Friday, 14 January 2011

mid-life crisis with cheese

... I think I may have had a bit of a mid-life crisis breakdown... it wasn't pretty and I sure as hell wouldn't wish it upon anyone ...and you may think it strange that I should write about it here but for some reason I find that simply writing about stuff really helps... and one of the reasons for writing a blog (other than my love of food) was to express myself in a way I enjoy and find truly therapeutic...

... although at the same time I also feel under pressure to blog and take part in the on-line community, which can also get me down a bit... so I apologise if i've not been my usual sparkly self...

... the whole thing has come upon me like a creeping dread... like that awful, back-to-school, Sunday evening feeling... but it's everyday... all day... and I can't help feeling 'something scary this way comes'... and it's not nice... and a heck of a lot more than just the January blues, which I tend to get every Boxing Day...

...I suppose I feel I need to take a big leap in order to kick start my life... break away from the mundane and regular and do SOMETHING... and don't get me wrong, I have plans... great plans... it's all just a little bit cloudy at the moment...

... in the meantime I still have to eat and I do love being in the kitchen so this is what we're eating tonight...

Melitzana Parmigiana

This makes a great carb-free alternative to lasagna and can be served as a dish on it's own or be used as a very nice side dish for roast pork... a couple of notes before we start... Parmesan is not a vegetarian cheese, so if you're cooking this for a vegetarian substitute it for a strong cheddar or other similar cheese with a bit of tickle... you shouldn't have to salt your aubergine, most modern aubergine are bred to be less bitter and therefore the salting process is defunct, however, if you feel the urge to salt then cut the aubergine into slices and layer them in a dish with a little sea salt crushed in between each layer... this will draw out the bitter juices and you simply pat them down with a kitchen cloth before using...

2 aubergine
2 eggs (beaten)
a plate full of seasoned plan flour
4 medium onions - very finely chopped
2 tins of chopped plum tomatoes
4 garlic cloves - crushed
4 large balls of mozzarella
a block of parmigiana reggiano  or a veggie alternative
fresh basil and rosemary
3 bay leaves
a splash of white wine
a splash of balsamic vinegar

- first you want to make your tomato sauce... it's worth doing this well in advance (i would say minimum 3 hours for full effect but if you can make it the day before them even better)

- gently saute the onions and garlic for about 30mins till they are just turning gold (add a dash of sugar)

- add the tinned toms, the wine and the balsamic vinegar and the herbs and let it simmer gently for as long as possible (3 hours) stirring occasionally.  It should reduce down into a sticky tomato puree... simply stunning for any Italian recipe

- slice the aubergine into rounds, dip into the egg, then the seasoned flour and in a heavy pan, fry gently till soft and golden on both sides (if you're really on a health kick, leave out the flour and egg and simply fry till golden...)

- begin to layer the aubergine into an oven-proof dish, followed by some of the sauce and then some torn pieces of mozzarella... you should get be able to do 3 layers using 1 and a half balls of mozzarella each layer... complete each layer with a generous grating of Parmesan and some torn basil before you move onto the next

- bake in the oven till golden - roughly 30 Min's

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. Mhhhh sounds delicious! LOL

  2. There is nothing better to perk you up than mediterranian food.

    We all go through some winter or any other season blues from time to time. Hope you feel better soon.

  3. Winter doldrums!! Sometimes they last longer than we would wish them to. I hope you feel like your happy self soon. On another note this recipe is a keeper for sure. I love the fancy name for eggplant. Susan

  4. Dom, whatever's going on, I hope you stay positive and hopefully those blues will go soon. :)
    Nothing like Italian food to cheer me up and the Melitzana Parmigiana looks delicious.

    PS. Dom, of course, you are invited any time for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner if you happen to be in the North East. But I'll be expecting an invitation as well though to Lincolnshire. Just saying... :)

  5. Dom have you had this flu? I ask as I have had it over Christmas and the gloom that follows is just awful. Hope you rally round soon (Hug) Your lasagne looks and sounds wonderful. Lasagne is my most favourite dish in the whole world regardless of what lies under the pasta sheets and sauce. Just call me Garfield. x

  6. Hey! if you can't unload on your own blog where can you unload?!? Seriously, I hope you figure out what's eatin' at you and get it put back in its place... life is all about crests and troughs, Dom. Take any all help you need to get things in order, friend! Your friends will def step up!

    As for that Italian veg fest ... winter is the perfect time for this sauce and cheese dish! Yum!

    xo Susan

  7. Dom, get outside and walk in the sunshine! Best medicine ever. Hope you will feel better soon.
    My husband would love this no carb lasagna a lot (so would the rest of my family).

  8. You left a comment on Katherine's blog about the homemade tomoato soup - don't you think if she uses a pic out of a catalog from pottery barn she should leave proper credits?

  9. I hear ya Dom. If it helps I reckon I must be suffering a midlife crisis too. But the dish looks great and I agree that some of the garlic knots would have been ideal!! Next time you bring this and I'll bring the rolls ;0)

  10. Ahh - hugs and kisses from here Dom. Hope you are feeling much better soon.

    What about a sports car??????

    Love that dish (although not ideal if counting calories/fat!!!!) thinking I should change to Atkins!!

  11. It looks delicious Dom, I'm really into aubergines at the moment and need some more inspirational ideas for them.

    Hope the gloom lifts soon, it's frustrating if you don't know what's causing it.

  12. thanks all for being so supportive... it's been a tough couple of weeks...

    @ Michael... i'm getting in the car now...

    @ RhyleysGranny - you are Garfield... no flu but I know what you mean

    @ BVG... a sports car! Now there's an idea... and i'm sure The Viking would be really happy!

    @ C... aubergine is good... so rarely used but I love it

  13. It can be as tough as h*** sometimes. Hope you cheer up soon and let me know what the answer is when you find it.

  14. Hang in there champ, everyone's allowed at least one mid-life crisis a month (with bonus crises permitted in winter). I've got some bubbles in the fridge if you want to nip over...

  15. I hear you Dom - I couldn't face sitting at the keyboard or cooking or getting out or anything over Christmas. I felt like I'd never get started again. Hang In there - January can't last forever and if all else fails I'll send you some of our cranberry vodka - it'll knock you out until the crisis passes:)

  16. Great recipe, I'm not an aubergine fan but I will definitely try this.
    I'm housebound quite alot due to chronic pain & so I find it hard to keep my spirits up but I do find cooking a massive help. While you are getting creative you tend to zone out all the negative stuff.
    Hope you feel better & brighter!!


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