I have written lots of posts about different places in New Zealand, and not really much about Auckland, except for the West, that is!
But since my husband and I have just celebrated 20 years together (married for 17 and a half) we decided to spend a night at the Hilton in the Auckland Viaduct. The kids went to stay with friends ;-).
The hotel is on the waterfront, looking out on the port and the Waitemata Harbour (also known as the Auckland Harbour).
The Hilton Auckland is a very modern and stylish hotel, with a good view and a lovely bar (Bellini bar, and they do make Bellini cocktails, plus it has an aperitivo buffet, which is very good if you, like me, cannot drink without also having a nibble!).
I ate at the hotel's White Restaurant a couple of times, and always liked it. The Executive Chef, Cristiano De Martin, is Italian and cooks seasonal food using many locally sourced products. Cristiano makes really nice risotto.
Slow Food Waitakere even organized a lunch at White a couple of years ago, and it was lovely.
A good way to book hotels in New Zealand is with Wotif, you can find really good prices and last minute's deals, even for the top hotels.
And just in case you wanted to know, I didn't get payed, nor got a discount for blogging about the Hilton. We are not quite at that stage in New Zealand yet!!!
And now for today recipe:
Risoni with roasted eggplants, cherry tomatoes and feta
Cut the long eggplants into halves and then quarters, if the 'strips' are too long cut them in half again.
Sweat them with rock salt for 30 minutes, rinse well and place into a large roasting pan. Add 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved, 300 g of cherry tomatoes, halved (these were from my garden), 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp smoked paprika, half tsp smoked salt, a sprinkle of coriander seeds, and a sprinkle of cumin seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle.
Roast the vegetables for about 1 hour. When the vegetables are nearly done, cook the risoni pasta in plenty of boiling water, drain and pour over the hot vegetables (still in the roasting dish). Add some cubed feta cheese and decorate with flat leaf parsley. Serve immediately, but if you have some leftovers this pasta will be good even cold, the day after. FYI, I have also made this dish using red and yellow capsicums instead of cherry tomatoes, and it was also very good, but I prefer the roasted tomato version.
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©