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…

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Mum’s Chicken Noodle and Veg soup

Most people will say their mum makes the best chicken soup. I’m no different.

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We grew up with the smell of this soup wafting out to greet us as we were coming home from school. It was always such a welcoming smell, especially with the celery and cinnamon.

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Mum used to put some diced potato in the soup as well, to bulk it out, there was a lot of hungry mouths to feed.

We used to sit around the table, hovering over our bowls, dipping in rolled up pieces of Lebanese bread and shovelling the whole lot into our mouths.

I’d like to think that we’ve grown a little and developed some sort of decorum…..

But………

This recipe should feed four, so I’ve used four pieces of free range chicken. (Drumsticks and thighs with the bone still in are best, lots of flavour.)

Put the chicken in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Be sure to put in plenty of water because you’ll be throwing all the veggies and noodles in there as well.  Cover and bring to the boil on a medium heat.  Skim the scum that floats to the top of the pot. Turn the heat down a little and let the chicken simmer for about 40 minutes.

Next throw in 1 medium brown onion that you’ve peeled, halved and thinly sliced, 1 small carrot – sliced, 1 stalk celery – sliced (stalk and leaves), 1 medium ripe tomato – cubed, and I add a little piece of ginger, but that’s optional, as is chilli. Season with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

imageCover and leave it to simmer for 30 minutes.  Lightly crush a couple of vermicelli egg noodle nests into the soup and stir them in. Cook for 10 minutes.

Finely slice some flat leaf parsley, and stir into the soup. (The parsley isn’t just a garnish, it’s a part of the soup and lends a really good flavour to the whole dish. And it’s very good for you)

Turn the heat off and it’s ready to serve.