Monday, 10 May 2010

aubergine cheesecake and cheesy polenta chips.

i made these as a treat dinner for sean last week. both went down incredibly well. i was put off as i thought both things may be complicated to make, but they were pretty stress free! the recipes come from my new fave chef, yotam ottolenghi's vegetarian section on the guardian website.

cheesy polenta chips (with a rich tomato sauce).


375ml vegetable stock

60g quick polenta

20g butter

60g grated cheese

salt and black pepper

vegetable oil

plain flour


350g fresh plum tomatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 a medium onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves

1 pinch of chilli flakes

1/4 tsp caster sugar


1. line a shallow tray with clingfilm. in a pan, bring the stock to a boil and add the polenta. stir over a low heat for about five minutes until it thickens. remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and cheese, season well with salt and pepper and stir.

2. transfer the polenta mix into the tray and smooth across with a wetted spatula (anything else will stick to the mixture!). it should be approximately 1.5cm deep. cover with clingfilm, then put in the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes.

3. meanwhile, place a large non-stick pan on a high flame. once it has heated through, add the tomatoes to the pan and leave for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. this will cause the skins to blacken. once done, put the tomatoes into a bowl and break them up, removing the skins too.

4. heat the olive oil in a pan. cook the onion for three minutes to soften. add the onion and the oil to the tomatoes. then stir in the garlic, chilli, sugar and salt. leave at room temperature.

5. when the polenta has set, cut it into approximately 6cm long chips. fill a medium saucepan up to about 2cm with vegetable oil and heat. toss the chips in flour and fry in batches for about three minutes at a time. they should be golden brown. drain them on some kitchen towel and serve immediately with the tomato sauce.

aubergine cheesecake.


90ml olive oil
2 small aubergines, cut into 2cm slices
150g feta cheese
150g cream cheese
60ml double cream
3 eggs
150g baby plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthways
2 tbsp picked oregano leaves, torn
salt and black pepper


1. preheat the oven to 190c/gas mark 5. line a 19cm square/22cm round baking tin with foil, then brush lightly with oil.

2. lay the aubergine slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper and brush with four tablespoons with olive oil. sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for approximately 40 minutes until they are soft and golden. once cooked, set them aside to cool. lower the oven temperature to 150c/gas mark 2.

3. put the feta, cream cheese, cream and eggs in a bowl with some pepper and whisk until thick and smooth. arrange the aubergine neatly in the prepared tin, some may need to overlap. fill any gaps with the tomatoes and sprinkle in half of the oregano.

4. pour the cheese mix over and sprinkle on the rest of the oregano. bake for 30 minutes until the mix sets. leave the cake to cool down slightly, then cut into slices and serve.

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