Aubergine and Preserved Pepper Bake

This is the first recipe from my new kitchen… in Dubai! Yes, the ‘quiet year’ we had planned after the craziness of last year all went to pot when we moved half way around the world. Our possessions from the UK arrive today, hurrah! We have been rattling around in a rather empty apartment until now. As I have shared with you previously a kitchen with limited resources makes for some creative cooking… as does a  frequently breaking fridge-freezer it turns out. grrr. I am never buying a second hand fridge-freezer again!

There is nothing quite like a broken fridge-freezer to inspire a new use-it-up recipe. Sometimes these dishes are a bit ‘interesting’, however this one I will definitely make again. Past successes have included ‘disaster jam’ (can’t waste frozen fruit). I wasn’t sure what to call this one, ‘disaster vegetable moussaka bread and butter pudding’ – doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!



  • Dry bread, buttered
  • Two aubergine (Eggplant), sliced
  • One red pepper
  • Four tomatoes
  • Stuffed peppers preserved in oil
  • Salt, pepper and chilli flakes


Pre-heat the oven to about 180oC.

Fry the pepper and tomatoes in some oil from the preserved peppers (the deliciously flavoured oil is too good to waste).

Place the bread butter-side down in an oven dish.

When the pepper and tomatoes have started to cook down add half to the dish as a layer over the bread. Add some of the preserved peppers, focusing on putting them in any gaps between the bread.

Add a layer of aubergine followed by the rest of the pepper and tomato mixture and the remaining preserved peppers.

Top with the last of the aubergine. Add a spoon of the flavoured oil onto each aubergine slice and season generously with salt pepper and a spice mix of your choice – I used BBQ chilli flakes.

Bake in the oven for approximately half an hour.


Vegetable Chilli

I  don’t think that this recipe needs much introduction. I love chilli, whether meat or vegetable chilli, and I usually make it up as I go along;  this is the first time that I have put enough thought into it to be able to write it down.wp-1459028741249.jpeg


  • 1 Onion
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 red Bell Pepper
  • 1 green Bell Pepper
  • 1 tin Chickpeas
  • 1 tin Kidney-beans
  • 1 tin Tomatoes
  • a good squirt of Tomato Puree
  • a square of dark chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli salt (or, substitute in normal salt or vegetable stock and add more chilli to taste)


Fry the onion, garlic, chilli and a couple of grinds of black pepper in some oil for a couple of minutes. Add the pepper and fry for another couple of minutes.

Add the chickpeas, kidney beans, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and chocolate. Mix well, turn down the heat and cover with a lid.

Cook for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. If it starts to look a bit dry add a splash of hot water from the kettle.

Taste, add the chilli salt until it suits your taste.

Serve with wraps and/ or rice, avacado, creme fraiche and cheese.

Spaghetti with tomatoes and poached eggs


Cheap, quick, easy and yummy – four of
my favourite things!
This fed two adults and a child (approximately 1/2 a tin of tomatoes per person and an egg each).

1 Onion, chopped
1 Clove garlic, crushed
A few mushrooms, chopped
Black pepper
1 tsp Oregano
1 & 1/2 Tins tomatoes
A couple of squirts of tomato puree
3 eggs
A handful of grated cheese

If I had them I might also have included bacon or anchovies, olives or capers.

Fry the onion, garlic, black pepper and herbs in olive oil until beginning to soften. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and mushrooms and simmer until the mushrooms have cooked.

While the sauce is simmering away put the spaghetti on to cook, following the instructions on the packet for the quantity and cooking time.

When the pasta is nearly done crack an egg into a mug, make a little well in the sauce and pour in the egg; repeat so that there is one egg per person. Note, if your pan is not non-stick you will probably need to put a bit of oil in each well before you add the egg.

After about a minute, turn each egg with a spatula and then sprinkle the cheese over the sauce.

Drain the pasta and divide between shallow bowls. Put an egg onto each serving of pasta and then share out the rest of the sauce.


Kitty’s Vegetable Curry

This was rather good. I made it up on the spot but it was based on numerous other curries that I have made in the past.
As usual, there are things that you can add/ substitute if the contents of your fridge is a bit different from mine; I wouldn’t play around with the core spices too much though.
If you want this curry to be vegan then use coconut milk instead of the coconut yoghurt; the only reason that I had coconut yoghurt is that someone brought me a pot to go with a yummy pudding (thanks again Penny – I’m making it go a long way!). wp-1453118274768.jpeg


These amounts would serve 2 to 3 people; I ate two portions last night (couldn’t resist seconds!) and then had the rest for brunch this morning.

  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vegetable stock/ 1 vegetable stock-cube
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 6 small new potatoes, halved
  • 1 large mushroom, chopped
  • 1/2 tin of chickpeas
  • 1/2 tin tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut yoghurt
  • Rice (1/2 cup per person)
  • Cardamom pods (approx 1 per serving of rice)
  • a pinch of Saffron wp-1453116265020.jpeg

Fry the onion, carrot, potatoes, garlic and spices in a high smoke-point oil (groundnut or rapeseed/canola); you need to be reasonably generous with the oil and keep a good eye on it.

