Pork Chops with Sage, Italian Style


Despite putting together fun meal plans for Eating Adelaide, our own meal planning has been pretty shambolic of late. We are getting back on track, but a lot of our choices are being driven by how quick something will be to put on the table. The toddler seems to be in the process of dropping his nap (we’ve done well – he’s almost 3 and until the last couple of weeks has routinely been napping 2-3 hours a day!) and Andy has just started a new job.

So there’s not a lot of time for leisurely kitchen activities. Dinner needs to be of the “put in pan and serve” variety. And, of course, I have the sage plant …

A quick trawl through my delicious bookmarks threw up this simple recipe for pork chops, from The Goddess’s Kitchen, an English blog I’ve been following for ages. Maria doesn’t blog as frequently as she used to, and a lot of her posts are baking oriented (one of the reasons I started following in the first place) but this simple pork chop recipe hit the mark.

I served it with mash and a few steamed vegetables, and made a simple tweak to the sauce (I opened the cream for the mash, so I figured I might as well enrich the sauce at the same time!). It’s a great way of using some kitchen garden produce and jazzing up a very simple supper.

Pork Chops with Sage, Italian Style


  • 2 pork loin chops
  • fresh sage leaves, to taste, but at least 3 per chop
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • generous splash of white wine
  • 1 tbsp cream


  1. Add some oil or butter to a pan and cook the chops.
  2. When the chops are cooked, remove from the pan and set aside. If there is a lot of fat in the pan drain.
  3. Return the pan to a gentle heat and add the garlic and sage leaves. Season. Add the white wine and reduce a little before adding the cream.
  4. Cook for a few minutes, until the raw alcohol taste is cooked out and the sauce reduces further.
  5. Serve the pork chops dressed with the sauce.

Sage and Bacon Gnocchi


Last week, after nearly four years at the one job, Andy said goodbye to a pile of workmates. Only just back from Spain, there was no way I was going to be the life of any party (or surrender up the toddler to babysitters – or maybe that should be “be surrendered”?!) so I stayed in.

I had a pretty lazy day and only once shops were closing and the toddler was in bed did I discover that the cupboards were pretty bare. Normally I would have spaghetti, chilli, oil and garlic but there wasn’t enough plain pasta for dinner so I had to put my thinking cap back on.

Fortunately the freezer was home to a small bag of gnocchi (of indeterminate age, naturally), the fridge had some bacon and we have a big pot of sage in the back garden.

Now, I could have done something healthy because we always have tinned tomatoes to hand but … I wanted super quick. Taking inspiration from the countless variations on sage and butter that you find in Italian cooking I whipped up a tasty, but also not very healthy or very balanced supper!

Absolutely perfect for a night in for one. But a word of advice – you absolutely HAVE to use fresh sage. Dried simply will not work at all.

Sage and Bacon Gnocchi


  • butter
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • fresh sage leaves, to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • gnocchi, for one


  1. Heat the butter in a frying pan that is big enough to fit the gnocchi in.
  2. Chop the bacon and add to the butter.
  3. Start cooking the gnocchi in boiling water.
  4. When the bacon starts to brown and crisp, add the garlic and the sage leaves.
  5. When the gnocchi is cooked (it all floats), drain and add to the frying pan with the bacon, sage and garlic.
  6. Give this a quick fry and then serve in a warm bowl, topped with grated parmesan and plenty of black pepper.

Cafe Brunelli


date of visit: Thursday 12 September 2013

The thing I learnt yesterday was to not meet Andy directly after work without having a definite action plan. As we stood in the office foyer trying to decide where to go to dinner he became grumpier and less helpful by the minute. I’d suggest somewhere and he’d say no. No alternative would be offered, just ‘no’.

So after some faff, and an attempt to eat in a hotel restaurant that didn’t start serving until 6 (too late with the toddler in tow), we ended up at Café Brunelli on Rundle Street. It’s the massive café next to the carpark at the Pulteney Street end. You can’t miss it.

Andy was still looking grumpy. “They’d better be able to serve quickly”, he muttered. Despite it being very early (before 5:30pm) I’d hazard a guess and say that Brunelli’s was about 10-20% full. The tables are reasonably tightly packed in and it’s all very casual. You wander in, grab a table, grab a high chair (should you need one), grab some menus and when you’re ready, you wander up to the kitchen to order.

The front of the café is dominated by a HUGE cabinet of cakes, biscuits and chocolates. I have no idea what they’re like but they look tempting enough to make you want to skip a ‘real’ meal and just do cake and coffee.

The menu is a pretty standard Italian café menu. The toddler became hugely animated at the prospect of meatballs, so polpette in umedo was duly chosen for him. For speed, I chose the gnocchi Roma: gnocchi with a tomato, bocconcini and basil sauce (a simple, but boy, do you have nowhere to hide dish), and Andy the salsicce pizza. With drinks (a humour rescuing Boags for Andy and a glass of Annie’s Lane Riesling for me), and after Entertainment Card discount, the meal cost $55*.

After ordering and paying at the kitchen, I collected our drinks from the bar. I was a little concerned when I saw how little Riesling was left in the bottle and I was right. The bottle had obviously been open for a day or two longer than it should which is disappointing. While I commend Café Brunelli for a very impressive list of wines by the glass (almost everything, it seemed!) if the turnover is not such that the wines can be kept fresh, don’t do it!

The food arrived super quickly. The toddler’s entrée size meatballs consisted of two huge meatballs in a tomato sauce. He was extremely pleased with this, even more so when he learnt that it wasn’t one for him and one for daddy but that they were both for him. Both meatball and tomato sauce appeared to hit the spot but he was unimpressed by the rocket and the fact that it was served with thick chunks of toast (they had to be removed very quickly). It was a ridiculously large portion: had I ordered it there would have been no way I could ever have eaten anything else.

Andy’s pizza looked really good: the base was thin and crispy (I could tell that from the other side of the table) and he said he quite liked the toppings. His complaint was that the tomato sauce had been used a little too heavy handedly. This meant that the pizza sat firmly in the middle of the pizza awesomeness spectrum.

My gnocchi was very ho-hum indeed. The gnocchi themselves were small and light but the sauce was pointless. It was a mix of overly sweet tomato and tomato that had not been cooked out enough. The basil had been cooked too much and turned a little bitter. Had some freshly torn basil been added just before serving that could have made all the difference. As it was, the basil looked scary and didn’t taste good at all. I really liked the addition of torn chunks of bocconcini to the sauce but as a dish it was utterly underwhelming.

If you are in town and looking for a quick meal then Café Brunelli can fulfil that need. Depending on how you choose, you can eat for a reasonable price – but just set your expectations accordingly.

Café Brunelli
187 Rundle Street
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 8223 2221

* Without Entertainment Card, it was just over $70.

Cafe Brunelli on Urbanspoon