Tuesday, 18 October 2016


Apologies for my absence from this blog for a few weeks. Needed to take a few days out to refresh my thoughts, try out new recipes and basically veg out. But I'm back, so watch out!

Thinking about a garden tour of Italy in 2018. What do you think? I've visited Italy many times, seen a few famous gardens as well as magnificent towns, cities, churches, cathedrals, markets and museums. But a holiday just looking at gardens, now wouldn't that be fabulous for a 'plant-a-holic' like myself?

On my last visit to Florence I walked the Boboli Gardens. The view of Florence from the top of the embankments was breathtaking. 

I was reminded of this trip only a couple of weeks ago when I visited a dear friend in Brisbane. Over dinner - a fabulous Caponata, we discussed our very next adventure - walking trails and gardens in Tasmania - a garden tour of Italy! With these very thoughts on my return to Adelaide I grabbed my Private Gardens of Italy by Helena Attlee and an Italian phrase book. Neither of which would help if we go the Tasmanian road. 

So dreams of Italy and Italian food and nudged by my restorative time in Brisbane - here is my version of Caponata.
Buon appetito!

The origin of this recipe is thought to be Spanish and the earliest recorded recipe dates back to around 1700. The thought is, that it is derived from the word Caponada meaning a kind of relish and yes the consistency could almost be classed as a thick relish.  I suppose some people might serve this with meat or chicken but on its own I think it's perfect. Today, Caponata is often referred to as Sicilian Caponata or Sicilian Stew.

The flavours will be much stronger if you cook the Caponata the day before you wish to eat it. Store covered in the fridge overnight.


1 large eggplant diced
1 onion finely diced
I red capsicum diced
2 cloves garlic crushed
3 large tomatoes diced
1 440g tin crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons capers
10 kalamata olives, halved, pits removed
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup water/veg stock
handful chopped parsley and oregano
olive oil

  • Put a good lug of olive oil into a large fry pan and on a low heat cook onions and garlic until slightly softened. 
  • Add eggplant and cook until it is lightly browned and starting to soften.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, except parsley and oregano and cook on a low heat until the eggplant is very, very soft. Around 30 -40 minutes. Keep checking to ensure that it is not sticking on the bottom. Add a little more water/stock and continue to cook. 
  • The mixture should be nice and thick and the eggplant very, very soft. Check seasoning. If you are not going to eat this straight away, then hold off adding the parsley and oregano.
You can serve this with any pasta/couscous if you prefer, but some nice chunky bread to mop up the juices is my preference.

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