DIY Ice Cream Parlour at Fresco Gelateria

While I was on my way back home, I stumbled upon a gelateria. Fresco Gelateria Artigianale Fai Da Te Roma

Curious, I went in and it’s not like anything that I’ve seen so far. At first glance, it looks  it looks quite minimalistic with it’s white and silver apparatus. It reminds me a bit of a science lab. Fresco Gelateria Artigianale Fai Da Te Roma

I soon found out that it was a DIY type of ice cream parlour, which is something new which I haven’t come across before in Rome.

If you chose a cone, you could put anything your heart desires in your ice cream for a fixed price. And if you chose to have a cup, it’ll be charged accordingly by weight. Fresco Gelateria Artigianale Fai Da Te Roma

It’s such a cool idea. You could only imagine how excited I was being in there. Fresco Gelateria Artigianale Fai Da Te Roma

First I chose a cone and lined it white chocolate, and then stuffed it with hazelnut and vanilla ice cream and when I was done, topped it with caramel syrup.

There wasn’t that many varieties of gelato flavours, but the ones that I tasted, was flavourful. Fresco Gelateria Artigianale Fai Da Te Roma

I could of course cover it with chocolate syrup which would make a nice shell and then sprinkle it with even more toppings but I should be good – my teeth wouldn’t be too happy! Fresco Gelateria Artigianale Fai Da Te Roma

Fresco – Gelateria Artigenale Fai Da Te
Via Oderisi da Gubbio 250, Roma

La Romana Gelateria in Porto Fluviale

While not exactly a touristy place, Porto Fluviale is an interesting place to see, and take pictures at – with the numerous colourful murals decorating the area. La Romana Gelateria Porto Fluviale

Once youre done, you could stop to take an ice cream break here at Gelateria La Romana.

It appears to be a very popular place. Even though I’ve been living in Rome for a while, I’ve never thought to stop by because there is always a long queue whenever I pass by. But when my friend Alessandro recommended it, I finally gave it a try. La Romana Gelateria Porto Fluviale

Luckily it didn’t take too long for us to wait, as I admired the interior. It’s a charming place. I like the vintage and yet clean look, with it’s white wooden furnishings.

You queue up, make your choice between a cone or a cup and its size and then pay at the counter. La Romana Gelateria Porto Fluviale

While normally I prefer cups, I found out quite incidentally that if you choose a cone, you could have the choice of lining it with white or milk chocolate from the fountain. Just the smell of liquid chocolate flowing down was so deliciously tempting. La Romana Gelateria Porto Fluviale

Once you’re done, you can choose from a lot of interesting flavours like : La Romana Gelateria Porto Fluviale

And once you’re done, you could have it’s topped up with a choice of 3 types of whipped cream – classic, eggnog and cocoa. The entire combination made me so childishly happy when I finally got my gelato. La Romana Gelateria Porto Fluviale

Considering that I have sensitive teeth, the combination was probably a bit too sweet for me. Nevertheless, it was really nice being in there. I wouldn’t mind going queuing up again if I’m in the area 🙂

Gelateria La Romana
Via Ostiense, 48, Roma

The McVeggie Burger in Italy

Cart and I I don’t normally go to McDonalds. There are a lot of things that we can’t eat there. But on a fateful evening not too long ago, the pizza al taglio joint where we wanted to go to was closed, so we had no other choice but to drop by the only place which was still open where we had a pleasant surprise.

In lieu of the opening of the Expo in Milan, the Mcdonalds in Italy has created several menus inspired by various places in the world. So far they have the McAngus Bacon to represent Argentina, The McLobster to represent Canada and the McVeggie to represent India.

We tried the McVeggie Burger, which looks like this : McDonalds McVeggie Italy

The buns are probably the same soft buns used for their fillet-o-fish, the patties are made of a combination of potatoes, broccoli, peas, carrots and corn. It’s topped with rocket leaves, a slice of provola affumicata, a slice of tomato as well as a type of red pesto sauce.

I actually like the entire combination. And I find it very tasty. The rocket leaves gives it a hint of peppery taste, there is the sweetness of the tomato, the creaminess of the cheese and the tanginess of the sauce.

Watch the video advert here :

Unfortunately, despite how tasty it is, I don’t think that it’ll last for too long. Vegetarian food aren’t very popular with a lot of people in Italy. Also at 7.50 euro, it’s quite a costly meal, so I guess we’ll just enjoy it till it lasts.

