Fried Aubergine with Soy and Honey

Fried Aubergine recipe
Fried Aubergine with Soy and Honey

Fried Aubergine with Soy and Honey

This recipe for Fried Aubergine with Soy and Honey is quick, easy and is a great way to convert any aubergine haters.   Aubergines naturally absorb flavours when cooked and are a great base for strong flavours, such as the umami taste of soy and the heat of chilli.   In this recipe, honey adds a touch of sweetness to balance the saltiness and heat of the other ingredients.  It is really important to ensure that aubergine is well cooked so that it becomes soft – no one likes a chewy aubergine!

I serve this Fried Aubergine hot as a side dish with curries and stir-fries.   However, it is also great at room temperature as a salad.   I will often take it to work with me as part of my eat-at-the-desk lunch – together with some cold rice or noodles and find the combination of flavours frankly addictive!   It is also good as part of a cold buffet.

There are a number of similar recipes for Fried Aubergine including one from BBC Ready Steady Cook and another from the fantastic Amuse Your Bouche blog.  Mine uses less honey in proportion to the aubergine as I just want a hint of sweetness and is heavier on the chilli as I like a lot of heat!

Fried Aubergine with Soy and Honey

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Fried Aubergine with Soy, Honey and Chilli

Fried Aubergine with Soy and Honey

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Frying

Description

Soft, fried aubergine is enhanced by the umami of soy sauce and the heat of dried chilli and sweetened with a touch of honey in this fifteen minute recipe.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 large aubergines
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

Instructions

  1. Chop the aubergines into cubes of approximately 1 cm.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan.
  3. Add the aubergine cubes, crushed garlic, honey, soy sauce and chilli flakes to the pan.
  4. Fry for about 10 minutes.  By this point, the aubergine should be soft, dark brown and glossy and all the liquid will have been absorbed.
  5. This dish can be eaten hot or at room temperature.

Notes

This recipe is vegetarian but , if agave syrup is substituted for the honey, can be vegan.

Keywords: aubergine, vegetarian, soy sauce

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Easy Poached Pears

Easy Poached Pears with Marsala Wine
Easy Poached Pears

Easy Poached Pears

This recipe for  Easy Poached Pears is a fantastic make-ahead autumn or winter dessert.  The cooking time is quite long but the preparation time is very short and extremely simple – basically you just need to peel the pears!

There is something very autumnal about pears.  I love eating them just as they are.  However, it is often quite difficult to get them at just the right stage of ripeness – one day they are hard and unripe and the next day they are soft and squishy!  The beauty of cooking with pears is that you do not need to use ripe  ones.  This recipe is best made with unripe pears which then become beautifully soft and fragranced with Marsala wine, cinnamon and vanilla, during the cooking process.

Marsala is a fortified Italian wine which is generally widely available.  If you do not have any Marsala wine, you could use red wine, port, cider or perry (pear cider) as alteratives.

The recipe is based on Delia Smith’s Pears Baked in Marsala Wine but I cook the pears for a shorter time and do not add arrowroot to thicken the sauce as I prefer it to be thinner.

Easy Poached Pears

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Easy Poached Pears with Marsala

Easy Poached Pears

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 120
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Easy Poached Pears is a make-ahead autumnal recipe which transforms unripe pears into a sumptuous dessert through slow cooking them with Marsala Wine, cinnamon and vanilla.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 unripe pears
  • 600 ml Marsala
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or a vanilla pod)

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 250 F/130 C/Gas Mark 0.5.
  2. Remove the skins from the pears using a vegetable peeler.   Take a thin slice of the base of each pear.  This will give it a flat bottom so that it will stand up on the plate when it has been cooked.
  3. Put the Marsala, sugar, cinnamon stick and vanilla essence into a heavy casserole.  Heat until the liquid is simmering and the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Place the pears in the casserole on their sides.    Put the lid on the casserole and place in the oven.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and then turn the pears so that their other side is in the liquid.  Bake for a further 1 hour.
  6. Remove the pears from the liquid and set aside in a dish to cool.
  7. Place the casserole containing the liquid  on the top of the stove and boil rapidly with the lid off for around 10 minutes.   The liquid will  reduce by about one third.
  8. Place both the pears and the liquid separately in the fridge to chill.  When you are ready to serve, place the pears on  individual plates and pour some of the liquid over them.   Good accompaniments are whipped cream or a mixture of half whipped cream and half mascarpone or vanilla ice cream.

