, a selection of pizzas, and desserts, Nutella pizza and what tasted like lemon and poppyseed cannoli to me. We had a little bit of everything, and probably missed out on a few selections that they offered on the night – I know because I remember seeing plates of what looked like deep fried balls, filled/stuffed with cheese perhaps? Anyway, they never made it to our table and stopped serving them at one point.

The food was great. Delicious. I can’t say much about the value for money as I’m uncertain on how much each individual dish that was served costed. Nonetheless, they average from about $10-$30 AUD, which I think is reasonable for the quality of the food. The venue, also great. I really loved the sleek and modern feel the place brought, and also evoked a fun and funky atmosphere. I can’t comment much on service quality in terms of how quick the food arrives to your table, but I can definitely say that the staff very friendly.

Bar Surry Hills & Italian RestaurantComplimentary Paloma Cocktail, Red Wine, and Breadsticks with Oil-marinated Olives

Bar Surry Hills & Italian RestaurantComplimentary Espresso Martini

Bar Surry Hills & Italian RestaurantCharcuterie Station – selection of beautiful Italian bread & cold cut meats

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant
Diavolo Pizza

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant
The highlight of the night in my opinion – Nutella Pizza served on a huge plank of veneered plywood

Be sure to check out their entire menu by visiting their Bar and Restaurant!

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant
28 Albion Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales
Australia, 2010

Click here to see more photos of the event.

– Ally xx

ps: Also, many thanks to my fellow COFA friend, Greta Peterson. Without her, I wouldn’t have known about the event. Thank you for getting me onto the VIP list!