Ciao Bella!!

Having friends over for dinner called for some serious shopping, and serious shopping can only mean one thing; A trip to Moore Wilsons in town.  We visit the Porirua store almost weekly, don’t get me wrong, this is great, but when I truly want to go all out and I have the time, I take a trip into town.  It really is quite an experience.  For those that aren’t familiar with Moore Wilsons it is an amazing place that generally stock bulk items for restaurants and catering companies, however for the food enthusiast it’s a Mecca for all things gourmet, those tricky hard to find ingredients, and quite simply all things beautiful.

We are so lucky in Wellington to have so many amazing stores, delis and markets at our disposal, you are pretty much guaranteed to find what you are after and one of those places.  I go to the markets often, but it’s a real treat to get the opportunity to go into town to Moore Wilson’s, to what I call “Foodie Heaven”.

The produce is amazing, second to none.  They have beautiful fish freshly caught just screaming to be purchased.  Almost any kind of meat that you could imagine, stunning cuts; organic, game, poultry, beef, lamb all begging to be taken home.

For those that are a little sweet in the tooth, amazing cakes and desserts that have you watering at the mouth while peering through the cabinet window.

Sweet treats ready to be eaten

And the cheese, who could not mention the cheese?  Shelves of wheels, any kind you could wish for, amazing fresh cheeses of many styles and from many countries waiting to be consumed with fruit, on crackers, dressing meat, enveloped in pasta and embellishing dessert.

They also have an incredible section of wine and beer, almost anything that you could need to be paired with the amazing meals that are just pleading to be created.

My plan for the meal was Pumpkin and Ricotta Ravioli, Venison Oso Buco and an Apricot Cream.  I thought the trickiest part was going to be sourcing the exact cut of Venison that I wanted, I had back-up plans if I needed them.  However on entering the butchery department I was not disappointed, I managed to find exactly what I wanted, easily, and I had a choice of the sizes and mounted that I needed.  “hello beautiful!

Venison Oso Buco with the apple juice and Bouquet garni ready to go in the oven

Everything was fairly simple to make, and I had the time.  The Venison was slow cooked for just over fours hours,  I had the pasta dough made and resting, and dessert chilling in the fridge before our guests arrived.

Pumpkin and Ricotta Ravioli with sage burnt butter

I even had time to whip up a refreshing lemon cocktail (I’ll call it my play on limoncello, with a little twist) to start.

My play on a limoncello cocktail with a twist

Beautiful meal, the Venison turned out just stunning, I was nice;y surprised as this is the first time I had detoured from making the traditional tomato based braising liquid – here I used Apple juice.  But  what made it really special was the fantastic company, thanks Al and Becs.

Venison Oso Buco slow cooked in apple juice with shallots and kumera

I must say, it was nice playing in my comfort zone again and getting back to some good old Italian cooking for a change.  Eccellente!

Ciao!

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