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When Massimo Mele came to Bucci

When Massimo Mele came to Bucci

When Bucci invited Massimo Mele to cook and host a 6 course dinner, this was something we were not going to miss out on. We arrived to Bucci in true Italian fashion to a glass of prosecco with the crowd buzzing with chatter. As the night got into it all, the restaurant was soon swamped by herds of people.

In true Italian form, conversation formed an important part of the evening, with everyone at the tables getting to know each other. It didn’t take long before we were all friends. Seated as we were, it really was a great way to interact with everybody. And then the man himself, Signor Massiom welcomed us to the event, describing the different dishes on the menu. There were points where I had to grab my napkin and wipe the drool from my mouth; not so much due to Massiom’s appearance, than the food (of course). Tales of his childhood growing up in Italy followed the inspiration behind each course. The sound of everyone’s stomach rumbling got the evening started for one gluttonous night.

We could say at this point that the food was good.

And then we could go on to say that the atmosphere was getting….

But we would be joking!

The food was outstanding with an array starting in Northern Italy and working its way down to the far south with wines to match. Bucci’s Sommelier nailed each and every wine to each course perfectly. One particular menu highlight was the Rabbit Panzeotti. We really have not enjoyed panzeotti like this before. Our previous experiences were of a light fluffy filo type of pastry; but these were dense, made from what appeared to be semolina which added a beautiful crunch to the texture. Mamma Mia!! The rabbit was encased in parcels slowly braised with a rich tomato sauce. Oh and let’s not get started on the dipping sauce (though of course we have to). Molto nice and spicy, just the way we like our Italian men. Oops. Food!

The night really was fantastic. Live music with stunning food, and for a Thursday night, Bucci was indeed the life of James Street. The night was far from over when you could smell each dish leaving the kitchen: Gnocchi alla Genoese, or potato dumpling with pesto haha! Such a dish! If this doesn’t make it onto Bucci’s menu, we’re going on a hunger strike until it does. That one will be hard for us, but if we have to, we will.

The gnocchi were like little pillows of Italian love where every bite inspired you to kiss the person next to you. It was heaven in a plate with the perfect amount. The lamb dish was the Mona Lisa dish of the night. The lamb had been cooked across two days but still moist and super tender with a truffle polenta on the side. Beautifully presented, smelling amazing and, just like the painting, you couldn’t be too sure it you were allowed to touch it – though it didn’t take long to! We actually inhaled this dish.

And then, dessert. The tiramisu was served in a bright red coffee cup, suiting the event nicely: rich, dense sponge with thick, creamy mascarpone topped with cocoa powder and a teaspoon. When you closed your eyes, all that you seemed to need was The Notebook a snuggle buddy and a 2 litre tub of ice cream. But we would open our eyes and find ourselves at Bucci. Still a perfect place to be!

The night ended with some celebratory shots to celebrate Massimo’s birthday. Many flashes from the cameras and sore throats from talking too much later, and we stumbled out. Pop us down on the waiting list for the next Bucci Italian Degustation please! Grazie Bucci!

Oh, and when you’re at Bucci, don’t forget to sample the new Bucci Pronto sandwich bar.

Ciao for now!

 

Blog by Jake and Elle

 

‘Zeppole’ Italian Doughnuts

'Zeppole' Italian Doughnuts

Doughnuts are a perfect treat! They are fluffly, delicious and sweet…but Italian Doughnuts are EVEN better! Made predominately from potatoes and a nice kick of lemon zest (sometimes Lemincello) these doughnuts are super fluffy but also tangy. Its normal to see doughnuts rolled in cinnamon and sugar (pictured) but sometimes its nice to try something different – like lemon & thyme infused sugar. I have a few ideas that I really want to try, like filling them wih lemon curd or even home made turkish delight! Could you imagine this served with vanilla bean ice cream and rose syrup??!! Amazing!

Anyway…the Zeppole pictured is a traditional lemon zeppole rolled in cinnamon and sugar, served with a rose, lemon and vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with a tea syrup. I htink its important to serve the doughnuts hot, straight from the fryer so you have this amazing sensation in your mouth of hot and cold. All of these flavour work really well together and ticks all the boxes for a fun, fancy dessert that would be GREAT for entertaining!

Did someone say RIBS??

Did someone say RIBS??

When I used to make ribs at home, they never used to taste like the sticky ‘falling of the bone’ ribs that ive eaten at restaurnats – so I made it my mission to find out exactly how to make this happen. After heaps of researching, trialing and a really bad experience with a pressure cooker, I have finally put together a recipe that works.

For my ribs I chose Short Ribs, or otherwise known as Chuck Ribs. The bone is thick but short, and the ratio of meat to fat is perfect. Theres nothing worse than a rib that is full of fat and no meat! The most important tip when it comes to making sure the meat falls off the bone is to marinate it in juices for anywhere between 24-48 hours. Ok, I realise this sounds a bit OTT (over the top) but I promise its worth it and lets face it, when you want to cook ribs you’re going to know in advance – its not like you come home and just decide to make ribs for dinner (well i wouldnt think so anyway lol).

Ok, so now you need to make the marinade. Place about 200ml light soy, 400ml apple juice, 400ml honey, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon kecap manis, 5 crushed garlic cloves, 5 cloves, 1 dried chilli, 2 star anise and about 300ml of water into a saucepan. You want to bring this to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until it thickens. What your trying to do here is dissolve the honey and make this liquid slightly thicker. Cool the liquid and then pour it over the ribs and refrigerate for anywhere between 24-48 hours.

The next crucial tip is cooking time – I guess this is similar to braising – you want to cook this over a long period of time on a low heat. Place the ribs in a baking tray deep enough to hold that gorgeous liquid – which we will turn into a sticky glaze. Place the ribs into an oven at 140 degrees for about 3 1/2 hours. I like to put aluminium foil over my ribs to make sure that they dont dry out – but depends on your oven. Its also a good idea to baste the ribs while its cooking to make sure the flavour is constantly being injected into the meat while cooking.

Once the ribs are medium-medium rare, remove from the oven and let the meat rest for atleast 30 minutes. This is very important as this locks in the juices and will continue the cooking process slightly. Place the left over liquid from the roasting pan into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer until it is thick and sticky. Pour over the ribs and place under the grill (230-250 degrees) just until the top of the ribs crisp up and the glaze is shiny. Remove from the oven and ready to serve! I think ribs are great with chargrilled corn cobs, jacket potatoes or buttered greens.

If you try this, hope it works for you as well as it did for me – I would love to hear your reviews/recommendations.

Thanks, Elle.