Monday, 26 March 2012

Day 183: Halfway! Aubergine, tomato & Parmesan bake

So here I am at the half way point.  Or rather at the start of the second part of this challenge.  This is my 186th post - I've double blogged on three days.  Back when I first came up with this idea, one sunny day back in September, I'm not sure I really believed myself that I would get this far.  I know the husband didn't think I'd make it past the first week.

I'm not sure what's been more challenging - the recipe selection, cooking something from scratch every single day (okay some days have been a bit lame) or the writing about it.  Nor am I sure whether I have enjoyed the eating or the writing bit more.

Sunrise snap on my phone whilst out running
The scope has certainly changed over the six months as I've gone from an idea of getting my family to eat a more varied diet (still on my radar, but very challenging) to trying new things myself (haggis, cooking squid, making laminated dough for danish pastries) and fattening up my colleagues with an array of baked goodies.  Some days, I'm really excited about trying new recipes whether it's something completely new or a twist on an old favourite.  Others I just crave the idea of having a bit of toast with cheese for my tea (never cheese on toast as I don't like it) but duly cook something new and write about it.

I've also (as regular readers will know) have taken to whittering on about the trivialities of my life.  This isn't a traditional food blog as I'm not selling you my own recipes, instead, I'm kind of reviewing someone elses and in a roundabout way documenting how that fits into my rather busy life.

Having hit 8,000 views in six months a few minutes before writing this post, I am truly amazed and humbled by the interest people have shown (lots of this has come off the back of me Twittering).  I only hope that you've enjoyed reading and will continue to visit - especially because the husband reckons I won't make 16,000 views by the end of the next six months.

One thing I do love is lists of random things so here are ten things about me and my blog

  1. The first and second most popular posts on this blog are about recipes by Lorraine Pascale.  Number one is her chilli (which I didn't even post the recipe for) and number two is her salmon and sweet potato fishcakes
  2. The third most popular post (so far) is about Eric Lanlard's banana fritters.  I blogged about this, Eric retweeted me and it had 124 page views in just over 12 hours.  The power of social media.
  3. My oldest cookbook is 365 Cakes and Desserts by Ebury Press which I choose as for my reward at a school prizegiving aged eleven. I've never cooked anything from this book although it's been pored over many a time.
  4. My favourite book by far is Short and Sweet. Every recipe just works and turns out beautifully.  Everyone thinks I have 'mentionitis' when it comes to Dan Lepard. But it's an amazing book, and Dan is really friendly and helpful too. Follow him on Twitter!
  5. I am a little bit addicted to any recipe that has chorizo in the title
  6. BBC Good Food website is my saviour when I have random ingredients and need an emergency recipe
  7. Haggis isn't actually that bad.  Just so long as you don't think about what goes into it.
  8. I need to be more adventurous over the next six months - and I will cook something with liver and kidneys and not just buy them and then cook them for the dogs when they've reached their expiry date.
  9. The reason why people select to read certain posts seems entirely random.  The presence of pictures or the lack of a recipe (and no link to the recipe) doesn't deter people from reading.  Sometimes even posts with chocolate in the title have had less of a glance than ones about squid. I find this interesting and would love to do a more detailed statistical analysis if I had the time. I'm sad like that.
  10. I sometimes don't know when to stop typing :)
Really rubbish picture of a tasty meal
Anyhow, I really wanted to do something special (like Lorraine Pascale's Mini Beef Wellingtons or Dan Lepard's Sour Dough) to celebrate the half way mark, but in the excitement of a sunny weekend and all that, I forgot it was the 26th until I was driving to work this morning.  By which time I'd already had to resort to Good Food for a recipe to use up the aubergine I randomly bought with my shopping this week.  So all you get tonight is Aubergine, tomato & Parmesan bake or a version of Melanzane Parmiagiana.  I must confess that I've tried another, similar recipe before and wanted to compare like for like

I enjoyed this one, but prefer the other one more as it uses stringy mozzarella.  It was simple, tasty, easy to make although I'm not sure the egg topping did the parmesan any favours as it went crunch rather than melting but it tasted good so that didn't matter so much.  And if the husband hadn't been off scouting edgy photography locations, it would've been a great meal to have in the garden as the sun set with a glass of white wine to celebrate.

The only downside is that it really didn't photograph that well.  When I tried to cut it with the serving spoon, it just all came out in one big, gloopy, tomato and cheesey mess.  But it's not all about the presentation.  So to make up for it I've included a picture of the sunrise from my early morning run the other day.

Right, I need to stop now so here's the recipe - knock yourselves out.  

It's all downhill from here-on-in!

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