Mediterranean Mixed vegetable tray bake with sausages

Serves 4

This recipe is perfect for an easy, healthy summer supper after a busy day.


  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 5 large tomatoes of various colours
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 15 mls olive oil
  • 2  teaspoons chopped rosemary
  • 2  teaspoons of sugar
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 30 mls Balsamic vinegar
  • 8 good quality pork sausages
  • A small handful of fresh basil, chopped finely


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (fan assisted).
  2. Cut up the aubergine, peppers, tomatoes and courgettes into 2cm cubes and add them to a large roasting tin to make a layer roughly 3 chunks of veg deep. The size of the tray is important: too big and your vegetables will stew, too small and they will burn.
  3. Finely mince the garlic and sprinkle it on top along with the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and black pepper.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally when you see the vegetables in the top layer begin to caramelize.
  5. After 30 minutes clear a space in the middle of the tray (the vegetables should be softening and oozing juice) and lay the sausages along with an extra drizzle of oil if necessary.
  6. Cook for a further 25 minutes until sausages are golden brown.
  7. To serve, set the sausages aside and mix the finely-chopped basil through the vegetables and season to taste. Pile the veg into individual bowls and lay your sausages on top. Garnish with any remaining basil and serve with lots of crusty buttered bread.

Preserving at Home

What to do with the September gluts to make them last all the way through winter.

Returning home to bring in the harvest seems like an old-fashioned notion but in my family it is still very much the done thing.  My dad is a little too gifted at growing for domestic uses given I was confronted with the following: a bucket of tomatoes, a bucket of peppers, a bucket of insect covered redcurrants and 2 pounds each of raspberries and blackcurrants.

Given the bucket of redcurrants I figured that redcurrant jelly was a must. The recipe I used is here ( however I would have to recommend against buying a Kilner jelly strainer if you are considering investing in one. It was poorly designed and resulted in something that looked like the vegetarian equivalent of the Texas chainsaw massacre. Definitely make sure your jelly bag is well secured before adding the redcurrants.

I decided to turn the raspberries and blackcurrants into both coulis and jam. The jam recipe can be found here ( and it was utterly delicious. If you haven’t made jam before or are nervous of it then I would recommend this jam as a good starting point. It sets relatively easily because of the high levels of pectin in the fruit. Also, my rule for jam is that I would rather have great tasting jam that is a little runny than some perfectly set jam that tastes vile because it is burnt. Runny jam doesn’t last so long but if it tastes good it won’t need to. We collect jars all year so we have some for jam making season but if you don’t it might be worth looking for some on or in pound shops before you splash out on expensive ones from a shop.

The coulis I made was simply a pound each of blackcurrants and raspberries plus 400g of sugar. This was just bought gently to the boil and then left it to cool. I then ladled it into containers for freezing.  I also froze some in individual ice cube trays. These are the perfect size to drop into some plain yoghurt for a fruity treat.  This also might be a good idea if you have young children and you want to get them eating healthier yoghurt with less sugar and additives.

With the buckets of tomatoes and peppers I made a delicious soup with the roasted peppers and tomatoes. The recipe can be found here ( ). I froze most of this huge batch of soup since it is nice, with winter fast approaching, to have some healthy, vitamin rich soup to tide you over, especially since tomatoes and peppers remind me so much of summer.  Though gathering this amount of produce is hard work, it’s definitely well worth doing. It is satisfyingly thrifty and most of all delicious!

Rocket and almond pesto pasta with courgettes and pan-fried salmon

July 2013

Healthy, hearty and a great idea when you need to use up some of the multitudinous courgettes we all accumulate in July. Serves 4. Preparation time 35 minutes


500g of courgette
1 pepper
1 onion
A small handful of fresh rocket plus extra leaves for garnish
30g almonds
50mls olive oil plus extra for vegetable roasting
50g grated parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic
Juice of one lemon plus wedges to serve
350g penne pasta
4 skin on salmon fillets


  1. Chop the vegetables into bite sized cubes , season with salt and pepper, place in a roasting tin and roast in a 180 degree oven for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  2. Heat a large pan of water ready for your pasta later.
  3. While the veg is roasting make the pesto, add the rocket, almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, grated cheese and garlic to a food processor and blend to a smoothish paste.
  4. Fifteen minutes into the veg cooking time and it’s time for the salmon. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel and season with salt. Place in hot frying pan skin side down for 5 minutes until golden. Flip the salmon fillets and place the pan in the oven with the vegetables for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Finishing fish and meat off in the oven cooks it more evenly ensuring a succulent end product with the crispy skin you get from frying.
  5. Now it’s time to boil your pasta. When it is done to your liking, drain and return to the cooking pan. Mix through the pesto and tender roasted veg
  6. Serve in a bowl topped with your perfectly cooked salmon, extra rocket leaves and lemon wedges. Lovely.