Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato…

Eggplant has got to be one of my favourite vegetables. You can do so much with it.

This particular recipe is actually a Lebanese meza dish that I’ve made into a pasta sauce.

The original recipe is cooked and then eaten cold as part of spread of dishes called a meza. Lots of plates with lots of tasty food spread out on a table and shared between family and friends. Its a very social way of eating.Image

And this is a very simple recipe….

To a large fry pan add 2 tbls olive oil and sauté 1/2 an onion that you’ve finely sliced. Once the onion has softened and started to brown a little add some eggplant (one medium sized or two small) that you’ve chopped into large pieces. Let them cook for a few minutes, stirring often so they don’t stick to the fry pan then throw in two diced large tomatoes, 2-3 chopped cloves of garlic and if you like it spicy, a couple of finely sliced chillies.

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Season with salt and pepper, add a couple of tablespoons of water, stir well, cover and let simmer gently for about 20-25 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked.

I like to add a few kalamata olives and a bit of fresh basil in at the end.

Boil up your favourite pasta, stir it through the sauce and serve.

So simple, so delicious.

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Enjoy…

“No Added Sugar” Banana Bread

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Sugar….

Just about everybody loves it. Unfortunately though, too much is a bad thing. Sad but true.

My challenge was to come up with a sweet treat that wasn’t sugar sweetened.

Fruit would be the way to go. In particular Banana’s.

“Banana’s contain sugar” I hear you say. True, but they also contain potassium, are a great source of antioxidant,  taste so darn good and the less ripe the fruit the lower the G.I.  Perfect.

I decided to work with the previously posted Banana and Coffee Bread recipe.

After a few ingredient adjustments and a couple of  trial bakes, the final recipe  resulted in a very moist, ‘ no sugar added’  sweet Banana Bread.

Try it. It’s terribly simple to make and absolutely delicious.

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You’ll need:

120g butter cut into cubes (I use salted)

120g chopped dates

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

60g milk (I used soy)

150g plain wholemeal flour

100g plain flour

5g baking powder

2g bicarb soda

5g ground cinnamon

250g banana – not too ripe

80g  chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, beat the butter and dates together until the dates are all broken up and mixed really well with the butter.  Add the egg, vanilla and roughly chopped banana and beat until it’s all mashed up.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon and throw it all into the bowl with the banana. Pour in the milk and mix until combined. Stir in the walnuts.

Spread into a lined loaf tin and bake at 180c for 55 – 60 minutes or until brown.sugar free banana bread 2

My next challenge will be to make it  gluten and sugar free. My sister’s a coeliac and  a tough critic.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Enjoy…

Mjadra (Lentil and Rice Pilaf)

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Yet another Lebanese Lentil dish. I did say we love lentils in this house.

I cooked a corn beef on Monday night, then made fritters out of left overs yesterday and then corn beef and mustard pickle sandwiches for lunch today. We are all corn beefed out. A quick SMS to my husband and tonight’s dinner is decided.

Healthy, vegan and delicious – Mjadra….

Here’s what you’ll need :-

1/2 cup green lentils

1 cup brown rice

1 1/2 large brown onions

2tbs olive oil

salt and pepper

2 1/2 cups water

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Rinse the lentils then put in a medium saucepan. Pour over  cups cold water, cover and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn heat down to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile chop 3/4 of a large onion into large dice and gently fry in 2 tbs olive oil until soft and just starting to brown on the edges then throw them, along with the oil, in with the lentils.

After the lentils have had their 10 minutes, stir in the rice, season with plenty of salt and pepper,  cover and bring back to the boil, then turn the heat down to low and leave to cook for 45 – 50 minutes or until the rice is cooked. (You can add a little more water if you think it needs it.)

When it’s done, turn the heat off and leave it covered while you thinly slice the rest of the onion and brown in 1 tbs olive oil with a sprinkle of salt. This is then served on top of the Pilaf.

We like this dish with a fresh tomato, onion and parsley salad and a spoonful of Greek yogurt.

Yum…

Enjoy…

Addis bi haamoud – Spinach and Lentil Soup with lemon

Potato and lentil soup‘What could Lona possibly be making for dinner tonight?’, I hear you say.  Well, I’ve never really been one for left- overs. I like to have something different every night.

Don’t worry though. Left overs are used for lunches the next day. As for the corned beef, it was placed  between two slices of multi-grain bread, smeared with mustard pickles and eaten by my husband at work this very day. I just munched on a slice that I topped with some of the bearnaise. Nice.

However, today feels like a healthy soup day. Again. I love soup!!

I went for a walk and picked up some silver beet. How about a lentil and silver beet soup. Hooray, I hear you all yell.

here we go then – keep up – in a large pot, throw in 1/2 cup of brown lentils that you’ve rinsed, 3/4 fill the pot with water, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down. Cover and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add 1 bunch of silver beet (leaves and a little of the stalk), finely sliced and rinsed, 1 large onion – cut in half and thinly sliced, 2 cups of diced potato, as many garlic cloves as you can handle, ( I usually put in about 7 or 8 large ones), chopped. Stir it well, cover, increase heat to bring it back up to the boil, then lower heat and let it simmer away for another 45 minutes or so until the potato and lentils are cooked.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon.

This I usually serve with some toasted Lebanese bread.

one of my favourite all time soups.

This will serve four people.

Enjoy.