Posts Tagged ‘Aubergines’


A rich, show-stopper version of a favourite dish. We remain torn between the richness of this version by Neil Perry and the fresh elegance of this Moussaka by Tamasin Day-Lewis. We love both.

Wine Suggestion: As this is a rich dish we looked for a similarly rich, but not too heavy wine and liked the Insoglio del Cinghiale, a Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot blend from Bolgheri. It was nice and lifted with dark fruit, blackberries, plums and hints of spice. The key was the medium weight with a youthful freshness, fine rounded tannins and a smooth finish. We suspect a nice earthy and voluptuous red Burgundy would also do very or a top quality Chianti.

Moussaka – serves 4 (generously)

  • 2 large aubergines, cut into 5 mm slices
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit extra for brushing the slices of aubergine
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 90g tomato purée
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 40g grated Parmesan cheese


  • 50g butter
  • 50g flour
  • 500ml warmed milk
  • 80g finely grated parmesan

Salt the aubergine slices on both sides and leave aside for an hour. Rinse the slices under running water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Brush lightly with olive oil and cook in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side or until golden. Set the aubergine slices aside and wipe out the pan with some kitchen paper.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in the frying pan and cook the onions over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions have softened. Add the lamb, then turn up the heat and stir-fry until browned. Season with salt, then add the tomato purée and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, the cinnamon stick and the sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduced the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for a few more minutes to thicken slightly if needed. Remove the cinnamon stick and fold through the chopped parsley.

To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir over a low heat for a few minutes or until the mixture is bubbling.Gradually pour in the warm milk, stirring continuously, and cook until the sauce starts to boil and thicken. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and freshly grated white pepper if you have it.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.

Layer the lamb and fried aubergine slices two or three times in a large ovenproof dish, starting and finishing with a layer of aubergine if you can manage it. Spread the béchamel over the top and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until hot through and golden brown on top. Leave to settle for 5 to 10 minutes before serving with a green salad.

(Original recipe from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, Murdoch Books, 2016.)


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Burnt Aubergine salad

Not quite a Baba Ghanoush, but you can drizzle on some tahini paste to make it one. This was really delicious and we loved the freshness from the lemons and the burst of fruity pomegranate. You need to start this many hours in advance but the process is very straightforward and the result is worth it.

Burnt aubergine with garlic, lemon & pomegranate seeds – serves 4 as a meze plate

  • 4 large aubergines (about 1.5kg before cooking)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 80g of pomegranate seeds (about ½ a large pomegranate)

If using a gas hob, line the base with foil and keep only the burners exposed. Put the aubergines on 4 separate moderate flames and roast for about 15-18 minutes or until the skin is burnt and flaky and the flesh is soft. Use metal tongs to turn them now and then.

Alternatively, score the aubergines with a knife in a few places, a couple of centimetres deep, and place on a baking tray under a hot grill for about an hour (we do ours on a gas barbecue). Turn them every 20 minutes or so and continue to cook even if they burst.

Allow the aubergines to cool slightly, then cut along each one and scoop out the flesh and divide it into long strips with your hands. Throw away the skin. Drain the flesh in a colander for at least an hour or longer if possible to get rid of as much water as possible.

Put the aubergine in a medium bowl and add the garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, ½ a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Stir and allow the aubergine to marinate at room temperature for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, mix in most of the herbs and adjust the seasoning. Pile onto a serving plate, scatter on the pomegranate seeds and garnish with the rest of the herbs.

We served ours with some barbecued flatbreads.

(Original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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This is not the most attractive dish in the world and we definitely didn’t do the best job of cutting the aubergines. It nonetheless tasted delicious and we’re sure to do it again.

Wine Suggestion: We’d recommend finding a juicy red from Spain. Look out for well made wines from the smaller and lesser known areas as these offer great value; this dish doesn’t need a refined and suave wine, some rusticity is good. We tried  a juicy and smooth Tempranillo called Biberius from the Ribera del Duero and thoroughly enjoyed it!

