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.

 

Chicken and Leek Pies

“This is my partner’s favourite item off my catering menu.  For most events I make a huge batch of them and they fly off the plate.  I also do different fillings including Moroccan Lamb, Massaman Beef Curry and Mushroom for my vegetarian clients.  Having a pie maker makes life much easier as long as I can stop people from eating them before they make it to the venue.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 2 large leeks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 500g chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups diced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 100g Parmesan cheese
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsn plain flour
  • 3 sheets short crust pastry
  • 3 sheets puff pastry (egg wash optional)

Method

  1. Rinse and dice leeks, dice garlic and fry in a pan with olive oil until soft.
  2. Add diced chicken thighs and simmer until meat is cooked through.
  3. De-glaze with white wine and add diced mushrooms.
  4. When wine has been cooked off add stock, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice and simmer for 15 minutes.  Season to taste.
  5. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to incorporate.  Let mixture cool completely.
  6. If using a pie maker cut round out of the shortcrust pastry for the base and puff pastry for the tops.  Spoon filling in and cook to manufacturers instructions (usually about 7 minutes)
  7. If cooking in the oven line the base of a pie tin with short crust pastry, spoon filling in and top with puff pastry.  Brush egg wash over the top and cook until pie is golden brown.