Or we could just make home made chickpea burgers.

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How to make chickpea burgers

When I was a kid, steamed chickpeas in a newspaper cone was something commonly seen. I’d always see friends carrying it around and munching on it – the simple joys of childhood. Chickpea Burger

Picture from

That was the memory that I had as I was trying out making chickpea burgers. Probably inspired by the burger that we had at Fonzie’s the other day, it very actually simple to do. Apart from all the soaking, it didn’t take much labour time. And it was so delicious that it was worth the wait.

You will need :

  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 100 g dried chickpeas
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbs flour

Soak the chickpeas in water and if you like, add a dash of Turmeric powder for a subtle earthy taste. Leave overnight or for at least 6 hours. Chickpea Burger

Look at how much the chickpeas expanded!

Pour away the soaked water and add more than enough fresh water to cover the chickpeas. Add a teaspoon of salt and then simmer them in low fire for about an hour.

In the meanwhile, grate the carrots finely, beat the egg and then put them aside.

When the chickpeas are cooked, drain the water away, and let it cool down for a bit. At this point, the chickpeas are already tasty enough to eat on it’s own. But resist the temptation and put them in the food processor with mashed garlic, the dried spices and blend them together till it looks rough but well mixed. Chickpea Burger

Add the mix to the grated carrots and fold them in together with the beaten egg. Add enough flour to bind them all together together and then form them into patties. Leave them in the fridge till needed and then fry them in a little bit of oil for about 4 minutes each side.

When they are done, they are absolutely delicious on it’s own but they are even better as burgers – I’d normally dress them up with mayo, cheese, ketchup, mustard, sliced onion, pickles on homemade toasted buns. Chickpea Burger

It’s a taste that you’d really love – hearty, savoury, punchy taste, satisfyingly crunchy with a hint of sweetness They are SO very good and I really hope that you give them a try. They are so delicious that I bet that even meat-eaters would appreciate them.

Definitely going to make them every week 🙂 Chickpea Burger

Om nom nom nom nom nom!

Mad about fries?

I love fries. Maybe even too much. Who would have thought that something so basic could be so delicious?

I was at a pizzeria the other day which specialises on fried pizza. And they happened to be promoting ‘patatine’. Unfortunately, they were sold out when we arrived. I was a little disappointed, but that got me thinking of how great it’ll be if we had a shop in Rome selling ONLY fries since everyone loves fries.

A couple of days later, Cart and I stumbled upon this joint by chance while we were walking to San Pietro. It was such a coincidence!

Fries is a place that sells only fried potatoes. There are variations from – chips to tornado fries, but I think the highlight would definitely have to be the fries.

The potatoes were thickly cut and fried with the skin on and sold in 3 sizes – small at 3 euro, medium at 4 euro and large at 5.50 euro. We both got the medium sized one each. Which turned out to be quite a helping in the end, and we found out that that each was enough for for two to share. Luckily we didn’t have dinner prior to that, as I doubt that we would have finished our fries if we did.

We had to wait a while as they were made to order, but it was worth the wait. When they arrived, it was served in a red and white gingham cone and it was warm and comforting to hold in the cold, windy autumn evening.

I saw tall, small square tables with 4 holes in them, and only made the connection much much later that you could put your cones in them while you eat. It would be a lot more comfortable to eat that way if you had a larger sized  cone.

Fries were said to originate from Belgium and I’d love to visit there just to try the fries. But you’d have to be careful where you order as I read that in a lot of places, they fry it in beef tallow before cooking it the second time in vegetable oil. Here, the potatoes are fried in vegetable oil making it friendly for almost all practises.

There is also a board telling you if the sauces were vegan or gluten free. And there were loads of sauces to choose from – I got for myself sour cream while Cart chose ‘cacio e pepe‘.

For me, a benchmark for knowing how good a fry is, is that it should taste good without additional condiments. And it was such a delight to eat! Crispy, warm and rustic and a little bit salty. But with the combination with the sauce, it hit the spot for me. Aaahhhh…

I don’t mind going back there again!

Apparently there are more ‘patatinari’ opening in Rome – there’s another joint in Viale Marconi and another one in Ostia. Got to try them all!

Via di Porta Cavalleggeri, 19
00165 Roma

How to make pasta cacio e pepe

Pasta Cacio e Pepe is a simple Roman pasta dish which is basically condimented with Romano cheese and pepper. Pasta Cacio e Pepe

Despite it’s simplicity, I actually like this pasta but it can get cloying after several bites. Two places that I know of that serves good Pasta Cacio e Pepe is I Clementini as well as Fraschetta.

