Recipe: Mac & Cheese and Deli Sandwich by Perfect Italiano!

I love cheese. Cheese loves me.

If you don't like cheese at all, there's a chance we could never, ever be friends. Just like how I can't understand why some people do not like fluffy bunnies. Cheese and bunnies are life.

I can almost never say no to something that has oozy melty cheese all over it. It is my ideal #foodporn. I don't really take much of the stronger stuff like blue cheese or even parmesan, I definitely do not eat cheese on its own with a glass of wine, but I DO like it when it's paired properly. For example, blue cheese in a gourmet burger or parmesan on bread or pasta! Yum.

As with any avid cook, I have my favorite brands for the choice of ingredients that I use in my home cooked meals, and today's star of the post is... Perfect Italiano!



Perfect Italiano is a cooking cheese brand that adds simple Italian flair to everyday family meals! My most used product from Perfect Italiano is their good ol' traditional Mozzarella cheese. They have both the grated version and the block version, for the recipes shown I used the block version. It has a soft, stretchy texture that's wonderfully stringy when pulled apart, which makes it the ideal cheese to use for many different dishes because it can be baked, made into sauces, or just out of the packet, sliced.  Even people who don't normally like cheesy foods can enjoy a good mozzarella dish thanks to its subtle, creamy flavor. With this awesome cheese, imma show you guys how to create two delicious dishes you can enjoy & share with your family and friends!


First perfectly cheesy dish from today's line up: Baked Mac & Cheese!




Ingredients (serves 4):
  • 300ml full cream milk
  • 200g sausages, chopped (any you like, I used chorizos)
  • 50g bacon, chopped (optional, or substitute with more sausages)
  • 220g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 160g spinach leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small / medium onion, diced
  • 300g macaroni pasta (or other short pastas like penne, fussili)
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 250g Perfect Italiano Mozzarella, grated
  • A handful of breadcrumbs 
  • A handful of Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes

Directions:



1. Boil the pasta with a pinch of salt and a drip of olive oil until 95% cooked. Texture should be slightly undercooked or very al dente, because further cooking will be done in the oven later on. Rinse with cold water, toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.

2. Sautee the onions & garlic in a pan with some butter or cooking oil for 2 minutes.

3. Add the spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes, bacon and sausages and then stir fry on low heat until bacon and sausages are about cooked. It doesn't matter if the meat is still a little pink. Empty your cooked contents into a deep large bowl.

4. In the same frying pan, melt 2 tbsp butter under low heat until it turns liquid. Immediately add 2 tbsp plain flour to butter, and stir constantly.

5. Once flour is dissolved, pour in milk and grated Perfect Italiano Mozzarella, continue stirring with gentle heat until cheese sauce becomes thick and smooth. Remove from heat once cheese sauce is of the right consistency to prevent overcooking. 




6. Combine cooked contents, pasta & cheese sauce together! At this time, do a taste test and add salt & pepper to your own preference. Pour into oven-safe baking dish.




7. Sprinkle top generously with Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes, and breadcrumbs. If you have paprika, put some of that on too, for a perfect golden color after baking!

Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes is a full-flavoured Cheddar blend with a little Mozzarella for stretch and Parmesan for bite. This special blend does not turn oily, and bakes to a delicious golden brown crust. Since I can't resist melted cheese, it only made sense to complement my Mozzarella from Perfect Italiano with Perfect Bakes on top.




8. Pop the dish into preheated oven of 200 degrees, & bake for 10 minutes to finish off!





..Ready for some oozy gooey food porn?!




Now that is one very pretty bed of mac & cheese. Imagine laying that down on the dinner table for your family to tuck into! I'm sure you'll be their favorite person in the house. Yes, I am my own favorite person in my house.




Check out that perfect crust on the top.. *content sigh* Thanks to a thin layer and of course, Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes! (and paprika, it does wonders for color)

I've switched things up quite a bit by adding spinach, cherry tomatoes, bacon and sausage meat, making it a very substantial meal. I know the classic mac & cheese doesn't have all these extra ingredients, but trust me when I say you're never going to look at plain mac & cheese again after having this awesome version!






After all... what's there to complain about? The yumminess factor just increased exponentially. Look at it just overflowing with wonderfully stretchy Perfect Italiano mozzarella. My kinda happiness. It is one of my favorite pastas to make for myself and dinner parties, and there is NEVER any leftovers!

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If you're looking for an easier, fuss-free (and healthier) option to use Perfect Italiano Mozzarella to make a meal for your family, I've got you covered too!

This Deli Sandwich is totally simple, and something busy people or amateur cooks will have the time + skills to prepare, because everything will take less than 30 minutes.




