Melanzane alla Parmigiana

This is my version of the recipe and is how my Sicilian mother-in-law used to make it. It’s simple and yet very tasty. No breadcrumbs, mozzarella or other ingredients, just aubergines, basil, parmigiano and a tomato sauce. In Sicily its an antipasto not a main course so I always eat it with fresh crusty bread.

Don’t eat it directly from the oven as it’s too hot to appreciate the flavours. Wait until it is luke warm or even room temperature.

 I always make more of both the aubergine slices and the sauce than I need for this dish so that I have some left over to use with pasta. There is nothing better than a plate of spaghetti with the tomato sauce and slices of fried aubergine on top and a sprinkle of parmigiano.

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Pistachio and Pink Grapefruit Cake

Hi Everyone, here's a fantastic cake recipe from a recent weekend newspaper's magazine - simple to make and it has no dairy or gluten so very healthy. However that doesn't compromise the flavour because it is absolutely gorgeous and the cake will last for a week as it has a syrup drizzled over it.

Pistachio and Pink Grapefruit Cake

It makes a 20cm cake

150g shelled unsalted pistachios

1 and a half pink grapefurits

200g golden caster sugar

50g polenta

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Pinch of salt

4 eggs

200g extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons honey (I use Australian Orange Blossom honey)

10g shelled salted pistachios (about 20) roughly chopped to decorate

1. Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin and line the base of it

2. Whizz the unsalted pistachios in a food processor until fairly finely ground.

3. Finely grate the zest of the grapefruits (I actually grate 2 grapefruits) and add this and the sugart to the processor, whizz briefly to combine then stir in the polenta, baking powder, cardamom and a pinch of salt

4. Whisk together the eggs and oil and stir these into the dry ingredients. Scrape into the tin

5. Put in to the oven and turn it to 180C (200C non-fan) - you don't need to preheat the oven for this cake!! Bake for 40-50 minutes, until set on the top.

6. Towards the end of the cooking time, juice the half grapefruit and heat this together with the honey in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and take off the heat. Put the cake, still in its tin, on a plate with a rim and pour over the syrup, a little at a time, adding more once each lot has been absorbed. Leave to cool, then turn out and sprinkle with the chopped salted pistachios. 

It is delicious served with half fat creme fraiche and even as a dessert.

Try this fantastic recipe - Cardamom, pistachio & marmalade drizzle loaf

Hi everyone. It's ages since I posted a recipe and that's because I've been so lazy with trying new recipes in the last six months.  However today I decided it was time to bake a cake and use a recipe that I've been wanting to try for ages because the ingredients really appealed to me - pistachios (my fave!), cardamom (another fave!) and marmalade.  And of course the drizzle on the top I can never resist.

It's a BBC Good Food recipe and here it is. I highly recommend you make it as one of the most appealing things about it is that you throw everything in a bowl and mix it up.  I can't be doing with those recipes that state you must cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and then the dry ingredients. With our busy lives and fast pace of life there's no time for that!!

Cardamom, pistachio & marmalade drizzle loaf

Serves 10 -12; prep time 10 minutes (yeah!!); Cook 1hr - 1hr 15min


Seeds from 8 cardamom pods

200g shelled pistachios

150g soft butter, in pieces plus extra for greasing

125g golden caster suga

3 large eggs

100g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp. of your favourite marmalade (I used my LA sister's as she makes the best)

2 tsp orange blossom water


2 tbsp. marmalade (see above)

Juice of one lemon

50g caster sugar

1 tsp orange flower water

1. Heat over to 170C/150C fan/gas 3 and prepare a 19 x 7cm loaf tin - butter the inside and line the base with non-stick baking paper, or use a non-stick loaf liner

2. Crush the cardamom seeds in a pestle & mortar. Whizz half the pistachios in a processor or blender until very finely chopped.

3. Using an electric hand whisk (or an electric mixer), beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, marmalade, orange blossom water, crushed cardamom seeds, chopped pistachios and a pinch of salt in a bowl until combined. Roughly chop the rest of the pistachios and stir them into the cake mix.

4. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1hr to 1hr 15mins, covering the top of the loaf with foil halfway through to prevent it over-browning.

5. For the drizzle, gently heat the marmalade, then combine with the other ingredients in a bowl and spoon on top of the warm loaf. Leave to cool in the tin then remove from the tin, cut into slices and eat it !!