‘Swooning Imam’ Stuffed Aubergines – serves 2

  • 2 large aubergines
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 red onions, finely sliced
  • 3-4 tomatoes, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • about 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh mint, shredded

Leave the stem on the aubergines, score the skin and peel it away in thick stripes. Cut down the length of each one (without cutting completely in half) and scoop out the seedy bits. Chop these and set aside. Sprinkle the cavities with salt, and leave to drain on kitchen paper for half an hour, then wipe dry.

Heat a good splash of oil in a frying pan. Add the aubergines and fry for about 7 minutes, until lightly browned and softened. Remove from the pan and leave to drain.

Add some more oil to the pan and fry the onions, garlic and with the reserved seedy bits of the aubergine. After about 5 minutes, add the tomatoes, paprika, sugar and lemon juice, stir well and season.

Put the aubergines into a deep frying pan with a lid. Stuff the cavities with the onion mixture and drizzle the rest over the top. Add the rest of the olive oil and 100ml cold water, then put on the heat. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat to low, cover and leave to cook for about 45 minutes or until completely tender.

Serve warm or at room temperature with the mint sprinkled over the top and serve with crusty bread.

(Original recipe from Veggiestan: a vegetable lover’s tour of the middle east by Sally Butcher (Pavillon) and published in The Guardian.)

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This is a really straightforward curry and we are glad to say it didn’t disappoint. The aubergine melts in the mouth and the spices are lovely and fresh as well as warming and comforting. Also takes no time at all to make.

Aubergine Curry with Lemongrass & Coconut Milk – serves 4

  • 3 large chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • knob of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsn ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2-3 aubergine (approx 600g) quartered lengthways then halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 6 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce (nam pla)
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • small bunch coriander, roughly chopped

Pulse  to a coarse paste chillies, garlic, ginger and lemongrass in a food processor. Set aside

Mix the turmeric and chilli powder together and rub it all over the aubergine wedges. Don’t worry if it look like a lot of spices – it works!

Heat olive oil in frying pan and brown aubergine in batches, setting the aubergine aside when done. Add the paste, sugar and shallots to pan and cook for a few minutes until the shallots and garlic soften.

Return aubergine to pan. Add fish sauce, coconut milk and stock, mix well and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and cook gently for about 15 minutes and until aubergine is tender but not mushy. Season and sprinkle coriander on top.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

Drink with: a aged Clare Valley riesling (at least 5 or six years old) or a fruity young Mosel Riesling.

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I think Jamie’s Italy might be our favourite Jamie book – it’s without a doubt the one we’ve cooked the most out of. This is a super way to use up aubergines which are bang in season at the moment. Jamie says this is a side dish but we served it as a main with some garlic bread and next time we’ll serve a green salad too. The revelation for us was to barbecue (or grill) the aubergines to avoid the oiliness you so often get with this dish.

Jamie’s Aubergine Parmigiana – to serve 6 as a side dish or 4 as a main

  • 3 large firm aubergines
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 heaped tsp dried oregano
  • 2 x 400g tins of good-quality plum tomatoes
  • a little wine vinegar
  • a large handful of basil
  • 4 large handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 handfuls of dried breadcrumbs (we used Panko)
  • a little fresh oregano, leaves chopped
  • 1 x 150g ball of buffalo mozzarella
Slice the aubergine into 1cm thick slices and set aside. Get the barbecue (or griddle pan) really hot. Meanwhile put some olive oil into a large pan and put onto a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and dried oregano and cook for 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and the garlic has started to colour. Break up the tomatoes and add to the onion, garlic and oregano. Give it all a stir and cover and simmer slowly for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, barbecue the aubergines until lightly charred, in batches. When the tomato sauce is reduced, season it carefully with salt, pepper and a tiny bit of wine vinegar, and add the basil.

Put a small layer of tomato sauce is an earthenware dish, then a thin scattering of Parmesan, followed by a single layer of aubergines. Repeat until the ingredients are used, finishing with a little sauce and a good sprinkle of Parmesans. Tear the mozzarella over the top. Bake the dish at 190°C/375°F/gas 5 for half an hour until golden and bubbling.


(Original recipe from Jamie’s Italy published by Penguin Group, 2005)

Wine suggestion: a great way to match food and wine is to look at where the food comes from … in this case Northern Italy so a nice Barbera d’Asti would work a treat.

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