CaponataTileEnough for 3:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1  aubergine (chopped into largish chunks)
  • 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 celery sticks (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 a large red pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp capers (rinsed)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed or finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 750g ripe tomatoes (cored, deseeded and sliced (save the liquid from the tomatoes by rubbing the seeds though a sieve))
  • Black pepper
  • 1/4 of a lemon
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • A handful of basil leaves

Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large heavy pan. Fry the aubergine chunks in hot oil until they begin to colour. Turn down the heat and add the remaining oil. Add the onion, celery, pepper, capers, garlic and raisins, and cook gently until the mixture is soft.

Spread the mixture over a large baking tray and scatter the tomatoes over the top. Mix together the tomato liquid, pepper, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar, and pour this mixture over the vegetables.

Cook in the oven at 140C (Gas mark 1) for about a hour or until the tomatoes begin to fall apart (I cooked mine (in the top of the oven) with slow roasted lamb, increasing the oven temperature to 140C for the final hour). mix in the basil leaves before serving.

Greek salad


Enough for lunch for 2 (served with bread):

  • 100g feta (cut into small cubes, or crumbled)
  • 2 spring onions (sliced)
  • 1/3rd of a cucumber (diced)
  • 14 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 12 olives (stoned and halved)
  • A few sprigs of mint
  • A few sprigs of flat parsley
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed/chopped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • less than 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • Black pepper

Combine the feta, spring onions, cucumber tomatoes and olives in a bowl.

Make the dressing by whisking together the herbs, garlic, oil, vinegar and black pepper. Stir into the salad.


Peanut rice luchbox


This used up some left-over brown rice.

Mixed the rice with spring onions, frozen peas and salted, roasted peanuts; and a dressing made from soy sauce, olive oil, a little hot chilli sauce, a little white wine vinegar and some grated ginger.

Also cherry tomatoes, beetroot, spring onions and carrot sticks.

Sweet and sour pork casserole


This has the taste of classic sweet and sour pork, but avoids fiddling around with deep frying the pork.

For 2 to 3 people (more with additional vegetables and more rice):

  • Oil
  • 500g diced pork shoulder
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • A piece of ginger, about 2cm square (finely chopped)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 stock cube (crumbled) – I used a mix of chicken and beef
  • Hot water
  • 2 heaped tsp cornflour
  • 1 red pepper (cored, deseeded and cut into 1x3cm pieces)
  • 8 baby sweetcorn (halved lengthways and cut into 3cm pieces)
  • 12 sugar-snap peas

Heat a little oil in a large saucepan. Tip the meat into the oil and stir constantly until browned. Turn down the heat and add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes.

Mix together the vinegar, sugar, tomato purée, soy sauce and the stock cube in a jug. Add about 200ml of hot water. Mix well and pour over the meat mixture. Top up with more hot water until the meat mixture is covered. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes (or until the meat is nearly cooked).

In a jug combine the cornflour with a little cold water, so that it turns into a smooth liquid. Add about 5 tbsp of the cooking liquid and mix well. Return this mixture to the saucepan and bring to the boil, while continuing to stir the mixture until the sauce thickens.

Add the red pepper and baby sweetcorn and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the sugar-snap peas and boil for 3 minutes.

Serve with boiled rice.

Pork belly stir-fry


Last weekend I bought a ‘reduced to clear’ pack of tat soi (it’s a bit like pak choi, but with longer, narrower stems and the leaves are a darker green; it looks a bit like a less robust version of celery with greener leaves). I used half of this as the main component of a stir-fry, and served it with roast pork belly strips. I used half the pork belly strips in this meal and the rest together with the remaining tat soi were later used in Nasi Goreng (the tat soi replacing the peas). For 2:

For the pork:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • a slug of Thai chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 5 strips of pork belly (this is the number you get in a pack at my supermarket)

To make the marinade, mix the soy sauce, chilli sauce, vinegar, and oil together in a flat bottomed dish. Ensure that the pork belly strips are coated in the marinade. Cover the dish and allow to stand for at least 2 hours (if it’s a hot day leave this in the fridge). Then roast in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4). It should take about 1 hour, but take a look after 30 minutes and turn the meat over, sprinkling with any remaining marinade. [This is slightly different to the Pork belly noodle soup recipe, I decided that the slower cooking improved the texture of the pork.]

The meat will be cooked when it is soft and easily pulled apart. Cut half the pork into 1cm slices. Leave to rest to cool and either store in the fridge to use within the next three days or freeze.

For the stir-fry:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion (roughly sliced)
  • 1 medium red pepper (deseeded and roughly sliced)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 clove of garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 piece of ginger (2cm cube) finely chopped
  • a shake of Chinese five spice powder
  • 100g tat soi (chopped into 4cm lengths)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the onion, pepper, chilli, garlic and ginger, and stir-fry at a high temperature for about 2.5 minutes. Shake in the five spice powder and stir. At the tat soi and stir-fry for a further 1.5 minutes. Mix in the soy soy sauce and pork. Ensure that the wok contents are piping hot and serve. This could be ‘padded out’ with boiled rice.