After a few minutes add the tinned tomatoes, the chickpeas and about 1/3 pint veg stock. When this is bubbling nicely turn it down to a low simmer and leave until the potatoes and carrots are cooked (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Next add the chopped mushroom and coconut yoghurt; at the same time put the rice on, I use 1/2 cup per person and add a little veg stock, cardamom pods and saffron if I have it. A good rule of thumb for cooking rice is for the ‘height’ of the rice in the pan and the ‘height’ of the water above the rice to be approximately the same; then, when the water is gone the rice should be cooked (I’m sure that some of  my Asian friends would contradict me there, but that’s how I do it).

When the the rice is cooked take it off the heat and taste the curry, seasoning with a bit more salt and chilli if required.


Roast new potatoes with garlic coconut dip (a sneaky Friday evening ‘snack’)

In (partial) obedience to a 10-year old who has the measure of me…


New potatoes  (as many as you want to eat!)
1 small onion
Olive oil
Cumin seeds
Mustard seeds
Other dried herbs (I used some ‘Hierbas provenzales’ which my parents brought back for me from Mallorca)

2 tablespoons of coconut yoghurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Chop the onion into quarters and the potatoes in half. Put in a small roasting tin with oil, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and herbs and roast for approx 20 minutes.

Put the coconut yoghurt in a small bowl and mix in the garlic, cayenne pepper and salt. If you don’t like things too spicy, add a little bit of cayenne pepper at a time,  tasting in between.

Serve in a couple of bowls in the centre of the table with a fork per person. Dip the potatoes into the yoghurt dip, making sure to fight over the last one. Enjoy with a Friday glass of wine!

I will make soup later, thereby abiding by the above instructions. The soup will be pretty similar to the carrot, lentil and cider recipe shared previously, although I may substitute white wine in for the cider so as to more fully do as I have been told by said 10 year -old.

Happy Friday everyone!

Kitty x

p.s. In case you were wondering, the coconut yoghurt was gifted to me by a friend who brought me a pudding when she came to dinner. No cheating!

Puy Lentil and Mushroom Lasagne with Winter Salad

I love Puy Lentils. If you are a non-vegetarian who wants to cook for vegetarian friends and doesn’t know where to start Puy Lentils are fantastic, because you can substitute them in for minced beef in familiar dishes and get something which has a slightly ‘meaty’ texture and quite a rich, almost nutty, taste. As well as being great in lasagne they are also rather good in Chilli and in Bolognaise.

Puy lentils come either dried or cooked in bags (a little bit like microwave rice) and I tend to have both in my storecupboard; dried lentils are much cheaper but the ready-cooked ones are much better if you are in a hurry!

This yummy lasagne fed two adults and two children. I had thought that there might be enough left for my lunch the next day, but no such luck!


for the lasagne…

  • one or two cloves of garlic
  • a medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • a generous squirt of tomato purée
  • 1 microwave bag of Puy Lentils
  • a good splash of red wine (I used frozen wine again)
  • Dried lasagne sheets (approx 1/2 a pack)
  • approx 3/4 pint of milk
  • heaped tablespoon of cornflour
  • approx six mushrooms, sliced
  • two generous handfuls of grated cheese

for the winter salad…

  • 1/4 of a red cabbage
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • good olive oil
  • a splash of lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper



Preheat the oven to 180oC.

Fry the onions, garlic, ground black pepper and oregano in olive oil (not fancy olive oil if you have it – save that for the salad!). When the onions are beginning to become transparent add the tinned tomatoes, the wine, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the puy lentils. Allow to heat through and reduce a little (5-10 minutes), taste and add more salt and pepper if required.

While the above is cooking get started on the white sauce. First, heat the milk slowly in a pan. Put a heaped tablespoon of cornflour in a measuring jug with a little extra milk to make a paste, trying your best to ensure that it is lump free. Next, and this is important, add the warm milk to the paste (not the other way around!), mix well and then put it back into the pan to heat through and thicken. Keep an eye on it and stir frequently, and when it has started to thicken add half of the grated cheese. When the cheese has melted set the sauce to one side.


Now it is time to layer up the lasagne. Put half of the tomato mixture into the bottom of a rectangular dish and cover with a layer of lasagne sheets; you may need to break up one of the sheets into smaller pieces to cover it evenly. Next, put the sliced mushrooms on top of the lasagne sheets and cover with half of the white sauce and a generous grind of black pepper. Cover with another layer of lasagne sheets, add the rest of the tomato mixture and then add a final layer of the lasagne sheets. Finally, top with the rest of the white sauce, the cheese and more black pepper. Put in the top of the pre-heated oven for 30 – 40 minutes. To check if it is done, put a skewer in it and if you only get a little bit of resistance you are good to go.

For the salad; chop the red cabbage (half way between chunky and fine if that makes sense!) and use the biggest bit of your cheese grater to finely slice the carrot. Be very careful not to grate your knuckles! Put in a dish with a generous slosh of olive oil, a squirt of lemon juice, a good few grinds of pepper and a couple of pinches of sea salt. Try. Add more lemon, salt and pepper if you think it would improve it. Simples!