Last summer I met a man in a pub. We soon got chatting about food and travel and the conversation swiftly moved on to the pizza in New York. Now I’m no expert but I certainly did try my fair share of slices whilst I was in the Big Apple early last year, and I’ve been craving one of those super skinny cheese topped goodies ever since. As we continued to chat, Eugene revealed to me that he was getting into the pizza business himself and was currently on the lookout for premises in the Itaewon area to open up his own New York Style Pizzeria. I was as happy as a clam upon hearing the news, despite the fact that there’re about 8 pizza restaurants on every corner of the neigbourhood, most of them leave a lot to be desired. So I waited, and waited and waited, until finally, about 6 months later, I heard that Gino’s was to open its doors, and the second I came back from Bali I accepted Eugene’s kind invitation to come and give it a try on the house.
Food Blogging can be such a fickle mistress sometimes, you take a few weeks out to go on vacation and almost instantaneously you are way behind the restaurant times. Maddux Pizza has only been open a few short weeks but it’s already proving to be very popular on the pizza lovers grape vine. The small yet ample restaurant is located in the every growing myriad of Itaewon’s back alleyways just up from The wolfhound.
A lovely day off last week afforded me to do some of my favourite things, shopping, eating, and drinking in the sun. Whilst indulging in some shopping in Sinsa, we got rather peckish. We spotted this cute little restaurant which looked ideal for a leisurely lunch.
The menu is Italian, consisting of salads, pastas, pizzas, risotto’s and several main dishes. The decor is cute and chic. With the doors opening right out on the street, a conservatory and a small patio outside it’s the perfect lunch spot for a sunny afternoon. There are also several imported bottled beers on the menu, but at 10,000 a pop it’s not the place to get drunk. They did have a pitcher of sangria which I would have liked to have tried, if my financial situation had been better.
After a browse of the menu, we decided upon a Ceasar salad (16,000), as a nod to healthy living. Although there was lettuce, parmesan shavings and chicken, they were missing a few of the key ingredients. There were no croutons or bacon. However, that didn’t really bother me so much, but if you were hankering after a traditional Ceasar salad you might be disappointed. The chicken was warm and marinated well and full of flavour. I did enjoy this salad but it was a little small for two to share.
Since we had been so healthy by ordering a salad, I thought we deserved a treat. So we got a pizza as a reward. They have quite the variety but we settled upon the margarita (15,000). The base was thin and crispy, just the way I like it. It had lots of cheese and pieces of fresh tomato. It certainly hit the spot. I only wish there had been more fresh basil and a little less olive oil on top.
Overall I think its a great spot for lunch if you are in the area. I wouldn’t travel miles to come, but the food is good and a reasonable price given the area. Sognare is located at 546-8, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sinsa station (line 3). Come out of exit 8 and walk straight until you get to Tous Le Jours and make a left. Keep walking straight along that road until you reach the Diesel store, Sognare is opposite on the right. You can call them on 02-514-3398 for more information.
Sorry guys I have been seriously MIA for the last week. I have been suffering from a tremendous hangover I gained from attending a friend’s birthday party. That is what happens when you are friends with people much younger and cooler than you. I have been regaining my strength by lying in my bed drinking vitamin water and watching White Collar, my new favourite TV show. I thought I would kick off Tuesday with a healthy-ish post. Back home you can find vegetable crisps everywhere and you can almost kid yourself that deep-fried vegetables are actually very good for you as well as being very damn tasty. This past week I have been exploring making my own vegetable crisps, first up is carrots, they actually came out really great. Easy and cheap to make, they make a nice change from your regular party snacks.
1 large carrot
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
A pinch of salt and pepper
A pinch of Cajun seasoning (or any other you fancy)
Cut your carrots into very thin rounds or long thin strips using a vegetable peeler. Toss the carrots in the oil, salt, pepper, and chosen seasoning. Lay the pieces on a baking tray, trying not to overlap them. Bake in a hot oven at 210 degrees Celsius for about 10-20 minutes. You will need to check on them quite frequently removing any chips that are cooked. Allow to cool then enjoy.
Last night we finally got around to going to Trevia. It is just opposite our bus stop but until now we had not ventured inside. Whatever night of the week we pass it is always busy and now I finally understand why.
The cafe is decorated in an Italian style with pictures and Italian memorabilia all over the walls. They have big wooden tables and the ever so popular mismatched chairs. Is there a restaurant in Seoul that has a matching set?
