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

Aubergine and tomato bake

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Autumn really makes me crave comfort food and this ticks all the boxes when the days get shorter and colder.

(Serves 4)

  • 2-3 aubergines – sliced lengthways
  • 1 red onion – peeled and chopped
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves – peeled and crushed
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sundried tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Handful of wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • Dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a pan
  2. Add the garlic and onions and gently fry for a few minutes
  3. Add the maple syrup and fry for another few minutes to help caramelise the onions
  4. Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika and salt and pepper
  5. Simmer for 15-20 minutes
  6. Place the aubergine slices in the bottom of an ovenproof dish
  7. Cover with a layer of the tomato sauce
  8. Continue building up the layers, finishing with a tomato sauce layer
  9. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and thyme
  10. Bake in the oven at 180° for 30 minutes

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Lentil, aubergine and kale curry

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It’s hard to beat a really good homemade curry.  I love this one – it uses lentils as a base and then I pretty much just chuck in whatever other veggies I fancy on the day.  No hard and fast rules – just go with what you fancy.

Much healthier than a takeaway and quick and easy to make too!

  • Drizzle of sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons chilli flakes
  • 2 red onions (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 aubergine (chopped)
  • Half a mug red lentils
  • Two mugs of vegetable stock (I use Kallo organic veg stock cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 2 large handfuls of kale (roughly chopped)
  • 1 punnet of organic cherry tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to season
  1. Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan with the aubergine and shallow fry for a few minutes, until browned on all sides
  2. In another pan heat some oil and add the spices and the onions for a few minutes to soften
  3. Add the lentils followed by the veg stock, tomato puree and fried aubergine.  Simmer for approximately 20 minutes
  4. Add the kale, cherry tomatoes and seasoning and cook for a further 5 minutes
  5. Serve with rice and a wedge of lemon