Friday, July 22, 2011

Not-a-bake with ricotta eggplant beef

*Some small talk, since we haven’t seen each other for a while*
“So what about this weather, eh?”

What’s it like where you are? If you say, “Oh, it’s beautiful, so fine and clear”, then I’ll clock you one. Because it’s been absolutely miserable here in Sydney for the past week – drenching rain nearly every hour of every day. Rain coming in sheets, sideways, puddles the size of potholes, potholes the size of ponds….

On a brighter note, the rainy weather does not concern me any more because I have a new washer/dryer!!!! So excited that I don’t have to check the weather forecast to find out if it’s going to be fine and mild tomorrow so I can do the washing. Nor do I have to get up at 6.30am to put the laundry in the machine so that it finishes washing by 8am so I can hang it on the line before I go to work. No more looking out the window and groaning at the sight of a stray dark cloud approaching from the west. Now, I can put the washing in, set the dial to ‘wash and dry’ and listen out (4:13 hours later) for the musical tone that tells me it’s all done. Life’s good ™

If only the nightly dinner preparations were as easy. But where would the fun be in that? Here’s a great recipe for a rainy night.

* I've titled this 'not a bake' because 'bake' sounds a bit naff (even though that's what Donna Hay calls this)

Baked Ricotta Beef and Eggplant
Serves 4

1 tblsp olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
500g beef mince
1 cup tomato puree (or 4 small tomatoes, crushed)
2 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
500g low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 slices chargrilled marinated eggplant

1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Add the mince and cook, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until browned.
3. Add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Place the ricotta, mozzarella, egg, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix to combine.
5. Place 3 slices of eggplant in the base of a 5-cup capacity baking dish and top with half the mince mixture. Layer with the remaining eggplant and mince. Top with the ricotta mixture and cook for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

recipe adapted from Donna Hay (winter 2011)

Vegetable ingredients (and eggs)

Other ingredients, including cheeses, mince and eggplant

Layer the eggplant and cooked mince mixture in a baking dish

The ricotta on top puffs up beautifully and it tastes quite light as long as you don't think about all that cheese (or use low-fat cheese, like I did)

This smallish slice is for display purposes - I actually ate about a third of the entire creation.
And it was worth every bite.


  1. yumm! Perfect for this weather.

  2. that layer of thick ricotta is making my mouth water right now!! and gee, you're amazing in waking up at 6:30am to do your laundry (glad u dont hv to do that anymore now!)

  3. It's not rainy here but it IS obscenely hot. We're talking in the 100s. Ouch.

    And yet you've still got me craving this baked do you do it?

  4. Yum! Almost like a moussaka... one of my faves. Bakes are in every magazine right now due to the weather, it's crazy! But you know what, nothing beats them in winter anyway. Yours looks amaaazing.

  5. I want a washer drier..and this not-bake too. Looks so tasty, and quite simple too (or am I not reading it right)! Another one I'll add to my "to make list".

  6. hehe...I like the rain! But I know what you mean about the clothes- it's always sunny enough at some point in the morning that we wash the clothes but by the time we hang them out, or worse, after we hang them out, it starts raining *sigh* This looks delicious! I would probably eat as much as you too!

  7. This is perfect for me! I can't stand Bechamel but love ricotta so the topping is a great alternative.

  8. Love eggplant! Stud isnt a fan but if I hide it in things, he doesnt notice so everyones happy lol. Nice work on the washer dryer :) I must admit, I dont mind the rain cos I bought some new wellies so they're getting good use. Please dont hurt me :( lol ;)

  9. Hasn't it just been miserable? Glad for you that you've got a washer/dryer -- I can never seem to work them out though and always end up with moist clothes that need to hang anyway ..

  10. Wow, this look delicious, love beef, eggplants and even tastier with ricotta. Looks delicious!
    Sorry about the for the washer and dryer, we are in the process to replace ours...anyway, hope you have a better week :-)