Thursday, 17 May 2012


when i asked my daughter alexandra what meal she would like me to make for her birthday she requested moussaka and a warm bean salad.. when she asked for moussaka i was reminded of a day when she was 7 months old and as yet she hadn't eaten any solids..the rest of the family were eating moussaka for dinner and she made it very clear that she wanted some of it..i remember hesitantly feeding her a little spoon of it and thinking that she would spit it out but she ate that spoonful and many more with great enthusiasm and with no negative repercussions..from then on i would cook her vegetables in a tomato base because she wasn't interested at all in typical baby food..

i love having enough left for the next day's dinner!

moussaka recipe
i don't follow an exact recipe so some of the measurements are approximations
serves about 8


vegetable layer *
4-5 medium sized eggplant
4-5 peeled sebago or other waxy potatoes
1/2 cup olive oil

meat sauce
600 gms minced beef or lamb (i mince my own)
1 large onion cut fine
1 celery stalk cut fine
1 carrot grated fine
1-2 garlic cloves cut fine
1 (teaspoon) tsp honey
1 tablespoons (tbs) tomato paste
1 tbs plain flour
350 mls tomato puree (i used my own that i bottled in summer)
1 cup meat stock or water
1/2 cup dry white wine
2  tbs dried oregano
1 tsp allspice or to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon or to taste
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

cheese sauce
85 gms butter
120 gms plain flour
3 cups milk
3 eggs beaten
1 cup grated cheese **
grated nutmeg to taste
salt and pepper to taste

30 gms melted butter
1/2 breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated cheese **
1 tsp grated nutmeg or to taste

notes re ingredients
* the vegetable layer can comprise just one vegetable or a variety..i sometimes add zucchini too when it's in season
** the cheese can be parmesan, kefalotyri, pecorino, vintage cheddar or mizithra..this time i used a mix of mizithra, pecorino and vintage cheddar because that's what i had on hand


~cut the eggplant into 1 cm slices and sprinkle with salt and set aside for about 1/2 hour
~rinse the eggplant slices and dry
~peel the potatoes and cut into 1 cm slices and steam the slices in batches until al dente
~pat the slices dry
~lightly brush the slices of eggplant and potato with oil and place on a ridged grill and cook until each side is browned

meat sauce
~brown the meat in batches in a heavy based pan and set aside
~cook the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a little olive until softened
~return the meat to the pan with the vegetables and add the flour stirring well over a moderate heat for a few minutes
~add the wine and cook for a further few minutes to evaporate the alcohol
~ add the tomato paste, honey, tomato puree, stock or water, allspice, cinnamon, oregano, chilli flakes and salt and pepper, mix well, lower heat to a simmer and cover and cook for about 45 minutes
~taste and adjust seasoning

cheese sauce
~melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan, add flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir until well blended
~remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk
~cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth
~remove from the heat, add the eggs and cheese, and adjust seasoning


~brush a large rectangular dish with half of the melted butter and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the extra breadcrumbs
~layer the base with half of the potatoes and eggplant
~cover the vegetables with the meat sauce
~layer the remaining vegetables over the meat sauce
~pour the cheese sauce over the vegetables
~drizzle with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs, extra cheese and nutmeg
~bake at 180 deg c for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown

note re serving

i like to rest the moussaka for about 1/2 hour before serving..i find that it's easier to serve and that it presents better when it's had a chance to firm up a bit

warm green bean salad

300 gms or so of green beans
1 red onion finely sliced 
1/4 cup finely cut parsley
olive oil
lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper to taste

~lightly salt the red onion and leave it to 'pickle' for 1/2 hour to soften and remove the heat
~steamed the beans until they are al dente
~place the beans in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper while they're hot
~mix the onion with the beans and add the parsley and lemon juice* to taste


* i find it's better to add the lemon juice to the beans just before serving to prevent discolouration

happy thursday..x


  1. This looks great Jane, your daughter obviously had great taste from a young age. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I have lovely beans in my garden at the moment so I might have to try the moussaka and the salad soon!

    1. thanks jane..fancy having beans growing still..mine finished about 3 weeks ago..but i am in melbourne!

  2. Well...

    I wish you the BEST!!!!


    1. thankyou alexandra..i will pass your birthday wishes onto my alexandra..x

  3. I am SO grateful for this recipe Jane, as I'm sure the version I've been making is a dodgy copy. Thank you! :)

    1. hi celia..if you make this recipe i hope you enjoy it..i've only started adding the allspice and cinnamon recently but i think the warmth of the spices adds a lovely contrast to the subtle smoky background taste of the grilled eggplant and potato..x

  4. Replies
    1. it was a pleasure to make it for you my darling girl..x