Aubergine cheescake

A savoury cheesecake made with Aubergine, fetta, cream cheese,eggs and tomatoes.

700g big fat aubergines

150g feta cheese

150g cream cheese

3 eggs

60 ml thick cream

150g cherry tomatoes

a handful oregano leaves fresh

11/2 tsp za’atar

salt and pepper

65 ml olive oil in all

Preheat oven to 210C. Line base and sides of a 19cm square or 20cm round tin with foil and grease well with olive oil.

Chop Aubergine into 2cm thick wedges and lay on a tray. Brush with olive oil generously, sprinkle a little salt and pepper and roast till golden, about 30-40 minutes. Keep an eye on them. Remove and cool. Reduce heat to 170C.

Beat feta, cream and cream cheese with the eggs and some pepper.

Arrange the Aubergine pieces in the baking tin filling the spaces with the halved  tomato pieces and oregano.

Pour the beaten mix over the Aubergine. Cook till custard sets and it is golden. Cool

Mix the za’atar mixed with a little olive oil and brush all over the cake. Serve in slices.

I preferred the slices warm. This keeps for a couple of days in the fridge.

Recipe source: Plenty More by Ottolengi

Serves 6


Easy oat bars

When you are looking for a quick snack which is healthy and delicious and easy to make, look no more. Nigella Lawson’s oat bars made with oats, nuts and dried fruits all bound together with condensed milk and baked are truly tasty. Although the can of condensed milk might put off some, just remember, these make a lot of oat bars. And Nigella calls them breakfast bars…

Heat a 395g can of sweetened condensed milk with the following:

250g rolled oats

75g dessicated coconut

100g dry cranberry

125g mixed seeds( I used sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower kernels)

125g peanuts roasted

Gently heat till it all comes together for about five minutes on low heat.

Now tip it into a 23x33x44cm rectangle tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a 130C for 1 hour. Cool for 15 minutes, then cut.

Makes 16 bars

Recipe source: Nigella Lawson

Guacamole Indian style

I love avocados and seeing this recipe on 101cookbooks I thought why not? Indian style guacamole, just an attempt at spicing up good old guaca!

Heat some good flavoursome olive oil. Fry a tsp of mustard. Then add an onion chopped fine. After 3 minutes add 2 garlic cloves chopped, 1-2 tsp curry powder ( I used sambar powder😜) and 2 green chillies. Switch off heat after few seconds so the spice powder does not burn.

Meanwhile mash two avocados and add 2 tsp lemon juice and a little salt to taste. Toss the onion mix through and add 1/2 cup of coriander leaves chopped.

Recipe source:

Fig salad

A delicious salad from Ottolengi. Salad leaves, basil, radicchio, figs and nuts dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It all comes together most beautifully.

1x red onion 200g in total

3 Tb olive oil

50g hazelnuts( I used almonds)

60 g radicchio leaves torn

40 g basil leaves

40 g watercress leaves

300g ripe figs

1Tb balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C.

Peel the onion, cut into wedges and rub some oil and salt on them. Roast for 20-25 minutes stirring a couple of times.

Reduce oven temperature to 160C and toast the nuts. Cool and chop.

Mix the salad leaves in four salad bowls. Add the figs chopped in wedges,  then add the onion wedges. Toss gently. Add the nuts. Just before serving whisk the oil, vinegar salt and pepper and drizzle over the salads. Serve immediately.

Serves four

I used radicchio, basil and mixed salad leaves.

Recipe source: Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi



Stuffed Sweet Palermo Chillies

I usually stuff tiny capsicums with this paneer mix. But when I did the same with these Palermo chillies, it turned out delicious. Paneer with the usual spices and some cashew pieces for texture stuffed into the chillies and roasted on a low fire in a pan makes for a delicious dinner. Serve with a tangy salad and some crusty bread or with roti or rice. Or on its own.


6x red Palermo chillies ( can substitute with red capsicums)

300 g paneer

1 onion

2 garlic

4-5 green chillies

1 inch piece of ginger

handful of coriander leaves

1 tsp cummin seeds

1-2 Tb broken cashew pieces

1 cup green peas boiled and mashed coarsely

2 Tb amchur or lemon juice

1 tsp turmeric and chilli powder

1 tsp Garam masala powder


Chop onion, chillies, ginger and garlic fine.