Ingredients (serves as many or as little as you want it to):
  • Sliced whole grain bread
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Sliced ham (your favorite type, smoked salmon would work too)
  • Sliced avocadoes
  • Lettuce (or any salad leaves you like)
  • Mayonnaise or other dressing if you don't like dry sandwiches
  • Perfect Italiano Mozzarella or Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus
  • A knob of butter

Directions:



1. Butter the bread slices & sprinkle with garlic / onion powder if you have some at home (optional)




2. Load on plenty of Perfect Italiano Mozzarella or Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus into a heaping pile on top of your bread slice! I used a mixture of both! It may look like a lot, but it melts down to a pretty reasonable amount. Or maybe I'm just crazy.


3. Pop the bread slices into a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 6 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted. 



4. Once the bread slices are out, you may start assembling your sandwich! I like displaying my top bread slice with the melted cheese side up for extra yumminess factor.



Easy as 1, 2, Cheese!



Tell me this doesn't make you salivate.

...Liar!




I've garnished mine with a cherry tomato on top, held in place with a toothpick through my sandwich. This would be an ideal lunch for people on-the-go, because you can quickly make this in the morning and bring it to work!




A balanced meal that was ridiculously easy to prepare. You've got your carbs and fibers, vegetables, protein, vitamins and dairy all on one plate.




For more Perfect Italiano meal ideas and suggestions / recipes on how to use their cheeses in your everyday home cooking, check out their website here

If you do try any of my recipes (they are original!) please do tag me on Instagram at @shiberty #shibertycooks, and also tag #perfectitalianosg so that we can view your successful dishes! ;)

Happy cheesing!

xoxo,
Jess


Sofitel So Bangkok! So FABULOUS.

When people think of Bangkok, luxury does not necessarily come straight to mind.

Most would think of the crowded, rowdy streets, bustling night markets, delicious and affordable Thai food - but at the mention of Bangkok these days, the FIRST thing that comes to MY mind is Sofitel So Bangkok.




I've had the utmost pleasure of staying at Sofitel So Bangkok twice in less than half a year, and I have to tell you, the second experience wasn't any less impressive or awe-inspiring as the first one! It is, without a doubt, one of the best hotels I've ever had the good fortune to step foot into.

"Let your imagination run wild in a world of visionary expression and multi-sensory indulgence. Situated on the corner of Sathorn and Rama IV Roads Sofitel So Bangkok is an intrigue-steeped 5-star hotel with a resolutely contemporary outlook.

At the heart of it all The Tree of Life - an emblem designed by famed couturier and design legend Mr. Christian Lacroix - combines the five elements of Water Earth Wood Metal and Fire into uniting icon.
Discover these elements reflected in the design themes of the hotels luxury rooms and suites. Four leading Thai interior designers each bring to life Water Earth Wood and Metal with their own inspired vision.
Sensual experiences celebrate the French art de vivre in lavishly creative restaurants and bars So Spa and a variety of unique spaces - from the infinity pool to solarium to Club Signature to one-of-a-kind meeting wedding and event venues.

Overlook sparkling cityscapes and Lumphini Park from a very luxe perch. Captivate your senses. Live a high-tech lifestyle in a sky-high suite. Dine and wine. Work and play. Explore the elements in a stylishly modern Bangkok design hotel."












From the moment you enter their doors, you'll be immediately overcome with the realization that this. is. a. swanky. place. Although it is very much luxurious, Sofitel So Bangkok maintained a cosy and almost homely sort of atmosphere because the service was genuine and personal!

The entire hotel has contemporary artistic designs and fixtures that will leave you breathless, even their welcome drink was a lemongrass magical potion that consisted of three differently colored liquids - when mixed together, they turn into a bright purple shade!


Taking a quick hotel tour...




Their Club Signature lets you enjoy perks such as having high tea in the lounge during the afternoon and cocktails in the evening!







A display of the super intricately detailed staff uniform in the lounge, designed by Christian Lacroix, which the staff all proudly wear. There's something to look or marvel at in every inch and corner around here.




















Their infinity pool is absolutely gorgeous, with a sight like Lumphini Park to behold! They have a knack for allowing you to leave the rest of hectic far behind. The water is very welcoming because Bangkok's weather is so humid and warm!

I was hopping excited to check out the hotel room we picked because Sofitel So Bangkok's concept is unlike any other. The hotel has five elements which it is themed around - Water, Earth, Wood, Metal and Fire. Each type of room is completely different from the other, and they all sounded exceptionally inviting when I was reading through the description on their website.. I had a hard time deciding which beautiful room I wanted to call home for 3 days!


Earth Element {Wonder & Enrichment)
An enfolding haven adorned by Thai primeval wall paintings – mythical creatures, shadows flickering in the light.








Wood Element {Elegance & Tranquility}
Enter a calming oasis, murals sketched on silk evoking old Siam, alive with colour and the touch of a master.






