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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

Mutabbal

One of my favourite Mezzeh in Oman was Mutabbal, a roasted aubergine dip. I ate it for breakfast and most often later during the day again. This recipe is super easy and tastes absolutely delicious, have a try!

2 medium aubergines
1 clove of garlic
60g tahini
125g yoghurt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 250°C.

Cut the aubergines into half, place on a baking tray lined with parchment with the cut side down. Pinch the dark side with a fork all over the aubergine.

Bake /grill (if you have one) the aubergine in the oven until very soft (about 30 minutes). Take out and leave to cool for a while. Peel off the skin and chop the flesh into rough chunks. Place in a sieve and press out as much liquid as you can.


Blitz the drained aubergine with garlic, tahini, yoghurt, lemon juice and cumin into a smooth paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in a bowl topped with good quality olive oil and fresh pomegranate seeds, sumach, and arabic flatbreads.

Gluten-free pizza crust


I found this recipe for a gluten-free healthier pizza dough in the BBC Good Food Magazine a while ago and was excited to try it out – it sounded just like the right thing when trying to avoid eating too many carbohydrates for dinner.

The recipe makes one large or several small pizzas.
1 medium cauliflower

100g ground almonds

2 eggs

Salt, pepper, oregano, spices to taste 

Heat the oven to 200C fan.

Chop the cauliflower into florets and blitz  in a food processor (small portions at a time). Place into a microwaveable bowl, cover with cling film and cook on high power for 5-6 minutes. Pour out onto a clean tea towel and leave to cool. 


Press out any liquid from the cauliflower in the tea towel.

Place into a clean bowl, add ground almonds, eggs and spices to taste. 

Place baking parchment and spoon on the cauliflower mix. Form one or more pizza bases and form a little rim around the edge to keep in the sauce later. 


Bake for 15 minutes until slightly brown. 


Top the pizza to your taste. I used tomato Passata with spices, capers, Schinkenspeck and Gouda cheese. The original recipe calls for mozzarella cheese and grilled aubergine for example. 


Enjoy 🙂

Stuffed Mushrooms


I found this recipe on the BBC Good Food Healthy Diet plan website and liked how easy it is to prepare. I adapted the recipe slightly. We cannot get hold of portobello or any other large mushrooms in Germany so I used  smaller ones instead.

For two portions:

8-10 medium sized mushrooms (or 4 portobello mushrooms)
olive oil
3 tablespoons of fine bulgur wheat
100g feta cheese
10 walnuts
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons of herbs of Provence 
pepper, salt, cayenne pepper

Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and place onto a baking tray with the closed side up. Brush with some olive oil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the bulgur wheat in boiling water (slightly more than covering the bulgur) for about 8 minutes.

Remove all the liquid from the mushrooms and baking tray with paper towel, turn them. Mix cooked bulgur with chopped feta cheese, walnuts and pressed garlic. Add spices to taste and fill mushrooms.

Bake mushrooms for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy 🙂

Roasted Veg Couscous

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For two portions:

1 small Hokkaido pumpkin (or butternut squash)
1 small sweet potato
1 medium aubergine
3 slices halloumi cheese
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
olive oil, lemon juice
300g couscous
250ml stock (vegetable or chicken)
fresh mint
yoghurt to serve with

Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan).

Dice the pumpkin, sweet potato and aubergine without removing the skin. Spread out evenly on a baking tray. Top with chopped onion and garlic and drizzle with some olive oil. Season with pepper and salt and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Toss the vegetables and roast for another 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool.

In the meantime, panfry the halloumi in a griddle pan. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Chop into small chunks.

Roast vegetables and halloumi can be stored in the fridge until use.

Bring stock to a boil and pour over the couscous. Leave to soak for 10 minutes before adding some chopped fresh mint.

Before serving, mix couscous with vegetables and halloumi cheese. Serve topped with some yoghurt.

Bread Rolls

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The smell that’s still in the house is absolutely amazing! I read about boiling bread rolls before baking them to make them more crunchy and liked the idea very much. Today I made a small number of bread rolls this way and they did turn out rather nice.

For 8 bread rolls:

250g strong white bread flour
1 sachet of dried yeast
25g butter
100ml tepid milk
75ml tepid water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Activate the yeast by adding the water and sugar and leave it for about 10 minutes.
Melt the butter in a small pan without browning it and mix with the milk. Leave until cooled to tepid.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add both liquids to it. Mix with a handmixer first and then by hand (for 10 minutes).
Leave the dough to rise covered in a warm place for about 1-2 hours.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces, form rolls and leave to rise until double in size.

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Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the bread rolls and cook for about 1 minute on each side and dry.
In the meantime preheat the oven to 200C (fan oven). Place the bread rolls on parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes.
Leave to cool before serving.

My bread rolls turned out rather flat due to them sticking to the surface after the second rise. Make sure you flour the surface very well so that you do not lose any rise by removing and boiling them.

I baked the bread rolls with half the amount if salt and sugar but found that they turned out rather bland, I think doubling the amount will make them even better.

 
Printable PDF Version:
Bread Rolls

Sultana Scones and Lady Grey-Lemon Scones

Here are two more scone recipes that I came up with today. They turned out nice and are best served with clotted cream and jam rather than plain. Let me know if you have any suggestion for further improvements!

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For 10 sultana scones:
350g self-raising flour plus a pinch extra baking powder
75g butter
75g caster sugar
60ml milk
juice of one orange
50g sultanas

Rub the butter into the flour. Add the sugar (and some vanilla sugar).  Mix in the milk, orange juice and sultanas and form a dough without over-working it.

For 10 Lady Grey-Lemon scones:
350g self-raising flour plus a pinch extra baking powder
75g butter
75g caster sugar
130ml milk
zest of two unwaxed lemons
2 Lady Grey tea bags
 

Rub the butter into the flour. Add the sugar (and some vanilla sugar). Heat the milk in a small pan and leave the teabags to soak until the colour of the milk stops changing. Pour the milk into the dough mixture, add the lemon zest and form a dough without over-working it.

Flatten out the dough on a work surface and cut out rounds with a crinkled cookie cutter or a small glass. Place on a lined baking tray and bake at 180°C for 10-20 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with clotted cream/butter and strawberry jam and a cuppa.