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Zeffrellis, Ambleside

17 Jul

Here’s the latest in my gastro round-up of the Lakes: our experience at a vegetarian pizzeria/cinema/jazz bar (apparently this combination of places does exist…)

Persuading the boy to go to a veggie restaurant was quite a bit easier than I anticipated. I think that’s because Zeffrellis doesn’t taut itself as  a veggie, tree hugging, save the whales type place, simply a great restaurant, which happens not to serve meat.

I’m doing some work at the moment with a leading meat-free brand, and whilst I haven’t been completely converted, I do understand the health benefits of cutting meat out of your diet a few times  a week. So, I felt quite smug eating at a meat free restaurant…and decided to order a pizza!

Whilst the restaurant was lovely, the decor was like something out of 1988, but we quickly got over that and settled down with a bottle of vino. After some simple bread and olives, we both ordered Zefferellis’ version of my favourite food. The pizza base was wholemeal, so pretty healthy and very tasty. Certainly something I could get used to: I went for the Mexican; red bean chilli topped with cheddar and mozzarella, whilst the boy went for Barbaretto; feta, beetroot and jalapeno peppers. The combinations were really exciting and flavours, delicious.

I think it’s quite unusual to find something a little bit different like this, especially living in Leeds, where everything is getting fairly samey. In fact, I almost forgot we were in the countryside…until I turned round and realised we were the very last people in the restaurant. It was 10pm.

The boy’s half eaten feta and beetroot concoction

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Jamie’s not quite 30 minute meals

7 Feb

Don’t get me wrong, I love Jamie Oliver and his latest book 30 Minute Meals is my new favourite. The tapas recipe is particularly spectacular. However, we’ve had a number of debates in the office about these culinary delights being possible to create in half an hour so this weekend I decided to set the stop watch (well, keep an eye on the microwave timer) and put this to the test.

Being a Friday night I set to work on his recipe for Cheats Pizza which I was pretty nervous about having never made a pizza from scratch before. I’ll not repeat the recipe here, but do check it out and give it a go, the results are fab. The whole process from start to finish took me 64 minutes, worth the wait – but certainly not the half hour breeze I was promised. For your benefit I will outline here some of the challenges which Jamie did not foresee:

1. Making a very sticky dough in the blender and needing to clean out this stickiness in full in order to be able to use the blender again to make the tomato topping

2. Your kind-hearted but heavy-handed other half actually breaking your beloved blender trying to clean it because the dough is so sticky

3. Digging out receipt and warranty for said blender to be able to make pleading phone call to blender company in the morning

4. Flipping the pizza base in the frying pan is a two-man job and takes a while after a few Friday wines – I’d say this added at least 8 minutes

With these hurdles out of the way I then set to work on the ‘super simple’ salads and accompaniments which are delicious, but I guarantee Mr Oliver has an army of choppers and slicers to help with his prep which a normal girl from Leeds just doesn’t have.

That aside, the pizza was yummy and I’ll be trying it out again just as soon as I get my blender fixed.

My delicious pizza