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During the last couple of months, my home grown parsley grew wild and unattended (oops). It almost looked like a small tree with a very thick and stern trunk/stem. Having an exorbitant amount of parsley I searched for recipes that used parsley in excess, which was really why I was growing parsley in the first place but never gotten around to cooking anything with it. Luckily, I found this seemingly quick and easy fresh vegetarian pasta recipe from Foodandwine.com which looked fantastic and turned out quite well too if I do say so myself. Check it out below!

Fettuccine with Walnut-Parsley Pesto
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients
3/4 cup walnut halves (3 ounces)
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus shavings for garnish
1/2 pound fettuccine (225 g)
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Toast the walnuts in a pie plate for 7 minutes, or until golden; let cool. Coarsely chop 1/4 cup of walnuts and transfer to a bowl; add the 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley and half of the grated Parmesan.

2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain.

3. In a mini food processor, pulse the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts with the 1/4 cup of parsley leaves and the garlic until finely chopped. Add the remaining grated Parmesan cheese and the olive oil and process to a coarse purée. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.

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4. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the vegetable stock and butter and simmer until the liquid is nearly absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the pesto and toss until combined. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, garnish with the walnut, parsley and Parmesan topping and Parmesan shavings and serve.

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Impressions
My only downfall with this dish was my failure of pouring in all the dry fettuccine into boiling water all at once. This resulted in clumping of the noodles and uneven cooking as some became thick strands (undercooked) and others cooked past al dente.

Flavour wise, it was pretty tasty for a dish that has minimal ingredients, the parsley pesto was extremely flavourful and a bit of a zing. As this dish has no meat, I’d actually prefer more walnuts to be added (maybe 1 cup) instead as I also added one whole bag full of fettuccine (probably too much actually). Other than that, I found this recipe to be one I’d be keen to try again.

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 On our last night in Quebec City it was absolutely freezing so we dared not venture too far out at night. Luckily, right across from our hotel is Bistro Le Brigantin, a Italian restaurant on the corner block. We weren’t that hungry as we had soup and bread from Baguette & Cie in the arvo. It’s a lovely little restaurant that for some reason didn’t seem to be that popular. It might be because most of the visitors were in the city centre and not near the bayside.

We ordered a Tomato based Penne Pasta with parmesan cheese on top. The pasta was perfectly al dente, and the tomato flavour was so flavourful and yet not oily. Adding a bit of chilli flakes just makes it delicious. I was really quite surprised of this gem of a restaurant that seemingly was mostly empty at night. Top notch.

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Their salmon baked pizza was also just divine. Crisp and crunchy bottom, with a very cheesy and fresh salmon on top with cooked onions and herbs. It isn’t like your typical pizzas with a crust and a thick bread bottom, this instead lets the toppings come alive.  For something that may seem small, it packs full of flavour and is actually filling even though it was shared between three.

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It might have also been because we ate a lot of the bread as a starter. You really can’t go wrong with bread and butter, their airy bread is light and fluffy inside but with a very crunchy crust. Love it.

Impressions

I loved this Italian restaurant, I never would have imagined Quebec City to have great Italian food. Colour me surprised and very glad to have dined here. Fantastic, flavourful food, with excellent service.

Bistro Le Brigantin on Urbanspoon

Bistro Le Brigantin

97 Rue Du Sault-Au-Matelot
Quebec QC G1K4A6

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There sure are an insurmountable number of eateries just in the Mornington Peninsula. Us Melburnians are definitely spoilt for choice.

Mainly wineries were open on the Monday that we decided to take a trip down there, if you come down on a weekend I’m sure it’d make deciding what’s for lunch… or just a snack even harder.

I think we bad some bad luck finding some breweries on a weekday though. We tried the Red Hill Brewery but to no avail, it did have a quaint look to it and well I’ve heard some good things about it.

Finally we found a ‘Beer Garden’ called Pig & Whistle, it has that old bar feel to it. A bit country, a bit pub but homely and welcoming is what you get too.

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It has two separate areas, one is the bar which serves mainly the alcohol and pub food. The menu looked decent, it had the standard fare of fish and chips, pies and well if I can recall, pizzas.

Then there is the restaurant area, which has indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating was plentiful and it actually looked quite nice, plus it was a good day but I do prefer the indoors when eating a meal so we decided to seat inside.

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The inside of Pig & Whistle is filled with old mugs and 50s/60s memorabilia, from the looks of it anyway with many posters and frames all hanging around. It has that older carpet/country smell that you get from some B&Bs or a motel but it didn’t really detract from my experience.

The menu selection was decent, it had a mix of cultural foods from Italian, Thai, and the Australian/English varieties and local and international alcoholic beverages. As I have an undying love for all things risotto, I picked a Seafood Risotto as one of the specials of the day.

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It was really quite good. Had a generous quantity of prawns, scallops and mussels (If I can recall) and was seasoned nicely. The rice was cooked well too. It was tomato based with some grated cheese on top and it all worked pretty well. One of the better risottos I’ve eaten, and was pleasantly surprised in the end.

They also had a Thai Green Curry
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Classic Fish and Chips
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Seafood Pasta
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All in all, we had a perfectly good meal. Service was decent, it might have come a bit later then we expected but nothing to raise arms about. After our lunch, we headed to their garden to check out the views and flowers.

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The Pig and Whistle definitely has made it’s mark in the area, catering for everything you could possible want. Their dessert menu looked good too but we were stuffed!

Check it out for yourself!

Pig & Whistle Tavern on Urbanspoon
Pig and Whistle Tavern & Restaurant

Open from 11.00am every day until late

1429 Mt Dandenong Tourist Road
Olinda
Victoria
9751 2366

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