Monday, September 28, 2020

Impromptu Spring Chicken, Tomato and Eggplant Traybake Surprise

 It was one of those rare days on the weekend when I hadn't planned what we were having for dinner. It was a beautiful Spring day, perfect for gardening, and that's what we did in the morning and the late afternoon until the sun was setting and it was Sundowner time. When I stepped into the kitchen, I knew I had 6 chicken thighs in the frig which needed cooking but beyond that I hadn't organised any specific ingredients to be on hand for cooking. Not like me at all. Does that sound familiar? I love a tasty traybake, and that is what I cooked in the end using ingredients on hand from the garden and the pantry and the frig.  So here it is my foodie friends, my impromptu Spring traybake and it was delicious. 

It's quite Mediterranean really. Zucchini could replace the eggplant, and capsicum could be added as well. It's a matter of what you have on hand.This photo wouldn't win any accolades on Instagram, but don't be fooled as this is one delicious meal. 

We have three cherry tomato bushes growing in our garden and the tomatoes are finally starting to ripen. I had optimistic visions of picking fully ripened whole trusses of this beautiful fruit but that hasn't happened. Instead we are picking individually ripened tomatoes, or half ripened ones which I am ripening on a sunny windowsill. I've tried putting a banana with them as well to hasten ripening but they seem to need to just take their own sweet time to ripen when they are ready. It's lovely to eat tomatoes which have ripened on the bush in preference to those that are artificially ripened, don't you think?

Talking of gardening, here a few photos of some Spring flowers in our cottage garden.

Our latest project of potting up some herbs and flowers, oregano and basil are in the outside pots.The pink flowering bush in the middle is supposed to be attracting the bees, only they don't know that.

Not a bee to be seen. This bush was full of bees at the plant nursery. Ours have had a better offer.

Tropical bougainvillea

Some potted Spring colour

Some of my flowering orchids below are putting on a show for Spring.

Let's cook:

This recipe serves 4 people with 8 chicken pieces. I was cooking this for the two of us, and I only had 6 chicken thighs and we had 2 meals from it. It is a very easy recipe to adjust the ingredients for.


8 chicken thighs or legs, to line your baking tray

1 bunch of fresh basil, or you could use dried or even fresh oregano

2 handfuls of large ripe cherry tomatoes

1 cup of  black olives with stones removed

1 small loaf of sourdough rye bread, torn into pieces. I used some I had baked myself.

2 mild fresh chilli peppers

1 bulb of garlic

Olive oil

2 thickly sliced  Japanese eggplant, or any type of eggplant will do. Use more if you have it.

My Japanese eggplant look like these.


Preheat your oven to 180 deg. C

Line a deep roasting tray with your chicken. Break the garlic into cloves with the skin still on.

Add the basil leaves, tomatoes, unpeeled garlic cloves, olives and eggplant to the chicken in the tray.

Add the torn up chunks of sourdough bread to the tray.

Drizzle some olive oil on the meat and traybake ingredients, and some salt and black pepper to season.

Toss the lot with your hands so that all of the ingredients are lightly coated with oil, and place the chicken pieces on top.

Bake for 30 minutes in a moderate oven and then turn the chicken over for another 30 minutes.

OPTION: At this stage you can other top the ingredients with slices of haloumi and cook until browned, or lay strips of streaky bacon over the top and cook for another 15 minutes. I didn't do either of these options but next time I will, when I am more organised.

Serve with a nice salad or a green vegetable such as broccolini.

Sunday was bread baking day, and this is my latest rye sourdough cob loaf. I'm experimenting with designs. This one looks a bit crazed but it was delicious.

Add caption

Happy cooking and I really hope you have an enjoyable week. I am feeling very thankful on a Monday. Thanks for dropping by,

Warmest wishes,



  1. All those flowers are so beautiful. You are an excellent gardener, Pauline. That sourdough rye bread looks just like the one in our bakery here. Well done! I like to make traybake can throw almost anything and boom...a delicious and satisfying meal is born. Happy Spring and have fun with gardening!

    1. Thanks so much Angie, you are so kind with your comments. We don't have a bakery here where I live that makes sourdough cobs like this, but I certainly take note of them on line and if we get to travel. The main thing is that they are good bread. I think I inherited a green thumb from my Mum and I enjoy it. Take care.

  2. such pretty flowers pauline. i like a good traybake too. so quick and easy and delicious. we used to grow herbs in the garden and the native bees just adored the basil flowers. sadly we don't see bees or snails or even wasps about these days. cute little eggplants too. i made eggplant relish yesterday. the recipe called for 1.5 cups of oil. omg! it was like a lake of oil with bits of eggplant swimming vainly around. grrrr!

    1. Sherry at least you will have some nice tasting eggplant oil. I was given a jar of pickled eggplant and there was a lot of oil but the eggplant tasted delicious. I feel sad though that you don't see any bees or wasps about, thankfully we don't have a snail problem, can do without those. Somebody near you must be spraying poisons around perhaps. It's interesting though that even though we have a bee hive, only a few pollinate our plants and eat the nectar, they like to visit the whole neighbourhood, very social.Really appreciate your comment my friend.

  3. Your garden is looking amazing! My bougainvillea needs a lot of clearing up. Our tomatoes never ripen as the dogs eat them off the vines. Nice to have garden work to keep you busy and sundowners as a reward :)

    1. I'm pleased our dog hasn't discovered the tomatoes, he likes carrots though, that we feed him. Yes a sundowner is such a reward at the end of the day isn't it? Spring should be a showcase of gardens here, so it's nice to have some flowers.Thanks for dropping by Tandy considering what a busy lady you are.

  4. Pauline, I had cherry tomatoes all through winter and now I have none growing at all. I have saved and dried the seeds of a lot of different tomatoes from the farmers market and I potted them ip in newspaper pots. They are doing well so far but it will be nice when they are producing. That bake looks delicious as does your sourdough.

  5. Thanks Chel, fancy you having productive tomatoes in Toowoomba, that's inspiring considering your Winter. We are going to stress ours, to try and get them to ripen on the bush, it can be a challenge. Take care, Pauline

  6. Yum, I love tray bakes, so easy, quick ans tasty everytime! The flowers are so beautiful, love their colors. I love homemade bread, I never buy, always bake my own, yours look perfect!

    1. Thanks Natalia, yes we are lucky here in the tropics to have so many colourful plants. Can't go too far wrong with a traybake, one cooking utensil, so tasty, and feeds a crowd.

  7. Such a nice dish -- I really like meals like this. Reasonably quick to put together, and so versatile. Your flowers look great! Our garden is just getting to the end of its glory (still looks pretty good, though). But in another few weeks the frost will be getting everything, alas.

    1. Thanks KR, here we are worrying about the impending heat for our garden, and you are worrying about frost. Jack Frost doesn't visit this part of the world.Who doesn't love a good traybake.

  8. Those spontaneous unplanned meals often turn out to be the best meals in our house. I love your garden images, it's a joy as our summer has ended and we're well into fall.

    1. Thanks for dropping by Ron, I always know it's Fall when lots of pumpkin recipes start appearing everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, hee hee. Gardening is such a joy here for us and the weather is still quite cool at times so we are making the most of it. I don't do a lot of spontaneous meals but they are always delicious when I do. Best wishes, Pauline

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks so much Iwona, it's lovely to hear from you. I try to talk about my orchids on my blog from time to time. They are a wonderful interest.


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