Roast eggplant and tomato pasta

“I seem to be making a lot of vegetarian dishes lately.  It’s forced me to come up with new recipes to make things interesting.  One of my favourite ingredients is eggplant.  It’s also the only thing I haven’t been able to kill in my garden and have had a plentiful supply for months.  You can use it in eggplant parmigiana, baba ganoush and vegetarian lasagne but I also love roasting it and stirring it through a pesto pasta.  Having just bought a Thermomix (Instructions included) I decided to make an easy tomato sauce then stir the roast eggplant and a few other ingredients through.  It was an instant favourite at our house and will satisfy those pesky vegetarians when they drop over.  Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 700g eggplant
  • Olive oil
  • Flaked sea salt
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 60g grated parmesan cheese
  • 60g sour cream
  • 40g roasted pine nuts
  • 60g sundries tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • Shaved parmesan
Method
  1. Cup the eggplant into 1.5cm cubes and place on a baking tray covered with baking paper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.  Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 30 minutes or until slightly browned.  Flipping the eggplant once during this time helps get an even colour.
  2. Add the spaghetti to a medium saucepan of salted boiling water and cook until al dente.  Drain when cooked.
  3. Cut the sundries tomatoes into strips and roughly shred the basil leaves. Put aside with the roasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan.
  4. Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry in a medium saucepan with a small amount of olive oil until translucent.
  5. Add the tomatoes, Dijon mustard and sugar to the onions and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. While the sauce is still hot add the parmesan cheese, then using a stab blender, blend the mixture until you get a smooth sauce.  Just before serving add the sour cream and stir through the sauce.
  7. Drain the pasta and in a large bowl stir through the sauce, roasted eggplant, sundries tomato strips and half the basil leaves.
  8. Once served into pasta bowls sprinkle on the pine nuts, remaining basil and shaved parmesan.

Thermomix method 

  1. Cup the eggplant into 1.5cm cubes and place on a baking tray covered with baking paper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.  Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 30 minutes or until slightly browned.  Flipping the eggplant once during this time helps get an even colour.
  2. Add the spaghetti to a medium saucepan of salted boiling water and cook until al dente.  Drain when cooked.
  3. Cut the sundries tomatoes into strips and roughly shred the basil leaves. Put aside with the roasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan.
  4. Add onion and garlic to Thermomix bowl and process on speed 4/3 seconds
  5. Wipe down the bowl with a spatula then add 2 tbsp olive oil and cook for 6 minutes/100 degrees/speed 0.5
  6. Add tinned tomatoes, Dijon mustard and sugar and cook for 6 minutes/100 degrees/speed 0.5
  7. Add parmesan cheese and sour cream then blend 20 seconds/ speed 7
  8. Drain the pasta and in a large bowl stir through the sauce, roasted eggplant, sundries tomato strips and half the basil leaves.
  9. Once served into pasta bowls sprinkle on the pine nuts, remaining basil and shaved parmesan.

 

Chocolate and Fig Brownies

“Who doesn’t like chocolate brownies?  Well, from the speed these flew off the plate, I’d say no-one!  I’ve made so many different versions of the humble brownie: date, white chocolate, GF with almonds, the list goes on.  This was one of those fortuotous moments when I had a container of diced dried figs sitting on the bench from a previous recipe and only a short amount of time to cook something.  So my brownies got a healthy dose of figs at the last minute.  I love the extra texture and flavour they impart.  I’ve also found that grinding my own almond and hazelnut meal gives me more control over the texture. I like to process the nuts with the skins on and mill to a slightly bigger grain than the store bought versions. Finally, the trick in getting a really good brownie is having the courage to take them out of the oven before they feel totally cooked.  You just have to trust your own judgement and get used to your oven.  But even if they’re slightly underdone they’ll still taste amazing. Enjoy!” 

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 1/4 tsp flaked salt
  • 150g dark sugar
  • 150g white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 175g Self raising flour
  • 130g almond or hazelnut meal
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 150g chopped dried figs
Method
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C.
  2. In a medium saucepan on medium heat melt the chocolate and butter, stirring regularly.  Once melted stir through the salt.  Leave to cool slightly.
  3. Mix together the sugars with the eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. Add the flour, almond/hazelnut meal and cocoa and mix until combined.
  5. Pour in the chocolate mixture and figs and stir to combine.
  6. Spray a 20cm square baking dish with baking spray and line with baking paper.
  7. Transfer the brownie mixture to the pan and bake for 40-50 or until the brownie stops wobbling in the pan and a seeker comes out with a few crumbs on it.
  8. Allow to cool to room temperature or eat warm with ice-cream.  Brownies also freeze really well, so make another batch to keep for later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zesty Coconut Loaf

“Is it okay to make a new years resolution in May?  Better late than never I suppose!  So here it is: I plan to try to post recipes at least once a fortnight from now on.  (Let’s see how long that lasts).  So, to start the ball rolling I’ve been trying a new coconut loaf recipe that is great for anyone lactose intolerant or vegan…or just hungry.  And it’s super easy!  Just throw all the ingredients in a mixer and stick it in the oven.  While testing it I tried 2 variations of different ingredients and both loafs were fabulous, moist and tasty.  I think this will be my new standby for those last minute baking emergencies. Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients for loaf

  • 300g self raising flour
  • 100g shredded coconut
  • 100g white sugar or coconut sugar
  • 50g coconut oil or olive oil
  • 300g coconut cream
  • zest of 2 limes or 1 lemon
Ingredients for icing
  • juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 20g shredded coconut
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  2. Grease a loaf tin and line with baking paper.
  3. Put all loaf ingredients into a mixer and combine.
  4. Transfer to loaf tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool in the tin
  6. Lightly toast the coconut in a pan until just golden.
  7. Combine Lemon or lime juice with icing sugar until all lumps are gone.
  8. Spoon mixture over warm cake the sprinkle with toasted coconut.