Archive for October, 2010

La Dolce Vita

We moved into our new house in west London on Friday, a smooth affair thanks to a great bunch of removal men. Piles of boxes were stacked in every room, the location of kitchen equipment a mystery, which begged the question of what to satisfy our grumbling tummies. I reminisced on the night we spent in our first home, it was a much less cluttered occasion. An inflatable mattress, bedding and two champagne glasses. We ate pizza from Lupa that evening sitting on the mattress, with the French doors open to the garden and the warm scents of summer jasmine whispering in. It was such a fond memory that we wanted to make a tradition of it.

So prior to moving in I set about researching the local pizza places. Most seemed to be the American style Domino affair, which have their place, but wasn’t what memories are made of. I’d settled on Village Pizza judging by the reviews, by the time We were in the house A had already broken part of the kitchen and I was suffering from the hunger grumps. The take away pizza tradition was swiftly abandoned and we strolled round the corner to La Dolce Vita, a local Teddington Italian but away from the High Street. It was 7:30 on a Friday night and it was dead, 2 other couple sat there with pasta and my hopes of fantastic pizza flickered out.

Their specials board had home-made raviolis, a daily fish and dessert. Ravenous, I plumper for aubergine parmigiana, a dish that could lift me out of the doldrums on the darkest winter day.

The bread had a lightly salted crust, the olives tasted a little of brine, but had a nice lemon garlic and chilli dressing. The bread was great dipped into the corner pools of piping hot parmigiana sauce. If the aubergine was griddled beforehand it would have been perfect.

A said her bruschetta was nice and fresh and had better than expected buffallina mozzarella. She them had the parmigiana as her main and I tucked into what was one of the most glorious pizzas I’ve had this year.

The Dolce Vita pizza has the thinnest, crispest base that I’ve ever had. Topped with wide slices of prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, green serrated rocket leaves and buffalina mozzarella and dribbled with chilli oil I was in pizza heaven. I’ve no experienced a grumps to chipper transition quite as abruptly before. Oh and they do take away, but not delivery.

I’d normally struggle with pudding after a whole pizza. The beauty of the thin crust? It left me with a little room for tiramisu.

I find restaurant tiramisu to be a hit and miss affair. Not enough coffee or booze can leave it tasting of a polite nudge rather than a vigorous pick me up. I was somewhat aghast to see it drizzled with chocolate sauce, is that heresy for Italian trifles? Nevertheless, as a friend remarked on a second visit within the same week, it tasted like coffee air. It was light and fluffy.
Overall, and washed down with a lovely Valpolicella it made or a very reasonable meal.
All through the meal people had been coming in, and receiving warm welcomes, handshakes and European kisses are what happens if you become a regular I suppose. And by the time we left, it was well deservedly packed.


Too much sugar for one day

After failing to get my act together for the last charity cake sale, I was left with 3 damson bakewell tarts, and I didn’t fancy chomping my way through more leftovers.

I spotted this Salted Caramel tart with cashew praline in the latest Waitrose magazine and thought it sounded amazing. After all, salted caramels are gorgeous.

For me, this is another reminder of why it’s a good idea to try recipes out before inflicting them on friends. I may have to underline and highlight that to ensure I pay attention and don’t do it to my colleagues again. Simply put it was way too sweet for my tastes.

Don’t get me wrong the caramel is gorgeous, but I’m sorely tempted to tinker with this and serve it as a banoffee variant, just to take the edge off the sweetness.

I was disappointed and seriously tempted to to bail on this cake sale shenanigans, but it was my third promise of a contribution and it was for my own charity event, so I really would be letting myself down.

Even with it’s sorry looking state after the journey, with caramel oozing across the plate, people keep walking up and taking slices away. I was barely able to make my way through a thin slice after 3 hours. I pitied their poor panicking pancreas producing piles of insulin. I’m sure A will love it though.

The cake sale ended up raising £60 for Cancer Research UK, which I’m happy with. No cakes survived.

That’s at least what I’m intending on doing more with this blog, trying to catalogue the successes and the failures. Photography is optional. If there’s time it’ll be with the DSLR, if not a camera phone will have to suffice.

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