Dec 24

Spicy aubergine bake with mozzarella and pecorino cheese

Serves: 6-8


6 large aubergines (about 2kg in total)

5 eggs

150g plain flour

300ml olive oil

350g grated mozzarella cheese

150g finely grated pecorino cheese

Sea salt flakes

For the sauce:

4 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1.4L tomato passata

4 tbsp chilli oil, or to taste

20 basil leaves

250g mascarpone cheese

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



1. Slice the aubergines lengthways into slices about 2.5mm thick. Place in a sieve, sprinkle over some sea salt flakes and leave over the sink for one hour to allow any excess liquid to drain from the aubergines. We use salt flakes here to draw out the moisture, as fine salt would be absorbed into the aubergines.

2. In the meantime, to prepare the sauce, place the four tablespoons of olive oil and the onion in a large shallow saucepan and fry over a medium heat for eight minutes, occasionally stirring with a wooden spoon. Pour in the passata and chilli oil, then add the basil, one and a half teaspoons of fine salt and one teaspoon of pepper and stir for two minutes.

3. Add the mascarpone, stir to combine all the ingredients, then reduce the heat slightly and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Taste: this is the time to add in a bit more chilli oil if you want a stronger kick. Set aside.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas mark 4.

5. Put the aubergine slices on to some kitchen paper and pat dry. Place the eggs, one teaspoon fine salt and half a teaspoon of pepper into a medium bowl and beat well. Pour the flour on to a medium flat tray. Dip each aubergine slice into the flour and then into the egg to coat all over. Heat 10 tablespoons of the olive oil into a large frying pan and fry the aubergine slices until golden on both sides, about two minutes each side. You will need to work in batches (depending on the size of your frying pan, it should take about six batches).

7. Transfer the slices on to kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil. After three batches have been browned, add the remaining olive oil to your frying pan and heat until very hot. Continue to fry the remaining aubergine slices, again transferring them on to kitchen paper to drain the excess oil.

8. Layer one-third of the aubergine in a rectangular oven dish, measuring about 30 x 25cm. Spoon three ladles of the tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle over 100g mozzarella and 50g pecorino. Repeat the process twice more. You’ll have a little more than three ladles left of the tomato sauce and 50g mozzarella to make a last layer; this extra sauce on top is absorbed through the dish while it cooks and keeps it extra moist.

9. Sprinkle over a pinch of pepper and cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil from the oven dish and continue to bake for a further 30 minutes.

10. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about five minutes before portioning. Serve with some crusty ciabatta bread and salad. Just like mamma used to make.


Dec 24

Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies


Prep 20 min
Chill 2 hr+
Cook 12-18 min
Makes 9

115g butter
70g glutinous or sweet rice flour
70g almond flour
15g corn flour
¼ tsp fine salt
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g nuts of your choice
50g soft light brown sugar
50g granulated white sugar

1 egg, beaten with ½ tsp vanilla extract
75g chocolate of your choice, chopped, if necessary
Flaky salt, to finish (optional)


Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat.

When it starts to foam, keep an eye on it, and the moment the foam turns a pale reddish brown, take it off the heat, tip into a large bowl and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, sift or whisk the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda, and toast the nuts, if using, in a dry pan, then cool and roughly chop.

Stir the sugars into the cooled butter, then beat in the egg until well combined.

Stir in the dry ingredients and beat for about 45 seconds, until the mixture stiffens up.

Stir in the chocolate and nuts, if using, then shape into large, walnut-sized balls.

Put on a lined baking sheet (there’s no need to spread them out at this point), squash slightly and chill for between two and 24 hours.

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Spread the balls out over two lined baking sheets, keeping them well apart, sprinkle with salt, if using, then bake for 12-18 minutes, depending on how soft/crunchy you like them. Remove and leave to cool on the sheets for as long as you can bear – they’ll firm up as they cool – then devour or store in an airtight container.


Dec 24

Chicken kievs


Dec 24

Chicken and black pepper sauce

1/2 packet of Prima Taste black pepper sauce

2tbsp water

500g sliced chicken (or pork)

1tbsp oyster sauce

1tbsp cornflour


Onion/Spring onion

1 clove garlic – chopped

Vegetables of preference – carrots, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower etc – stir fried ahead of cooking.


Marinate meat with oyster sauce and cornflower with a little oil.


Fry onions/spring onions then add garlic. Once starting to brown, add meat and stir fry. Add sauce mix then vegetables.



Oct 19

Christine’s potato salad


1kg bag baby potatoes

2-3 tbsp mayonnaise

2 tbsp salad cream

Bunch of spring onions




Boil potatoes whole until cooked

Cut potatoes to required size (half/quarter) and place in serving bowl

Prepare and chop spring onions (white part) into small pieces and add to potatoes

Chop chives and add to potatoes keeping aside a few for garnishing

Add mayo and salad cream whilst potatoes are still warm and mix well

Sprinkle remaining chives on top


Aug 16

Healthy Chinese Chicken Egg Fried Rice


    • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup chopped frozen vegetables, thawed
    • 1 chicken breast
    • 3 spring onions
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 2 cm fresh root ginger
    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
    • 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tsp sugar


    1. Heat up the wok or a pan, cut the chicken into small pieces and season with salt and pepeper. Add one tablespoon of oil to the wok or pan, and stir fry on high heat until the chicken is cooked through and slightly browned.

