Time for a Coffee: Top Ten Blog Posts 2016

So what food, drink and coffee blog posts were people reading this year? Interestingly none about coffee?

10 Trofie Pasta with fresh basil pesto, pine nuts and grated parmesan

9 A Taste of Peru

8 Wagamama Pork Ribs

7 Well that was nice

6 Christmas Four Bird Roast

5 Marks and Spencer’s Pork Medallions

4 Basil and pine nut margherite

3 Newquay Steam Beer

2 Chilli Squid from Wagamama

1 Sirloin for Beef Wellington

The top three posts were the same top three in 2015. Well here’s to some better and more exciting posts for 2017.

Mushroom Pasta

Mushroom Pasta

I have been using the woodland mushrooms from Morrisons for a while now. Now I know they are not from woodlands, but are farmed, but they make a nice difference to dishes that usually use common mushrooms.

When it comes to mushrooms I usually buy chestnut brown mushrooms rather than the more common white ones. I prefer the colour and flavour.

The woodland mushrooms include oyster, and some others that I haven’t’ identified!

Woodland Mushrooms

My recipe for mushroom pasta is relatively quick and easy. I have been using fetticine pasta, which only takes a few minutes to cook. For my pasta sauce I use some onions, chopped mushrooms (and for a non-vegetarian version of the recipe use some smoked pancetta) .

In a large heated frying pan, drizzle a little olive oil, then add the pancetta, until nearly cooked. Add some finely chopped onion, which is cooked until soft, I then added some chopped mushrooms. Once these were cooked, I added some crème frache and grated parmesan. The cooked pasta is then drained and the sauce stirred in.

This dish is as tasty as is, served with some additional parmesan on top. However I have been using the woodland mushrooms to add another aspect to the dish. I keep the mushrooms whole, or halved. With the … this is sliced.

I then in another frying pan, put it on a high heat, add some butter and cook the woodland mushrooms. The butter adds some colour to the mushrooms, once cooked, they are added to the top of the pasta dish.

There are some variations, you can of course, lose the pancetta to make a vegetarian version. Another thing you can do is to add is spinach and pine nuts.

I like the woodland mushrooms and I am pleased with how I have cooked them and their flavour. I have had trouble in the past with cooking wild mushrooms, but cooking them on a high heat with some butter, seems to do the trick.

Time for a Coffee: Top Ten Blog Posts 2015

Illy Coffee

So what food, drink and coffee blog posts were people reading this year? Interestingly none about coffee?

At number ten is an article entitled, Alba Ristorante Part Two. Back in 2008 when attending Handheld Learning, one evening we went to a local Italian next to the Barbican in London. I do remember the meal, it was delicious. This was a really nice upmarket Italian restaurant but with quite reasonable prices, especially for London.

The ninth most popular post was a Classic Heineken Advert from 1976.

Classic Heineken Advert from 1976

The eighth post was about cooking Chorizo, Cooking Chorizo. as was the seventh post Chorizo Frito al Vino.

The post at number six was about Basil & pine nut marguerite and a simple pasta recipe was at number five, Pasta in Tomato Sauce.

The fourth most popoular post was not about just any pork medallions, but Marks and Spencers Pork Medallions.

Reminiscing about Newquay Steam Beer was the third most read post on the blog.

The second most popular post was one of the many on the blog about squid, this one was about the Chilli Squid from Wagamama.

The most popular post this year was Sirloin for Beef Wellington? This was a response to the high ranking of another post about using sirloin steak in a Beef Wellington rather than fillet steak due to the way people were (at the time) searching Google.

Well here’s raising a cup of coffee and wishing you all the best for 2016.


That’s outrageous!

Taking the family to lunch at Bottelino’s in Weston super Mare.

Having had pizza a fair few times recently, I decided to go with pasta and chose the Orecchiette al Pollo. This is orecchiette pasta with chicken, mushroom, garlic, chilli in a cream sauce.

Orecchiette pasta

This was a really nice dish, the pasta was perfectly cooked, the sauce was tasty, and had a nice hidden bite with the chilli. There was for me, just the right amounts of chicken and mushrooms. The amounts of the garlic and chilli in the dish were just right.

The pizza’s the children had were really nice, not huge, but big enough for growing appetites, nice amount of cheese and ham, as well as a great pizza base.

So why is the blog post called “That’s outrageous!” then?

The children’s menu is good value at £4.95 for a main course, a drink and ice cream. Though the children’s drinks were quite small, teacup sized, so we ordered refills. When the bill came I was shocked to find that we were charged £2.25 for each drink. Checking the menu, this is the same price as the adult apple juice, and I suspect that if I had ordered an apple juice it wouldn’t have come in a small coloured beaker. Sorry, this is outrageous pricing, and has really put me off going again.

Don’t buy the pasta!

Remind me please that if I ever go to Frankie and Benny’s again, don’t order the pasta!

You know for am American Italian Diner I am disappointed how they serve pasta, which in my opinion should be a signature dish for them. Similarly how difficult is it to get pasta wrong?

I should have remembered when I ordered the Philly Steak Bake which was not the best pasta dish I had eaten. I should have known better, you would think? The thing is back then my son had ordered the Spaghetti Oceana which looked great and according to my son was delicious.

Chicken Penne Romana

So this time I ordered Chicken Penne Romana, which was penne pasta with chicken breast, spicy pepperoni and pancetta bacon tossed with Mamma’s rich Neapolitan tomato and herb sauce. It came with the choice of fries or salad. Now why on earth did is come with fries, okay partly my fault I should have chosen the salad option! It is a very British thing I believe that to have potatoes and pasta together, you know lasagne and chips for example.

Next time, choose the salad, next time… well next time I won’t choose the pasta so it won’t be a problem.

So what about the pasta? Let’s be straight, it certainly wasn’t an awful dish, so bad I couldn’t eat it. No it was certainly edible and I did finish the dish. The thing is, it could have been so much better. The so called rich tomato sauce, was anything but rich, and lacked flavour and richness. It was too bland and it was this that really marked down the quality of the dish. When you read the description “tossed with Mamma’s rich Neapolitan tomato and herb sauce” you kind of expect that to be the case, the reality was that didn’t happen, the pasta was in the bowl and the sauce poured on top. If you wanted it tossed you were going to have to do that yourself.

It was a pity that the dish turned out the way it did, as the concept sounded really good.