Tag: aubergine

lentil and aubergine … gloop

I was all set to make a Thai veg curry the other night. There were aubergines, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and peppers in the fridge, Pete was despatched up the road (in the cold, in the dark, with an owl) for coconut milk, and I was good to go. Except I didn’t want veg curry. I wanted soothing lentils, a comfort food in this household. So lentils I had.

I chopped two small onions, some garlic and fresh ginger, and fried them down in some olive oil. While this was going on, I chopped an aubergine and a couple of peeled sweet potatoes. Added them to the mix with cumin seeds and chilli flakes, turned it all round in the oil. Bunged in a mugful of red lentils (an old WordPerfect mug, in fact, an integral part of our batterie de cuisine here), and a can of coconut milk. Despite my precautions, the wretched stuff still managed to squirt a stream of clear coconut up  my arm under the sleeve of my fleece.

Stirred that all round, went “um”, and added two cans full of water, and about 2 teaspoons of Marigold bouillon powder, a very useful thing indeed. Seasoned with salt and black pepper, brought it to the boil, and then put it on a diffuser for about 45 minutes.

It was absolutely gorgeous – that made six portions, and we liked it so much that we ate it again for lunch the next day. I did managed to put one tub in the freezer before we pigged it all, but I shall be making that again. And again.


moussakaLamb is so expensive, so when I see some on offer, I grab it. Sainsburys were doing 1kg of minced lamb for a fiver a few weeks ago, split into 500g packs, so I stowed a couple in the freezer. And then Friday was such a miserable damp day, we decided to construct a moussaka, not least to use up the aubergine lurking within the veg drawer in the fridge.

So … cut a couple of carrots, a courgette and a couple of celery stalks into small dice, chopped an onion and a few cloves of garlic, and set them to saute down.

Sliced the aubergine thinly, laid it on a baking tray lined with tin foil (saves washing up!), drizzled with olive oil, and set in a hot oven for about 30 minutes.

Browned the lamb mince off, and set it aside, draining off the fatty juice. Added some Ras el Hanout to the veg mix and cooked it down for a few minutes, then bunged in the lamb, a can of chopped tomatoes, a slosh of red wine, and some salt and pepper. Left that lot to simmer for about half an hour.

Made a white sauce with wholemeal flour (always do these days, as it’s better for us than white).

Then into the dish went meat/veg mix, then the sliced baked aubergine, then the white sauce, and finally some feta cheese, cubed small. This lot went into the oven at 200 for about 25 minutes.

It made four generous servings, so we had the rest yesterday. Om nom nom 🙂

Malayasian-ish veg curry

We had a meal in the local Malaysian restaurant last week, and it was utterly delicious, so I thought I’d have a bash at creating my own. I didn’t bother looking up recipes – it’s more fun to try to recreate a dish, in my opinion.

In the fridge veg drawers was a load of stuff that really needed eating up, so I chopped up:

  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 leek
  • a bunch of lovely sweet carrots from my sister-in-law’s garden
  • half a yellow pepper
  • a butternut squash that was actually starting to go mouldy – oh the shame …

These were all hurled into the slow cooker. Then I fried off finely chopped garlic and ginger, and a chopped onion. Into the frying pan went a tin of chopped tonatoes, two dessert spoonfuls of smooth peanut butter (I think this might have been too much), some tamarind paste, cumin, coriander, allspice and cinnamon, black pepper.  Cooked the sauce down a bit, then left it to cool.

This morning, I heated it up again, then lobbed it on top of the veg and switched the slow cooker on while we were out for the day at Driffield County Show (cracking day out!).  There is a Smell from the kitchen, and I’m just about to put some rice on to accompany it for our supper.

indian style aubergines and potatoes

I bought a pack of baby aubergines at the weekend – I’m not normally seduced by such things, but they were so pretty …  We had about a third of them in the roast veg on Sunday, and I was left with not enough for moussaka, but some.  There were also some cold cooked new potatoes lurking in the fridge. So:

Heated some groundnut oil in a shallow pan, and put in some black mustard seeds. Added a chopped red onion, and cooked till translucent.  Lobbed in some standard Indian spices, ground (tumeric, cumin, coriander) and a fresh red chilli, sliced. Stirred it all round.

Added the aubergine and potatoes, cut into largish dice. Stirred round some more. Added about 1/2 mug of water, put lid on, left for 15 minutes.  Stirred in a load of fresh coriander at the end.

It was utterly lovely – we shall be eating *that* again!

We used up the last of the button mushrooms in a poor man’s mushroom pilau – shallot, cinnamon, mushrooms, rice.

roasted veg

butternut squash and aubergines

This is a photograph from another roast veg, but all text makes a dull post 🙂

We used to have this a lot, but somehow got out of the habit.  But it’s a nice healthy meal while I’m battling with health issues, so off we went.

Chopped an aubergine, a yellow pepper, half a butternut squash, half a sweet potato and a red onion, and put in a bowl with about five cloves of chopped garlic.  Added olive oil and sesame seeds, mixed it together (I always use my paws), then put some clingfilm on it, and zapped for 8 minutes in the microwave, which knocks about 20 minutes or so off the cooking time.

Turned into an ovenproof dish, and baked for about 45 minutes at gas 6.

To accompany it, I did some chickpeas (as I’d boiled up a load the day before) – browned a chopped shallot in some olive oil, add the chickpeas and a good dollop of lemon juice, and warmed through.  Added chopped fresh coriander at the end.We had the remainder of the veg on a small ciabatta each for lunch, topped with a little feta and grilled for a couple of minutes.  Fab.

lazy chicken team waste

the supermarket run

So called, because it was cooked up with all the stuff left over from our camping trip to Wales with our friends.

