Tag: italian

Eyeball meatballs and bloody tapeworms

This is a fun Halloween dinner if you’re staying in tonight. I first made it around 6 years ago, when we used to decorate the flat and have people round and stay up until stupid o’clock.

Ouch.

I messed with a tested method tonight and it didn’t work out, aesthetically, as good, but taste wise it was ace.

You will need:

Eyeball meatball ingredients

Meatballs (I used pre-made for convenience but of course you can make your own)

Cheese (I used blue stilton expecting veiny eyes, but last time cream cheese kept it’s state better)

Black olives

Tagliattelle

Tomato puree

The how to bit:

Pop your meatballs in a dish

Meatballs

Make an indent in each one (your thumb is a perfect size)

Meatballs with thumb holes

Shove some cheese into the thumb shaped hole

Meatballs stuffed with cheese

Slice some pitted olives into two and push each half into the cheese.

Meatballs stuffed with cheese and olives

Pop in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes

Baked meatballs

Meanwhile, add the tagliatelle to boiling water.

Make a tomato sauce to taste (I used tomato puree, garlic and chilli)

Drain the spaghetti and stir in the “bloody” sauce

Serve onto plates and top with the eyeballs

Eyebal meatballs and bloody tapeworms

Meatballs and tagliatelle

As I said it looked better last time – I used cream cheese which didn’t melt as much so there was still more of the look of the eyeball. But that’s ok because, y’know, blue cheese!

The olives / tomato / pasta / cheese combo is a beaut; Halloween or not.

Do you have any fun halloween foods planned?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Restaurant review: Cucina Rustica, Birmingham

Cucina Rustica is an italian restaurant in Birmingham, just outside of the city centre near the Jewellery Quarter. I hadn’t heard of it until my Dad mentioned it last week, and last night he took us there for dinner.

The outside is deceptive in terms of size – it looks quite small but opens up inside to a large dining space. Dad had requested a table in the window which is housed in one of 2 booths and was perfect for the two of us, my husband and Dad’s wife. The front area of the restaurant has a more cosy rustic feel, while the larger rear dining area is more modern and stylised.

The menu is extensive and, as usual in a restaurant environment, I turned into Mrs Indecisive for fear of making the wrong choice (I’m always worried that I’ll prefer the look of everyone else’s food and spend the meal regretting my own decision – food is that important). I think I get this from my Dad, who was still deciding on his main course when the waitress was taking our order!

To start, I ordered “Capesante” – gratinated king scallops, parmesan, parsley, garlic butter & shrimps. The presentation was stunning and the flavours were perfectly balanced; I was so excited that I only managed to get a photograph once I’d finished!

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For main course I ordered veal. I know it’s still viewed as a controversial meat by some, but its so rare to see it on a menu that I couldn’t possibly have ordered anything else once it caught my eye. “Involtini di vitello”, to give it proper credit, was veal, parma ham, asparagus, mozzarella, marsala wine. The ham, asparagus and mozzarella was wrapped inside the veal, with a generous helping of deliciously rich sauce. It could have benefitted from a little more cheese for extra gooeyness, but the flavours were great and the side order of saute potatoes I decided on were the perfect accompaniment (and great for making the most of the marsala wine sauce). No picture, I was too intent on getting it in my tum!

The restaurant itself is finished to a very high standard, and our waitress was incredibly friendly, helpful and patient (we spent too much chatting and not enough time perusing the menu when we first arrived). We were served complimentary bread and olives as an appetiser, and drank rose wine by the bottle.

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I rarely go to Italian restaurants, mainly because I always think Italian cuisine is easy to recreate at home (which is pretty dumb and insulting to Italian chefs) and I wouldn’t think of ordering  pasta dish for the same reason. But I’ll definitely dine at Custina Rustica again, and will be keen to try “Fagottini al cinghiale” (wild boar filled pasta with light cream porcini sauce) – how delish does that sound?