The spice of life

8 min read

Impress dinner party guests with delicious twists on classics and incredible flavours in this selection of dishes from chef Nisha Parmar


Aubergine tarte tatin; see overleaf for recipe

I served this dish of marinated harissa aubergines in puff pastry in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, as part of a Christmas charity gala. It looks so impressive, yet it is a super-simple baked delight. Drizzle over the beautiful green tahini to bring the tart to life.

Serve with roast potatoes and seasonal greens, or salad leaves in summer.

● 1 large or 2 small aubergines

● 3 tbsp rose harissa

● 2 tbsp olive oil

● 1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry

● Sea salt

● 1 tbsp runny honey, to serve

● 60g runny tahini

● 1 garlic clove, crushed

● 30g coriander or parsley leaves

● 2 tbsp lemon juice

● Mint leaves, finely chopped

● A few pomegranate seeds (optional)

1. Cut the aubergines into 2cm discs (enough to cover the tart), rub a little salt over each, then rub the harissa paste all over them, adding 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to help spread it.

2. Add the remaining oil to a large ovenproof frying pan, about 26cm in diameter, and place over a medium heat. Add the aubergine slices in a single layer and cook, turning for about 10 minutes, until slightly browned on both sides and softened slightly. Remove from the heat.

3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Lay out the pastry on a flat surface and cut a circle a little larger than the pan, allowing for shrinkage. Carefully drape the pastry over the aubergines, tucking in the sides around the edge. Prick a few holes using a sharp knife, to allow out the steam, and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the pastry has risen and is golden. (You can, if you wish, prepare the tart up to the point that it goes in the oven and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook, increasing the baking time by 10 minutes.)

4. Meanwhile, blitz the ingredients for the green tahini sauce together in a small food processor, adding a splash of water for pouring consistency.

5. Remove the tart from the oven and leave it to stand for 5 minutes to cool a little. Grab a plate big enough to cover the pan and, taking care to protect your hands from the heat, flip the tart upside down onto the plate.

6. Drizzle the tart with the honey and green tahini sauce and garnish with mint and pomegranate seeds, if desired.


Accidental recipes from fridge raids seem to be my best inventions; pairing together ingredients to use up before they get thrown out gives me such a buzz. I once had copious amounts of potatoes and wild rocket to use up – here is the result: suns

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