Smoky Aubergine and Heritage Tomato Ketchup

Smoky Aubergine and Tomato Ketchup
There is nothing like homegrown produce.  This is not something I know from my own home though as I don’t so much have green fingers but instead fingers of death.  Every chilli plant I lovingly tender, every rosemary bush I dutifully water and bay tree I carefully prune back repay my acts of kindness by withering and dying. I have heard that parsley grows like weeds once it gets started and will slowly but surely take over your whole garden.  If only.  No matter how hard I try my parsley takes one look at me and dives for cover straight back into the soil never to be seen again.  Even the mushroom log which I bought for my husband at Christmas which guaranteed mushroom production as long as it was out of the wind has sat at the bottom of the garden resolutely log like and not at all like the fungus factory we had been promised.  In fact the only food that has managed to survive my inadvertent perniciousness is my pear tree and every year I try to make the most of each precious fruit that has deemed me worthy.

Smoky Aubergine and Tomato Ketchup  |  Stroud Green Larder

I went to my sisters at the weekend and she and her boyfriend have cultivated the perfect urban market garden, grapes hang lusciously from vines ready to be turned into wine, shy cherry tomatoes peek out from their leafy vines, runner beans are biding their time before swinging into life on their trellis and pots and pots of strawberries, gooseberries and blueberries grow side by side with roses and lilies.

It is the tomatoes I am envious of, the scent of the vine is enticing and the taste of a tomato warmed from the sun and freshly picked cannot be denied.  My husband and I spoke about trying our hand at tomato bags this year, then took one look at each other and burst into laughter.  We would just be inviting more wasteland into our barren soil.  So we turn to the farmers’ markets (and my sister if we’re lucky enough to turn up at the right time) for our produce.  A few weeks ago we couldn’t resist a mixed bag of heritage tomatoes from Broadway Market and after eating some for lunch in a salad I knew exactly how to eek out the rest of the bag to maximum effect.

Smoky Aubergine and Tomato Ketchup  |  Stroud Green Larder

Last year I enjoyed the green tomato ketchup that I made so much and I have been missing having some homemade ketchup in the house since finishing those bottles.  I had some aubergines knocking about that I wanted to use up and a penchant for intense Mediterranean smoky flavours so this ketchup was born.

This tomato ketchup goes particularly well with lamb burgers, there is something about the smoky aubergine which lends itself so deliciously.  However, I am pleased to announce that it also goes well with everything else, with chips, in bacon sandwiches, and dolloped into sauces and stews for some hidden depth.  Bottles of ketchup don’t last long in this house, there always seems to be a reason to dig the sauce out from the fridge and so it won’t be long before we need to make some more.  Maybe next year we will have a go at those tomato bags, you never know, they might survive the deadly garden of doom and then the ketchup will seem even more precious.

Smoky Aubergine and Tomato Ketchup  |  Stroud Green Larder

Smoky Aubergine and Heritage Tomato Ketchup
Makes about 1 litre

2 aubergines (about 400g worth)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red chilli, seeds removed, roughly chopped
10g root ginger, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
zest of ½ small lemon
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cloves
1 tsp sweet paprika
1.2kg tomatoes
150ml red wine vinegar
150ml light soft brown sugar

  1. Insert a skewer through each aubergine and hold over the flame of a gas hob. Char the outside of the skin until it’s blistered and blackened and the flesh of the aubergine is soft when pressed. Leave until cool enough to handle then peel off the skin and discard. Set aside.
  2. In a large preserving pan heat the olive oil on a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 15 minutes until it starts to caramelise.
  3. Add the chill, ginger and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Then add the rest of the ingredients, including the aubergine and bring to a boil.
  5. Turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hour and check for seasoning.
  6. Pour into a blender and whizz up until smooth.
  7. Pour back into the saucepan and bring back to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer until it’s reduced to the desired ketchup consistency which might be about half an hour.
  8. Decant into sterilised jars. You can eat it straightaway or keep in a cool dark place for six months.

Garlicky Slow Braised Tomato and Aubergine

This delicious Garlicky Slow Braised Tomato and Aubergine is so versatile. It can be served as a delightful veggie option with a bit of rice, or an accompaniment to grilled meat. It’s lovely hot off the press or at room temperature. This dish knows no bounds.

Garlicky Slow Braised Tomato and Aubergine

This bank holiday weekend is not necessarily broadcasting barbecue weather. I don’t know about where you are but North London seems to be pouring rain one minute and bright sunshine the next. Hang on a minute, for a Brit this is the kind of barbecue weather we are used to, so fire up the grill and when you do make sure you have one of my favourite side dishes to hand.

Everyone loves a sausage in a bun and a burnt burger but I am a great believer that the barbecue accompaniments are just as important as the main meaty event. This is particularly true if you are not automatically pairing your meat with bread or potato salads, say if you are on the Whole30 diet, which I don’t know if you know, but I am.

