Grilled Aubergine with Lentils

Adapted from Nigel Slater in Christmas Chronicles

Serves 2

2 large aubergines
3 tbs olive oil
1 lemon
1 medium white onion
2 cloves garlic
4 large sprigs of thyme
3 sprigs rosemary
150g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
150g puy lentils
2 large handfulls of spinach leaves, shredded and rinsed
2 tbs double cream
Fresh parsley (enough to make about 1 tbs chopped)
2 tbs grated Parmesan

Preheat the grill on high. Wash and dry the aubergines and slice in half lengthways. Score a tight lattice pattern into the flesh without piercing the skin. Put them onto a baking sheet cut side up and rub over enough of the olive oil to cover each side (generously) and season with salt and black pepper. Halve the lemon and squeeze over the juice. Put under the grill, not too close to the top and cook until golden brown. (check after 10 mins and if brown but not soft then cover with foil and switch the grill to oven 185C and finish for another 10-15 mins).

Rinse the lentils and check for stones, then put into a pan with enough cold water to come up about 1″ over the top. Bring to a boil, put a lid on top and reduce heat to 5 and simmer until cooked (min 20 mins) keeping an eye on the water level.

While the lentils are cooking put the green Le Creuset on 6 to warm. Peel and dice the onion, add the olive oil and diced onion to the warm pan with a generous pinch of salt and stir. Cook until soft and then grate in the garlic cloves. Rinse the thyme and rosemary and remove the leaves from the stalks, finely chop the rosemary and add both to the onion mix with the mushrooms. Add some more olive oil if the pan seems dry. Leave to soften, adding the lid after a few mins and reducing the heat to 4.

Once the mushrooms are cooked, check the lentils to be sure they are cooked, drain and add to the mushroom/onion mix. Stir in the chopped spinach, stir and add the lid for a couple of mins until the leaves have wilted. Add the cream and parmesan and stir then season generously and taste. Needs to be well peppered!

Put the lentils in a pasta bowl and serve with one half of the grilled aubergine on top.


Roast Chicken with Feta, Olives & Vegetables

Serves 4

750g new potatoes

2 tbs olive oil

4 chicken breasts or 8 chicken thighs

350g cherry tomatoes

1 red onion cut into thin wedges

100g back olives, stones removed

1 tbs chopped fresh oregano 

200g of feta 

2 tbs red wine vinegar

Get the oven heated to 185C fan. Cut the potatoes into thick slices lengthways and put in a large roasting dish (the biggest Le Creuset is best) with half the olive oil and toss until coated. If using thighs put these on top and put in the oven and roast for 30 mins, wait if using breasts and just roast the potatoes.  

Add the onion, cherry tomatoes, olives, oregano and feta and toss. Put the chicken breasts on top (or put the thighs back on top) and drizzle with remaining olive oil and the red wine vinegar. 

Cook for 20-25 minutes and check the chicken is cooked through before serving.