Italian cooking tips

I am back from Italy and currently in a food slump. I ate too much, feel like I went up a dress size, AND I’m finding myself paying too much for food in Australia and not being nearly as satisfied as I was with my 6euro pasta in Italy! The trip was amazing, I can barely put it into words. Seeing Pompeii was breathtaking and only deepened my love of history. Seeing Capri and the Blue Grotto was also beautiful – an unexpected add-on to the trip but I’m so glad I got to experience it.

I’m in the process of writing about my foodie travels in Italy, but until then I thought I’d share some valuable lessons about food that I gained during my travels.

  1. Spaghetti should never be served in a Bolognese sauce – this really threw me as I always make spaghetti bolognese. Well-known Italian chef  Antonio Carluccio says that this is more of a “Western” add-on. He also says when cooking a Bolognese sauce you shouldn’t add herbs or garlic – instead, the intensity of the flavour should come from the meat
  2. Continuing on from Point #1, a general rule when matching sauces to types of pasta is the smoother the pasta, the thinner the sauce; the rougher the outside of the pasta, the thicker of the sauce.
  3. Having a dinner party and not sure how much pasta to cook? If the pasta is a starter aim for 50g dried pasta per person. For larger portions (i.e. as a main), cook 110g of pasta per person
  4. Don’t leave any food on your plate! We did this a couple of times whilst in Italy and the waiters were concerned we didn’t enjoy the food – we had to tell them we had just eaten so much already!
  5. When it comes to draining the pasta always save a cup of cooking water and never rinse the pasta – this washes away too much of the starch coating
  6. Preheat the serving bowl as well as individual bowls. Always have a deep plate for pasta. This is a nice tip that just somehow makes the pasta feel even more homely
  7. Good Italian wine goes with any good Italian dish! You should know this by now! 🙂

If you have any other tips feel free to fire away in the comments below!


Lis x

Dcup Cafe & Thai, Sydney

I’m sitting here typing this as I look out over the Piazza in Rome, sipping some Vino and eating some pasta. Just kidding, I scheduled this bad boy before I left. But rest assured, I am in Italy as you read this and there will be blog posts from this great city coming soon!

Lex and I decided to be really lazy on Friday after work. I had an excuse for being lazy, I’d just finished Parent/Teacher Interviews and was two days away from taking the students to Italy! Every afternoon I drive past Dcup Cafe in Zetland. It is often busy with people and originally I thought it was a coffee shop. When I read the sign out front today I was intrigued by the name and was further intrigued by the fact it was a Cafe and Thai joint – this was a combination I had yet to come across! So when Lex felt like Thai food I suggested Dcup.

We used Menulog and I must say apart from the cool 5% off our first order, I would never use the service again. It took us about 15 minutes to place the order. I’m not sure if we were ordering at peak time or what it was, but I can’t be bothered going through the hassle again, especially on an empty stomach!

The service from Dcup was faultless though! And I must say I’m glad we have found a local Thai joint nearby. This is one place that Lex and I are a little divided on though. I thought the food was absolutely delicious. We ordered a Massamann Beef and a Chicken Green Curry. The Green Curry was packed with flavour and it reminded me in terms of the look and texture of a curry that Jamie Oliver has made. Lex on the other hand thought it was a bit watery and wasn’t overly impressed. I feel weird even writing this because normally we agree when it comes to food, but this blog needs to be authentic and it’s important to have the pros and cons I guess. In saying that though, Lex has said he would order from there again.

If you’ve read the ‘About’ section you’ll know that Lex and I have made a rule to not eat at the same restaurant more than once. Does getting takeaway from a restaurant count though…? Our rule has been followed, except for one tiny slip up – we went to Fratelli’s the other night. Whoops!

Lis x

A toast to Italy

In just over a week I’ll be jetting off from Sydney to visit the wonderful world of pizza and pasta, otherwise known as Italy. When I decided to be a high school teacher I didn’t imagine I’d have the opportunity to travel across the world and be paid to do it!! The idea actually came about when I got a job teaching Ancient History. As part of the Year 12 course (thats the highest grade in the Australian school system), we teach Pompeii and Herculaneum – an Ancient city in Naples, Italy that was destroyed, and preserved, by  the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. We are taking 22 students to Italy to see this marvellous historical site! While we’re there we are also going to Rome and the Isle of Capri.


If there’s one thing I’m truly passionate about (apart from food), it is History. I find the study of Ancient History to be truly fascinating and helps us put our own lives into perspective, to understand that we’re a blip on a radar that has spanned thousands of years and will continue to well beyond our time. One day our society will be studied by high school students. And what a study it will be – our current society has had an abundance of political, economic, and social ideologies and events which will be the stuff of Historians for many years to come! Imagine even being studied as an ‘Ancient Society’ in the future. The future generation of students won’t be able to comprehend the fact that we were only using an iPhone 6 and that our cars travelled on the road instead of hovering- how ancient indeed!

If this was a History blog I could clearly  ramble on forever, however, to bring it back to the foodie theme, I must say how excited I am to sit in the Piazza sipping on some Vino and slurping down some spaghetti. Lex always says the tomatoes are better in Italy and he’s so right. The sauce is always better I find. Mum is coming with me on this trip and she’s looking forward to some gelato!

Italian food is all about ingredients and it’s not fussy and it’s not fancy.

Wolfgang Puck

If I seem to go missing from the blogging world, rest assured, it’s only temporarily. And while I may be having the time of my life nestled among history, culture and Italian food, please pray for me – I really can’t afford to lose a kid in Rome!

Lis x


My 5 must have items in the Kitchen

Last post I vented a little about how stressed I’d been with work and life lately. This post I’m venting too because things got worse! Last night on the way home from work I was involved in a car accident. I’m fine except for some bumps, bruises and a really sore neck. However my poor car hasn’t had the same luck.

 So, no car meant no work for me today, which would ordinarily be seen as a positive because it would mean I could do some much needed work to catch up! Of course as I wasn’t expecting to be home today I left my work laptop at work!

Which means that I’m sitting in my apartment with not much to do. I’ve had a bath and was quite relaxed and then insurance called me and ruined my bath….I’ve eaten some Barbeque Shapes and had a few cups of tea….I’ve watched the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and the OC….And now I’m writing up my grocery list, which has inspired me to write a blog post.

Lex and I like similar foods and have similar tastebuds, which means our fridge and pantry is usually stocked with the same ingredients. It got me thinking, what are your 5 must have items in your kitchen?

 In no particular order mine are:

 Fresh chilli – we keep a whole container in the freezer to use whenever we need – which is most meals!

 Milk – I love my cups of tea so milk is a must for me. This grocery shop I’m thinking of making the change to Almond Milk

Fresh fruit – I snack all the time (hence why I’ve already eaten Barbeque Shapes and it’s not even lunch time). I find having fresh fruit to take to work and have at home is a much healthier alternative

Tea – my British side must be quite strong because I’m obsessed with tea. Normally I have Black Tea but have recently stocked my pantry with all sorts of tea from T2. My current favourite is called Gorgeous Geisha. A beautiful Green Tea with Strawberry and Cream

 Red wine – we actually just bought some nice Industrial style shelves from Muji and our collection of Red wine sits proudly on display. A glass of Red is always nice with dinner and was much needed after last night’s drama!

Share what your 5 must have items are in the comments below!

Lis x

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