Tomato and Aubergine | Stroud Green Larder

I have a lovely bunch of side dishes which I churn out on a cyclical basis during barbecue season and this slowly braised aubergine and tomato recipe is really one of my favourites. If you have this, a bunch of meat and a lovely leafy green salad then you are completely set.

There is nothing like preparing ahead if you know you will be holding a barbecue as the last thing you want is to be is sweating hot and working hard in the kitchen whilst all your guests are japing around in the garden soaking up the short lived sun with tall glasses of minty Pimms. I suggest therefore that one of those corners you cut is to throw it together the night before. It also has the added benefit of helping the flavours to settle and infuse. Then serve it the next day re-heated if you like but to be honest I don’t bother as I like it to be taken out of the fridge a couple of hours before and brought slowly to room temperature.

Slow Braised Tomato and Aubergine | Stroud Green Larder

Slow Braised Tomato and Aubergine | Stroud Green Larder

I know plenty of people who don’t like aubergine which is such a shame as if cooked properly it is such a satisfying vegetable with its deliciously silky yet meaty flesh. I don’t know why mushrooms are always the vegetarian option of choice, aubergine is a much better meat substitute. I’ve spoken before about the amount of oil needed to do justice to a decent aubergine dish. Don’t baulk at this and don’t be stingy as otherwise the aubergine will not reach the desired texture and you will basically be eating an unpleasantly bland watery vegetable, it’s experiences like this that can put a lot of people off.

Since the rain has refused to abet this afternoon I think I will withhold my barbecue and serve this indoors instead with a generous lamb chop. You can also serve it as an unctuously rich stew as it is a brilliant vegetarian main course if served with plenty of rice and maybe a salty chunk of feta.

Garlicky Slow Braised Tomato and Aubergine

Full disclosure, this recipe was totally supposed to have dill roughly chopped and then added in at the end when you take it off the heat but I just clean forgot, it is really delicious without but if you do have some dill lying around do add it in as it’s yummy.

Garlicky Slow Braised Tomato and Aubergine

An incredibly versatile veggie dish which can be served on its own or as an accompaniment.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Keyword: braised tomato and aubergine, braised tomato and aubergine recipe
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 335kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 aubergine diced
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes diced
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • Handful dill roughly chopped


  • Heat the olive oil in a very large saucepan and when hot place in half of the aubergines.
  • After a few minutes when they have started to soften and shrink put in the rest of the aubergines. Cook on a low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are starting to turn golden and translucent.
  • Add in the tomatoes and the garlic cloves and plenty of seasoning.
  • Cook on a low heat for about an hour, then remove from the heat (here is where you can add in some dill).
  • Can be served hot or at room temperature.


Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 25mg | Potassium: 1592mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 58.2% | Vitamin C: 66.2% | Calcium: 6.8% | Iron: 10.1%

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

Today I was very excited to make a silky warming butternut squash soup.  It was exactly what I was hankering for.  I took the stock out of the freezer last night, leered over the butternut in eager anticipation and fished out the chipotle from the very back of the cupboard.  I used a ladder and everything.  It was all systems go.  And then I smashed my kitchenaid blender.  I still don’t understand how as the glass on those things is about an inch thick.  But it briefly kissed the surface of my ceramic sink and shattered like the fragile heart of a tween.

So, basically, you are not getting soup and I’m getting a new blender.

courgette and aubergine3So stepping up to the plate is one of my absolute faves.  It’s probably the one I make the most often of a weekday.  So easy to throw together in the roasting tray straight after work.  Whack it in the oven, have a sit down with a glass of sparkling water, as it’s January, then serve with anything you like.  I have it the most with grilled lamb chops.  It might also be even better the next day taken out of the fridge and brought up to room temperature to have at your desk for lunch, I would never bother re-heating this.  I have eaten it with leftovers, with roast chicken, with garlicky yoghurt drizzled generously over and taken it to picnics.
courgette and aubergineDue to the amount of oil that the aubergine soaks up it’s very rich and so you don’t need a great deal, not that I usually let that stop me.

Oh, and the best thing about this dish… it doesn’t require a blender.

Roasted aubergine and courgette2Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

2 aubergines
2 courgettes
60ml olive oil
¾ tsp sumac
10g mint leaves, roughly chopped
10g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
10g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Wedge of lemon

  1. Top and tail the aubergine and courgette and then cut each one in half widthways. Halve each again lengthways and then cut into 16 wedges in total.
  2. Toss the wedges in the olive oil, sumac and plenty of seasoning and place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C. Roast for 30-40 mins, checking halfway through to give a good mix around.
  3. Once the aubergine and courgette are soft, lightly browned and slightly crispy at the corners then remove from the oven. Mix together with the herbs, squeeze the lemon wedge over and serve.