Penne with an aubergine ragu

IMG_9097Yes, I know that strictly speaking a ragu is made with meat but this is it’s healthier, happier aubergine cousin.  I always crave wholesome, hearty fare at this time of year and this definitely hits the spot.  Happy autumn-eating folks!

(Serves 4)

  • Olive oil
  • 3 medium-sized aubergines
  • 2 medium-sized red onions, diced
  • Drizzle of maple syrup
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons of smoked paprika, depending on taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (I use the sundried tomato one from Waitrose)
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • Small glass of dry red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Penne – enough for four people, depending on how greedy you are (we are very greedy!)
  1. Dice the aubergines into approx 1cm squared cubes.
  2. Place the aubergine cubes in a baking dish with a generous splash of olive oil, toss to ensure all aubergine is covered evenly.
  3. Bake at 180° for approx. 45 minutes until browned and slightly caramelised
  4. Meanwhile, heat a splash of olive oil up in a pan and add the onions and garlic
  5. When the garlic and onion is softened add a drizzle of maple syrup, smoked paprika and tomato paste, stir through and cook for a few more minutes until onions begin to caramelise
  6. Add the red wine and simmer for approx 10 minutes before adding the tin of tomatoes, continue to simmer for approx 45 minutes
  7. Combine the sauce and aubergine and season to taste
  8. Combine with the cooked penne and serve

Lentil ragu with fresh herbs and linguine

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This is such a quick and easy recipe and great for the end of the week when you hardly have any food in but haven’t quite found the time to go to the shops.  (This seems to happen a lot in our house!)

(Serves 4)

  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • One large red onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Drizzle of maple syrup
  • 2 cups of split red lentils
  • 1 cup of veg stock
  • 2 tablespoons of sundried tomato paste
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • Generous sprinkle of dried dill
  • Handful of fresh herbs (I used dill, mint and parsley)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Linguine (cooked as per instructions)
  1. Heat the olive oil up in a saucepan
  2. Add the garlic, onions and maple syrup and soften the onions, allowing them to caramelise slightly
  3. Add the paprika and tomato paste and stir through
  4. Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, veg stock and dried dill
  5. Allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if needed
  6. Add fresh herbs and serve over linguine

Vegan pizza breads

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These are so simple and quick to make and they’re an ideal way of using up day-old French stick.  You can be as creative as you like with the toppings.  I tend to use whatever we have in…

(Serves 2)

  • 1 French stick
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Drizzle of maple syrup
  • Passata
  • One organic red onion – peeled and sliced
  • Couple of handfuls of organic mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 organic green pepper – sliced
  • Green olives – de-stoned and sliced
  1. Fry the onions on a low heat with a drizzle of olive oil and maple syrup to caramelise
  2. Cut the French stick in half and slice down the middle
  3. Grill the crusty side of the bread under the grill for a few minutes
  4. Spread the passata over the bread
  5. Meanwhile gently fry the peppers and mushrooms in a little olive oil
  6. Assemble the onion, peppers, mushrooms and sliced green peppers on the bread
  7. Pop back under the grill for a few minutes
  8. Serve with a green salad

Raspberry and banana milkshake

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This is delicious and far healthier for you and your little ones than the more traditional versions, which are packed full of dairy, sugar and all kinds of artificial rubbish. You can add coconut sugar or agave syrup if you prefer things a little sweeter but I enjoy it just as it is.

(Serves 2-3)

  • Half a pint of almond milk  – unsweetened and organic
  • Large handful of organic raspberries – fresh if they’re in season but frozen raspberries work well too
  • 4-5 organic bananas

Simply blend all the ingredients together and serve