Notes

This is a vegan recipe and can be served with non-dairy cream or ice-cream.

If you don’t have Marsala Wine, you can use red wine, port, cider or perry (pear cider) as alternatives.

Keywords: pears, marsala, vegetarian, vegan, dessert

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Mushroom and Chestnut Pies

Vegetarian Mushroom and Chestnut Pies
Mushroom and Chestnut Pies

Mushroom and Chestnut Pies

These Mushroom and Chestnut Pies make a fantastic vegetarian main course at an autumn or winter dinner.   I often make them for Sunday lunch when I usually serve both vegetarian and non-vegetarian guests.  The non-vegetarians get a roast and the vegetarians get the Mushroom and Chestnut Pies.  They both go well with the same accompaniments – roast potatoes, cauliflower in white sauce, buttered carrots, parsnips – which makes things easy!

What makes these pies particularly good is the combination of the mushrooms and the chestnuts.   The chestnuts add a sweetness which goes very well with the bosky savouriness of the mushrooms.   Also, I think there is something special and celebratory about dishes that include crisp flaky pastry.   These pies are part of my traditional Christmas Day dinner when I serve both vegetarians and  non-vegetarians.

Mushroom and Chestnut Pies

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Vegetarian Mushroom and Chestnut Pies

Mushroom and Chestnut Pies

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Pies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These Mushroom and Chestnut pies are the perfect autumn main course combining savoury mushrooms and sweet chestnuts wrapped in crisp buttery pastry.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 25 g butter and 1 teaspoon oil (or 2 tsp if vegan)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • Salt and pepper
  • 250 g mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme (or one teaspoon of dried thyme)
  • 180 g of peeled, whole chestnuts
  • 500 g packet of puff pastry
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-based pan
  2. Peel and chop the onion, fennel and celery. Add the vegetables to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook very gently for around 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and sweet. Slow cooking caramelises the natural sugars in the vegetables and greatly improves the flavour of the dish.
  4. Slice the mushrooms and add them to the pan together with the peeled and crushed garlic clove. Cook for a further five minutes.
  5. If using fresh thyme, remove the leaves from the woody stems. Add the thyme to the vegetable mixture.
  6. Roughly chop the chestnuts and add them to the vegetable mixture. Cook for a further five minutes.
  7. Roll out the puff pastry to a thickness of approximately half a centimetre.  Cut circles from the pastry.  Either use a pastry cutter or cut around a small saucer or plate.
  8. Break and lightly whisk the egg.  Use a pastry brush to paint egg around the circumference of one of the pastry circles.    Place a spoonful of the mushroom and chestnut mixture in the centre of the circle and then fold the pastry circle in half to form a semi-circular pie.   Paint some more of the egg over the top of the pie. Repeat for the rest of the pastry circles.
  9. Place the pies on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Keywords: vegetarian, mushroom, chestnut, pies

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Beetroot Tart

Roasted Beetroot Tart
Beetroot Tart

Beetroot Tart

This Beetroot Tart has a lovely sweet and savoury taste and a fantastic dark carmine-pink colour if made with red beetroot.   You can also make it with golden beetroot or, if you want a particularly spectacular effect, with a mixture of the two in contrasting stripes!

The recipe is based on one in Sarah Raven’s , one of my favourite cook-books.  It is different in that I choose to roast my beetroot rather than boil them as I think this gives a more concentrated flavour.

I find this Beetroot Tart to be a very versatile autumn or winter dish.  It can be made ahead and can be eaten either hot or at room temperature.   It makes a good vegetarian main course and, because it is so flavourful,  needs only simple accompaniments such as a green salad and some buttery boiled potatoes.

