Mosey Dines with Made by Mandy
How did you become a dietitian?
I completed a bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Flinders University in South Australia. Despite having to undertake lots of science-based subjects in the early years, there was also a great creative part to the course. In fact, a few assignments involved creating nutrition instagram accounts and food blogs…which definitely sparked my interest in the creative side of dietetics.
What’s your favourite thing about food photography and styling?
I love seeing how styling and editing can transform a dish and convey such a strong message. Food is capable of telling stories that words can’t express. Planning, preparing and sourcing are vital components to capturing all the beauty that food has to offer. Even the most delicious dishes can struggle to appear as lovely as they taste. That’s where my love for styling and photography comes into play!
How do you go about creating new recipes? What is your creative process when it comes to food?
I’m constantly brainstorming new recipes, menu ideas or flavour combinations. A lot of my early inspiration came from watching my mum and Nonna cook traditional Italian dishes, then trying to recreate them myself. Nowadays when it comes to creating new recipes, I tend to draw on inspiration from books, magazines and past travel experiences. I’ll often have a core recipe idea in mind, then note down a range of different flavours or ingredients that’ll complement the flavours, and start to refine from there. It’s such an exciting and creative process that I could go on for hours!
What are your go-to recipes when hosting a dinner party?
Love this question! In fact, I just started recording all my dinner party menus so I know what’s worked well in the past. When it comes to hosting a dinner party, my Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia will always make an appearance - it’s a definite crowd pleaser! I also love making a variety of different pasta dishes…because who doesn’t love pasta?! My Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells are a great option because I can prep them the day before and pop them in the oven right before guests arrive. As well as my Creamy Pea Pasta, which is great for vegetarians and vegans too! When it comes to dessert, I’ve always got at least two options on the go (…can you tell I’m a dessert person?!). I typically go for one chocolate-based dessert like my Classic Tiramisu and something a little lighter like my Baked Summer Crumble.
What are your top tips for creating a beautiful dining table?
Try not to overcomplicate things and just choose options that make you happy! I’m typically drawn to bold and bright patterns like Mosey Me’s new Clay print. Then once I have a base for the dining table, I add different layers in the form of napkins, candles, candle holders and plates. I also love having some kind of flower or greenery to bring a little life to the table!
Made By Mandy’s Pasta Alla Gricia
Serves 2 | Under 15 minutes
- 225g short dried pasta (i.e. rigatoni, mezzo maniche)
- 100g guanciale, sliced into 2cm strips
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 100g Pecorino Romano, finely grated
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the pasta, cook until al dente.
- Place a pan over low-medium heat and add guanciale, gently cook until the fat becomes transparent and the meat slightly browned; approximately 6-8 minutes, then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine and a dash of cooking water, bring to a simmer over medium heat, swirling the pan to encourage the fat to emulsify into the pasta water.
- Add the pasta and cook, tossing often, adding more pasta water as needed, until a glossy sauce forms.
- Place grated cheese into a small bowl and add a dash of pasta water, stir slowly until you reach a ricotta-like consistency. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the cheese paste. Gently mix the pasta until the cheese has melted and the pasta has a thick, glossy sauce clinging to it. Serve immediately with extra cheese and black pepper.
- Remember to remove pan from the heat before adding the cheese, otherwise it will become clumpy.
- Feel free to substitute white wine for pasta water