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Here is a nice spring recipe for a weekend night using seasonal ingredients and that still has a substantial feel to it as well as a nod to the hotter climbs to come!

The best-known version in Europe and the Americas is the Greek variant created in the 1920’s. Many versions have a top layer made of milk-based sauce thickened with egg (custard) or flour. In Greece, the dish is layered and typically served hot.

Most versions are based primarily on sautéed aubergine and tomato, usually with minced meat, mostly lamb. The Greek version includes layers of meat and eggplant topped with a Béchamel sauce, and baked.

The modern Greek version was created by the French-trained Greek chef Nikolaos Tselementes in the 1920s. recipe has three layers that are separately cooked before being combined for the final baking: a bottom layer of sliced eggplant sautéed in olive oil; a middle layer of ground lamb lightly cooked with chopped or puréed tomatoes, onion, garlic, and spices (cinnamon, allspice and black pepper); and a top layer of Béchamel sauce or savory custard.


Here it is served with a little tomato and red onion salad and some pesto roasted potatoes.

For the new potatoes


  • 12 New Potatoes
  • Pesto


For the red onion salad


  • 8 cherry tomato
  • 1 red onion
  • Rocket leaves


For the moussaka


  • 1 large aubergine, sliced into 1cm slices
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 600g minced lamb
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon tomato puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano


White sauce


  • 250ml milk
  • 25g butter
  • 25g flour
  • A pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 30g crumbled feta cheese (grated Parmesan or Cheddar can be used)
  • 250g ricotta
  • 1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.

2. Sprinkle the aubergine with salt and leave for 30 minutes (draws out bitter juices). Then rinse aubergine in a colander and squeeze out excess liquid. Dry well with a kitchen cloth. Add to roasting tin and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Mix to give a good coating. Roast for 30 minutes.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add mince, break up with a fork till browned. Add garlic, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, and coriander, stir for 1-2 minutes. Add herbs, tomatoes, and puree. Stir. Turn down the heat to very low and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, melt butter in pan, then remove from heat and add flour and mix, return to heat, and slowly mix in the milk. Stir over a medium heat until thickened. Season and add cheese and ricotta, stir. Leave to cool.

5. In an ovenproof dish add a third of the lamb mixture, followed by half the aubergine, then lamb, then aubergine, finishing with the rest of the mince (you can layer less or more according to dish size but make sure top layer is lamb).

6. Lightly whisk egg in a separate bowl and then stir into white sauce. Top with white sauce and bake in oven for 50 minutes.

7. Top with a little crumbled feta cheese and a few leaves of rocket

8. Boil the new potatoes for 20 mins or until cooked. Top and tail and roll in a little pesto

9. Slice cherry tomatoes and thinly slice red onion, toss in leaves and drizzle with a little oil and balsamic just before serving

Chef note – the picture is where we made the Moussaka individually

This recipe was brought to you by…


Alistair Coe
Head Chef at Carlisle Racecourse



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