I love this Italian vegetarian dish very much, so I came up with my own version. I’m very happy to share it with you!


For the tomato sauce 

3 tbs olive oil (plus more to drizzle over the aubergine)

400g tin chopped tomatoes 

1/2 cup red wine

150g red onion (chopped)

4 garlic cloves (chopped)

1 tsp crushed chilli (optional)

1 tbs brown sugar 

2 bay leaves 

1 tbs thyme leaves 

Salt and pepper to taste 

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3 big aubergines (in thick slices)

250g fresh tomato chopped (de-seeded and skinless)

150g mozzarella cheese 

150g grated parmesan cheese 

3 tbs fresh basil leaves 

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs 

75g pine nuts (roasted)


Heat the olive oil, add garlic and onion and cook for around 7 minutes. Add chopped tomato, bay leaves and thyme, cook until oil appears on the surface then add the sugar and wine, cook for about 10 minutes. Check the seasoning.

Heat the oven to 180*

Arrange the sliced aubergine on a sheet pan and drizzle with some olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes until golden brown.

In a bowl mix the chopped basil, breadcrumbs, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.

In a baking dish pour 1/3 of the tomato sauce, then arrange the aubergine slices. Sprinkle over the chopped tomatoes, the breadcrumb mix and crumbled mozzarella cheese.

Continue layering until the ingredients are finished, end with some of the breadcrumb mixture.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with a salad and bread.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Spicy Pork Goulash

One of the national dishes of Hungary, I have come up with my own goulash recipe using Sri Lankan spices and pork meat. It goes very well with polenta.
500g pork, diced
1 big red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 big tomatoes, the skin removed then chopped (or 1 tin chopped tomatoes)
3 red peppers, sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tbs plain flour
2 tbs paprika
1 tbs crushed chilli
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbs dry herbs
2 bay leaves
3 tbs olive oil
1 cup red wine
3 cups of stock (chicken or beef)
Salt to taste
Sprinkle the pork with the flour, heat the pan with half of the oil, add the meat and fry until browned. Remove from pan, add the rest of the oil, then add the onion, garlic and red peppers. Mix well and cook until they soften. Add spices, tomatoes, bay leaves and the herbs, mix well. Pour in the wine and seasoning, then add the meat and stock. Cover and cook on a low flame for 30-40 minutes. Check the seasoning, then add the parsley. Serve with rice or polenta.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Spinach and Cheese Filo Bake

500g pack ready rolled filo pastry
4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
500g spinach (washed and drained)
200g curly kale (chopped)
200g Savoy cabbage (chopped)
200g leeks (white part, chopped)
100g hazelnuts (roasted and chopped)
1 tbs plain flour
250g Camembert cheese (cut into thin slices)
150g breadcrumbs with 3 tbs parsley (mixed together)
3 tbs olive oil
100g butter (melted)
2 egg yolks (beaten)
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 180*. Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and then the spinach, leeks and other greens. Mix well. Next, add the flour and remove from the heat. Add the nuts and check the seasoning. Line the filo pastry sheets in a baking dish, brush with egg. Spoon over half of the green mixture, then cover with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Top up with the remaining mixture and cover with pastry. Transfer to a baking plate. Brush with egg wash and bake for 30 minutes until golden.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Coq au Vin

This classic French chicken dish is normally made with bacon, but I decided to try without. It came out nicely, full of flavour. Serve on special occasions.
750g chicken thighs and legs with the skin on
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tbs tomato puree
1 cup small shallots (in Srilanka we use these a lot)
2 cups carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
250g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tbs olive oil
2 cups red wine
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 star anise
Salt and pepper to taste
Bouquet garni – 3 bay leaves, 2 sprigs rosemary, 3 sprigs thyme, 5 cloves tied into a small bundle (make sure you remove it before serving).
Fresh thyme for garnish
To thicken:
2 tbs plain flour
2 tbs butter
Heat the butter in a pan, add the flour to make a puree; add into the casserole
Heat half of the oil in a thick-bottom pan, add the chicken skin side down and cook 5-8 minutes uncovered, turning once until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a separate bowl. Heat the rest of the oil then add the garlic, onion and mushrooms, then the carrot, tomato, and tomato puree. Add red wine, chicken stock and herbs, put the chicken back into the pan and mix carefully. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer, then add the thickener. Cover and cook for 50 mins – 1hr. Remove the star anise and bouquet garni, check the seasoning. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve with a potato bake.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Pork Wellington

Inspired by the legendary dish, Beef Wellington, I have added my own ingredients to transform pork fillet into something special. The flavour of the apple really enhances the taste.
750g pork fillet
300g brown mushrooms (chopped)
3 celery sticks (peeled and chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
2 green apples (grated)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
30cm x 40cm puff pastry sheet
2 tbs black sesame seeds
2 tbs Dijon mustard
2 egg yolks (beaten)
3 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 180*
Heat a non-stick frying pan, and seal the fillet of pork. Keep it on the side.
Using the same pan heat the oil then add garlic, onion, celery, and mushrooms. Stir together, and when the aromas come out add the apple. Remove from the heat.
Lay the pastry on a sheet pan and spread with the mushroom mixture. Then lay on the pork fillet and spread with the mustard and seasoning.
Center the fillet, fold over the pastry to wrap and seal.
Keep it in the fridge for 20 minutes
Take it out and brush with egg yolk, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Chicken and Vegetable Quiche

This is a delicious yet simple bake for lunch, full of flavour too. Instead of chicken you can just use vegetables.



Frozen puff pastry roll

300g skinless and boneless chicken (diced)

250g potato (boiled and diced)

150g leeks (sliced)

100g grated carrot

150g baby spinach (washed and dried)

2 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 eggs (beaten)

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs lime juice

1/2. cup double cream

150g cheddar cheese (grated)

50g parsley (chopped)

Salt and pepper to taste



Heat the oven to 175*

Line the pastry tray with the puff pastry sheet and keep in the fridge

Heat the oil in a pan, add garlic and leeks cook for about 5 minutes

Add the chicken and for cook another 15 minutes, then add salt and pepper

Remove from heat, add spinach, carrot, lime juice and half of the parsley

In bowl mix the eggs and cream

Take the pastry out of the fridge, fill with the chicken and vegetable mixture then pour the egg mixture over the top

Sprinkle with the cheese and rest of the parsley

Bake around 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown

Serve with mixed salad leaves

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.

Sweet Potato and Potato Dumplings

This pure vegetarian dish is a favourite in our house! Serve with a simple salad.
1 cup boiled and mashed potato
2 cup boiled and mashed sweet potato
1 cup flour
3 tbs chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
For sauce
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tbs flour
3 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup milk
50g grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl mix flour, potato, sweet potato, parsley and salt. Cover and keep on the side. In a pan heat the butter and oil, then add the garlic and onion. Sauté then add mushrooms to soften. Add flour, mix well and add milk a little at a time. Remove from the heat, mix in the white wine, basil and salt and pepper. Check the seasoning.
On a chopping board or worktop sprinkle some flour and roll out the potato mixture. Cut as you like into 1 inch pieces.
Boil the water then add the dumplings a few at a time. When they float to the surface, remove from pan and place into an ovenproof dish.
Heat the sauce on a low flame, add the dumplings and sprinkle with cheese and basil. Serve immediately.

© Ajith Perera. All rights reserved.