A couple of weekends ago I had an intense craving for baba ghanoush, so I decided to make a mezze style dinner. There were only 2 of us so I didn’t go too over the top making lots of dishes, but I did do something I don’t do very often and that is make a dessert.

I always use Nigel Slater’s baba ghanoush recipe. It is the best I have ever made or eaten, even though the aubergines were just cooked on my big gas burner and not over charcoal. He’s right though; you really do need to turn the skins absolutely black for the best flavour. I just stick to the basic version because it’s so good, but one day I may try some of his twists.

Woman can not live by baba ghanoush alone so I did a few other dishes too. I made the baked falafel from Appetite for Reduction, which I enjoy as long as I forget that they are called falafel and think of them as chickpea cakes. I added in the peperonata from Vegan Fire and Spice, with the extra chili in, some home made flatbreads and a bowl of lightly dressed baby spinach.

This was an excellent tasty dinner. It doesn’t look like much but scooping up baba ghanoush and salad with flatbread alongside the sweet oily peppers and crunchy chickpea cakes was a delight.

Unusually for me, I made dessert. Matthew had a dessert wine he wanted to open (which turned out to be corked anyway), so I had a hunt for something easy which could be prepared ahead and contained storecupboard ingredients. I found the baklava in World Vegan Feast and decided to give it a go. I made half of it to fit what I had in, and I used a combination of pistachio, walnuts and hazelnuts for the nutty element. I also couldn’t resist adding a smidge of cinnamon, but I promise it was only a tiny one Bryanna! My filo pastry was a leftover half packet from the freezer, and wasn’t in the best condition, but it really didn’t matter, I just threw into the cooking dish and it all worked out.So easy!

I adored this dish. I’m a huge fan of and filo and the delicate flavour of rose was a delight.
A little goes a long way, so I was nibbling on recrisped squares of this after dinner all through the week.

Vine and Dine – Cassoulette



I need to learn not to be too organised. I got ahead of myself and made this so long ago that neither of us can really remember much about the food or wine. Or, we could get properly organised and make notes at the time and not rely on our ageing memories. Shall we try that next time? I also tried to use a new bit of technology to blog with and clicked the wrong button so my first attempt to write this up got lost. This isn’t my finest blogging hour.


I do know that this tasted fabulous. As usual with her recipes, Bryanna gives plenty of options so it’s very flexible. I used a combination of homemade seitan and smoked Vegusto Luncheon Roll for the meat, and a mix of portobello and chestnut for the mushrooms.


Cassoulette is a lovely comforting dish, chock full of beans and vegetables in a herby red wine sauce. This was a great dish to make ahead because it needs at least an hour in the oven, so you can prepare everything in advance and just sit back with a glass of wine when you’re ready to eat. I threw some garlic bread in the oven so that we could mop up the juices.


And talking of wine, we had a fabulous bottle of French red which went superbly well with the meal. We can’t find any trace of it so it must have been recycled by mistake. We’ll certainly make this again so I’ll try and report back with proper info next time, and sorry for the stupidity.