Creole potato-topped aubergine bake


A friend is traveling back to Accra tonight, and sent a picture what she is bringing back: asparagus, cauliflower, greens, Ryvita and red wine. Yes, we travel with vegetables! Accra does have vegetables, but sometimes limited options, and anything imported is SO expensive. I am thus always happy to read blogs with ingredients I can actually buy here (affordably), so I bookmarked Vegetarian Dad’s  Bombay Potato Stuffed Aubergines a few months ago. He has some excellent recipes.  I did intend to follow his recipe, but with  eeny-weeny baby brinjals rather than big aubergines, and a movie night waiting, this as what we made instead, which was rather a detour: sliced aubergines, gently cooked, then baked in a creole-spiced tomato sauce until quite silky, with a potato topping and a smattering of cheese. Those Bombay Potato Stuffed Aubergines are still on my to-make list, though, as they look amazing.


Creole potato-topped aubergine bake  (not pretty, but tasty)

12 small or 3 large aubergines (I used about 400 grammes)
40 ml sunflower oil
3 large onions, sliced
400 grammes potato, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbs creole seasoning  (salt, red pepper, black pepper, chili, garlic)
2 tsp Hungarian paprika
400g tin of chopped tomatoes

Optional: handful of cheese  (use a vegetarian cheese if you have it)

Slice the small aubergines into 3mm or thick slices, and batch fry them on both sides in a little oil.  If you have big aubergines, halve them before slicing them (mainly as this was destined for one-bowl eating in a sofa, with a fork. You may be a civilized person who eats dinner at a table  and even uses a knife – then the slice dimensions are entirely up to you.)  If you have olive oil, that is probably better. Do not crowd the aubergine slices. Fry until the aubergine is soft and starting to brown lightly. Take out the aubergine and put it in a baking dish (here, a square Pyrex).

Add a bit more oil, and gently fry saute the onions, garlic, diced potatoes and spices on a low heat for ten minutes. Add the tomatoes, and simmer for a further five minutes. The potatoes will still be a bit crunchy, but they are going into the oven next. (Note: I had planned to use cajun spices but was distracted and took the wrong tin…. so Creole potatoes it is! It was a rather old Creole spice mix, with black pepper, red pepper, garlic, salt – I use one tbs and did not add more salt and pepper, and you might need less spices, depending how spicy you like it. )

Heat the oven to 200C. Tip the spicy tomato-potato mix on top of the aubergine, and pop the baking dish on middle rack of the oven. I added a handful of leftover brie lurking in the fridge. The brie had been frozen and crumbled nicely. Of course, that is not generally a kind way to treat brie, but in a tropical country where cheese is expensive, freezing cheese is a tactical decision.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or so, until the tomato sauce bubbles up and the potato layer is cooked through (just past al dente) but not dry.

Optional: enjoy from a bowl in your lap, while watching “The Greatest Showman”.

……I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum…..
This is really not a pretty dish, and not what was planned, but it was actually very satisfying. The flavors and textures worked well, and the base layer of aubergines was really excellent. I’ll try some more variations of this.


Tandoori spice baked aubergines on a vegetable-rice bed


It’s almost at the end of August, but still quiet here. Schools do not seem to start until mid-September, so the buses are intermittent, the metro pleasantly spacious (quite odd!), and many shops are still closed. The worst heat may be over, and I stocked up on vegetables on my way home, noting the usual accumulation of older men outside the ferramenta (hardware store), the bar and their venue with the yellow & red door, for the Rome football club. Very location and time specific, these gatherings. The older ladies never seem to congregate in quite the same way. Regardless of age, people lean out of their windows in the evenings, often in their undershirts, to catch a whiff of a breeze, to see what is happening in the piazza (not much), and to toss comments back to someone inside the other shuttered rooms.

albergo rosso
The Albergo Rosso in Garbatella. Almost tandoori red? I’d seen a recipe like this recently calling for aubergines and curry paste, which I did not have, but I excavated a really old jar of tandoori-barbecue spice powder of dubious vintage, which worked just fine. You might need less spices if yours are fresher. Taste them to see. At least with the heat relenting, it is possible to cook again, which is wonderful!

Tandoori-spice baked aubergines on a vegetable-rice bed

Three small aubergines, sliced lengthwise
200 ml plain yoghurt
2 tbs tandoori-barbecue spice powder (use less if yours is not quite old…)
3 tbs olive oil, to grease aubergine bases

1.5 cups rice
3 cups water
1 onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
10 cherry tomatoes


Heat your oven to 220C. Slice the aubergines lengthwise in three. I took off a little on either side so the slices would lie flat. Brush the bases with a little olive oil or sunflower oil, so they do not stick. Stir your spices into the yoghurt, and spoon some over each aubergine slice. Bake at 220C for a couple glasses of wine  — until they are soft — maybe 30 min?

Separately, boil your rice. Just before it is done, toss your chopped onion and chopped bell peppers on top, so they steam just a bit. Spread the cooked rice out on a serving dish, add some halved cherry tomatoes, and top with some of the baked aubergines.

tandoori spice baked aubergines

I could have sliced these, to faciliatate diner in the sofa, but that would look quite messy. Tuesday is TV night, when a friend comes over, so we enjoyed this with “Alpha House”  and “Dag”, the latter a dark Norwegian comedy. After months of Scandi thriller noir, it was a nice change!

Aubergine-zucchini fritters

imageOttolenghi  can generally do no wrong, so when The Guardian had his recipes from Puglia, that certainly had to be tried. However,  I tweaked his recipe. Blasphemy, I know! However, a) I had an aubergine shortage and b) no breadcrumbs, but was c) too hungry to go shopping, and d) am not fond of deepfrying food. Hence the tweaks. These were SO good though! Definitely something for fans of roasted vegetables to try!

Aubergine-zucchini fritters

Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Aubergine fritters at

1 small aubergine, diced
2 zucchini, diced
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
Salt and black pepper
1 egg
75 g grated cheese (I used pecorino, use what you have)
50g wholewheat flour
5-6 basil leaves, chopped
1 scallion, chopped (white and green parts)

To fry: 2 tsp olive oil
To serve: sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce

Heat the oven to 230C. Put the diced aubergine and zucchini on a baking parchment-covered baking tray. Drizzle over 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until starting to brown, then take out. It will smell delicious, but don’t eat too much of this yet.


Now, dig out your food processor, if you have one. (Or chop and mix at this step.) Set half the roasted zucchini and aubergine aside, and scoop the rest into the food processor. Add the egg, flour, grated cheese, basil leaves and scallion and blitz it until it is roughly mixed. It will not look pretty. Spoon into a bowl, then add the remaining roasted zucchini and aubergine that you had set aside. Again, do not eat this just yet (though I think this might be really good with pita bread, if you skipped the egg).


Heat the last 2 tsp of olive oil in a frying pan, and spoon in a heaping tablespoon of the vegetable batter. Fry until golden and firm enough to turn, maybe 3-4 minutes on medium high heat. When done on both sides, park the cooked fritters on some kitchen roll (optional, these should not be very oily) while you fry the rest.


Serve the fritters warm with sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce. A cold tzatziki on the side might be nice instead too. This served two for dinner, with a couple leftover for lunch.


The English in-laws arrive tomorrow for a week, which will be lovely, I may just make these fritters one day for them. I probably overshopped today: shiny dark aubergines, fragrant cherry tomatoes, some crisp pears, and some broccoli romano (looks like a pointy green cauliflower). It all looked so good. The veg drawer is already stuffed, including some declining zucchini, but I feel more prepared this way. It all gets used somehow!