Christine McFadden Cookery and Food Writing
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Christine McFadden with students
Barbecued Lobster with
New Potatoes, Watercress
and Chives
Blackberries with Sweet
Spiced Ricotta
Candied Seville Orange
Peel in Syrup
Celeriac Steaks with
Mushrooms, Parmesan and
Sizzled Sage
Celery and Barley Soup
with Seeds
Coconut Flour Pancakes
with Lime
Deep-Fried Egg
Easy Curry
Fennel, Orange, Olive
and Red Onion Salad
Globe Artichokes
Glorious Green Stir-Fry
Gooseberries with Orange
and Bay Syrup
Goose Egg Frittata with
Potato, Onions and
Piquillo Peppers
Greengage and
Cobnut Crumble
Guinea Fowl with Peppercorn
and Kaffir Lime Leaf Butter
Japonica Jelly
Korean Roasted Roots
Medlar and Ginger Creams
Medlar and Rosemary Jelly
Meringue Roulade with Strawberry, Cucumber
and Mint Filling
Mexican-Style Cabbage Soup with Pork and Beans
Moroccan Goat Tagine with
Apricots and Almonds
Oxtail, Celeriac and Carrots
Pan de Higo
(Spanish Fig Bread)
Pan-Fried Cauliflower with
Lovage Crumbs and Lemon
Parsnip and Ginger Cupcakes with Tangerine Drizzle
Pasta Con Le Sarde
Peach and Almond Ricotta
Peaches in Strawberry-Rose Syrup
Pear and Chestnut Tart with
Rosemary and Orange Syrup
Quince Compôte
Quince and Ginger Sorbet
Rabbit with Potatoes,
Peppers and Lemon
Roasted Parsnip and
Cumin Soup
Roasted Squash and
Chilli Soup
Roasted Swede, Ginger and
Spiced Black Bean Soup
Rosemary Sorbet
Rhubarb and Angelica Sorbet
Rhubarb Tart with Star Anise
and Orange
Salted Sevilles with Star Anise, Coriander and Chilli
Sea Bass Parcels
with Fennel and
Preserved Lemon
Sea Buckthorn, Apple
and Ginger Cake
Seville Orange Ice Cream
Sicilian Sesame Bread
Spiced Medlar Tart with
Walnut Pastry
Spiced Poached Pears,
Walnuts and Sheep’s Cheese
Spiced Roast Quince with
Honey and Clotted Cream
Spring Lamb and Barley Pie
with Lemon, Rosemary
and Mint
Strawberry and
Black Pepper Ice-Cream
Strawberry Compôte with
Tarragon and Orange Zest
Steak and Kidney Pie
Sweet Pepper Tarte Tatin
with Black Pepper Caramel
Turkey Egg Frittata with
Roasted Red Peppers
Two-Cherry Yogurt Ice
Venison Vindaloo
Warm Duck Breasts with Peppery Leaves, Radishes and Walnuts
Warm Salad of Partridge,
Pears and Walnuts
Watercress and
Mushroom Pâté
Sicilian caponata aubergine recipe development Christine McFadden
Sicilian sesame bread recipe Dorset Foodie


This is a traditional Sicilian stew with a refreshing sweet-sour flavour. Serve warm or at room temperature, as an antipasti or side dish. Allow plenty of time for salting the aubergines. Caponata improves with keeping and can be stored in the fridge for several days. Bring it back to room temperature when you
serve it.
Serves 4–6

aubergines 2 medium, sliced into 2cm cubes
sea salt 1½ tsp, plus extra for seasoning
olive oil for frying
celery stalks 4–5, destringed, sliced into 2cm pieces
red pepper 2, deseeded and cut into 2cm squares
onion 1 medium, finely chopped
chopped tomatoes 400g can
freshly ground black pepper
sugar 1 tbsp
white wine vinegar 5 tbsp
plain chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids) about 15g finely grated to make 1 tbsp
salted capers 3 tbsp rinsed
raisins or sultanas 50g
large green or black olives (preferably Sicilian) 12–15, pitted and halved
sesame bread (see separate recipe) or sourdough to serve
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

1) Tip the diced aubergines into a roomy colander and toss with the salt. Cover with a weighted plate and leave to drain for at least 2 hours. Gently squeeze the aubergines to remove excess liquid. Spread out on a tray lined with paper towel and blot dry.

2) Heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan large enough to take the aubergine cubes in a single layer. Once the oil is very hot, fry the aubergines, stirring now and again, until golden – about 5 minutes. Remove with a perforated spoon, blot on fresh paper towel and set aside.

3) Fry the celery and red pepper together in the remaining oil (add a little more oil if necessary), until golden round the edges. Remove from the pan, blot on fresh paper towel and set aside.

4) Meanwhile, heat another 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-based casserole or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, a sprinkle of salt, and fry for about 5 minutes until soft.

5) Add the tomatoes to the onion, season with freshly ground black pepper and a little more salt. Simmer uncovered, for 12–15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.

6) While the tomato mixture is cooking, heat the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan. Add the chocolate, capers, raisins and olives. Stir over gentle heat until the chocolate has melted.
Stir the chocolate mixture into the tomato mixture. Simmer for 2–3 minutes.

7) Stir in the aubergines, celery and red pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, partially covered, until thickened. Check the seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature with a slice of sesame bread or sourdough, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.

Sicilian Sesame Bread

Sicilian bread is made with semola rimacinata (remilled durum wheat). This gives it a gorgeous golden crumb, while the sesame seed coating provides a nice nutty flavour and a bit of crunch.
Diastatic malt flour (dough improver) is optional but it helps improve the rise. See Sources below for suppliers.
The bread is easy to make with a standing mixer. Otherwise give your arm muscles a work-out and knead by hand.
Makes 2 loaves

semola rimacinata 410g
strong Canadian bread flour 120g
easy-bake dried yeast 1 tbsp
fine sea salt 1 heaped tsp
diastatic malt flour (optional) ¾ tsp
olive oil or toasted sesame oil 2 tbsp
tepid water 300ml
egg white 1
cold water 1 tbsp
sesame seeds 2 tbsp

1) Put the semola, bread flour, dried yeast, salt, diastatic malt flour (if using) in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix for 2 minutes. Otherwise put in a sieve set over a bowl. Muddle with your fingers, then shake through the sieve. Sieve once or twice more until well blended. If using a standing mixer, remove a cupful of the flour mixture and set aside.

2) Combine the oil and tepid water in a jug. Gradually add to the flour mixture, stirring to blend. Mix for a few minutes until the dough comes together. If using a standing mixer, gradually add the reserved cup of flour. Knead for 6 minutes (or longer by hand) until you have a soft springy dough.

3) Shape the dough into a ball and put in an oiled bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place for about 1½ hours until doubled in size.

4) Knock back the dough and divide in half. Roll each half into a 45cm long rope. Working with one piece of dough at a time, mark the centre of the rope. Coil one end to the centre, then coil the other end to make an 'S' shape.

5) Place the loaves on a greased or silicon-lined baking tray, leaving as much space as possible between them to allow for expansion. Cover with a large upturned roasting tin, or oiled cling wrap. Leave to rise for 1 hour, until puffy.

6) Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

7) Lightly beat the egg white with the cold water. Brush over the loaves. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, pressing them into the dough. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through, until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Semola Rimacinata is sold by good Italian delis. You can also buy it online from
Diastatic malt flour is sold by

    Photography: Christine McFadden    
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