Baked Eggplant Rolls with a Tomato Basil Sauce

This meal was BEAUTIFUL! The sauce, the filling and everything about it was delicious.

I made this dish last week as an entree and I have to say, it was a delight to eat. I even  went back for seconds and that was after I’d consumed a slow-cooked chicken dish and a ramekin of rhubarb and apple crumble! Greedy, much?! 🙂

The dish takes a little bit of time to prepare but it really is worth it. I added a small amount of crumbled cow’s feta into the ricotta mixture and bit more on top with some basil as a garnish. Enjoy!

Egg-plant

Baked Eggplant Rolls with a Tomato Basil Sauce
Serves 4

  • 2 fresh eggplant, trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 6
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 800 g whole tomato canned in tomato juice, chopped
  • 2 tbs fresh basil, torn
  • 1 zucchini, finely diced
  • 150 g reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbs fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tbs grated parmesan cheese, chopped
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • Oil spray

Preheat oven to 230 degrees. Spray a baking tray with oil and set aside.

Lay eggplant in a single layer on prepared baking tray and spray with oil. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

To make filling, spray a large non-stick frying pan with oil and place over medium-high heat. Add onion and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, or until onion starts to soften. Add 1 clove garlic and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile combine ricotta, parsley, basil and 2 tablespoons parmesan in a seperate bowl. Stir to combine. Add the cooled onion mixture to ricotta mixture, then add egg and season well with salt and pepper.

To make sauce, place the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining garlic and saute for 2 minutes, or until light brown. Add crushed tomatoes and stir to combine then reduce heat to low. Add basil and season well with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.

To make eggplant rolls, reduce oven temperature to 210 degrees. Spoon 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce into the base of a 20 cm square ceramic baking dish. On a clean chopping board place a slice of eggplant. Spoon 2 tablespoons of ricotta filling at narrow end and roll up. Place in prepared baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.

Arrange rolls in a single layer in dish. Spoon over remaining 1/2 cup tomato sauce and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and cheese has melted. Garnish with chopped basil and a sprinkling of feta. Enjoy.

These can be made a day ahead of time and stored in an airtight continer in the fridge. They are best reheated in a moderate oven for 15 – 20 minutes, though I didn’t have any left for the next day to reheat!

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Do you like Frittata?

If you do, try this easy Spinach and Leek Baked Frittata.

A frittata is mostly like an omelette except without the fuss of that folding over thingee that you do with omelets. The thingee that in 25 years….I haven’t quite mastered…which is kind of why I prefer frittata. I guess a frittata is almost a cross between a quiche (a family staple I grew up on!) and an omelette. You sort of get the best of both worlds, except healthier. Bonus.

It’s flat and usually thicker than an omelette, with a lot more stuff in it. Making a frittata is a good way to use up those odds and ends of vegetables and cheese that might otherwise get thrown away. Spinach? Leek? Courgette? Mushrooms? Feta? You name it..a frittata can be whatever you want it to be!

I’ve always been a big fan of eggs in all their forms, scrambled, boiled (with soldiers of course) and especially poached. In fact I make an egg-related dish pretty much once a week. It is such a fast weeknight meal and you can usually make it with ingredients that you already have in the fridge! Total money saver right there.

The following recipe is very basic but totally reliable. It is wonderfully delicious AND super simple. Double win.

Spinach and Leek Baked Frittata

You can serve this frittata warm or cold with roasted tomatoes or a leafy salad. It’s also a great finger food, cut into small squares.

  • 250 grams baby spinach leaves
  • 1 whole leek, thinly sliced
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 100 ml skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray a 20cm square non-stick cake tin with oil. Line base with baking paper. Cook spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds, or until just wilted. Drain and squeeze out any excess water. Allow to cool, then roughly chop.

Cook leek for 3 minutes in same cooking water. Drain and allow to dry. Scatter spinach and leek into bottom of tin.

Beat eggs with cornflour and milk. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over vegetables, pressing down with back of a fork. Scatter over cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until risen and golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out. Serve warm, cut into wedges with a green salad. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.

Mini Savoury Muffins

Soft, moist, bite-sized morsels. This recipe is all that, and more. Today’s blog post includes a gem of a recipe I managed to pinch politely ask a colleague for. Savoury muffins are great for picnics, weekends or to just keep in the freezer for weekday lunches. What I really like about muffins is that you can add anything you like to the mix…feta, spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, cooked pumpkin, chives, you name it!

Savoury Muffins

Adapted from Edmonds Cookery Book’s Savoury Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50g butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 packet feta cheese
  • Sun dried tomatoes – chopped finely
  • Vegetables – I used 1/2 onion, 1 cup of pumpkin, 1/2 courgette, several mushrooms, but anything goes.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. It is best to dice all vegetables and steam or microwave first. Dice feta. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and feta. Add vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes to dry ingredients. Melt butter and combine with milk, egg and sweet chilli sauce. Add to dry ingredients. Mix to combine, but remember to not overmix.

Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tray. I used mini muffin tins

Bake at 180 degrees for at least 15 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

I thought these mini muffins could use some jazzing up in presentation and had some fresh rosemary which I chopped up a bit to add on top. They came out really nicely, you could also use chopped nuts (e.g. Pistachio’s)

Finally, I encourage you all to share, swap recipes with friends, family, colleagues. Cooking is a wonderful thing. I used this recipe for my Week 3 entry for Wellington on a Plate ‘muffin’ category and won the week. More on this soon.