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Tumbet - a taste of the Mediterranean

  • A dish consisting of layers of sliced potatoes, aubergines (egg plant), courgettes and red bell peppers in a rich tomato sauce

Until yesterday, I'd never heard of Tumbet. Then I caught the tail end of the Hairy Bikers on TV and what they were preparing caught my eye. It looked delicious and just my sort of thing! Best of all - completely vegan, with no changes required for me to make it. The miracle? I had all the ingredients in the fridge.

So, what is Tumbet? It certainly doesn't sound like a dish, let alone something tasty. It sounds like a character from Narnia to me; "Oh Mr Tumbet, so nice to see you".

Tumbet is in fact a traditional Mallorcan dish - found in just about every local dining

establishment on the island (according to Wikipedia - it must be true). In case you're wondering, I've never visited, so can be excused for my ignorance.

I've tried to link the recipe here from the BBC Food site but it sends you to a frozen page, so I suggest using your search engine, typing in - Hairy Bikers, Tumbet if you want exact ingredients. I tend to read a recipe and guestimate - I think I was pretty close today. Anyways, this is the recipe;

It will be easy to adjust ingredients to suit your dish or family size. This was perfect for my large round dish and was enough to feed 4. TIP - Start making the sauce first, as it takes a while to simmer and reduce. I didn't realise until I was left waiting for quite a while, it would have saved a fair amount of time. Preheat oven to 200C (180 fan) 6 2 Aubergines 1.5cm slices 2 Courgettes sliced 2 roasted Red Peppers (from a jar) cut into strips. I did happen to have a jar, but think another time I will put fresh or frozen peppers into roast at same time as aubergines. 3 large waxy potatoes thinly sliced - mine were finely skinned and clean - I didn't peel. fresh Oregano and Basil Olive Oil freshly ground black pepper and sea salt For the Sauce 2 tbsp Olive Oil 4 crushed Garlic Cloves 400g ripe tomatoes - peeled and chopped 1tsp dried thyme freshly ground black pepper and sea salt pinch of sugar if required - I added a small drizzle of maple syrup instead. Hairy Bikers recipe transcribed from BBC Food.

Arrange slices of aubergine on a tray and brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and roast for 20-25 mins. Leave aside.

Whilst this is happening, crack on with the rest of the veg.

Use a deep frying pan or heavy bottomed pot to lightly fry the courgette slices in olive oil over medium heat, drain on kitchen towel and season. Leave aside.

Add more olive oil to pan and heat to medium - shallow fry the potato slices on both sides. Drain, season, leave aside.

For the sauce...

If you are following the Hairy Bikers recipe, I will say straight away I didn't chop or faff about with this in any way. I didn't measure any ingredients. A slosh of olive oil in the bottom, threw in half a pack of tomatoes and a tin of fancy cherry tomatoes in juice (I say fancy as they cost over £1 - for dishes where you want real flavour they are worth it), added a scatter of frozen chopped garlic and bunged the herbs on top. I chucked it all in the pan at once and let it do it's thang. Once softened after simmering gently, I went in with my potato masher and squished with abandon and left it to reduce down. Do test for sweetness as my sauce did need a pick me up to lift the flavour - a teaspoon of sugar or sweet syrup will work magic.

***I really do suggest you get this pan going first, then aside for the occasional stir, you can forget about it until you need it.

To construct the dish, it's all about the layering...

Slather a quarter of the sauce in the bottom of your dish. Scatter over some oregano and basil leaves. I used dried oregano as it's all I have. Cover with the aubergines, mine all fitted in with a bit of a squish.

Repeat with a layer of courgettes.

And again with the red peppers. Okay, I'll fess up - I realised at this point I wasn't going to have enough sauce, so my courgettes and peppers were combined. It was still fabulous.

Slather your last dollop of sauce over and then top with the potato slices, finishing with a final flourish of salt and pepper. If required, brush a little olive oil on top before popping in the oven for 25-30 mins.

The smell wafting through my kitchen was delicious. Definite Mediterranean vibes.

Verdict..... absolutely delicious. Even my non Vegan husband declared it so. I love finding another dish to add to the weekly meal list. I served it for supper with a side salad - a quarter helping was ample for us, and we do love our food. If I can find a gluten free garlic bread I feel is worth eating this would go wonderfully well with Tumbet.

One thing about this dish, it uses a lot of olive oil compared to my normal cooking, so it's not an everyday dish for me. It would make a great dish for sharing with friends with wine a plenty.

My last tip is for the leftover oil from shallow frying. I kept the heat to medium, so the olive oil didn't burn and was clean, so perfectly reusable ....

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