These are eggs. They are wonderfully versatile. You can fry them, boil them, poach them, scramble them, turn them into omlettes, use them to make cakes and use them to make glazes and sauces. Great things, eggs. Of course, to cook with them there is first one key detail – they need to be real eggs. Unsurprisingly, plastic ones won’t work. My daughter’s clever little practical joke involving a toy rubber egg will be marked up as a story worth embarrassing her with when she’s older. In the meantime… well played!

Firstly, many thanks to the people of Bella Italia for inviting us along to a fresh menu tasting! Free food is always a plus for me! 

My wife, daughter (who insisted upon wearing one of her princess dresses, and why not eh?) and myself were seated promptly upon arrival and surprised to learn that we would be sampling the complete range of new menu items that Bella Italia are considering. We were even more surprised when full-sized dishes were brought out! Given the occasion, this was very generous and drew an expression of delight:

So, on to the food. Round 1, the starters. 

In the red corner – Pizza bread:

In the blue corner – Risotto balls:

Which would win? Or would we have a joint winner? Would one dish do a Tyson Fury and retire for five minutes? 

The pizza bread was nice. It was good. It’s hard to go wrong with it. The risotto balls were amazing, but it wasn’t until after I’d eaten one that my wife informed me of the terrible truth – these were mushroom risotto balls!

It couldn’t be. Mushrooms are things of pure evil. How could such great flavour come from such a hideous thing? I didn’t want to believe it, but as I cracked open another, I realised it was true. 

But it was possible. I had actually enjoyed a mushroom dish. More than enjoyed. I had loved it.

My daughter by the way, being six, had the tomato soup off the kids menu, but it was more of a minestrone/vegetable soup. She enjoyed it, but it was different to what we expected. 

So, on to the mains, of which there were three:

From left to right: a chicken dish with spinach and ricotta ravioli, a mushroom ravioli and a panchetta tagliatelle. My wife had the mushroom dish and thoroughly enjoyed it – my attention was split between the other two. Chicken versus panchetta. 

This may be more a reflection of my pallette and taste than the food itself, but there was a clear winner. The chicken dish was excellent. In fact, the hero for me was unquestionably the spinach and ricotta ravioli. It was gorgeous. In fact, if this were to be offered up as a menu choice on its own, with a creamy cheese sauce, and sprinkled with a little basil, I would bury my face in the bowl. 

Finally, dessert. 

From left to right: Salted caramel gelato, chocolate orange gelato and banofee gelato. I don’t personally like orange in that sort of style, but the other two desserts were wow! I’d happily devour the restaurant’s entire supply of banofee. 

My daughter had some strawberry gelato which was for some reason amusing to look at:

Stop sniggering. 

So, how would I rate the visit to Bella Italia? Very highly. In fact, I give it the highest accolade a meerkat can give – a three-grub rating! My little girl also declared it the best restaurant ever!

I tweeted this earlier but I feel my latest act of brilliance is worthy of a more thorough recap. It’s right up there with asking if Tango & Cash was ‘the one with the dog’ or mixing up my pronunciation of Kirk and Spock (I’ll leave that one to your imagination).

I’m not always a morning person. Sometimes I am, and sometimes, like this morning, I’m not. Still, time waits for no one and besides, the bins needed putting out. So I roused myself, slightly earlier than usual, then set about: emptying the food bin, putting out the rubbish sacks, feeding the cats, making tea and making myself some breakfast. At some stage, my brain decided it was time to do things a little differently. 

Yes folks, I had a eureka moment. I decided it made perfect sense to pour boiling water over my bran flakes. Mmmm, soggy. 

As realisation dawned (and why was I still pouring, even as said dawning took place???), I ordered a full reverse. The cereal was salvageable, albeit a bit warmer than I’d planned for. 

Stay tuned to see if I repeat this remarkable achievement tomorrow! 

Edit

I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t accept it. It was an absurd notion. Never had I heard such a half-baked idea. Yet the words found my ears.

‘Too much pizza.’

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“Noooooooo!” I cried. “That’s not true, that’s impossible!”

“Search your feelings…” Replied my stomach. “You know it to be true.”

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“Noooooooo, noooooooo!”

Yet, it was true. There really is such a thing as too much pizza.

Welcome to my new show!

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Tonight, I’ll be prepared chicken cooked two ways, wrapped in bacon and coated with crispy seasoning mix. Here’s what you need:

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One nuked chicken breast.

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An egg to beat.

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Bacon.

For the salad, grab whatever vegetables you can find. Assuming you want salad.

Beat the egg then put the chicken into the bowl. Mix around. Add more chicken when you realise this meal looks puny. Add the crispy seasoning. Mix around in a bowl.

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Marvel at your creativity. Ponder how to wrap bacon around the chicken.

After squeezing the bacon around the chicken, shove in the oven. Keep fingers crossed and crack open a beer.