Beetroot Tart

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Beetroot tart

Beetroot Tart

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Tart
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Beetroot Tart has a great sweet and savoury taste and makes a fantastic autumn vegetarian lunch or supper.  As with all beetroot dishes, it also has an amazing dark carmine-pink colour.


Scale

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 275 g plain flour
  • 125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme (or one teaspoon of dried thyme)
  • A little water

For the filling

  • 4 medium beetroot
  • 25 g butter and 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 onions
  • Salt and pepper
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme (or one teaspoon of dried thyme)
  • 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml double cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Wash your beetroot and loosely wrap each one in kitchen foil.  Place the wrapped beetroot on an oven tray.   Roast the beetroot in the oven for around 40 minutes until soft.   Remove the beetroot from the oven and allow to cool.  When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skins using a sharp knife.
  3. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl.  Add the fat and combine –  either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Remove the leaves from your sprigs of fresh thyme and add to the mixture (or add one teaspoon of dried thyme). Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
  4. Roll out your pastry and use it to line your quiche or flan dish.   Bake for 15  minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”.  This will stop the filling making it soggy.
  5. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan.   Peel and chop the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook gently for around 15 minutes until soft and translucent.
  6. Remove the leaves from your sprigs of fresh thyme (or one teaspoon of dried thyme) and add to the pan.
  7. Coarsely grate the roasted, peeled beetroot and add to the pan together with the vinegar and the sugar.    Cook the mixture gently for a further 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the onion and beetroot mixture from the pan and spoon it into your pastry case.
  9. Beat the eggs and add the cream and grated nutmeg.   Pour into the pastry case.
  10. Place the tart in your oven and bake for 35 minutes.

Notes

This tart can be eaten hot or at room temperature.

You can make this tart with golden beetroot instead of red beetroot or with a mix of both in dramatic contrasting stripes if you wish!

Keywords: beetroot, tart, vegetarian

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Vegan Beetroot Soup with Coconut

Vegan Beetroot Soup with Coconut
Vegan Beetroot Soup with Coconut

Vegan Beetroot Soup with Coconut

I love beetroot!  I love the sweet, earthy taste of roasted beetroot and the fantastic rich carmine pink colour that it brings to every dish in which it is included.   The flavour is autumn on a  plate and the colour cheers me up as days are getting cooler and I know winter is on its way.

My vegan Beetroot Soup includes the gentle heat and lemony flavour of fresh ginger and the creamy richness of coconut to enhance the earthy, root-vegetable deliciousness.   Although the ingredients are simple, and it is a really easy soup to make, it does taste quite subtle and sophisticated.    It is great for a simple autumn lunch or supper but is not out of place as a starter at a dinner party.

This soup freezes very well so  you can make a batch and keep it for when you need a quick beetroot fix!

Vegan Beetroot Soup with Coconut

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Vegan Beetroot Soup with Coconut

Vegan Beetroot Soup with Coconut

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This autumnal vegan soup combines the earthy sweetness of beetroot with the gentle heat of fresh ginger and the the creaminess of creamed coconut.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 small beetroot (around 350 g in total)
  • 25 g butter and 1 teaspoon oil (or 2 tsp if vegan)
  • 1 onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cm of fresh ginger
  • 500 ml water
  • Half teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder
  • 50 g of creamed coconut

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 200 C/Gas Mark 6. Wash your beetroot and loosely wrap each one in kitchen foil.  Place the wrapped beetroot on an oven tray.   Roast the beetroot in the oven for around 40 minutes until soft.   Remove the beetroot from the oven and allow to cool.  When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skins using a sharp knife.   Roughly chop the peeled beetroot.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-based pan
  3. Peel and chop the onion, add it to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook very gently for around 30 minutes until the onion is soft and sweet. Slow cooking caramelises the natural sugars in the onion and greatly improves the flavour of the soup.
  5. When the onion is cooked, add the chopped beetroot together with the peeled and crushed garlic cloves. Peel the fresh ginger and finely grate it into the pan.
  6. Add the water and vegetable bouillon power to the pan. Gently cook the soup for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the coconut cream to the soup.
  8. Blend the soup until it is smooth using a food processor or hand-held blender.

Keywords: beetroot, soup, vegan

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