I’ve nothing much to report on the new business front except that the contracts to be signed are in the post as we speak, the accountant is getting the business plan together, I’ve warned my bank manager that we are coming to get lots of money, he thinks I’m joking, he’s in for some shock,  Alessandro is in Italy sourcing equipment so it’s busy, busy!!!! Just to give you a little info on it, we are opening an Italian bar and grill, it is a restaurant but it will be casual dining focusing on pizza, pasta and a large grill serving all different types of steaks, home-made burgers, fish like tuna steaks, swordfish steaks etc. The focus will be on simple, home-cooked food that’s affordable!! I think eating out has changed a lot in Ireland over the last couple of years and people are moving towards casual dining, somewhere you can eat any night of the week and not just a Saturday night or for special occasions. I know myself that I would eat out a lot more if there were more casual dining options but it is an area that is really lacking in Limerick so we are hoping to fill that gap!!

Everybody I tell says what a great idea it is and how badly Limerick needs something like this and how exciting it is for us!! Yes it is exciting but I won’t really be excited until  2 or 3 years time when it is established and “maybe” beginning to make a profit!! Until then it’s lots of stress, lots of phone calls with the bank looking for more money and no sleep but hey I’m tough so don’t go worrying about me now:)

With the new house and full freezer  – oooh the excitement, I plan to start cooking lots of dishes like cannelloni, lasagne, pasta al forno etc that I can make up in big batches and freeze and then just pop into the oven on the busy days when I have no time to cook. Lasagne seems to be a lot more popular in Ireland than cannelloni and seems to be the one that most people would make themselves at home but I actually prefer cannelloni. Everyone thinks of spinach or meat cannelloni so I’m going to post about different flavours and fillings from the norm.  This recipe is based on one I saw a while back in a pasta book I picked up in SQ by Ann and Franco Taruschio which has 100 different pasta recipes and really is a great addition to the cookbook collection. This recipe is really easy and was really fast to make, I cooked the pasta sheets in the morning, left them in the cold water and went off and did the shopping and then put it altogether when I came back, it was really delicious and the princess loved it too so it will be a regular in the Italian foodie house!!

what you need:

 – 500g ricotta cheese

 – 2 eggs

 – 100g grated parmesan cheese plus extra for topping

 –  tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

 – 1 tbsp chopped basil

 – sea salt and black pepper

 – 10 – 15 slices of parma ham

 – fresh tomato sauce or passata ( we have tubs of fresh sauce or bottles of De Cecco passata in La Cucina)

 – pasta sheets or cannelloni tubes – we have really good fresh pasta sheets in LC at the moment which are perfect for lasagne or canneloni. If you can’t get fresh use dried pasta sheets or dried tubes.

 – butter or margarine

 – nutmeg

 – olive oil


what to do:

 – bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt and some olive oil and cook your pasta sheets until al dente. Don’t over cook as they have to into the oven to be cooked again. Scoop out with a slotted spoon or sieve and drop into container of cold water with a little olive oil and leave to cool down. Lay out a tea towel, place pasta sheets on it and dry off with some kitchen paper. 

 – in a bowl mix your ricotta, eggs, herbs, parmesan, season with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

 – put a slice of parma ham on each pasta square and divide the mixture between the pasta sheets and roll up into tubes.

 – grease your oven dish and arrange the cannelloni in a single layer. Cover with your passata and srinkle over lots of parmesan.

 – bake in the oven for 20-30 mins and serve with extra parmesan.


buon appetito!!!