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.

 

Lime and Pistachio Cake

“I’m embarressed about how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything here!  What with work, catering, cake design and the installation of a new kitchen, It’s been shunted to last priority.  I’m determined to turn over a new leaf and have a few recipes in my back-log to post in the coming weeks.  I made this cake for a work colleague’s birthday when I had a surplus of lemons.  The flavour and texture was brilliant but I decided to tweak the recipe to give it a bit more texture.  Feel free to use whatever fruit you like for the compote.  I think the strawberries and cherries were a great colour splash for the finished dish. You can also substitute lemons for limes but personally I liked this version better. Enjoy!”

(Photos by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

Cake

  • 250g room temperature butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 room temperature eggs
  • zest from 3 limes
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 50g diced pistachios
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
Syrup
  • Juice from 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Fruit compote
  •  Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup strawberry liquor
Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 140 degrees (Fan forced).
  2. Grease and line a 20cm spring-form tin.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time until combined.
  4. Add the sour cream and lime zest and beat until combined.
  5. Fold in the pistachios and flour.
  6. Spoon mixture into prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatular.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.
  8. While cake is baking place lime juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  9. When cake is done remove from the oven and pierce numerous holes with a skewer.
  10. Pour over lime syrup and refrigerate.
  11. For fruit compote cut the strawberries into quarters, de-seed and halve the cherries.
  12. Add fruit, sugar and liquor to saucepan and heat until fruit has just softened. (If you cook it too long you’ll get jam!)  Leave to cool.
  13. Decorate the cake with pistachios then serve a wedge of the lime cake with some fruit compote and a dollop of cream.

 

 

 

Chili Con Carne

“I’ve just returned from doing ten days of cooking demos in Townsville.  I had to do four recipes a day that the audience could try then replicate with basic ingredients.  I made this chili con carne several times and got a great reaction from everyone who tried it.  It’s pretty much a staple in our house which is used in tacos and nachos and in a ridiculous mix of cultures even when making lasagne or cannelloni.  This recipe makes a huge amount that I cook up in my slow-cooker then freeze for later.  For a more modest amount just halve the recipe.  The amount of chili is to my taste but feel free to add or subtract the spices to your own palette. Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 2 brown onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 500g bacon
  • 1.5kg lean beef mince
  • 500g pork mince
  • 140g tomato paste
  • 4 heaped tbsn sambal oelek (or chopped chillies)
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 x 40g tins tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tins red kidney beans
  • 500g mushrooms
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Dice onions and fry off in a hot pan with some oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the finely chopped garlic and chopped bacon and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the beef and pork mince and cook for 15 minutes, making sure to break up with the back of a spoon.
  4. When all the meat is cooked through add the tomato paste, sambal oelek, chili powder and cumin and stir to combine.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and let simmer on a low heat for at least an hour.
    (I usually let the mixture cook in a slow-cooker for up to three hours.)
  6. A few times during the cooking process use a large spoon to remove any fat that has risen to the top.
  7. Serve with corn chips, guacamole, re-fried beans, sour cream and jalapenos.