Dolcino

Growing up in Loughborough, it is easy to overlook the things that make it unique. Being a cynic when it comes to my hometown I was reluctant to see what it had to offer on my return, which was extremely foolish of me because I might never have discovered this veritable feast for the eyes and tongue, Dolcino.

Admittedly, it doesn’t look like much from the outside. On the inside however it could be the lovechild of a classic American 1950’s dessert diner and a kawaii themed cafe nestled in the heart of Tokyo. The pastel turquoise booths are tasteful and comfy and there is a definite 60s mod vibe emanating from the mopeds, pop art, and unions jacks dotted around the space. The upbeat, bright atmosphere is heightened by a suitable 60s dance playlist

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What really makes it special is the menu. On display is a wide range of gelato including interesting flavours like Blood Orange, Ferrero Rocher, Oreo Ripple, and Tangy Apple, but this really is just the tip of the, eh, ice-creamburg. There is an extensive menu of sweet and savoury crepes and waffles, and as well as huge decadent sundaes, calzones, sandwiches, cake,  and pastries. There are also menus for kids, vegetarians, and gluten free diets.

Some highlights include the succulent green macha cake, the ‘Nick the Greek’ crepe with falafel, humus, cherry tomatoes, guacamole, red onions, black olives, extra virgin olive oil,
lemon juice, and the ‘Wide Load’ waffle with diced Mars Bar, fresh strawberries with chocolate sauce ginger biscuit & whipped cream.

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Perfect for a light snack, brunch, or unbridled death by sugar, a Dolcino is a sweet tooth’s paradise and an essential stop if for some weird reason you are ever passing through Loughborough.

4 Cattle Market, Loughborough LE11 3DJ | Mon to Sat 9:30am-6pm, Sun 10am-6pm | Tel: 01509 210382

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Most Comforting Mac & Cheese

I have to admit, this is not one for vegans. There is so much cheese in this dish, but at some point I will be getting round to doing a vegan version, so please do not fret. However you could substitute the cheeses in this with vegan alternatives.

This was a meal that I pretty much survived on as a university student as it is really filling and delicious. If you’re looking for quick and easy comfort food (and you fucking love cheese) this is a near perfect dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter, plus 1 tbsp melted
  • 350g spiral or other short pasta
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 500ml milk
  • 150g mozzarella
  • 250g cheddar, grated
  • 50g parmesan
  • 1 bag of plain walkers crisps
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 125g halloumi

 

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
  2. Bring the pasta to a boil, using a drizzle of oil and salt and pepper to season.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the garlic and mustard, cook for 1 min, then stir in the milk. Cook for 1 min more, then add half of the mozarella to the mix.
  4. Gradually stir in the mozzarella until you have a lump-free sauce, then throw in a dash of paprika and cumin. Simmer for 5 mins, whisking constantly to avoid burning. Take off the heat, then stir in all the cheddar and half the Parmesan until it has melted into a rich creamy sauce.
  5. Put the cooked pasta into an ovenproof dish, then tip the sauce over it, making sure to cover it evenly.
  6. Get the bag of crisps and a rolling pin. Smash the crisps into tiny, bread-crumb like pieces. Sprinkle these pieces over the top of your pasta. I also add another dash of paprika over the crisp layer, and sometimes basil.
  7. Slice the remaining mozzarella and halloumi into thin slices and layer over the top of the crisps. This will make for a hugely indulgent mac and cheese.
  8. Bake for 20 mins until crisp and golden. Can be frozen before baking – defrost thoroughly before cooking.
  9. And there you have it, a really easy and oh so comforting pasta dish that you can enjoy all year round.

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