Pasta with Aubergine sauce

I started listening to a podcast by a German radio station that revolves around all sorts of food-related things. One entire episode was dedicated to aubergines (eggplants for the Americans) and they featured a few simple recipes. They came to my mind when I checked the fridge this evening to make a simple but delicious dinner after a long day of work. I changed it a little and it turned out pretty well. Tuck in and enjoy 🙂


For two portions:

1 medium sized aubergine
1 clove of garlic
25g pine kennels
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed thoroughly
12 black olives, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon tomato puree 
150ml white wine
150ml water
250g wholemeal penne 
olive oil, salt, pepper

Wash the aubergine and cut off the stem and cut into 2cm chunks.

Brown the pine kennels in a dry pan over medium, set aside.

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a pan and cook the aubergines for about 5 minutes (until they start to brown). Add garlic, pine kennels, capers and olives and continue to cook until aubergine becomes soft. Turn down the heat and deglaze with white wine. Add the water and leave to simmer on low heat.

Cook the pasta according to packet instruction. Just before draining, take one small ladle-full of the cooking water and add to the sauce. Drain the pasta and serve with freshly grated Pecorino or Parmeggiano Reggiano.  Enjoy 🙂

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Sweet and Spicy Vegetable Curry



For 2 portions:

1/2 medium aubergine
1/2 small sweet potato
1 medium onion
6 fresh (or dried) apricots
100ml vegetable stock
1 tablespoon corn flour
2 large tomatoes
fresh chillies
for seasoning:
olive oil, salt, pepper, ground turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper, Garam Masala, spicy curry powder

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.

Dice the aubergine and peeled sweet potato into large and small chunks, respectively. Place in a large bowl, add two good glugs of olive oil (to coat all chunks) and add some salt and pepper. Season with 1 teaspoon of turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper (depends on how spicy you want it), Garam masala and curry powder. Place on baking sheets lined with baking parchment for about 20 minutes until crisped up.

For the sauce, heat some neutral oil in a casserole dish. Dice onions and cook until they become translucent. Prep the apricots by removing the stone and cutting into quarters. Add the apricots to the casserole dish and cook for 2 minutes. Add the roasted aubergine and sweet potato and brown a little. Deglaze with the stock and simmer on a medium heat. Blitz the tomatoes with some chilli, salt and pepper in a food processor. Add the tomato sauce to the dish and cook for another 10 minutes.

To thicken the sauce slightly, dissolve corn flour in some water and add to the sauce. Serve with fresh basmati rice, sprinkle with some almonds/hazelnuts and enjoy 🙂

Pesto Courgettis


For 2 portion:

2 medium courgettes
30g fresh basil
30g parmesan cheese
50g pine kennels, toasted in a pan
good quality olive oil
salt, pepper

Spiralise the courgette and cut into individual spaghettis if too long (mine came out like one ultra long spaghetti :D). Place onto a kitchen towel and tap dry.


For the pesto, blitz fresh basil with parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and a good glue of olive oil in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you like to serve this dish warm (recommended so that the sauce and courgettis mix better), cook the courgettis in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain and mix with the fresh pesto.

You can store the remaining courgettis in an airtight container lined with some kitchen towel in the fridge. The pesto can be stored in a clean and sterilised jar (etc. old jam jar) in the fridge.

Enjoy 🙂

Fruit Tarts


For 12 tartlets:
350g plain flour
pinch of salt
125g sugar
125g unsalted cold butter, diced
2 eggs (one whole and one yolk)

500ml full fat milk
2 vanilla pods (or extract)
120g sugar
6 egg yolks
50g plain flour

fresh summer fruit and chocolate for topping

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For the pastry, weigh out flour and sugar and add salt. Rub in the butter with your hands until it gets to a breadcrumb consistency. Add the eggs and bring together to form a dough with your hands. Cover in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for at least one hour.

For the crème pâtissière, scrape out the vanilla pods and add both the pulp and the pods to the milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil slowly while stirring regularly. In the meantime, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and flour in a bowl until it gets paler in colour. Leave the milk to cool a little before pouring a little into the egg mix under constant stirring (easiest if you use a handmixer at this step). Pour in only a little bit at a time or else you will have a wonderful bowl of sweet scrambled eggs. When all is incorporated, transfer back to the saucepan and cook over low to medium heat until thickened and boiling. Make sure you keep stirring it! Transfer into a bowl and cover with cling film to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Keep aside or in the fridge until further use.

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Flour a work surface and roll out the pastry very thinly. Line the tartlet cases and press down, remove excess dough only roughly. Pinch with a fork on the bottom, line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Bake the tartlets for 15 minutes, remove the beans and baking parchment and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Leave to cool down on a wire rack.

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When everything has cooled down, fill the crème pâtissière into a plastic bag and cut of the tip. Pipe the mix into the tartlets with a pattern of your choice. Top with fresh fruit and some grated chocolate. Enjoy!