I had a pack of chicken thighs, so they were chopped up and browned off in some groundnut oil, then put in the slow cooker.  Then I fried off some onions in the oil, added a chopped aubergine and courgette, and a sliced red pepper.  I’d bought some “lazy” spices for the trip – jars of garlic, lemongrass, chilli, that sort of thing.  So in went garlic and harissa.  Then the juice of 1.5 lemons (there was a half in the fridge) and a lime, as we had heaps of citrus fruit left.

All into the slow cooker, left on high for about four hours, then turned down to low for the last two.

Served it with rice.  Lovely.

aubergine, spinach and lentil bake

lentil and aubergine bake

Using up: aubergine, some red wine that had gone vinegary, 1/3 of a bag of spinach

We love this sort of food, and eat it often.  In the fridge was an aubergine, spinach, and some feta cheese, and Pete had  opened a bottle of red wine last week and inexplicably failed to drink most of it, and it had gone over, despite being properly stoppered.

So … I fried a roughly chopped onion and some garlic in a pan until it was soft, then put in about 1 tablespoon of Ras El Hanout spice mix, a fab standby in the cupboard, and fried that round.

Then I added two mugfuls (mugs full?) of red lentils and stirred, 2.5 mugfuls of water, and about 2/3 mug of red wine.  Stirred well, brought to the boil and set on a low light to cook for about 45 minutes.  You might need to add more fluid – lentils can go splurp and stick to the pan in an unexpected way.

While the lentils were cooking, I sliced an aubergine fairly thinly and fried it till browned, in batches, in olive oil, and set to drain on some kitchen paper.  Then I made some basic white sauce with nutmeg grated into it.

Then into an ovenproof dish went the lentils, then the washed and drained spinach, then the white sauce, and topped it off with the aubergine slices.  Then we put half a block of feta cheese, diced up small, on top of all that, and bunged it in a hot oven for about 25 minutes.

Cheap (because it works perfectly well with water, or vegetable stock, rather than wine) and delicious.

That amount of lentils made enough for six servings, by the way, so two tubs went into the freezer.  You can use it for a faux lasagne too, should you wish – works very well.

And I split the rest of the red wine into two small boxes and froze that too – it might not be good enough to drink, but it’ll be fine to cook with!

keralan vegetable massala

As mentioned, we needed to make inroads into the veg glut. This is an adaptation of a recipe from Anjum Anand, and we replaced the chicken with some veg. It worked remarkably well, and would serve four greedy people, or six more restrained souls.

1 bag spinach
some groundnut oil (I never use as much as they say)
3 black cardamon pods
2 bay leaves
5cm piece of cinnamon stick
2 green chillies, pricked with the tip of a knife
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large aubergine, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
fresh grated ginger (lots is an appropriate amount)
fresh garlic (ditto)
1 can tomatoes
2 tsp ground coriander
1.5 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp natural yogurt
salt to taste

Make a purée of the ginger, garlic and tomatoes (blender or food processor required). Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based pan (I used a Le Creuset casserole), and add the cardamon, bay leaves and cinnamon, and fry for a few seconds, then add the onion and chillies and fry until the onions are brown.

Add the tomato/ginger/garlic purée, and the aubergine and sweet potato, and cook for about 30 minutes.  Add some salt to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp).  While this is going on, clean the blender / food processor, and pureé the spinach (you might need to add a bit of water to make it mulch).

Add the yogurt to the pot and keep stirring to reduce the sauce for about 15 minutes, then add the spinach and carry on with this for another 10 minutes or so.

Eat with basmati rice or flat bread.

lentil moussaka

Sorry – forgot the picture!  Using up: aubergine, some grated cheese

This turned into a bit of an epic, and was lovely.  I looked up some recipes, both on the interweb and in my copious collection of cookery books, but nothing seemed quite right, so I made it up as I went along.

I put some olive oil in our small Le Creuset casserole, while I chopped a large onion and some garlic.  Then I realised it would be *too* small so decanted the oil into the next size up. Sautéed the onion and garlic  until the edges started to brown.  Then I added half a sachet of “Egyptian spices”, which has been on the shelf for ages.  It consisted of cumin, coriander, ground hazelnuts (!) and some other stuff – easy enough to replicate.  Stirred that around a bit, then in went a mugful of puy lentils, a tin of chopped tomatoes, and a mugful of water (with which I swilled out the tomato tin first), and a sloosh of red wine.   Put the lid on, moved to the back on a low light.  A little later, when I thought of it, we added some thyme and rosemary from the herb garden.

Regarded the oil sticking to the small casserole, and decided that I couldn’t waste it.  So I chopped three potatoes into dice, boiled them for five minutes then fried them in the small casserole, with more olive oil.  That’s reactive!  Set them aside.

Sliced an aubergine into, um, slices, and Pete fried them in olive oil (we must have used a lot last night).  Set them to drain on kitchen paper.  Made a bechamel-style sauce, and added half the grated cheese; it was red leicester and gruyere, I think, and had been grated on Sunday night for the pasta bake, but we decided to use a mozzarella instead.

The lentils were done by now – I think they had about 45 minutes in all.  I put the potatoes into the lentil mix, then took a pyrex dish, and layered lentils / aubergine / cheese sauce twice, and scattered the remaining cheese over the top.  It had about 20 minutes at gas 6/200°, and then we ate it and it was divine.

Half the lentil mix went in the freezer for another day, so this would serve 4 quite hungry people.