Smoked Aubergine Stew with flatbreads, tahini sauce & pickled onion & beetroot

Smoked Aubergine Stew

2 Aubergines
4 tbsps olive oil
1 onion, sliced
Tbsp fennel seeds
Tbsp smoked paprika
Dried chilli or chilli flakes to taste
Salt to taste
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps tomato puree
1 tin chickpeas
½ tin plum tomatoes, broken up
1 lemon, zested and juiced

To finish:

Parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic (optional)
Olive oil

  1. Burn your aubergines. If you have a gas stove  then place the aubergines directly onto a lit ring and char all over till black and blistered , using tongs or a fork to turn the aubergines as they cook. Alternatively use a BBQ or grill on high heat to blacken the aubergines, turning occasionally. They should be very soft when cooked. Set aside in a bowl covered with a plate to cool, and then peel off and discard the skin. Chop the flesh.
  2. In a large pan heat the olive oil and add the onions, fennel seeds, paprika, chili flakes and a pinch of salt. Turn down the heat and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and stir for a couple of minutes until no longer raw. 
  3. Add the aubergine flesh and stir coating it in the oil and spices.
  4. Add the tomato puree and stir constantly, until it loses its raw taste – a couple of minutes. 
  5. Add the plum tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands or a spoon, and then add the soy sauce. Drain the chickpeas and add to the pan. Add enough water to cover the stew and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the chickpeas have softened to a nice texture. Add half of the lemon zest and stir. Taste and add salt and lemon juice to taste
  1. In a small bowl mix the chopped parsley with the rest of the lemon zest, a pinch of salt and a small clove of garlic which has been crushed or grated. 
  2. Serve the stew in bowls, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle or the parsley-lemon-garlic mix. We also served it with tahini sauce and quick onion/beetroot pickles


4 tbsps tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
Garlic – grated, crushed or v finely chopped (optional)

  1. In a bowl, add the salt, garlic (if using) and lemon juice to the tahni and whisk – it will eventually combine and thicken. Now gradually add cold water and continue to whisk until it’s a smooth consistency which you will be able to drizzle. Taste for salt and lemon and add more of each if needed.


1 red onion – very finely sliced into circles or semi circles
1 beetroot (we used candy beetroot to match our dinner service) – peeled, cut into quarters and then finely sliced
100ml Apple cider vinegar
100 ml water
1 – 2 tsps Salt
1 tsp Sugar
4 Star anise 
1 tsp Coriander seeds – or use any whole spices you have!  Fennel seeds, cumin seeds, chili flakes, and peppercorns are all good. 

In a saucepan mix vinegar, water, spices, salt and sugar and bring to a simmer until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Taste – and check you like the balance or tart, sweet and salt and add more as needed.  Pour the pickling liquor over your onions and beetroot and leave to steep for half an hour or so. Use immediately as a garnish or store in a steriled jar in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. 


This recipe is inspired by one from Bread on Earth – she uses sourdough and cooked beetroot to make these amazing spiral flatbreads We made a quick version using dried yeast and beetroot powder. Obviously you can use the recipe to make plain flatbreads – just don’t divide the ingredients in two! You can also add all sorts of flavourings to the dough – I particularly like nigella seeds. 

500g essential strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp beetroot powder
2 tbsp olive oil
300ml cool water

Makes 15-20 small breads

You’ll be making 2 doughs. 

  1. In one bowl, mix 250g flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp yeast and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 150ml water and mix well with a fork before tipping out onto a floured surface and kneading for around 5 mins, until dough is smooth and elastic.
  2. Do exactly the same in a second bowl to make a second batch of dough, but add the beetroot powder before you add the wet ingredients. 
  3. Oil both of your bowls, return the doughs to the bowls, and set aside, covered by a tea towel in a warm place to rise for around an hour (or until doubled in size)
  4. Roll our each dough into a thick rectangle of roughly the same size. Place the white dough rectangle on top of the pink rectangle and roll up like a swiss roll. 
  5. Now, on a floured surface,  slice the swiss roll into 15 spiral slices. Flatten each with palm of your hand and then roll out thinly. 
  6. Heat a cast iron or non stick pan on high. Once hot add a bread and cook until browned on one side and puffed up. Flip and cook for another few minutes until cooked through. Brush with olive oil/salt/herbs/garlic and place on a tray covered with a clean tea towel as you cook the rest of the breads.