Metal Element {Purity & Modernity} 
Frenetic Bangkok comes to a halt. A collage of metal, whites and glass. A transcendence of time and space.





Metal is actually my second favorite room after Water! It's very clean and minimalist looking. Very white-centered. In my opinion, I feel like the Water room is best for couples, Metal for friends traveling together, Wood for business travelers and Earth for families!

My photos don't do enough justice to the rooms.. they're way more stunning in real life when your eyes and mind can actually conceptualize the widths, sights and angles of the whole carefully put-together room!


Water Element {Sophistication & Calm)
Organic curves like flowing water, onyx glowing against cool dark marble. Drink in skyline panoramas from every vantage point.









Check out that sexy tub!!!!!!!!! ♥_♥ The entire room oozes futuristic sexiness, and it's the ideal couple hideaway!





Part of the Water theming was two fighting fishes placed on the desk! Love the attention to detail. It's very, very endearing.





The magnificent view from our room. Who knew Bangkok could look so serene? Every morning we would look at people rowing their boats on the lake or jogging around the park!





Talk about state of the art - I was delighted to find that the TV came hooked up to a mac mini, which allowed me access to the internet (free wifi) & social media easily - you don't need to lug your laptop with you!







With a room like this.... I don't need to leave the hotel at all.












In fact, we didn't.

Couldn't resist jumping right in for a hot soak with overflowing bubbles. What would life be without bubble baths, really? The tub was so big, I could literally float around, spread out like a starfish. All while having views of Lumphini Park and listening to the music from the built in stereo system. My favorite part of the room!






We booked the So Comfy suite FYI. And yes it was really freakin' c-o-m-f-y. I look a little cross eyed in this picture because I was struggling to keep my eyes open for this shot.....




..Usually, my trips to Bangkok are jam packed with activities and I'd spend most of the time walking and shopping until my feet ached, then frantically search for the nearest massage place.

This time, however, we decided to take it real slow and easy, spent our entire first day just fully discovering what this lovely place has to offer!






I was massaged into a pile of butter at So Spa.. as the therapist slowly worked my muscles, I felt all my aches and troubles melting away. I highly recommend the So Signature treatment which was nothing short of AMAZINGGGGGGGGGG. Worth every single cent. It wasn't too hard or painful to endure, it was absolutely relaxing and invigorating at the same time. My idea of a perfect spa. The last thing I want during a massage is to experience discomfort and have my muscles ache even more afterwards so I avoided going for Thai massages.

So Spa had everything from the zen ambience, extensive range of pampering treatments to professional & skillful masseurs! It would be impossible to feel any sense of unhappiness in a place like this.

It's not a proper holiday for me until I've got some good spa lovin'!







Don't feel like facing Bangkok's rush hour at night, or the terrifying jams?
The hotel's got us covered with evening cocktails at their Club Signature, and a romantic candlelit dinner for two at their rooftop restaurant, Park Society!








Spoilt for choice. It's been super long since the mister and I had gone to a fancy dinner like this. Dress up for a 2.5 hour at a nice place, just the two of us, drink wine, order lots of food, stare into Bangkok's skyline, with little serious chatter in between but a lot of comfortable silences and gazing at each other... Just appreciating the food & company. I had the greatest time ever.

We ended up ordering what seemed like 1/3 of the whole delicious menu, because we just couldn't decide what NOT to stuff our faces with!




Seared scallops with creamy chestnut puree, sauteed green veggie and chestnut foam




Pan seared foie gras with toasted brioche, fresh cherry, almost and cherry sauce




Snow fish, prawn ravioli, prawn & squid, sauteed veggies and bisque foam




Roasted beef tenderloin, more foie gras, sauteed asparagus & truffle sauce




Canadian lobster, asparagus, baby veggies and angel hair pasta in bisque foam

"Indulgence" would be a secere understatement. If I could use one word to describe our meal, I'd have to say it was gastronomic. We had originally intended to order desserts, but needless to say... we were overly stuffed. In the best possible way. Every calorie was gleefully devoured!





So stuffed in fact, that we had to take a picture from the back where you wouldn't see our bulging tummies. LOL. Or maybe we just wanted a romantic picture. You decide which is the truth :P

Don't miss out on a classy dinner date at Park Society when you stay at Sofitel So Bangkok!


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All in all, Sam and I had an utterly unforgettable experience at Sofitel So Bangkok!






We are endlessly thankful to the So wonderful team for making our time there So darn enjoyable. So awesome!!!! SO FABULOUS. ;)


We honestly didn't want to leave at all, and were very to go. Special thanks to Germaine for bringing us around on a tour of the premises and arranging everything  for us. We've recommended this hotel to all our friends, and I can't wait till the next opportunity I have to return again.

Interested in booking Sofitel So Bangkok for your next trip? Check out their website for more details. You won't regret it... You have my word.

xoxo,
Jess