Pasta Negra aka The dark side of pasta love

Pasta Negra | Seafood spaghetti in squid ink sauce

It is a tradition in the Philippines (and other Asian countries) to serve noodles during birthdays. The longer the noodles the longer and luckier the birthday celebrant’s life will be. Happy birthday, JD, my wonderful partner-in-crime! JD is an adventurous soul so this black pasta is an appropriate birthday dish.  Plus it is really very yummy you yourself won’t regret embracing the dark side!

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Sweet Potato and Fennel Gratin

Sweet potato and fennel gratin

The Food Network Channel can be addictive. It’s a good thing I don’t have a television set! I never knew who Ina Garten was until I saw The Barefoot Contessa on TV while housesitting for friends in Portland, Oregon.

Ina’s potato-fennel gratin stuck to mind because it was so easy to make. You can prepare it ahead of time, keep it in the fridge then bake it when you’re ready. Which was exactly what I did on several occasions. I adapted her recipe and used what was available: parsnip instead of fennel and for this recipe, sweet potato instead of plain boring potato. The result is that extra sweetness that makes this an ideal companion to the roast turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Not that we celebrate Thanksgiving here in Kiwiland. But there is a lot to be thankful for. Every day that we are alive should be Thanksgiving Day.

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