    2. Remove from the wok and set aside.
    3. Beat the eggs, add them to the pan and scramble them. They should be ready very quickly, 1-2 minutes maximum. Remove from the pan, and set aside.

      4. Add more oil to the pan, then add the chopped spring onions, ginger and garlic, and stir fry for about 30 seconds or so. Add the cooked rice, vegetables, chicken and egg, and mix well.

      5. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauces, sesame oil, rice vinegar and sugar, and mix well, then add to the pan to the other ingredients.

      6. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, and serve hot.


Aug 16

Whipped butter

SERVES: 10-12



  • Beat milk and butter together until light and fluffy.
  • This expands the volume by a third and makes it easier to spread.


Aug 16

iHOP pancakes



  • 1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter melted
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar


  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a small bowl, combine egg and buttermilk. Whisk together until blended. Add to flour mixture, stirring only until smooth. Add melted butter and sugar to batter and whisk until combined.
  • Heat a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Grease griddle with cooking spray or butter. Drop 1/4 cup batter on pan and spread into a 5-inch circle. Cook until bubbles begin to form on surface and edges begin to brown. Gently flip and continue to brown other side. Repeat with remaining batter.
  • Serve with butter and warm syrup. Enjoy!


Aug 16

Chickpea curry



For the paste

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried chilli, to taste
  • 9 garlic cloves (approx 1 small bulb of garlic)
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée

For the curry

  • 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 100g creamed coconut
  • ½ small pack coriander, chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 100g spinach

To serve

  • cooked rice and/or dahl



  • STEP 1

    To make the paste, heat a little of the 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan, add 1 diced onion and 1 tsp fresh or dried chilli, and cook until softened, about 8 mins.

  • STEP 2

    In a food processor, combine 9 garlic cloves, a thumb-sized piece of peeled ginger and the remaining oil, then add 1 tbsp ground coriander, 2 tbsp ground cumin, 1 tbsp garam masala, 2 tbsp tomato purée, ½ tsp salt and the fried onion. Blend to a smooth paste – add a drop of water or more oil, if needed.

  • STEP 3

    Cook the paste in a medium saucepan for 2 mins over a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick.

  • STEP 4

    Tip in two 400g cans drained chickpeas and a 400g can chopped tomatoes, and simmer for 5 mins until reduced down.

  • STEP 5

    Add 100g creamed coconut with a little water, cook for 5 mins more, then add ½ small pack chopped coriander and 100g spinach, and cook until wilted.

  • STEP 6

    Garnish with extra coriander and serve with rice or dhal (or both).


Aug 16

Home-style chicken curry



  • 1 large onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 50g ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 5cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 8 chicken thighs, skinned, boneless (about 800g)
  • 250ml hot chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander



  • STEP 1

    Roughly chop 1 large onion, transfer to a small food processor, and add 3 tbsp of water – process to a slack paste. You could use a stick blender for this or coarsely grate the onion into a bowl – there’s no need to add any water if you are grating the onion. Tip into a small bowl and leave on one side.

  • STEP 2

    Put 6 roughly chopped garlic cloves and 50g roughly chopped ginger into the same food processor and add 4 tbsp water – process until smooth and spoon into another small bowl. Alternatively, crush the garlic to a paste with a knife or garlic press and finely grate the ginger.

  • STEP 3

    Heat 4 tbsp vegetable oil in a wok or sturdy pan set over a medium heat.

  • STEP 4

    Combine 2 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp fennel seeds with a 5cm cinnamon stick and 1 tsp chilli flakes and add to the pan in one go. Swirl everything around for about 30 secs until the spices release a fragrant aroma.

  • STEP 5

    Add the onion paste – it will splutter in the beginning. Fry until the water evaporates and the onions turn a lovely dark golden – this should take about 7-8 mins.

  • STEP 6

    Add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for another 2 mins – stirring all the time.

  • STEP 7

    Stir in 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp turmeric, and 1 tsp caster sugar and continue cooking for 20 secs before tipping in a 400g can chopped tomatoes.

  • STEP 8

    Continue cooking on a medium heat for about 10 mins without a lid until the tomatoes reduce and darken.

  • STEP 9

    Cut 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs into 3cm chunks and add to the pan once the tomatoes have thickened to a paste.

  • STEP 10

    Cook for 5 mins to coat the chicken in the masala and seal in the juices, and then pour over 250ml hot chicken stock.

  • STEP 11

    Simmer for 8-10 mins without a lid until the chicken is tender and the masala lightly thickened – you might need to add an extra ladleful of stock or water if the curry needs it.

  • STEP 12

    Sprinkle with 2 tbsp chopped coriander and serve with Indian flatbreads or fluffy basmati rice and a pot of yogurt on the side.