Saturday, 1 August 2009

Quorn be good, quorn be bad

Early this week, I was making space in our small freezer for the podded green peas and I came across a packet of Quorn mince nearing its sell by date. I also had an aubergine sitting in the bottom of the fridge which I had picked up earlier in the week knowing it was now in season. Looking at it today, I realised it had to be used as it was starting to lose its glossy shine.

So the question was how to combine them both. When I first became aware of vegetarian meat substitutes like TVP and Quorn, I quickly learned how to vegify meat recipes like shepherds pie, cottage pie and 'not pork pies' into vegetarian friendly ones. This recipe for Aubergine bundles happens to be one of those early recipes that I managed to vegify from some cookbook.
I am not a person who fusses with different cooking techniques, the food I put on the table tends to be rustic, homely food, but there are days when I want to take my time in the kitchen and be a bit more experimental. Today happens to be one of those days.
In my younger days, I never liked aubergine, I would frown at the thought of the spongy texture and bland taste. But over the years, I have come to appreciate them more. I wont say I am totally into aubergines, I'm not and will only eat them now and again, but they must be cooked well, because there is nothing worse than a raw aubergine. This is one way I enjoy eating aubergines.
Aubergine Bundles
Serves 4 – 6
1 large aubergine
Olive oil for brushing
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
½ teaspoon of ground coriander
½ teaspoon of cayenne
350g packet of Quorn mince (for vegans use TVP reconstituted according to packet instructions)
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 x 400g can of tomatoes
2 tablespoons of fresh mint, minced
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 x 400g can of tomatoes
½ teaspoon of crushed dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar (optional)
Make the filling for the aubergines first. Heat the oil in a large wide pan. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes until tender, but not coloured. Add the garlic, cumin, and cayenne. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato puree, tomatoes and seasoning and cover for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time to ensure the tomatoes have broken down, when this has happened add the Quorn mince (or TVP if using) and mint, stir and then leave to simmer for 10 – 20 minutes until the Quorn mince is cooked through and the flavours infused.

Then make the sauce. Heat oil in a saucepan, add the onions and cook for about 8 minutes until tender, then add garlic, chilli flakes and cook for a further minute. Add the tomatoes and vinegar and season well. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 – 20 minutes, until thickened slightly.

While the sauce is cooking, prepare the aubergines. Remove the stalk and cut into 6 – 8 long, thin slices. Preheat a ridged griddle pan. Brush the aubergine slices with a little olive oil and grill on both sides until tender and nicely marked with criss cross patterns.

Preheat the oven gas mark 5.

Lay the aubergine slices on a work surface and spread generously with a layer of the filling. Roll up the slices, encasing the mince and arrange the aubergine bundles, seam side down, then pour the sauce over. Cover with foil and bake on the middle shelf in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, until hot through.


  1. how lovely - I'm totally going to make this!

  2. Yep as a child I could defo say I hated aubergine or as we call it melongene. I remember the first time I bought it as an adult as part of my shopping, while I was putting it into the fridge it suddenly hit me that I had bought a melongene to use for myself (I was a student nurse living on my own in the nurse's hostel), it dawned on me that I was definately growing up, bummer ;)

    I love them now though and like you must have them properly cooked not al dente but cooked, so completely get where you are coming from about that.

  3. I am drooling over that meal, it looks so, so good! May I come for dinner?

    I tend to use tvp rather than quorn, but like you I use it for bolognaise, shepherds pie and chilli. I do like this dish though!

  4. Thank you Leah,
    I hope you enjoy it. Just go easy on the cayenne.

  5. Hi Kella,
    Nice to know that I am not alone in my experiences of aubergine. It's interesting that you call it melongene. If you don't mind me asking, what culture or language is that?

    It is so intersting how our tastes change when we become adults. Your short story of how you became reaquainted with the aubergine aka eggplant aka melongene - made me smile big time!

    Hi there Jacqueline,
    I don't cook with Quorn that often either, but my husband a vegetarian by association. He still likes his 'texture' and bite, so I have to please him now and again, even if it is with mock meat substitutes.

    If you ever are in the WoS, let me know, maybe, if you wish, we could meet up for cuppa?!

  6. Hi I'm from Trinidad in the West Indies. English is our first language but there are many words which have their origins in other languages associated with the country's previous colonial leaders (Dutch, French, Spanish and lastly Britain) as well as the differing people that originated there (The Amerindians) before it was so called discovered and also who was either brought (African slaves)or who migrated (indentured workers like the Indians and Chinese) to Trinidad in the past.

    A quick search
    has highlighted its origin as French, its their word for eggplant, well you live and learn :) we pronounce it mel-on-jen.

    That about covers it, history lesson over :)

  7. aubergines are brill and that looks delicious. A nice salady version is just wih mozzarella, tomato and basil leaves wrapped up inside. Nic

  8. Thank You so much Kella,

    All this information is very appreciated.

    Hi Nic,
    I like your suggestion. Must try it out someday.

  9. looks lovely, but i'm no fan of aubergine either, though a great fan of quorn. it's so versatile and tasty!

  10. Looks delicious! I've never had Quorn; it's not common here.

  11. Hello there Piak K,
    Nice to make your acquaintance.

    Hiya Michele,
    Thanks. I don't know if thats a good thing, not having Quorn there, mmmm, but you do have more mock meat substitutes than what are available to us in the UK, that's for sure.


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