As you enter the restaurant you will be given a menu and then you go and find your own seat. After ample perusing time you can go to to the counter to make your selection and pick up your water, cutlery and complimentary pickled vegetables. You will be given a buzzer that will ring when your pizza is ready. It’s a very good system and probably helps account for their lower prices.
We decided to get 4 slices instead of a whole pizza and this was almost too much for two people. You could easily share 3 slices between too as each slice is cut into another 4 pieces.
I opted for the mixed mushroom (5,500). I love mushrooms and this pizza was really good. It was topped with a good medley of mushrooms and cheese. The dough was thin, crispy, and chewy all at the same time, exactly how I like it!
Niall ordered a slice of the Quattro Formaggi (5,500) four cheese. Presented in a very cute way each piece, came topped with a slice of cheese. Gouda, Gorganzola, Brie and Mozzarella were the choices. He shoveled it down pretty quickly so you’re onto a winner with that one. Where else can you get that variety of cheese for that price?
We also ordered the Filone Potato (6,300) A rosemary potato pizza which was was probably my favorite. You could taste the rosemary the second you bit into it, and the potatoes were perfectly cooked.
Our last slice was the Fresh mozzarella (6,300). This was great too. Topped with lettuce leaves drizzled in olive oil, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. It tasted so fresh and clean. The perfect slice for salad lovers.
In a fit of greed I also ordered a lasagne (13,000). Which was actually rather good, tasting just like it should. It had a good robust flavour and lots of lovely pasta. The way lasagne should be made. I love my own recipe but this one could satisfy any cravings you have. Much better than what you usually get served up in Korean style Italian restaurants. They also have a variety of salads, paninis and breads available.
The drinks are very cheap, a big draft beer cost a mere 3,000 and a glass of wine at 5,000. No wonder they are so busy. Its the perfect venue for a first date or casual meet between friends. Nice enough ambiance without being too formal. They even have their own Salami, Olives, Oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese for sale!
Trevia is located at 557 Itaewon-Dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. The nearest bus stop is 03-152 it’s just by the restaurant. By Subway head to Noksapyeong station (line 6) and come out exit 2. Walk down the road till you get to the underpass and cross the road. Take the right hand exit and walk straight ahead. You can call them on 02-794-6003.
Ever since I found my recipe for this dough, pizza has been a regular dinner for us. I love these tasty pizzas and could eat them everyday. However I like a bit of variation and sometimes make a calzone instead. It’s pretty much the same thing, the pizza is just folded over. However I think it changes the dough a little and makes it into more of a kind of pasty which I love. The great thing about these babies is that you can fill them with whatever you want and take them to work as they are individually sealed. When I make up a big batch of dough, I usually use half for pizza and half for calzones. I used some of my coveted goats cheese in the filling of these and it was amazing, but pretty much anything goes. I even tried some with the pulled pork I made!
500g flour (I used the one for dumplings and noodles.)
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of yeast (I used bobai brand that comes in 8g packages)
4 table spoons of olive oil
14oz ice-cold water
1/2 a kabocha squash (those dark green looking pumpkins)
2 tablespoons of tomato sauce
140g of goats cheese
A large handful of spinach
2 tabelspoons of toasted pine nuts
A knob of butter
Sift the flour, salt, and yeast into a bowl. Then using a table-spoon stir in the oil followed by the water bit by bit, you may find as I did that you don’t need it all, or you can always add more. Use the metal spoon to get right into the middle of the dough and mix it thoroughly. You know you have added enough water when the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom. If it is too dry add a few more drops of water, if it is too wet add more flour a little at a time until it’s the right consistency.
Once your dough is formed you need to work it for another 5-7 minutes using the metal spoon, this activates the gluten in the flour which makes it springy and elastic rather than a tacky lump. You can do this by putting the spoon into the dough and moving it around, you will find the dough stretches the more you do this. After this take the ball of dough and pull it and stretch it with your hands, I am sure you have seen Italian pizza chefs on TV doing it (I didn’t do it half as elaborately but you get the idea).
Now the dough is ready, form it into balls – I made 3 big ones. The recipe stated that you should leave the balls in the fridge over night before using, but I don’t think it’s hugely important. If you have thought ahead in advance or have a huge amount of restraint and willpower it does help the flavour of the dough develop, but it still tastes great if you use it straight away (the dough will keep in the fridge for up to four days). Roll your ball in flour then put a little olive oil on your hands and coat each ball before putting on a tray or plate. Put the plate in a zip lock bag or failing this cling film and store overnight.
