13 August 2009



This summer I went to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. How did I visit them if they were lost you might ask…. well once was lost now is found. The Heligan estate was in the Tremayne family for over 400 years, however in 1914, with the start of WWI the gardens were abandoned and left to disrepair. It was only seventy years late in 1990 that Tim Smith, John Nelson and a growing team of enthusiastic volunteers began restoring the gardens to their original splendor and working order.

They now boast one of the most wonderful vegetable garden with several rare varieties of plants, some of which you can buy from seed. There were also two wheelbarrows with freshly plucked veggies for guest to take home. A plump beetroot and several new potatoes made their way into my suitcase. I can only imagine what customs must have thought when scanning my things!!!

All this walking through gardens inspired me to create a few new recipes, including this salad. Great for hot summer lunches,  using fresh vegetables and easy to make in advance.


Grilled Aubergine & Roasted Tomato Summer Salad

(Salad for 4 people)

  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • 50g roquette (rucola)
  • 1 medium aubergine (eggplant)
  • 50g ricotta

Aubergine Marinade

  • 1 large crushed garlic clove
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Salad Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper
  • Dash soya sauce

Cooking directions:

  1. First make the aubergine marinade and the salad dressing and set them both aside
  2. Pre-heat the oven GRILL to 150°C, placing the rack near the top of the oven.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper and brush with a little of the aubergine marinade. Cut each tomato in half and place open-side down on the baking paper.
  4. Cook the tomatoes for 15 minutes or until their top are just a touch golden.
  5. While waiting prepare the aubergine. Heat a gill pan on medium-high heat. Remove the top and bottom of the aubergine & cut it into four pieces (see image). Slice one of the pieces into paper thin strips.*
  6. Brush one side of the slices with the aubergine marinade and place on the grill. Grill for approx. 1 min or until dark lines appear.
  7. Brush the ungrilled side with a little marinade and turn the slices over to grill the other side.
  8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 until all four pieces are sliced and grilled.
  9. In four bowls place a portion of roquette salad leaves, grilled aubergines, roasted tomatoes and small teaspoons of ricotta cheese and drizzle with salad dressing.

*I tried doing this with a potato peeler and mandolin but without success. I recommend using a large very sharp knife and cutting the thin slices individually.



  1. Marjorie Says:

    All these vegetables are my favourites and I love the taste of roquette greens, the idea of marinating the aubergines and lastly adding ricotta cheese together with the vinaigrette dressing – nice touch. I like grilling aubergines since this keeps them from becoming watery.
    Nice to have you back as have missed your creative recipes. Marjorie x

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