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Roasted Aubergine and Basil Pasta Bake

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Serves 4

300g wholewheat pasta shapes, such as penne or fusilli
olive oil
2 medium aubergines, cut into 2.5cm dice
salt and pepper
1 red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp torn fresh basil leaves or 2 tbsp basil pesto
100g grated mozzarella
green salad, to serve


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and a dd in the pasta. Cook according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain well in a colander and drizzle over a little olive oil. Shake the colander to mix the oil through the pasta.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the aubergines and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and spread out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Roast for 12–15 minutes, until the aubergine is slightly charred on the edges and soft.
  • Meanwhile, sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. After about 8 minutes, when the onion is translucent, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  • When the aubergine is ready, add it to the tomato sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the fresh basil or basil pesto.
  • Pour the pasta into 1 large baking dish or 4 individual dishes. Spread over the sauce evenly. Sprinkle the grated mozzarella on top and place under the oven grill until the cheese melts and browns slightly.
  • Serve with the remaining fresh basil or pesto and a green side salad.

The Ish Factor:
Wholewheat pasta is a very easy, healthy swap to make for regular pasta. Wholewheat pasta has three times more fibre, double the B vitamins and 25% more protein compared to refined white pasta. From a texture and flavour point of view, there isn’t such a huge difference that your family will notice. Whole wheat pasta cooks to a nice firm, al dente texture with a very similar taste to white pasta.


‘Catch All’ Couscous

Rozanne   tomato couscous     Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File

Serves 4

200g chorizo sausage, skinned and diced
1/2 cup sunblush tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup black olives
250g tomato-flavoured couscous
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
100g feta cheese, cubed
juice and zest of 1 lemon
olive oil
150g rocket


  • Cook the chorizo in a large pan over a medium heat until crispy. Add the tomatoes and olives and heat through.
  • Add the couscous and pour over the correct amount of boiling water according to the packet instructions. Cover the pan with a lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Fluff up the couscous with a for k, then gently stir in the chickpeas and feta.
  • Dress the couscous with lemon juice and zest and olive oil. Serve with the rocket on top.

The Ish Factor:
Couscous is a traditional food consumed widely across North Africa, the Middle East and parts of the Mediterranean. Made from durum wheat, the best way I can describe couscous is as tiny balls of pasta. The best way to cook it is to cover it in boiling water and allow it to stand or by steaming it. On its own it’s quite bland, but it soaks up flavours terrifically and is perfect to mop up sauces or as a base for a hot or cold salad. Change the recipe according to what you have in the fridge – it’s a great ‘catch all’ recipe.

Wholewheat Noodles and Crunchy Veg


Serves 4

4 ‘nests’ of wholewheat noodles (or 300g dried weight)
sunflower oil
1 cup broccoli florets or tender stem broccoli
1 red pepper, finely sliced
1 yellow pepper, finely sliced
1 red onion, finely sliced
100ml water
75g sugar snap peas
75g baby corn, halved

125ml sweet chilli sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

3 spring onions, sliced
4 tbsp lightly crushed roasted peanuts
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the dried whole-wheat noodles and stir to prevent them from sticking together. Cook according to the packet instructions and drain well. Drizzle over a little oil and shake to prevent the noodles from clumping together.
  • Meanwhile, mix together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a wok or large pan. Add in the broccoli, peppers and onion. Pour in the water to create steam and stir-fry for 3 minutes to soften the vegetables. Add in the sugar snap peas and baby corn and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Add the cooked, drained noodles to the wok and pour over the sauce. Mix well and heat through for 2 minutes.
  • Serve the noodles hot, garnished with the spring onions, peanuts and coriander.

The Ish Factor: Sweet chilli sauce is an indispensable Pantry Pal that you can use in stir-fries, marinades, as a dipping sauce or simply as a condiment. You can make your own using fresh red chillies, vinegar and sugar. I like adding roasted red peppers, as they add sweetness and depth of colour. Keep a bottle of sweet chilli sauce handy for your Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese-inspired recipes.