To made the filling cut the squash in to quarters and take out the seeds. Drizzle the pieces with a little olive oil and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until they are soft. Next scoop out the flesh and cut into chunks. I don’t like to waste the skins so I usually sprinkles on a little cumin and roast them in the oven for another 10-20 minutes until they are crunchy for a tasty snack. Chop the spinach then saute in the butter for a minute or two until it has wilted. Add the tomato sauce, pine nuts and crumble in the goats cheese. Mix together with the squash chunks thoroughly.
Roll out the dough into circles. Top with a tablespoon of sauce then add a few spoonfuls of filling. Then brush the edge with egg yolk.
Fold the dough over to make a semi-circle. Then crimp the edges. Depending how skilled you are you can make them look very beautiful. Brush the whole thing with egg wash again then baked them in the oven for about 10-20 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.
Serve on their own or with more tomato sauce for dipping. Voilà easy tasty calzone.
As you may know I’m not really all that partial to Korean food. I don’t hate everything, there are a fair few things that I will tuck into with gusto and bulgogi is one of them. At my last school they gave us lunch everyday. Once or twice a month if we were lucky, it would be bulgogi day!!!I would eat lunch twice on those days just because it was so good.
For those not in Korea, bulgogi is thinly sliced pieces of beef. fried with onions, pieces of carrot and mushrooms in a sweet gravy like sauce. Koreans serve it with rice, which is a very enjoyable way to eat it. However it got me thinking about what other dishes we could use bulgogi for. Beef in general is quite expensive here in Korea and lots of people shy away from buying it, especially if they are living by themselves. The great thing about bulgogi though is all the big store like homeplus sell it by weight, so you can easily get a small potion just for yourself. We bought a huge pack at Costco 2kg for 22,000. So I decided to make a trio of western delights using the bulgogi as my base.
If none of these babies tantalize your taste buds you could also use it to make Spaghetti Bolognese, fajitas/burritos, stew, chili, hotpot, pies,burgers, empanadas, stir fries or nachos supreme.
250g of bulgogi per sandwich
1 Panini, baguette or sub roll (you can always use two slices of bread in a pinch)
75g of grated cheese (whatever you have is fine, or use Philadelphia for a philly steak sandwich)
Lettuce, tomato, onions etc (optional)
Cook the bulgogi in a frying pan, no need to add any oil as there is already fat in the meat. Meanwhile toast your roll or bread in the oven for a minute or two. Sprinkle on the grated cheese and pop it back into the oven until the cheese has melted. If you are using Philadelphia then you can omit this step just spread on a thick layer on to your roll or sandwich. Load the bulgogi into roll and top with salad if using.
Bulgogi Noodle salad
500g of bulgogi
250g of Vietnamese rice noodle (you can use any kind of noodles for this though)
1/2 cucumber thinly slices
1 red pepper thinly slices
150g of cooked endamame beans (found at my local veggie mart)
5 spring onions
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil.
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
Cook you bulgogi in a frying pan without oil. When the meat is completely cooked through leave to cool a little. Meanwhile boil your rice noodles for 5 minutes or until they are done. Drain the noodles until dry then mix in with the bulgogi meat while it is warm but not hot. The noodles will absorb all of those flavorsome juices. Leave to oneside until it has gone cold. Meanwhile slice your vegetables. You can use anything you like really, I just used what I had in the fridge. When the noodle bulgogi mixture has cooled. Mix with the sliced vegetables, throw on the endamame beans and add the soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and sesame oil and mix well. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds and spring onions. Voilà a quick and easy noodle salad.
500g of Bulgogi
2-3 cloves of garlic
200g of mushrooms
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 tablespoon of mixed herbs
4 tablespoons of sour cream
1 glass of white wine
300g of flat pasta or noodles (I used fettuccini)
A glug of olive oil
A knob of butter
Fry the garlic and onions in the oil for a few minutes until they have softened. Add the mushrooms and the butter then fry until the mushrooms have cooked. When they are done transfer them to a bowl. Fry the bulgogi in the frying pan. When it has started to color add the paprika and continue cooking until the meat is done. Add the onion and mushrooms back into the pan along with the wine. Cook for 5 minutes or until the wine has cooked out. Add the sour cream and mixed herbs, then stir in to make the sauce. When the mixture is ready serve with the pasta. Voilà a delicious bulgogi stroganoff. .