Spaghetti Norma ( Pasta with fried aubergine and salted ricotta cheese).
1 onion finely chopped.
2 cloves Garlic, crushed.
1 Aubergine, cut in round pieces.
1 can of Italian tomatoes.
Half teaspoon crushed red pepper.
20 Basil leaves.
Handful Italian parsley, chopped.
Half teaspoon dried oregano.
A pinch of cinnamon
Salted ricotta cheese ( available from most good Italian Deli's).
This is a great recipe. Very simple, but you can impress you pals with it! I have eaten this in Sicily, and also Rome. I ate so much of it, I had trouble blowing my sax on the gig!!
Fry the eggplant in plenty of olive oil. It will absorb lots of the oil, so don't be afraid to use more. You can also roast the eggplant in a tray in the oven. again with plenty of olive oil. To make a nice, rich tomato sauce. Fry the onions and garlic till they are transparent then add the crushed red pepper. Put in the chopped tomatoes, cook on a moderate heat for about 10 mins. Add the Basil, Parsley and Oregano and a very small pinch of cinnamon. Turn sauce to simmer, and add your cooked Eggplant, inc some of the oil used to cook them. Cover the pot, simmer for about 25 mins on really low heat. Add salt to taste. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling, salted water. Keep checking the spaghetti, when it's al dente ( slightly undercooked), take it out and drain. You don't need to add olive oil to the cooking water. The Spaghetti will only be starchy, and stick if you over cook it. Toss the Pasta with the Sauce until well absorbed. Crumble some of the salted ricotta on, and enjoy!!! Oh, you don't have to use Spaghetti, Penne or some other type of pasta will do just as well.
Chick pea and spinach curry.
This is one for all my veggie pals and it proves that I'm not just a meathead!! . This dish is absolutely wonderful! Also, this Chick pea and spinach curry is packed full of goodness.
1 can of chickpeas
Fresh or frozen spinach
1 large onion chopped finely
1 inch piece of ginger grated
2 garlic cloves chopped finely
4 green chillies sliced lengthways
1 tin of tomatoes/ passata
Vegetable oil for frying
A bunch of fresh coriander – chopped
These are the spices that you will need:
1-teaspoon cumin seeds
1-teaspoon coriander seeds – bashed up a bit in a pestle and mortar
A one-inch piece of cinnamon bark
1-teaspoon cumin powder
1-teaspoon coriander powder
1-teaspoon turmeric powder
1-teaspoon chillie powder
First make a stiff paste with the cumin, coriander, chille and turmeric powders. Do this by just adding a little water and mixing with a teaspoon. Set aside.
Fry the onions for about 10 mins, until they start to go a little brown. This will really bring out the flavour and add a real deep taste to the curry. Next chuck in the garlic and ginger. Fry for about 5 mins, making sure it doesn’t burn. Don’t have the heat up too high. Next, put in your cumin seeds, cinnamon bark and coriander seeds. Fry these spices in the oil for about 1 minute. Please try not to burn them. Then, stir the spices in with the onion, garlic and ginger. Pop in your chillies and cook for a further one minute. Make sure that you stir all the time. Next, add the spices paste and cook on a lowish heat for about 1 minute. Keep moving it around the pan . Now you have what is called the Massala. This is your curry base. This stage is the most important because it will ensure that your curry has a great flavour. It may take you a few tries to get it right. You will know when you have burned the spices, they really get up your nose!!! The key is to take it slow, and do it over a lowish heat.
Next, pour in your chopped tomatoes or passata. Cook for about 10 minutes. Now you can add your chickpeas, give the lot a good stir, then add the spinach. If using fresh, just tear it up in little piece and chuck it in. If using frozen, you will need to defrost first then chop it up. Put in a pinch of salt to taste, turn down to a simmer, give it a stir, and cook for 30 mins. If it starts to look a little dry, no worries, just add a bit of water. After half and hour you will have a wonderful, nutricious curry. Well done!!