Stuffed baby aubergines (eggplants)

This is a bit of a fusion recipe; a flavoursome amalgamation of Italian and middle eastern ingredients which blend seamlessly to create a real taste sensation.
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Start off by halving some baby aubergines and boiling in salted water for five or six minutes until soft.
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Once soft, scoop out the flesh using a spoon and place in a bowl. Retain the empty skins for later.
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Add in freshly chopped coriander (cilantro), three cloves of minced garlic, half a teaspoon each of paprika and cayenne pepper, a large handful of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, lots of black pepper, and maybe a touch of salt (go easy though as the cheese will add some saltiness), and enough breadcrumbs to bring the mixture together. You will need to get your hands in the at this point to give it all a good squelch together. Don’t be shy!
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Now, spoon the mixture back into the empty aubergine skins.
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Place skin side up in a hot frying pan for a couple of minutes to brown and heat through. Flip and fry the bottoms for a minute or so too.
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Enjoy!
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Roasted butternut squash seeds

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After his smiling eyes, warm bear hugs and Assyrian accent, when I think about my Papa I always think about salted pumpkin seeds, and how he used to crack them open with his front teeth. It’s just one of those strange little  anomalies that made my Papa, Papa.
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I so often throw squash or pumpkin seeds away but I finally made time to roast some off. When I say made time, it was a couple of mins prep time, plus 15-20 mins roasting time.

Simply wash the seeds, dry them, then pile them up on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Season using whatever herbs or spices you fancy (I used garlic and herb salt), spread the into a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes at about 170oC. Delicious and nutritious!

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Dry them after washing

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My little helper couldn't wait to get stuck in!

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Ready to bake

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Asian inspired moules

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Firstly, sorry I haven’t had a chance to post lately. It has been a whirlwind of a year so far, and we seem to have been even more hectic than usual! Exciting times though! Anyhow, I’m back and have another cobbled together recipe to share with you.

With it being the eve of the hubby’s 34th birthday, as well as a Saturday night, I wanted to make something I know he’d love and something we don’t eat every week.  Rustic and comforting, yet aromatic and spicy, these Asian inspired moules were perfect.

Firstly, remove the beards from the mussels by giving them a sharp tug. If you don’t know what the beard is I’ve posted a photo here:
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Discard any mussels which are open. If they’re open it means they’re dead and risk being off, so chuck them. This one was open:
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The de-bearding is the only time consuming part of this recipe I promise. Eventually you’ll be left with a bowl of clean mussels:
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Now, gather together one or two chillis, a few cloves of garlic, fresh ginger, an onion, fresh coriander, 7 or 8 kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, salt and freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice to taste (I would’ve used lemongrass too, but didn’t have any in).
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Slice the onion and soften in coconut oil (if you don’t have coconut, just use a tasteless oil such as vegetable or groundnut). I use coconut oil not only because it adds to the Asian flavour of this dish, but because of its amazing health benefits too. Once the onions are softened,  add the chopped garlic, ginger and chilli. Once they have cooked out a bit add the coconut milk and throw in the lime leaves. Leave to simmer for a few minutes to let the flavours infuse.
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Taste and season accordingly. At this stage mine needed a twist of black pepper, a good pinch of salt and about a desert spoon of lemon juice. Bring back to a simmer, add the mussels and put a lid on. Let them steam for about 4 minutes until they’ve opened.
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Divide into bowls and throw over a handful of chopped coriander.
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Serve with crusty bread to mop up those delicious juices! If you come across any closed moules once they’ve been steamed, don’t try to open them, just discard, as with the open ones when you were prepping them.
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Who knew….slow cooker vegetarian lasagne

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I adore my slow cooker and use it at least a couple of times a week. I love coming in and being greeted by the sweet smell of a hearty stew, or chunk of meat which has been slowly cooking to perfection over a few hours. While I had been scouring Pinterest looking for new slow cooker recipes, I noticed that a few people had cooked lasagne, very successfully, in their slow cookers, so I thought I’d give it a shot using left over vegetarian bolognaise sauce, I’d saved for a rainy day in the freezer.

So, this morning I quickly whipped up a cheese sauce for the top, layered the sauce and the pasta sheets in the slow cooker, before turning it on low and heading out to the gym.

By 4pm it was smelling delicious. So delicious, that Phoebe decided she wanted her dinner early!

Ste and I ate later and were really impressed at how well it turned out. Next time I would probably wait until about midday to turn the cooker on as the pasta was slightly less al dente then  I would choose, but it wasn’t disintegrating by any means. All in all, a lovely hassle free way to get a family favourite on the dinner table.
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Homemade Bean Burgers

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Believe it or not, despite being married to a pescatarian for the last decade, I’ve never once made bean burgers! I had a look online for recipes, but ended up cobbling these together using flavours to our tastes, and what I had to hand.

This is what I used:
1 can of black eyed beans
1 can of kidney beans
8 button mushrooms
Breadcrumbs made from 2 slices wholemeal bread
2 spring onions
2 large cloves of garlic
Handful of fresh coriander
A couple of tablespoons of lemon juice to taste
A teaspoon of paprika
A teaspoon of garam masala
Freshly milled rock salt and pepper
1 egg to bind if you think your mix needs it. It might stick together just fine without. If you’re vegan just leave it out.
Very finely chop the spring onions and mushrooms and lightly fry with the garlic. Set aside to cool.
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Put the beans in a bowl and mash with the back of a fork. You want texture so don’t go overboard on the mashing.
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Add in the breadcrumbs, spring onion mixture and finely chopped coriander and mix.
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Season well with spices, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Trust me, these beans take some seasoning, no one likes a bland burger! Taste as you go along.
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Add in the egg at this point if your mix feels to dry. If you’re unsure fry a little one off to see how it holds.
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When you’re happy with the consistency shape into little patties, cover with cling and put in the fridge. Chilling them with help them hold their form.
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When you’re ready to eat put them on greaseproof paper on a baking tray, in a hot oven for twenty minutes or so, turning halfway through, or shallow fry on a medium heat.

I served ours in Pitta bread with chilli mayo, a green feta salad, and garlic and basil tomatoes. They were a hit all round.
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Your favourite posts of 2013.

I posted my first blog article in February 2013, and have had just under 7500 hits to date.  I just wanted to say a big thank you to all my readers, for the kind comments, encouraging words and inspiration you give me; and I thought I’d take a moment to look back at some of the more popular posts from 2013. Click the links below and Enjoy! 

Cinnamon and Frankincense Winter Balm

Judged for being a Stay at Home Mum

Being the Bible

Cinnamon Swirl Scones

Pearly Gates

Wow Factor Chocolate Slab

Happy New Year to you all!