Orecchiette with Lamb Ragù and Cream of Smoked Eggplant (Orecchiette al Ragù di Agnello e Crema di Melanzana Affumicata)

This delicious pasta dish is the result of serendipity. I had cooked and smoked too many eggplants to serve as antipasto with mozzarella and tomato confit, and I was in the process of experimenting with lamb ragù in the sous-vide. … Continue reading Orecchiette with Lamb Ragù and Cream of Smoked Eggplant (Orecchiette al Ragù di Agnello e Crema di Melanzana Affumicata)

Zoodles with Fish and Eggplant Ragù (Tagliatelle di Zucchine al Ragu di Pesce e Melanzana)

Zoodles are noodles made from zucchini. You make them with a gadget called a spiralizer. There are electric ones as well has hand-operated models. I got one of the latter after reading ChgoJohn’s blog post about the spiralizer he had … Continue reading Zoodles with Fish and Eggplant Ragù (Tagliatelle di Zucchine al Ragu di Pesce e Melanzana)

Tian Provençal

When I saw Richard McGary’s vegetable tian, I knew I’d prepare one too. A tian is actually named after the traditional earthenware dish they are made in. There are vegetable tians, meat tians, and fish tians. I wanted to prepare a tian as a side dish, and so I chose a very traditional tian provençal with eggplant, zucchini, and tomato. Don’t let the simplicity fool you: this tian bursts with flavor anyway thanks to the slow roasting and the herbes de provence. I do not own an actual tian from Provence. For presentation purposes I opted to make single serving mini tians using small ovenproof dishes, but that did mean that it was more difficult to neatly arrange the sliced vegetables. Continue reading “Tian Provençal”

Eggplant Caprese Pasta Salad

Pasta salads are great summer food and perfect as a side for a cook out. I like to prepare pasta salads with lots of vegetables, as a cook out or BBQ as we call it here usually involves a lot of meat. For some variation from a Greek style pasta salad, I prepared this pasta salad with eggplant, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar. These flavors go together very well, also without pasta. Continue reading “Eggplant Caprese Pasta Salad”

Lamb and Eggplant Meatballs

Just a week after returning from my cooking on the boat adventure I have another challenge lined up, as we are participating in the gay pride canal parade in Amsterdam this Saturday and that requires a lot of preparation. As a result, I’m not cooking very elaborately this week and nothing that I haven’t blogged about before. I had some leftover lamb and eggplant ravioli stuffing in my freezer, and since I prefer to make the stuffing fresh when making ravioli for guests, I decided to turn the stuffing into meatballs by breading and frying them. This turned out great: the outside of the meatballs is nicely crispy, whereas the inside is very soft and juicy and tasty. These meatballs are so good, it would be worth making the stuffing just to prepare them.

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Caponata is a sweet & sour Sicilian dish, consisting of eggplant simmered in tomatoes with other ingredients such as olives and pine nuts. It is eaten either as antipasto (appetizer) or as contorno (side dish) and can be served warm or at room temperature. As with many traditional Italian dishes, there are a lot of different versions of Caponata. I like a slightly ‘minimalistic’ version that does not have too many ingredients. Continue reading “Caponata”

Eggplant Parmigiana ‘Light’ (Parmigiana di Melanzane)

Eggplant Parmigiana is a very tasty oven dish, consisting of eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese. Using fresh tomatoes for the sauce (rather than from a can) takes it over the top. Eggplant, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil go very well together. This is a classic Italian dish that is clear evidence of how good simple Italian food can be. The main drawback of the classic preparation is that the eggplant is pan-fried with lots of oil, as the eggplant slices are like sponges. I’ve found a way around that: I roast the eggplant in the oven after only lightly brushing it with oil. Salting the eggplant slices helps to cook them. In this case I forgot to buy the mozzarella that I usually put on top, and made an even ‘ligther’ version. The parmigiano does not melt as nicely, but it still makes for a nice dish. It’s your choice whether you want to put mozzarella on top or not. Continue reading “Eggplant Parmigiana ‘Light’ (Parmigiana di Melanzane)”

Pink Eggplant

Most eggplants you see are so dark purple it’s almost black. In Italy a delicate variety is cultivated with a lighter color that is almost pink and often partially white: melanzana rosa. Not only the color is more delicate, also the texture and taste are more delicate. I tasted pink eggplant for the first time at Piazza Duomo, a great restaurant in Alba, Italy. It was so tender I couldn’t believe it. If you come across one of these beauties, it’s definitely worth picking one up. If a product is as nice as this, it only needs minimal treatment. Eggplant always … Continue reading Pink Eggplant

Japanese Simmered Eggplant

I made this simmered eggplant dish as a side for the wagyu teriyaki. I adapted the recipe for Spicy Eggplant from “Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art” and the result was delicious. If you serve it in a nice bowl (as you should with any Japanese food), the result will be impressive even though it’s quite easy to make (if you had already made the dashi anyway, that is).  I used a western eggplant rather than small Japanese eggplants (which are not available around here), and I replaced the dried red peppers with shichimi togarashi because that is what I had on … Continue reading Japanese Simmered Eggplant

Pasta with Lamb, Vegetables, Honey & Thyme

I used to make this Italian-French fusion dish that I had invented myself on a regular basis, but hadn’t for a while as I was concentrating on more traditional dishes. I wanted to make something with lamb, remembered this dish and realised that I hadn’t blogged about it yet. So I made it again and decided to make it again more often since it is very flavorful. You can make this with any tender lamb such as lamb loin, lamb tenderloin or leg of a young lamb. Ingredients For 2-3 servings 300 grams (2/3 pound) boneless tender lamb 150 grams … Continue reading Pasta with Lamb, Vegetables, Honey & Thyme


Dengaku is Japanese grilled food coated with a miso topping. Basic dengaku is grilled tofu with dengaku, but since I don’t care for tofu (and Kees even hates it) I decided to make eggplant and scallop dengaku. The flavor of the miso topping is quite strong, so don’t use too much of the topping and realise that a small serving goes a long way. It is probably a good idea to serve this with rice, and next time I will serve either eggplant or scallops with dengaku miso, not both at the same time. The recipe is again from “Japanese cooking, … Continue reading Dengaku