Posts Tagged With: Eggplant

Eggplant and rosemary pizza with rocket

I had a few children telling me that they really didn’t like eggplant at all, so I made a deal that if they tried this pizza and really didn’t like the eggplant they wouldn’t have to eat a whole piece. Do you think there was any left? Nooooo! This pizza is delicious – and if you cook off the thin slices of eggplant first before you compile and bake the pizza,  like in the recipe below they simply melt into the cheesy tomato heavenliness…

Fresh from the garden: eggplant, rosemary, rocket, onion, garlic, oregano, thyme
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 8 or 24 tastes


  •       2 large oven trays
  •       4 rolling pins
  •       Chopping boards & knives
  •       2 frying pans
  •       Salad spinner
  •       Mandoline
  •       Measures: ¼ cup
  •       Selection of mixing bowls
  •       Scales
  •       Kitchen paper
  •       Large plate
  •       Grater
  •       Wide egg lifter
  •       Large boards for cutting pizza
  •       Pizza cutter
  •       Serving plates

Pizza sauce:

  •       1 onion
  •       2 cloves garlic
  •       5 sprigs each oregano & thyme
  •       1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •       1 tin diced tomatoes
  •       Flaked salt and black pepper

For the pizza topping:

  •       A selection of small, medium or large eggplant
  •       A large sprig of rosemary
  •       1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •       75g parmesan cheese
  •       A tub of bocconcini
  •      A handful of rocket

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250C.
  2. Scatter a little flour on the workbench, divide the dough in two and roll to form four large rectangles to fit two each onto the baking trays.
  3. Lightly flour the trays and then assemble the pizzas directly onto the trays.

For the tomato sauce:

  1. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
  2. Heat the olive oil in the first frying pan & gently cook the onion and garlic until translucent but not brown.
  3. Open the tin of tomato and add to the frying pan with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.
  4. Wash, dry and strip the herbs from the stalks, then add to the tomatoes.
  5. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until quite reduced.

For the topping:

  1. Wash the eggplant and pat them dry, then using the mandoline carefully slice into thin whole rounds, then tip the sliced eggplant into the large bowl and drizzle with most of the oil.
  2. Wash the rosemary and pat dry, then strip the needles from the stalks and chop them using a large knife.
  3. Add the rosemary and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the eggplant slices, then mix together so that all the slices are lightly oiled.
  4. Heat the other frying pan and cook half the eggplant for 3 to 4 minutes each side, then place a piece of paper towel onto the large plate and slide the eggplant onto the plate to drain. Cook the remaining eggplant.
  5. Weigh the parmesan first and cut and weigh again to make sure you have the right amount, thengrate the piece.
  6. Cut each mozzarella ball onto thin slices.
  7. Rinse the rocket leaves in several changes of cold water and dry them in the salad spinner.

Assembling the pizza:

  1. Divide the tomato sauce between the pizzas and spread, leaving a border on each pizza. Dot the mozzarella over.
  2. Arrange the slices of eggplant on the pizzas.
  3. Sprinkle most of the parmesan over the eggplant, keeping some aside.
  4. Drizzle the pizzas with the last of the oil, then place the pizzas in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges are very crusty and the cheese is bubbling.

Finishing off:

  1. While the pizza is baking you can make the dough for the next class.
  2. You may want to slip the pizza off the tray onto the rack for the last few minutes, so that you get a really crusty base.
  3. Once the pizzas are done, transfer them to the wooden chopping boards using the wide egg lifter.
  4. Cut the pizzas in half, and then into small squares and then slide half a pizza onto each plate.
  5. Top each with a handful of the rocket leaves and remaining parmesan.

Notes: Which country does pizza come from? Why do we weigh the parmesan before we grate it? What other sort of vegetables could you use in a pizza? What sort of other pizzas are there?

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Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Eggplant Parmigiana

The key here is to make sure the eggplant is well-cooked and therefore slippery and succulent… combined with melted cheese, tomato and basil, well – that’s a marriage made in heaven!

Eggplant parmie!

Fresh from the garden: eggplant, basil, onion, garlic, thyme, carrot
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Mario Batali in Molto Mario
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Pastry brush
  • Baking sheet
  • Paper towel
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Bowls – big, med, small
  • Scales
  • Grater
  • Peeler
  • Frying pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Plate
  • Measures – cup, ¼ cup, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Egg slice
  • 4 small baking dishes
  • Pot holders
  • Serving plates

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggplant
  • Flaked salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups basic tomato sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • A 200g pot of bocconcini
  • 50g Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs

Basic tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • A handful thyme sprigs
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • Flaked salt


What to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 230C. Using a pastry brush, oil a baking sheet.
  • Wipe the eggplant and then carefully cut each into slices about ½ cm thick – you may need the mandoline for this, set to the thickest setting. Lightly season each disc with salt and pepper and place on the oiled sheet. Bake the eggplant for about 10 minutes until the slices begin turning deep brown on top.

Then make the tomato sauce:

  • Peel the onion and finely chop. Peel the garlic and finely slice. Wash and wipe the thyme dry, and then strip off the leaves to yield 3 tablespoons. Wash, peel and grate the carrot.
  • Then: Heat the olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer until thick. Season with salt to taste.


