Vegetarian Moussaka

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C)
  • 1 oz (25 g) green or Puy lentils
  • ½ small aubergine (3 oz/75 g), chopped into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 oz (50 g) green pepper, chopped small
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or dry cider
  • 1 level dessertspoon tomato puree
  • a good pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 level teaspoon chopped parsley
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • For the topping:
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (See recipe introduction)
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  1. First of all cook the lentils in 2 fl oz (55 ml) water (no salt added) at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes or until they are softened and all the water has been absorbed. (If you are cooking a double quantity, measure out half of them into a bowl and when they have got quite cold, cover the bowl with clingfilm and store in the fridge.)
  2. Next prepare the aubergines: place the cubes in a colander, sprinkle them with a little salt, then cover with a plate weighted down with a saucer topped with some scale-weights. Leave them to drain for 20 minutes, then squeeze them dry in a clean tea-cloth.
  3. Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying-pan and cook the onion and pepper together in it until they are softened – about 8-10 minutes. Then remove them to a plate, add the rest of the oil to the pan and cook the aubergine, which will also take about 10 minutes to soften. After that add the garlic, cook that for a minute then return the onion and pepper to the pan. Now mix the wine and tomato purée together with the cinnamon and parsley in a jug, then pour this into the vegetable mixture.
  4. Stir in the softened lentils, add a good seasoning of salt and pepper, then mix until everything is thoroughly combined. Next spoon the whole lot into a 5 inch (13 cm) ramekin. Beat the egg together with the yoghurt, Parmesan and a little freshly grated nutmeg and finally pour this over the top of the vegetables.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is puffy and golden. Brown rice or wholewheat pitta bread would be a nice accompaniment.