Crunchy Carrot Fridge Pickle

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Makes 4 large jars

1kg carrots, scrubbed and sliced into coins or batons
6 shallots, finely sliced into half-moons
4 red chillies, finely sliced with the seeds left in
8 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
150g caster sugar
500ml white wine or cider vinegar
250ml water
1 tbsp salt


  • Remove the rubber seal from 4 large glass jars (or 8 small jars) and wash the jars in hot soapy water. Rinse very well in clean water and place upside on the oven shelf. Place in the oven for 10 minutes at 150°C to dry and sterilise the jars.
  • Layer up the carrots, shallots and chillies in the jars. Press down firmly to get as many vegetables into the jars as possible.
  • Push 2 bay leaves into each jar and sprinkle over 1/4 teaspoon of each whole spice.
  • Add the sugar, vinegar, water and salt to a pot. Heat gently, stirring all the time to dissolve the sugar and salt.
  • Pour this hot liquid over the vegetables, ensuring that you cover them well. Seal the jars immediately.
  • Allow to cool, then refrigerate for up to 2 months.

The Ish Factor: Mustard seeds are tiny white, brown and black seeds that are used predominantly in Indian cooking and to make mustard , the condiment. These little seeds pack quite a punch and are indispensable in making all kinds of pickles. Crunchy pickles act as a condiment and also a side vegetable at a push.

Scotch Egg Mini Meatloaves


Serves 4

4 eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
1/3 cup chicken stock
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1kg lean minced beef
1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
4 medium sweet potatoes, to serve

Roasted veggies:
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
1 yellow pepper, sliced into strips
1 red onion, sliced into wedges
1 yellow onion, sliced into wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper


  •  Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  •  Place the eggs in a pot of water. Bring to the boil and simmer rapidly for 6 minutes. Pour off the hot water and cover the eggs with cold water to cool them down. When they’re cool enough to handle, peel the eggs.
  •  Lightly oil and season the veggies and spread them out in a baking dish.
  •  Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onions, thyme and some salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. Off the heat, add the chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool slightly.
  •  In a large bowl, combine the beef mince with the onion mixture, breadcrumbs and beaten eggs. Mix lightly with a fork – don’t mash it or the meatloaf will be dense. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and shape each portion into a small loaf around the hardboiled egg. Place on top of the vegetables.
  •  Spread 1 tablespoon of ketchup on top of each egg. Bake for 40–45 minutes, until the meatloaves are cooked through.
  •  To cook the sweet potatoes, scrub them clean under the tap. Prick all over with a fork, place directly on the oven rack and bake with the meatloaves.
  •  Serve the meatloaves hot with the roasted veggies and a baked sweet potato.

The Ish Factor: Worcestershire sauce is a world-famous British condiment that was first produced commercially in 1837. The original recipe, or a version of it, hails from India. The recipe is a close ly guarded secret, but we know it includes a range of spices like cloves and mace, astringents such as tamarind, anchovies and vinegar. A few drops of this spicy, sweet, tangy sauce will add oomph to just about anything: marinades, gravies, sauces, egg dishes or lacklustre veggies.

Crispy Chorizo Panko Cod

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Serves 4

You can use fresh or frozen fish. It can be cooked from frozen according to the instructions on the packaging.

450g frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
4 chunky cod fillets (or any firm white fish)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
100g cured chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
250g cherry tomatoes

Chickpea mash:
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
25g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
3 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Layer the drained spinach into the bottom of a line d baking dish. Place the cod fillets on top and squeeze over the lemon juice. Place a layer of the thinly sliced chorizo on top of the cod.
  • Mix together the panko, olive oil and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the crispy topping over the cod. Scatter the cherry tomatoes a round the dish.
  • Bake for 12–15 minutes, until the cod is cooked through and flaky and the topping is crispy. If the fish fillets are very big, they may take a few minutes longer to cook.
  • Meanwhile, to make the chickpea mash, blitz the drained, rinsed chickpeas and the chicken stock in a food processor to a rough purée. Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the puréed chickpeas, stirring to combine with the garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  • To serve, plate up the chickpea mash with a generous spoonful of spinach, some roasted cherry tomatoes and a fillet of crispy cod.


Roasted Summer Veg Naan Pizzas



250ml tomato passata
4 tsp spicy ketchup
4 garlic and coriander naan breads
150g grated mature cheddar cheese
green salad, to serve

Roasted veggies:
2 courgettes, sliced into thin discs
1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 yellow pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 aubergine, sliced into thin strips
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Serves 4

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. On a baking tray, mix the veggies with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20–25 minutes, until soft and caramelised.
  3. Spread 4 tablespoons of passata and 1 teaspoon of spicy ketchup onto each naan bread. Mix well with the back of a spoon.
  4. Pile a generous amount of roasted vegetables onto each naan pizza and sprinkle with a little cheese. Bake at 200°C until the cheese is melted and golden. Serve with a green salad.