Gyros pita breads

This recipe is so easy, you have to give it a try:

For 4 large pita breads:

250g strong white bread flour
1 sachet of dried fast acting yeast (7g)
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or olive)
150ml lukewarm water

For the filling:

400g diced pork (I used leg meat)
1 sweet onion
2 teaspoons oregano
2 cloves of garlic
4 lemons
olive oil
100g yoghurt 
100g low fat creme fraiche
1 stalk of fresh mint
1 medium cucumber, peeled, deseeded, finely diced
3 large tomatoes, deseeded, finely diced
1 sweet pointed pepper (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow)
100g feta cheese
salt, pepper

Start off by marinating the meat for a few hours (or overnight). For that, place the diced meat into a glass bowl and season with oregano, olive oil, the juice of one lemon, one pressed garlic clove, salt and pepper. Finely chop 1/2 sweet onion and add to the bowl. Mix well, cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours.


For the pita breads, add flour, salt, oil and yeast in water in a large bowl. Combine ingredients with a spoon and start kneading inside the bowl. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover the surface of the dough with some oil with your hands. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for one hour (should double in size).

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Knock back the dough, knead briefly and cut into 4 pieces  (do not rip the dough but cut it). If you prefer to make smaller pitas, cut into more than four pieces. Leave the dough balls to rest for another 10 minutes (cover with damp cloth again).

Preheat your oven with a baking tray to maximum (I used 230°C).

Flour your worksurface and start rolling out your dough ball. The pita breads will not open up and form an air pocket if the dough is too thin or too thick. Aim at the thickness of a (standard :D) finger.


Take out the baking tray, flour lightly and place your pita breads on top. Place back in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes. They are done as soon as they puff up. Do not leave them in to brown too much or else they dry out too much. Transfer pitas onto a wire rack and cover with a cloth to keep them from drying out.

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For the filling, deseed and dice up your vegetables. Finely chop the remaining onion and add to the vegetables. For the sauce, finely dice some cucumber and add to the yoghurt and creme fraiche in a bowl. Press one garlic clove in, add juice of 1-2 lemons (depends on the size), finely chopped mint and season with salt and pepper. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge until further use.

For assembling, cut open the pita breads on one half, fill with tzaziki sauce, vegetables, meat and enjoy! Use the remaining vegetables and cheese for a Greek salad!

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Salmon Lasagne


I have tried many different varieties of this lasagne so far and decided it is about time to share it with you. Feel free to exchange the squash with any other pumpkin or sweet potato or other vegetables. You can also go all veggie by excluding the salmon in this recipe.

For one lasagne (2-4 portions):

1 packet wholemeal lasagne sheets (or 5 large homemade pasta sheets)
1/2 butternut squash (about 500g), diced 
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon hot paprika powder (e.g. La Chinata)
1 teaspoon sweet curry powder
olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
200g baby spinach
50g butter
50g flour
500-1000ml milk
1 tub of goats cheese (125g)
nutmeg
juice of one lemon
100g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
2 salmon fillets (200g), diced
salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Start off by dicing the vegetables (squash, pepper, onion). Place the squash and red pepper into a large ovenproof dish and season with olive oil, salt, pepper, hot paprika, and curry powder. Mix and place into the oven for 20-30 minute until they are cooked.

Saute the onions in a pan with some olive oil. Add the spinach to the pan and turn the heat down. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour to get a thick roux, transfer to a small bowl. In the same pan, heat up some about half a litre of milk. Stir in some of the roux and whisk. Wait for it to thicken and add some more roux if necessary. You are looking for a thick sauce consistency. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper before adding the goats cheese. Stir until all is dissolve, season with some lemon juice if necessary and set  aside for assembling the lasagne.

In a large ovenproof dish, assemble the lasagne as follows: The bottom should be covered with pasta sheets so that the lasagne can be ladled out later. Next, add a little béchamel sauce to cover the pasta sheets (this allows them to cook properly). Top with some of the roast vegetables, spinach, and raw salmon.  Sprinkle over  a little parmesan cheese and top with béchamel sauce before adding the next layer starting with pasta again. Try to get three to four layers in total. Top with some pasta sheets, béchamel and a generous serving of parmesan cheese.


Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Enjoy 🙂

Dukka-spiced Chicken Rice


For 6 portions:
1 whole chicken
2 carrots
1 onion
1/2 leek
2 bay leaves
200ml vegetable/chicken stock
250g basmati rice 
2 teaspoons Omani spice blend
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
Coconut oil 



Cut the chicken into legs, wings and breast with bones and remove the carcass. Place into a pot with spice mix, vegetables chopped into chunks and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes. Take out the chicken pieces and leave to cool. Pick off all pieces of meat in bite size.

Rinse the rice until water runs out clear. Soak with fresh warm water for 30 minutes. Cook in a pot with Omani spice mix, cloves, cinnamon stick and water. The rice will be cooked after a few minutes as it is already soaked. 

Cook the chicken pieces in a pan with hot coconut oil until they start to brown. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Dukka spice and cover all pieces evenly. Add about 150-200ml of vegetable or chicken stock. 

Combine the drained rice and sauce. Season to taste with some lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Serve with some fresh yogurt. Enjoy!