Heat 1 Tb oil and fry cummin seeds, add the cashew pieces, then add the chopped mix. Fry till onion loses its raw flavour, no need to brown. Add the crushed peas and paneer. Add salt, amchur, Garam masala and mix well for five minutes. Add the finely chopped coriander leaves. Taste to test for seasoning. If you like it spicy add more chilli powder.

Split the chillies without separating into  two pieces. Remove the seeds and fill the chilies with the paneer mix.

Heat a pan large enough to hold all the chillies. Add 2 Tb oil and place the chillies carefully cut side up. After 5 minutes on high heat reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Keep checking to see they don’t burn. You can add a little oil if it looks like drying up. Turn chillies gently once. When the flesh is soft when pierced it’s done.

Serve warm.

Bittergourd theeyal

My mum is an expert at making theeyal, a spicy tangy gravy with just pearl onions. The sweetness of the onions with the tang of tamarind and the spices makes the most delicious theeyal ever. It can be made with just pearl onions, or brinjal, bitter gourd, mixed vegetables and so on.

Here I made it with bitter gourd. I tried out a recipe from an old cookbook.


100 gms bittergourd

8 pearl onions

3 green chillies

walnut sized tamarind soaked in little water

1 tsp salt

Spice paste

1 Tb oil

1 cup coconut grated

4 pearl onions

10 dry red chillies

1 tsp pepper

1 stalk curry leaves

1 tsp coriander powder

a little turmeric powder


1 Tb oil

1 tsp mustard

2 red chillies

3 pearl onions

1 stalk curry  leaves


Fry in oil all the ingredients under spice paste except the powders. Fry till coconut turns brown. Therein lies the taste. The coconut ( use fresh coconut for best results. If not dessicated coconut) has to be fried under medium heat till almost dark brown. But don’t let it burn. Remove from heat and add the coriander powder, cool and add the turmeric. Grind to a really smooth silky paste adding water to help grind.

Chop bittergourds into small pieces and fry till nearly crisp. Add the pearl onions and green chillies and fry till they are done.

Take tamarind attract and boil it with the paste and the bittergourd mix with 11/4 cups water. Add salt to taste and boil for 10 minutes.

Fry stuff under seasoning and add to the curry. Test for taste. I tend to add some brown sugar to balance the taste. You can add more chilli powder if you like it spicier. As my mum says the final product depends on the balancing of flavours more than the recipe. So don’t be afraid to taste as you proceed.

Theeyal can be stored in the fridge for a few days.

Instead  of bittergourd try with 2 Lebanese brinjals.

Red onions can be used at a stretch instead of pearl onions but may not taste as good.

Use coconut oil for authentic taste.

Recipe source: Mum




Tomato chutney

A delightful side for rotis from Rak’s kitchen. It’s amazing how such a simple thing can be so tasty!

Crush two tomatoes and 10 garlic cloves. Paste the tomatoes quite smooth then add the garlic and just crush a little.

In a flat saucepan heat 1/4 cup + 2Tb sesame oil. Let the oil smoke then add the paste. Bring to a boil and boil for only one minute. Do not cook more than that to keep the flavours fresh. Remove from heat.

I found using a large flat pan ideal to cook this.

Serve with rotis. When you make a bland dal for rotis this chutney makes a welcome addition.

Recipe source: Raks kitchen

Irupuli kootaan

This is something like the Moru kootaan with a slight deviation. But tastes delightful. The addition of sesame seeds with coconut makes the difference.


1/2 tsp methi

1 tsp urad dal

5 dry red chillies

2 tsp sesame seeds

in a little oil.

Paste this with

1/2 cup coconut.


1 cup of green gourd/ elavan/ kumbalanga chopped in small cubes with 2 cups of water and a gooseberry size of tamarind. Add some turmeric too.

When vegetable is cooked add the paste and simmer for just 5 minutes.

Set aside for five minutes.

Add 1 cup yogurt and salt to taste. Mix well.

Fry in oil mustard, red chilli and curry leaves and pour over the kootan.