Aubergine Parmigiana

Ingredients for 4 people:
- 3 large aubergines
- 220g Fontina cheese
- 50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 100g Ricotta cheese, crumbled
- 600g homemade tomato sauce*
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Handful of basil leaves

*You can find the recipe here and here

1. Slice the aubergines into 1cm rounds.

2. Heat the grill to medium and place the aubergine slices on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill for 3 minutes each side or until golden.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

4. To assemble the parmigiana, spread a tablespoon of tomato sauce into the base of a round ovenproof dish (between 25-30cm diameter). Layer one third of the aubergines on top, add half of the Fontina cheese and sprinkle with Parmesan. Repeat the process for two more layers.

5. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan, ricotta and basil leaves.

6. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for further 30 minutes.

7. Allow to cool down for 5 minutes before serving.

Bon appétit!


Pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes:
- 150g sugar
- 150g flour
- 1 egg
- 60ml vegetable oil (or light olive oil)
- 50ml water
- 150g canned pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
 ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground clove
 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 100g chocolate chips
Cream cheese frosting:
- 250g cream cheese
- 120g butter (room temperature)
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C.

2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and keep aside.

3. In another bowl, add the pumpkin puree, oil, egg, water and spices and mix using an electric mixer at medium speed.

4. Slowly start adding the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mix until all ingredients look completely incorporated.

5. Add the chocolate chips and fold in carefully with a spatula.

6. Put the paper moulds into the tray and then spread the mix evenly across.

7. Bake for around 25 minutes.

8. While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting.

9. Sift the icing sugar and whisk with the butter and the cream cheese.

10. Keep in the fridge until needed.

11. Allow the cupcakes to cool down completely and using a piping bag, top them with the frosting.

Bon appétit!


Green beans with pine nuts, parmesan and lemon

Ingredients for 2 people:
- 400g green beans
- 30g pine nuts
- 1 lemon
- 60g Parmesan cheese shavings
- A handful of fresh parsley
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 branch of fresh thyme
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt
- Pepper

1. Add the 2 cloves of garlic (peeled) and the thyme to a small saucepan and cover completely with olive oil. Cook at low heat (ideally the oil should be at 80°C) for around 20 minutes. The garlic should look slightly brown and translucent. Remove from the fire and allow the garlic to cool down completely.

2. In the meantime, peel and clean the green beans and steam them for around 5 minutes (steam them slightly longer if you like your vegetables softer).

3. Add the cooked green beans to a bowl with cold water and ice to stop the cooking.

4. For the vinaigrette, smash the cooked garlic and add 3 tablespoons of oil from the cooking process, the juice of the lemon and a pinch of salt.

5. Toast the pine nuts until golden.

6. Mix the green beans with the parsley and the vinaigrette and top with the toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and pepper.

Bon appétit!