Mediterranean stuffed eggplant + Christmas in July

afterlight 3 afterlight copy Yes I realise July was a while ago. I thought I had forgotten to take pictures of our Christmas in July dinner, but Mr Veggie had a whole stack on his phone. We had sundried tomato arancinis, cannellini bean pate, baked red mullet with fennel, mussels in a tomato sauce, and this Mediterranean stuffed eggplant dish. For dessert we had a caramelised date and fig ice cream cake. It was very good. And very rich. Everyone pitched in, so it was easy and pretty relaxing to prepare all the food! This eggplant dish was a good find – easy to prepare, pretty healthy, but also a bit decadent. It also freezes really well so is worth making a big batch of for future dinners/lunches. afterlight 2 afterlight 4 Mediterranean stuffed eggplant

Adapted from greenkitchenstories

2 eggplants, sliced thinly lengthways and fried in a little oil

Stuffing:

  • 100g cracked freekah, cooked
  • 100g cracked bulgur, cooked 200g feta (reserve 1/3 for topping)
  • 30g pine nuts toasted
  • 20g walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • Handful parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbs capers, rinsed and chopped roughly
  • 1 egg

Sauce:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Big pinch dried chilli flakes
  • Pinch dried oregano
  • 1 jar pureed tomatoes (passata)
  • Handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2tbs basil torn

Gently fry the garlic, chilli and oregano in a heavy saucepan. Add passata and cherry tomatoes and cook until thickened (approx 30 mins). Season and add torn basil.

Assembly is easy – mix all the filling ingredients together, then place some filling onto each piece of eggplant and roll up. Top with tomato sauce and a little extra feta. Bake in 180˚C oven until edges are bubbling and feta is just slightly browned (20-30 mins).

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Delicious, easy and healthy(ish) muesli bars

As a busy medical student I am always looking for a reasonably healthy and portable snack. Ideally, this means making it at home but the few muesli bar recipes I have tried have been quite time-consuming and involved. Not this one. A virtually no cook recipe, that makes firm and delicious muesli bars that freeze beautifully when individually wrapped and can easily be grabbed on the way out the door!

Peanut butter maple syrup muesli bars

Adapted from sproutedkitchen.comImage

  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup rice bubbles/rice puff cereal (essential for crispiness)
  • 1 cup brown rice puffs (to make it a bit healthier!)
  • Heaped 1/2 cup roughly chopped mixed nuts – I used equal parts almonds, walnuts and pecans
  • 2 tbs flaxseeds
  • 14 pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup your choice of sweetener – I used equal parts maple syrup, golden syrup and agave but you could use any combination of liquid sugars (I think brown rice syrup would work too)
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (I used half Kraft peanut butter to keep costs down and it still worked fine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 50g dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180˚ and line a 28×28 baking pan. Toast the oats on a tray for 10 minutes and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine both types of rice puffs, chopped nuts, flaxseed seeds, oats and mix. Chop the dates into something resembling a chunky paste (could be done in the food processor).

Gently warm the sugars, peanut butter, cinnamon, salt and stir to mix. Leave to cool for a minute or two. Pour the warm mix and dates over the dry ingredients and squish everything together, breaking up the date clumps with your hands to break them up. Be careful as the sugar-peanut butter mix can be quite hot, make sure you’re not going to burn yourself and then get stuck into it and make a big sticky mess.

Press the mixture into the lined pan in an even layer, using the bottom of something flat to push the mixture down tightly as possible. The tighter it is squashed, the better the bars stay together.

In a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate until smooth. Drizzle the chocolate over the pan of bars, you will probably have some chocolate left over but I prefer a light drizzle. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting. Keep covered in the fridge where they last around 5 days or wrap them individually and store in the freezer ready to grab on the go.

I am planning on trying a few variations on this in the next couple of weeks. I’m thinking:

  • Dried apricot, date and macadamia with white chocolate drizzle
  • Dried cherry, pecan and dark chocolate
  • Almond butter, apple and cinnamon with no chocolat