Thursday 31 May 2012

Bada Bing: Cheesy Eggplant Parmigiana Bake

In prison, dinner was always a big thing. We had a pasta course and then we had a meat or a fish.  Paulie did the prep work.  He was doing a year for contempt and he had this wonderful system for doing the garlic.  He used a razor and he used to slice it so thin that it used to liquify in the pan with just a little oil.  A very good system.  Vinnie was in charge of the tomato sauce.  I felt he put in too many onions, but it was still a very good sauce.  ~ Henry Hill (voice over), Goodfellas

We were at a 40 hour Famine fundraising quiz last week and as you tend to do in such quizzes, we got into a bit of a debate as to whether it was Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin that sang a particular crooney number.  Since my brain's default setting is thinking about food, this naturally got me thinking about the glamorously scandalous Rat Pack and all the delicious Italian American dishes they would've no doubt enjoyed back in the day.  Dishes like chicken marsala and eggplant parmigiana which you can't help but say in a Sopranos accent. Dishes that conjure up images of Goodfellas in slick suits dining cozy little establishments in Little Italy.

{totally boss}
{via anythinggauche}
Which made me remember this Cheesy Eggplant Parmigiana Bake dish I made a little while ago but had completely forgotten to blog about.  How could I forget to blog about something so tasty?!?  This pseudo-italian vegetarian number is packed with cheesy tomatoey eggplanty goodness.  Rib-sticking go back for seconds nomminess.

You really should try this dish out, capsice?

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Paper Anniversary: Chocolate dipped amaretti cookies

In the weekend, C and I celebrated our paper wedding anniversary so I really wanted to start this post with some inspiring quote or fun fact about how awesome paper is.  But alas, all the quotes out there seem to be about the fragility and tearablity of paper.  Even the myth that it is impossible to fold a piece of paper more than 8 times was not worth the paper it was written on as that has been thoroughly debunked.

So to paper over the fact that a first wedding anniversary is represented by flimsy old paper, let's concentrate on it also being the eighth anniversary of our first date! Yay eight years!  Hold up...eight years?!  When did we get so old?! Oh my, how time flies when you're having fun.

Paper puns aside, it was actually really lovely reminiscing about our special day a whole year ago.  One's mind boggles at how a whole year has manage to pass us by when it feels like it was only yesterday that we were walking down that aisle, surrounded by the smiling faces of all of our favourite people, making vows to love and cherish each other as long as we both shall live.

One of the many happy memories of the day was getting to nibble on the delicious treats after the ceremony made by our amazing friends and family.  In particular, the Chocolate Dipped Amaretti Cookies made my darling friend Lisa and her lovely momma Sharon were total crowd pleasers.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

I heart Sidart's Tuesday Test Kitchen

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our *two* weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four* *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our *weaponry*...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again. 
[The Inquisition exits]
 ~ Monty Python

I got the biggest surprise this week.  No, nothing at all like the Spanish Inquisition, in fact, the opposite.  A good surprise, nay, a GREAT one.

I was having a sleep in after a bit of a late one the night before when a knock on the door wakes me up and who should show up on my door step husband!!!   He had purposely not told me he was coming down and got me totally by surprise!

Best. Surprise. Ever.

{beautiful auckland from our table with a view}

The element of surprise is also a big part of the Tuesday Test Kitchen degustation menu at Sidart Restaurant in Ponsonby, Auckland.

Monday 7 May 2012

Sticky Date & Dulce de Leche Cupcakes with Homemade Dulce de Leche

He has fallen from the donkey, but has found a date ~ Iranian Proverb

Like the man who finds a date on the ground (2 minute rule right?) I also completely subscribe to silver linings.

Take this weekend for instance.  I was up in Auckland briefly to visit my husband.  The weather was gorgeous: sunny and warm, we had all these grand plans of doing lots of exciting things and eating yummy food but alas, I ended up with the nasty head cold making its rounds in Dunedin and spent most of the weekend in bed with a box of tissues.

The silver lining however was having my darling husband and his family look after me and keep me all snuggley and warm and topped up with paracetamol and decongestants.  Sooooo much nicer being sick when surrounded by loved ones than alone in freezing Dunedin and having to walk to the pharmacy for meds.   I'm beginning to see why men are tempted to pull out the man flu.

The recipe in this post however, has nothing to do with colds or donkeys, but everything to do with dates.  Dates and Dulce de Leche to be precise with these Sticky Date & Dulce de Leche Cupcakes with Homemade Dulce de Leche which I made as part of my cupcake renaissance.  

Now I know I tend to gush about things I like but seriously, these cupcakes are spectacular.

They are quite simply, amazingness in a cupcake.


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