Roasted aubergine with feta, chili and spring onion

This recipe was born out of watching Nigel Slater on the beeb recently cooking his Chilli Feta . However, I had a lovely Dutch aubergine to use up so made some adjustments.  I should have googled Nigel’s recipe before I started as I first began with half a red onion which I cooked in a frying pan with a beautiful red chili and some garlic but the red onion did that strange metamorphosis it does when cooked going from something fresh tasting to something very sweet. This sweetness works well in say a quiche, but would not complement either the aubergine or the feta so I ditched that and went for the spring onions. I am also kicking myself for not using thyme which I have in plentiful supply as I have it growing in my garden and on my window sill (cos I forgot what was in the garden and ordered more Dummy!)

Anyway, the end combo with roasted aubergine was delicious. I had to use a green chili as I ran out of red but in future will stock up on red as that would be divine. I hope you try this and enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Dutch aubergine
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 5 spring onions sliced thinly
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 chili (red would be best but I only had green tonight. Also end result wasn’t very spicy so could add 2 chilis if you like it hot)
  • 100g pack feta cheese
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Seasoning to taste

Cooking

  • Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees (fan oven)
  • Cut the aubergine along its length. If you are making dinner for one, then reserve the other half for aubergine shak.
  • Make criss cross marks in it
  • Wipe a little of the olive oil over the aubergine, grease a baking tray and place aubergine with cut side down to roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. It’s ready when the aubergine is tender but not totally mushy
  • While the aubergine is roasting, in a pan heat the remaining olive oil over a medium flame and cook the spring onions, garlic and chili for 2 minutes stirring continuously. Remove from heat.
  • Cut the feta into 2 cm cubes and stir into the onion mix. Also add thyme leaves off the twig and season to taste.

  • Take the aubergine out of the oven and flip onto it’s skin side. There should be enough give to let you push down the flesh. Spread the feta mix on top and put back into the oven for about 5 minutes until the feta has melted and slightly browned on top.
  • Serve with thick oven chips (or fresh bread if you want to be good). Although the skin is edible it will be quite tough so I chose to just scoop out the insides with the chips like a dip. It was very yummy and suitable for either lunch or a light dinner.

BTW if this is too much faff you could just made an American style grill sandwich as I did today with the remaining feta. Take two pieces of bread and butter one side of each. On the non butter side of one crumble up the feta, add 3 chopped spring onions and a chopped chili. Put other piece of bread on top (buttered side facing out) and cook in a frying pan until the buttered sides are nicely toasted and the cheese has melted. DELICIOUS!

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Roasted veg potato cakes

These would work with left over roast veg but as I didn’t have any so roasted from fresh. Plus ideally I would have liked to bake them in the oven as it’s healthier but time was limited (tot was on way home for lunch) so I shallow fried them.  I liked them better than tot who like most [fussy] eaters of her age tends to treat all new things with a great deal of suspicion. That was was fine as it meant that I was able to scoff a load for my lunch as she nibbled on 3 for hers.

Ingredients

  • 1 parsnip
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 10 g unsalted butter
  • 25 g cheese
  • 2 tbs plain flour
  • Dash of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • Season to taste
  • 2 tbs olive oil for roasting
  • 2 tbs Olive oil/15g butter for shallow frying

Cooking

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
  • Wash then peel parsnips and carrot. Cut them into cubes of roughly equal sizes
  • Today I peeled the potatoes and cut them into cubes but in future I’ll leave the skin on as somehow the taste is better methinks.
  • Put into a roasting pan and pour over olive oil
  • Roast until the veg are soft
  • Once cooked, put all veg into a bowl and mash to smithereens ensuring it’s all well combined. (You may want to peel the potatoes first if roasted in skins)
  • Mix in soy sauce, ginger powder, cheese, seasoning if using and butter. Again combine well
  • Add flour. Do this a little at a time until the mixture comes together into a ball. It will still be slighty sticky
  • Divide into 12 equal portions and form into little handhold-able shapes
  • Shallow a few at a time in the olive oil/butter mix being careful to turn frequently to prevent burning
  • Serve with your tot’s favourite dip – we had ours with reduced fat soured cream and chives dip today.

Lemon drizzle cake

I’ve posted before about a Ramsay – Gordon who I find to be quite odious. However, while on the hunt for a lemon-y cake, I came across the Tana Ramsay Lemon Drizzle Cake which is simple and delicious and VEGETARIAN (hahahahaha seeing as her hubby is so anti-vegie). Perhaps she got the recipe by watching his sour face and wanting to push it into cake. Right that’s enough meanness. As my tot would say “I’m ONLY joking”.

Back to the recipe. I couldn’t quite follow the recipe as I only had three eggs (but they were large so maybe ok) and one lemon. Tot didn’t want to have a loaf like cake so I gave her some of the mixture to make fairy cakes and in the end my one lemon was sufficient in sourness for the remainder.  Once the fairy cakes were done (i.e. covered in icing and various sprinkles surrounding a solitary chocolate button) tot left me alone to drizzle away. Yesterday evening hubby and I ate half the thing…if we hadn’t had a big dinner I am quite sure that we would have eaten it all – light and lemony. Yum. Today it was a bit denser but very much edible. I thoroughly recommend this recipe.

Spicy cauliflower cheese

This is an alternative recipe to my normal one for cauliflower cheese. It’s odd as I’m not a huge fan of cc but hubby is so that’s why it features on our menu from time to time. He was having gammon tonight and apparently, cauliflower cheese is a perfect accompaniment. However, I was in the mood for a bit of spice so here is what I came up with. It was not sock-it-to-you spicy but delicate with an afterpunch courtesy of the mustard…all in all it was rather delicious 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • Enough water for cauliflower
  • 1 small white onion chopped very finely
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbs groundnut oil (though any would do methinks)
  • 25g butter
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • Generous dose of freshly ground pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Coleman’s mustard
  • 75 g cheddar cheese grated
  • 100 ml low-fat creme fraiche

Cooking:

  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees (fan oven)
  • Trim all the green leaves off the cauliflower, give it a wash and then cut up into large florets
  • Place in boiling water and simmer for five minutes. The idea is to blanch the cauli – it should still be quite firm. If you have time, you could steam instead. Once blanched, drain and set aside
  • While cauli is blanching, heat the oil and butter in a large pan then add the onions, garlic and bayleaf. Cook until onions are caramelised.
  • In a large bowl add the creme fraiche, 50g of cheese and spices, seasoning and mustard. Combine well.
  • Add the cauliflower and onion to the bowl and mix until the cauliflower is well coated
  • Place the mixture into a baking dish and then cover with the remaining grated cheese
  • Cook until the cheese is browned and cauliflower sauce is bubbling
  • Serve with gammon, or for Vegies with fresh crusty bread.