But it’s easy enough to try to make it on your own. Do take care though, and make the creamy cheese mixture first because if you put the hot pasta directly on the cheese, it’ll coagulate and look really horrible. #truestory

Maritozzo! Maritozzo

Maritozzo is a decadent pastry that is typically found in almost every bar and pasticceria in Rome.

The name maritozzo is an amalgam of marito (husband) and ozzo (dear little). Essentially made of a sweet roll made with yeast and eggs, which is split and then stuffed with fresh whipped cream, it’s deceptive simple looks belie its deliciousness. Maritozzo

It’s a hearty pastry, costing about 2.50 euro on average. And two of my favourite places for maritozzo is at il Cornettone or at Cecere. But be careful though, with all that cream, they can be rather fattening. Indeed, I did gain a lot of kilos eating this!

This is married life #12

It was my birthday last Friday. Normally I’d do my annual video recap but this time round I was planning on doing something different, so do watch out for it in the near future! Plus it was a rather busy day for me, cleaning the house, then grocery shopping and then cooking.

I wanted to cook Ayam Masak Merah for dinner but lemongrass, an important ingredient used in it was missing. We used to have a bunch of them in the old freezer till our misadventure.

There is an Asian shop about 10 minutes from where we live, that has a number of items commonly used in Asian cooking such as dried chilli and coconut milk but he didn’t sell any lemon-grass so I had no choice but to go all the way to a place called Pacific Trading srl in Central Rome to get some.

Usually it would be precut and frozen but exploring the rest of the shop, I saw to my pleasant surprise, fresh ones in the refrigerated section! Granted that it was quite expensive compared to buying them in Singapore itself, but I felt ridiculously happy after trying to search for them for almost half a decade of living here.

Later on, we had a pleasant evening chatting with our lovely friends, catching up on what’s going on with our lives – there is something about bonding over home cooked food which is something very simple but extremely satisfying for me. And I think the highlight of the evening, was the personalised cake that Cart got for me.

It was adorable! I was fine with a regular cake, but opening the box and seeing my cartoon on it was the figurative cherry on top of the literal cake!

I feel so loved 🙂

How to make Roman styled Artichokes

Artichokes are called Carciofi in Italian and in Rome, there is a special variety called Carciofi Romaneschi. It’s unique compared to regular artichokes as they are round. Carciofi romaneschi

Artichoke is a seasonal food best eaten during Spring, but I clean forgot that I had these pictures in the SD card after the drama with my camera. But as a side-note, there is an annual artichoke festival that I think would be an interesting event to go to, if you have the chance to visit Italy in April.

One of the things that you could do with Carciofi Romanesco is to make Carciofi alla Romana – Roman styled Artichokes.

Ingredients :

  • Roman Artichokes
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • Mentuccia
  • Lemon Carciofi alla Romana

Cut a lemon into two and rub it on each exposed part of the artichoke while cleaning it to prevent oxidization.

And you clean the artichokes by peeling away the woody, outer part of the stalk and a few layer of the petals. Not forgetting to carve away any thorny bits inside. Carciofi alla Romana

Next peel and slice the garlic cloves. There should be enough to go round for each artichoke to have half a clove. Carciofi alla Romana

Mentuccia is a member of the mint family, but it has a stronger, more distinct scent and is used in many Italian dishes. Chop some. But if they are not readily available where you are, you could use regular mint. Carciofi alla Romana

Stuff each artichoke with the chopped mentuccia, the sliced garlic clove and some salt. Carciofi alla Romana

In a pot that is snug enough to allow the artichokes stand, put some extra virgin olive oil, and carefully place them facing down. Carciofi alla Romana

Then leave them to fry till the colour turns more amber-ish. Carciofi alla Romana

At this point, add some water, put a lid on the pot and let it simmer for about an hour. Carciofi alla Romana

After which you’ll have a lovely rustic aroma as you lift the lid off and you’ll have a lovely dish of Carciofi alla Romana. Carciofi alla Romana

You cut the artichoke into two. It is easily sliced, but still firm. The taste is distinctly rich and rustic due to the mentuccia and yet delicately creamy due to the artichoke. It’s delicious and absolutely hearty.

It’s interesting at how so few ingredients can make such a satisfying dish.

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