  • While the eggplant is baking and the sauce is simmering,  you can organise the rest of the dish: pick the basil leaves, wash them well and spin them totally dry. Rolling up a few leaves at a time into a roll, slice them into very fine ribbons (chiffonade).
  • Drain the bocconcini and carefully cut the balls into thin slices.
  • Measure the parmesan and grate it. Weigh the breadcrumbs and have ready.

The stacking game

To complete the dish:

  • When the eggplant slices are done, slide them out of the oven and lower the oven temperature to 180C.
  • We are going to layer the different ingredients into each of the four small baking dishes – to start, sprinkle half a teaspoon or so of olive oil into each dish and then carefully place the largest eggplant slices on top of the oil.
  • Over each slice, spread a spoon or two of tomato sauce over the top and sprinkle with a teaspoon of basil. Place one layer of mozzarella over each and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated parmesan. Place the smaller slices of eggplant over each of the discs and repeat with tomato sauce, basil, and the 2 cheeses. Repeat the layering again until all the ingredients are used.
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the eggplant dish, and bake uncovered until the cheese melts and the tops turn light brown, about 15/20 minutes.
  • Using pot holders, carefully place on serving plates and serve immediately.

Notes: This dish’s original name is melanzane alla Parmigiana – what does it mean and which language is it from? What other foreign language dishes can you name?

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Shanghai-style eggplant

Chris says, ‘This is a very simple and a traditional Shanghai home-cooked dish. Every family in Shanghai has their own way to cook it and uses the exact same ingredients. The woman in Shanghai who is the best cook for this dish is very special. She is my mum. So I believe the best seasoning in the world is memories.’

Melissa says this recipe is for Grace & Estella!

Fresh from the garden: eggplant, chilli, garlic
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Chris Yan on
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Paper towel
  • Bowls – large, small
  • Scales
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • A wok
  • Slotted & wooden spoons
  • Measures – jug, tablespoons
  • Serving plates

  • 6 Japanese eggplant (also known as Lebanese) or 2 large eggplant
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large red chilli (or green if you don’t want too much heat!)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 200ml water
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

What to do:

  • Wash and wipe dry the eggplant and cut off the stem & leaves. Weigh to make sure you have 500g. Then cut into 5cm thick pieces.
  • Wash and wipe dry the chilli and roughly cut into chunks.
  • Bruise the garlic cloves with your hand or the blade of a large knife and then peel.
  • Heat oil in wok until shimmering. Add chilli and garlic cloves and cook for 20 seconds. Remove the chilli with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  • Add the eggplant and gently stir-fry. When eggplants have soaked up all of the oil, add 1 tablespoon of the water. Keep adding water, a tablespoon at a time until eggplants are soft and you have used half of the water.
  • Stir in dark soy sauce and sugar. Stir well and add remaining water. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for 1 minute. Uncover, the liquid should have been absorbed.
  • Return chilli to wok, toss for 30 seconds and serve.
  • Eat immediately, but watch out the temperature very hot! Seriously!


  • Wash your hands thoroughly after coming in contact with chilli, as the capsaicin (the oil within the chilli) burns when it comes in contact with your eyes or sensitive skin.

 Notes: What does bruising a clove of garlic mean? Where is Shanghai? What food memories do you have?

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March 7th 2012

Autumn – bang! And it’s here – the definite chilly mornings & nights, and crazy weather patterns of rain, rain, floods and more rain… and all the banging and thudding going on in the street outside makes me glad to be huddled inside the cottage with the ovens on, throwing pizza dough!

We’ve had such a great response from the wonderful volunteers so far this term – both connected to the school and also from the wider community – and so we’ve been able to make loads of delicious dishes with the children, and in smaller manageable groups. They love being with their mum, dad, gran, auntie, next door neighbour, best friend’s mum etc in the class, and amazingly, even cheeky behaviour suddenly seems to stop! And the mums themselves have been shocked to find that their allergic-to-vegetables child is wolfing down the autumn salad and the eggplant dip!

With loads of requests from the students to pair the pesto with some pasta I felt compelled to dust the pasta machines off & we’ve been rolling, rolling, rolling this week in one group, whilst another pounds the pine nuts, parmesan, garlic and basil for the pesto; we’ve been baking the little Lebanese eggplants and parsley to make a spicy & garlicky dip and then using our knife skills to create beautiful and neat crudités with which to dip; the potatoes that we pulled up at the beginning of the term have been put to use on our crispy potato & rosemary pizza with landcress and wild rocket; and our now Autumn salad has been garnished with the last of the cucumbers, crunchy dwarf beans and the addition of brilliant-yoked (boiled) eggs the chooks are providing now that they are laying! They must be very happy in their new palace… Alas for them though the children eat pretty much everything on their plates!

So thank you to all the lovely students, let’s hope the rest of the year is as dynamic and inspiring! And thanks too for all the superb volunteers who are giving up their time to make our Kitchen Garden classes such a success in 2012! I look forward to seeing you all soon,

Yum! Melissa

PS I’ll have the coffee on in the cottage by 9.30 (at the latest…!) on Saturday if you’re dropping in to help with the garden working bee… and might even rustle up some banana cake too 😉

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