Sunday, 16 March 2014


Good Morning to you,

If I were to invite you to take a look inside my handbag, I would have to say, firstly, it would be very brave of you, and secondly,  I think you would be surprised at the bits and bobs which have found their way into the bottom of my handbag.  

You will always find a lipstick or two, a hankie, a small mirror, a nail file and my mobile phone, oh yes and my purse,  but  there are also a number of other items, which I don't quite know how, appear to find their way in to the bottom of my handbag. How can this be, as it is always bits and bobs which I don't need. One moment the bag seems to be filled with just a few things and then, what seems like overnight,  it becomes filled with "stuff". Where does this "stuff" come from?  It seems the larger the handbag, the more I am inclined to fill it up.  

If I am using a small bag, I have to be very careful what I place inside, so I am spatially aware.  So why do I keep filling up my larger handbag... I have a theory, I think my large handbag, is like us all, it enjoys receiving gifts.  The bag is happy to receive my gifts until it is full, then when full, it says enough is enough..... no more gifts. So I have to learn to stop overloading my handbag  with gifts and it will be happy.... or maybe I should apply myself and just clear out my handbag more often and the problem will be solved.... what do you think?

Now the one thing that both of my handbags have in common,   whether I use my large "bottomless pit" handbag or my small dainty handbag, is, I always keep a small supply of mints in each bag. Yes, you will always find two or three mints in the small compartment of all my handbags. 

Whenever we go out and about, the girls always know, that if needed they can rely on me to produce a mint.

Now I can hear you asking, where does this come from.... well I will tell you.... my Gramps.  On Ivy and Gramp's rather grand sideboard, there would always be a little glass dish, which seemed to be overflowing with mints..... not just any mints, but Murray Mints. Gramps loved them.  When we visited on a Sunday, and after we had been to church, and returned home to enjoy our Sunday lunch, the thing to do, was always to go for a long bracing walk along the sea front. We would put on our  coats and walking shoes, and if it were cold outside our hats and mittens, then Gramps would take a sweet, from his sweet bowl, look at me, unwrap it, pop the sweet into his mouth and smile.  He would then wink at me, wait a few moments and ask if I would like a Murray Mint..... which of course I always did and always said "Yes please".... manners were so important when I was a young girl. He would unwrap the sweet for me, pop it into my mouth and we would enjoy our Murray Mints together.  Do you know, after all these years, I still love Murray Mints.

..... and look what just popped into my mind...."Murray Mints, Murray Mints,  too good to hurry Mints" . That was the song that used to be sung to advertise the mints.... now there's a thing, I haven't thought of that little ditty in a while.

So before I forget, why I am here, it's on with the pinnie and what I am making today is not only full of flavour, but also full of colour,

Aubergine, or as you might know it, Egg Plant Antipasto.  I started making this when I lived in Cyprus, because when the tomatoes and aubergines were in season, they were plentiful and this was a brilliant way of using these good ingredients.

So whilst I am washing my tomatoes and aubergines, I am listening to,

the soundtrack to the film "Inside Llewyn Davis".  I am sorry to say I missed the film when it came out at the cinema, but I love the soundtrack. Listen to "Fare Thee Well", "The Last Thing On My Mind" and "Green, Green, Rocky Road" actually, if you love 1960's folk music, then I can guarantee you will enjoy this album.

So whilst I am singing along to "The Last Thing On My Mind".... yes I am old enough to remember the words, I will organise my ingredients.


2 large Aubergines (Eggplants)
2 cloves of garlic
4 fresh tomatoes
1 red onion
1 tablespoonful of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of sugar
5 tablespoonfuls of olive oil
2 teaspoonfuls of sea salt
1 tablespoonful of dried oregano
370 ml of water


Cut one aubergine into slices

and then into strips of about 
2cm in width

Add 2 tablespoonfuls of olive oil to a pan
and brown the aubergine slices.
This will take about 5 minutes as you
want the aubergine to be cooked as well
as golden in colour.

When the first batch are golden brown, slice and
cut the second aubergine into strips
and repeat the process.
(You will need to add another 2 tablespoonfuls
of olive oil to the pan.)

Then set aside for a moment.

Slice the red onion
add 1 tablespoonful of olive oil to the pan
and cook the
onion until slightly browned.

Using 1 teaspoonful of sea salt

crush the garlic,
add to the onions.
Cook for 2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook
for 2 minutes.

Add the oregano 
and cook
for a further 2 minutes

Set aside for the moment

Wash and de-stem 4 tomatoes

then roughly chop.
If you prefer to remove the tomato skins,
place the tomatoes in boiling water
for a few minutes, this will make
it easier for you to remove the skins.

Return the pan to the heat
and add the tomatoes

1 teaspoonful of sugar,
370ml of water
a further

teaspoonful of sea salt.

Stir the ingredients and bring to the boil.
Place a lid on the saucepan
reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Cook for 15 minutes.

If you find the sauce cooks too quickly,
add a little more water, but remember you want
a nice thick sauce.

Add the browned aubergines
to the sauce.
Toss gently using 2 forks
to incorporate all the ingredients.

Once everything is combined,
allow to cool and eat
either just warm
or cold.

Slice some crusty bread
either dip into the Aubergine Antipasto
place some Aubergine Antipasto
on to the bread.

Whichever way you eat it
I just know you will
the experience.

This is a dish which is best enjoyed warm or even cold, because as the dish cools, the flavours are enhanced.  We sometimes eat this for lunch or other times I will cook a piece of fish and place the Aubergines on the side and this makes a lovely supper. 

So take care of yourself and I will catch up with you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,


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Best wishes to you.


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