Archives for posts with tag: cheese

Hello Amsterdam!

Wow, this is city is really a sight for sore eyes. The architecture will leave you in awe and the people will delight you. Mister and I continued on our European journey to Amsterdam and we were thoroughly impressed.

Being the typical history buff that I am we went to the Anne Frank House. I was not able to take photographs in there which I respected but gaining a further understanding of the horror that Jews went through during the holocaust. It made me thankful to be born in a country and era where I know an atrocity like that will never happen.
Amsterdam is filled with many canals and people on bikes. Everyone gets everywhere on a bike, Mister and I should have done it as well, however, we were content with using public transport.

Amsterdam is one of those countries where you don’t feel at all like someone is following you to pick your pockets because you are a tourist. After visiting the Anne Frank House, we conducted our own tour of The House of Bols. It’s a specialised alcohol that Amsterdam stocks and we were fortunate to go on a tour. I highly suggest not doing what Mister and I did and start the tour before you have lunch, on an empty stomach because you get free alcohol at the end. Yes free alcohol on an empty stomach. We stumbled out of there that’s for sure! The House of Bols will show you how their alcohol is made and the flavours it comes in. You can smell the flavours (yes smell them), try your hand at throwing a cocktail shaker and of course the free alcohol at the end.

The following day, Mister and I went to the Heineken Brewery (please don’t think there’s an alcohol related theme here), which was impressive. I don’t drink beer but this brewery was well worth the visit! You can see how beer is made, what ingredients are used and learn how to pour the perfect beer. Yes, throughout the entire tour you get free beer as well. I had one beer and then gave the rest to Mister but this time we had full stomaches!

The best thing about Amsterdam is that it’s one of those cities where you can just walk through street after street, not looking for anything in particular, but just wondering. I was even able to find the world’s biggest wooden shoe and was able to sit in it! There are cheese shops a-plenty! For all you cheese lovers out there you will sample some of the most delicate, obscure and delicious cheese flavours in the world.

If you’re like me and you like wondering and exploring strange cities without a map, then in Amsterdam you will come across the infamous Red-Light district. It is, however, pin pointed on a map but you wouldn’t know it until you were in it. During the day, it’s a footpath (no cars can drive in there) with people going every which way but by night, well, let’s just say it becomes something else. No cameras are allowed as there are scantily clad dressed woman who want to earn a living. If I walked a little in front of Mister and he appeared on his own, I could actually see he was winked at by the women. If you want to know more about Amsterdam’s Red-Light district it really is something you have to see for yourself.

Amsterdam is wonderful and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find the right words to describe it as it is indescribable. A remarkable, breathtaking city which I certainly plan on returning to in the (hopefully) not to distant future.

The visually stunning The House of Bols and their amazing drinks!

The visually stunning The House of Bols and their amazing drinks!

Me trying to shake and throw a cocktail. I'm clearly not made for the hospitality industry!

Me trying to shake and throw a cocktail. I’m clearly not made for the hospitality industry!

Me trying to pour the perfect beer at the Heineken Brewery. In the end I finally got there!

Me trying to pour the perfect beer at the Heineken Brewery. In the end I finally got there!

The best show in the entire world! It was love at first sight!

The best shoe in the entire world! It was love at first sight!





Ok I’m split in two. My mother’s side of the family hail from a town outside of Naples and my father’s side from a town outside of Rome. I don’t really know much about dad’s side but I know alot more about mum’s. Having nonna and nonno babysit you from an early age, I didn’t learn to start speaking English until I started school. Everyone always spoke to me in Italian so it was my first language. Today, I get angry in Italian, think in Italian and enjoy poking fun at Mister in Italian. Mister is as Aussie as you can get. Blonde hair and blue eyed country boy from Albany, Western Australia, his idea of gourmet food is cheese on toast. He’s learning alot from me.

Nonna always has something on the table for me. Now that I don’t live with her anymore, when I visit she always thinks Mister and I don’t eat. Lasagna is always a must in her household. As I have mentioned it’s the best! I have tried making it before and while it tastes really good, sadly it’s not like hers. Her meatball spaghetti is perfection on a plate, fried calamari, meat and everything else is just amazing! I have to stop saying amazing. I do believe that if my grandmother makes cheese on toast it will be awesome than everyone else’s because she has so much flair and enjoys creating a dish to perfection. Sorry Masterchef judges but your foods don’t compare to her!

When I bought home Mister to meet my family for the first time, we were both nervous. However I had told Mister not to eat breakfast or lunch that day as we had organised with nonna to eat dinner with them at home. Boy, he was not expecting this. Nonna has to make an entre of pasta, first main of meat, second plate of fish, followed by chicken nibbles, roasted capsicum, salad, potatoes and mixed roasted veggies. Desert is coffee or tea with a homemade cake and a HUGE fruit platter. I think all of Mister’s Christmas’s had come at once. In the beginning he struggled to get used to  eating such a huge amount of food but he has learnt and nonna loves feeding him. Perfect match!

When I am forced to go to Italian restaurants for social gatherings, I always order a steak or seafood and salad combination. Why you ask? Well I don’t need to eat other Italian food other than nonnas. Plus many restaurants out there just don’t have the expertise of mastering homemade pizza and pasta.
I have found one restaurant though. Papa Gino’s in the famous “Little Italy” known as Lygon Street in Carlton. Never have I experienced a bad meal there. The only negative problem I have had is after each meal is finished I eventually have to go home, I can’t spend the rest of my life there eating, eventually I’ll have to get a job. I have tried at least 3/4 of the menu and it is awesome! Pizza’s are a work of art, pasta reminds you of the old country how they used to make it, seafood is perfection, it’s just a superb place to spend with your family on a night out. See, can you tell I’m Italian yet? I enjoy spending time with my family at the table eating. Papa Gino’s is one of Mister’s favourite Italian eateries as well.

And now, I thought I would try and pass off a trick that I developed only two years ago. Nonna hasn’t shown me how to make her lasagna just yet. It may be a case of, I’m just not that mature yet to learn as it does take her ages to make, however, I do know how to make a simpler version.

Louise’s Simple Yet Satisfying Lasagna


Raguletto pasta sauce Classic Romano with cheese x1
San Remo Lasagna sheets
Grated cheese (as little or much as you like)
Onion x1
Garlic x1
4 hard boiled eggs
Any herbs you may like
Salt and pepper
Mince meat (optional)


Chop onion and garlic and fry until brown in a saucepan. Start boiling eggs and pre-heat oven. Add mince meat if you prefer and cook through. Add pasta sauce with your herbs and salt and pepper.
Once sauce is cooked, in an over-proof dish start with one layer of lasagna sheets, place the sauce on the sheets, followed by sliced boiled eggs and cheese. Repeat this until you have reached the top of your oven-proof dish. Place in oven and cook until the cheese has melted and the lasagna sheets have cooked. Serve and enjoy.

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