Under Italian Skies – An Interview

You may have seen the hype about Under Italian Skies as people flocked to buy their copies recently. If not, then that’s ok, there’s still time to purchase your own book and immerse yourself in the beautiful world of Nicky Pellegrino’s new novel.
I’ve always loved Italy. I spent two weeks there on a crash course learning to cook and bake traditional dishes. While I desperately wanted to go back, I wasn’t able to make the trip before moving to New Zealand. I feel Nicky and I have something in common in that I too lived in the UK, visited Italy (only briefly compared to Nicky’s childhood with her cousins on Italian shores) and then moved to New Zealand where we are both very settled right now. I felt this connection between myself and the author but also myself and her characters. Each one is so fully formed and complete, even when they are trying to find themselves, that I could not help but love them all. Some characters feature in Nicky’s earlier novels while others are brand new; the mixture of the beloved characters sharing space with new souls is something magical in a novel.

Under Italian Skies

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Huevos Rancheros for Cinco de Mayo

The beginning of May always brings Cinco de Mayo and for fans of Mexican cuisine, this means only one thing: it’s time to eat.
Cinco de Mayo is often referred to as Mexico’s Independence Day as it commemorates a victory over French troops in 1862. Nowadays it’s widely celebrated with parades and other festivities. Unfortunately these events don’t reach New Zealand in the same way as the rest of the world so we have had to DIY the festive feeling at home.

huevros rancheros PlanetBakeLife

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3 Ways to Make Toast More Exciting

Toast is possibly my favourite thing in the whole world.
It’s one of the reasons my diets always end in tears and why I’m forever avoiding bakeries. I cannot resist the smell of warm bread. Whether it’s straight out of the oven or in a toaster or under the grill. Crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle. I want to make a house out of toast…any Bob’s Burgers fans? No…ok. Well toast is fantastic.
I have had a few bumps in my road these last two weeks or so (evident in the number of posts appearing on PlanetBakeLife) but I’m back on track now. It seems that life just got a bit much for a moment back there. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I want and that meant eating a lot of toast while pondering the big questions.

All of this self-reflection has lead me to bring you these 3 recipes today.
Sometimes toast with melted butter is all you need but other times, you need something a little fancier. No one will judge you for wanting something a little upmarket. Something to make your white wine look a bit classier while you veg out in front of Netflix. Even something as simple as toast can be made to look like it belongs on the menu of a cosmopolitan CBD restaurant.
I fully intend to serve these toasts to my friend next time they come around and I don’t particularly feel like cooking but know we need something to soak up that alcohol.

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Greek Style Lamb Sosaties (Skewers) with Tzatziki

It’s not until you introduce someone to the food of your home country or culture that you start to realise how diverse the world’s foods are. It is not a secret that South Africans love food. I don’t mean that we demand big portions and shovel anything into our faces. I mean that we love food. We like to talk about it and create it and experience it. So when I make something from my childhood in South Africa, it always captures Michael’s interest. 
While to the rest of the world these are known as skewers, in South Africa we call them sosaties. A traditional sosatie comes from Cape Town where there is a heavy Indian and Malaysian influence. These should technically be marinaded in curry spices but we’ve started to use the term as a general word for a skewer. So I took a bit of creative license and used a bit of a Greek influence to make these super tasty. I even made Tzatziki as a dip to be served with these bad boys.

Greek Style Sosaties PlanetBakeLife

Greek Style Sosaties PlanetBakeLife

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