We seem to be racing through August, yes it is August… You may have indeed forgotten it is actually Summer with all these cloudy grey days and rain. But luckily for us the crops are still managing to realise what season we’re in!
So yes, hello August, hello Mediterranean vegetables!
There’s tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, aubergine galore. If you get a seasonal veg bag no doubt you’ve already had plenty of British grown med veg : ) If you don’t, get yourself down to your local farmers market and taste the delights, it’s a world away from the stuff you buy in a supermarket in the middle of winter imported from who knows where!
Now the Mediterranean isn’t normally associated with vegan cuisine but I discovered a traditional vegan dish in Mallorca when on holiday there earlier in the year.
With all these wonderful Medeterrean vegetables in season in the UK, I can now finally recreate it at home. Wohoo!
This dish is wonderfully simple but oh so delicious!!
6 medium sized tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
3 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
Good quality salt
Black pepper to taste
- Begin by making the tomato sauce. Crush the garlic and gently fry in a large saucepan with a little olive oil for a minute or two.
- Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the pan, also add the bay leaves and tomato puree. Stir and leave on a low/medium heat with a lid askew. Leave to cook gently whilst you prepare the vegetables, checking and stirring occasionally.
- Heat a large frying pan to a medium/high heat. Thinly slice the potatoes and fry them off until cooked and starting to brown.
- Layer the potatoes in the base of an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with a little salt. Thinly slice the remaining vegetables.
- Add a little more love oil to the frying pan before frying the onions until soft and starting to brown. Then layer on top of the potatoes and sprinkle with a little salt.
- Repeat with the courgettes and then the aubergine, layering each in turn.
- Return to the tomato sauce, season and pour over the layered vegetables. Press down with the back of a spoon to ensure the sauce soaks through all the layers.
- Bake at 180C in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes and serve with a side of wilted chard.
It’s pretty easy to forget that produce like courgettes and tomatoes only grow in a fairly narrow window in this country when we can buy them all year round in supermarkets. By eating locally grown food we can connect with our own region and climate, and truly value the variety and seasonality of local produce. Not only does home grown, local produce taste better, it makes you value the ingredients all the more and can inspire you to make something that extra special : )