Recipe of the Week – 10th October 2016 – Turkish Stuffed Aubergines (Imam Bayildi)

This surprisingly easy recipe is one that I go back to time and again as there is something really satisfying in the combination of sweet and spicy flavours mixed in the peppers and the juicy aubergines themselves. I have refined my previous recipe a little as I’ve found a new mixture of flavours that I like even more.

Serves 4 to 6


3 large aubergines

200 ml extra virgin olive oil

4 large red onions, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 red and 1 yellow pepper, sliced

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

3 tbs sugar

3 tsp ground coriander

1 tbs ras-el-hanout

Small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Salt and Pepper to season


1. Halve the aubergines then score diagonally 4 or 5 times inside before sprinkling generously with salt. Place aubergines in a colander for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile heat half of the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions, peppers and garlic for 10 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes, sugar and spices and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Add half of the chopped coriander, stir, season and set aside. Preheat the oven to 190C.

3. Rinse the aubergine halves and place cut side down in a large heavy based frying pan with the remaining olive oil. Fry gently for 5 minutes until golden brown.

4. Place the aubergine halves in a casserole dish and top liberally with the tomato mixture. Cover with tin foil then place in the oven for 30 minutes.

5. Chill for 1 hour before serving, topping with the remaining fresh coriander. Serve with a fresh green salad or rice.

Recipe of the Week – 26th September 2016 – Easy Cheese and Bean Wraps

This is a great recipe for an alternative to sandwiches as a picnic or quick light lunch option. Any beans or different grated vegetables can be used, and I have also tried a vegan variation with grated tofu. My children really like them with a pink mixture of mayonnaise and sweet chilli sauce inside, but that’s not for the faint-hearted!

Makes 12


6 large wheat tortilla wraps

100g mature cheddar cheese, grated

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

1 large courgette, grated

1 x 400g tin red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 tbs mayonnaise

Small handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped

Large bunch of fresh spinach, rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large bowl, mixture all of the ingredients together (except the spinach leaves). Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to roughly break down the beans. Season to taste.

2. Microwave the wraps together for 1 minute to soften, turning once.

3. Lay a thick sausage of the mixture in each wrap, followed by a scattering of the spinach leaves.

4. Carefully roll each wrap up and halve with a sharp knife.

5. That’s it!

Recipe of the Week – 19th September 2016 – Courgette and Butternut Squash Fritters

This is a great recipe for using up any leftover veggies that may be in the fridge, and can be adapted to an extent depending on what you have spare, such as potatoes, cabbage, leeks, etc. A good tip when making these is to compress the grated mixture as much as possible before frying to remove any excess moisture and to help keep them together.

Makes 8


1 large courgette, roughly grated

1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and roughly grated

1 large sweet potato, peeled and roughly grated

3 tbs olive oil for frying

1 clove of garlic, crushed

50g wholewheat flour

2 eggs, beaten

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.

2. Form the mixture into fritters approx. 6cm in diameter.

3. Place a clean tea towel over the the fritters and compress to remove excess moisture.

4. In a large frying pan add the oil and fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes each side.

5. Serve when still warm with a light yoghurt dressing and a side salad.

Recipe of the Week – 5th September 2016 – Aubergine Burgers with Salsa

This recipe is my first truly international post, as I came up with it whilst on holiday in Italy last week! Whilst camping with the family I wanted to make good use of the fantastic fresh vegetables available, including enormous aubergines and very tasty pomodoro plum tomatoes. This was quick and easy to make with the limited cooking facilities available (no oven!), and it turned out to be a real family favourite.

Makes 4


1 large aubergine, cut sideways into 15mm slices

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 small ball of mozzarella, sliced

4 good quality rolls

2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, crushed

3 large basil leaves, shredded 

Salt and pepper to season


1. Add 3 tbs of the oil to a large frying pan and gently fry the aubergine slices until light brown (about 4 minutes). Turn over and repeat.

2. Meanwhile, to make the salsa, add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil and 1 tbs olive oil to a bowl and mix thoroughly. Season to taste.

3. Construct the burger with the aubergine slice, a generous slice of mozzarella, and a tablespoon of salsa. 

4. Serve with a fresh salad and that’s it!

Recipe of the Week – 22nd August 2016 – Coronation Chickpeas

I love trying out new recipes, and I love a good pun, so this recipe seemed like an obvious choice to try! This variation uses mayonnaise, but can easily be made vegan using Cashew Cream or even soya milk. It works well in sandwiches, but is great as a mezze option with pittas or flatbreads.


2 x 400g cooked chickpeas, drained

1 medium white onion, finely chopped

3 tbs sunflower oil

1 tsp medium curry powder

2 tbs mayonnaise 

2 tbs fresh coriander, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Gently saute the chopped onions in the oil for 5 minutes until soft, ensuring they do not brown.

2. In a blender or food processor, add the onions, chickpeas, curry powder and coriander and pulse (I prefer it a but lumpy, but you can do it until smooth)

3. In a large bowl add the chickpea mixture to the mayonnaise and season.

4. Chill for 1/2 an hour before serving.

Recipe of the Week – 25th July 2016 – Bengali Butternut Squash with Chickpeas

This is a new way with butternut squash for me. Although it is essentially using ‘curry’ spices and flavours, this blend and combination gives a unique flavour, and the texture with the chickpeas provides something that is really satisfying.

Serves 6


2 large butternut squashes, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm dice

4 tbs vegetable oil

2 large onions, finely diced

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

large pinch ground asafoetida

2 tbs ground cumin

1 tbs ground fenugreek

1-2 mild dried red chillies

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp garam masala

2 bay leaves 

200ml/7fl oz boiling water

1 x 400g canned chickpeas, drained and washed

Salt and sugar to taste


1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic, asafoetida, bay leaf and chillies and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring well to combine.

2. Add the onion, mix well and fry for a further 3 minutes.

3. Add all of the remaining spices, 3 tbs of water and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

4. Add the butternut squash cubes and the boiling water to the mixture, bring to the boil then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes until soft.

5. Add the chickpeas and a pinch of sugar and salt. Stir well and serve immediately with rice or naan.

Recipe of the Week – 18th July 2016 – Easy Vegetable Samosas

These are a staple snack for when I do a market or festival stall for the cafe. They are very easy to make and always sell really fast. They work well as party food too!

Makes 16


8 large tortilla wraps

500g baby potatoes, finely diced

3 large carrots, peeled and finely diced

200g frozen peas

4 tbs sunflower oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)

Salt and pepper

20ml soya milk


1. Place the diced potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the peas and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a small frying pan, gently dry-fry the spices for 1 minute, ensuring they don’t burn.

3. Mix the spices with the vegetables and 1 tbs sunflower oil. Season well.

4. To prepare the wraps, cut each in half, then trim to approximately 4 fingers width on each side.

5. Place 2 tbs of the mixture in the middle of each trimmed half, fold both sides over, turn over and seal with a light brushing of the soya milk to seal the flaps. (This takes a bit of practice, but it’s worth it!)

6. Heat 1 tbs of the oil in a large frying pan, and gently fry the samosas for 1 minute each side, until brown (I find you can do 6 at a time in a large pan). Use another 1 tbs oil for each batch.

7. Serve warm or cold with mango chutney, or a side salad.