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.

 

Peppered Beef and Horseradish Cream Toasts

“I’ve had this recipe on my catering menu for a while now and always get great comments about the brilliant combination of flavours.  We all know that beef and horseradish are a match made in heaven but with the addition of the roast capsicum sauce and cucumber it becomes a party in your mouth with every bite!  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 50g Horseradish cream
  • 100g Sour cream
  • 2 Capsicums
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 4 tbsp Kecap Manis
  • Semi-dried tomatoes
  • Lebanese cucumber
  • 600g Rump steak
  • Ground black pepper
  • French bread stick
  • Olive oil spray
  • Sprigs of tarragon

Method

  1. Combine horseradish cream with sour cream.  Set aside.
  2. Cut and de-seed capsicums, drizzle with olive oil and salt and roast in a hot oven until flesh is soft and skin is starting to blacken.
  3. Place cooked capsicums and any juice from the pan in a sealed container and when cool enough to handle peel the skins off.
  4. Place capsicums and juices in a blender with kecap manis and blend until smooth.  Season to taste and set aside.
  5. Peel and de-seed the cucumber and cut into 5cm battens.  Set aside.
  6. Cut the bread stick into 1cm slices, spray with olive oil and bake in a moderate oven for 3 minutes each side.  Set aside.
  7. Grind pepper and salt onto one side of the beef and cook in a griddle pan until medium rare.  Repeat with the other side and leave to rest.  When cool cut into 1cm strips.
  8. Assemble by spreading the French stick slices with the horseradish mixture.  Wrap some cucumber and semi-dried tomato in a beef strip and place on top.  Finish with a dollop of the roast capsicum sauce and a sprig of tarragon.

Mexican Mole Sauce


“As part of my catering menu I have a Mexican BBQ inspired by Aaron Copland’s symphonic work El Salon Mexico featuring chicken in a Mole Sauce.  This traditional Mexican sauce contains about 20 ingredients and usually includes such things as smoked chillies, capsicum, tomato, peanuts, chocolate and even grated avocado seed.  My recipe takes most of its ingredients from the grocer and pantry so you shouldn’t have too much trouble sourcing them.  If you can’t get smoked or dried chillies, fresh ones will suffice.  To serve I usually barbeque chicken thighs then combine them with the sauce in a pot and serve hot with tortillas, corn salads, guacamole, sour cream and salad veggies. This recipe makes quite a large volume of sauce but it freezes really well so you can spice up your dinner whenever you want.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 4 red onions
  • 4 capsicums
  • 8 tomatoes
  • 5 dried chillies
  • 5 smoked chillies
  • 10 red chillies
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp diced coriander root
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 tsp chilli powder
  • 8 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tsp cloves
  • 4 tbsn sesame seeds
  • 4 oranges
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 8 tbsn peanut butter
  • 4 cups dark beer
  • 8 tbsn dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 100g dark chocolate

Method

  1. Peel and quarter onions, quarter tomatoes and de-seed and quarter capsicums and bake in a 220 degree oven for 45 minutes or until capsicums are soft.
  2. Process onions, capsicums and tomatoes until smooth and put into a large stock pot.
  3. De-seed and chop chillies and fry until fragrant with garlic and coriander root.  Pound with a mortar and pestle until broken down.  Add to stock pot.
  4. Dry fry or roast the almonds until lightly coloured.  Add to stock pot.
  5. Dry-fry chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves until fragrant.  Add to stock pot.
  6. Juice 4 oranges and grate the rind from 2. Add to stock pot.
  7. Add all the remaining ingredients except the dark chocolate to the stock pot and bring to the boil.  Turn down and simmer for an hour stirring occasionally.
  8. Let the mixture cool slightly then process in batches in a food processor.
  9. Bring back to a simmer and add the chopped chocolate.  (For a smoother sauce pass mixture through a drum sieve.)
  10. Serve with cooked chicken or turkey.