why you should give peas [& ecookbooks] a chance

parmesan peas

Last week, I wrote a little piece on frozen peas for The Stonesoup Diaries.

Basically, I shared my relatively recent love of this humble frozen veg, a bit of pea promotion.

So when I was planning which recipe to share from my new eCookbook, The Tired & Hungry Cooks Companion (which launches on Wednesday!), my thoughts automatically flicked to one of the 4 pea positive recipes in the book. Too easy.

I also wanted to highlight a unique feature of the new book.

For almost a year now, I’ve been including variations for dietary requirements and for fun in all my recipes at the Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School. And I’ve been getting some great feedback from my students on how helpful these suggestions are.

So I’ve included AT LEAST 4 variations for each recipe in the new book.

Effectively, giving you 4 times as many ideas.

To demonstrate how it works, I’ve taken one of the recipes in the book: lamb cutlets with parmesan peas, and tried out one of my own variation suggestions. And that’s how we got to today’s recipe: eggplant steaks with parmesan peas. To be honest, I’m just as excited about this veggie version as I was when I last cooked the lamb.

I’ve also included some variations for this eggplant recipe below, to give you a taste of how it works.

While we’re talking new eCookbooks, I also wanted to get the skeptics thinking about ebooks.

I’ve had lots of people tell me they’d never consider buying an ebook because they love their cookbooks so much.

I’ve also had many people tell me they hardly cook from their cookbooks any more. They just use good old google to find what they’re after.

So maybe cooking from a recipe on a screen (or printing what you need) is the way forward for modern cooks after all?

Anyway, here are 6 advantages of eCookbooks… just to get you thinking.

1. They’re portable and you can save them in multiple locations.
Work computer, home computer, other family members computers, iphone and/or ipad. You will always have these recipes at your fingertips. Perfect for last minute planning or for when you find yourself in the supermarket stuck for what to cook for dinner. Not to mention how much lighter they are when you’re travelling.

2. Find exactly what you want with the search function.
Got mushrooms in the fridge? A quick search and you’ll have all the mushroom recipes ready to choose from.

3. Save time and jump straight to your chosen page with the hyperlinks.
My favourite feature. Just click on the links and be taken instantly to your chosen page. The bookmarks help navigation as well.

4. Be inspired by browsing the interactive index(es).
No longer are we confined to just organising a book by chapters. In my new book there are indexes to browse by the seasons, your mood, different cuisines, and recipe type.

5. They don’t need an internet connection to work.
Not only that, you can access recipes from your favourite trusted food writers rather than risking what google throws your way from random strangers.

6. They can have more features than print books.
As I mentioned earlier, each recipe in my new book has at least 4 suggestions for alternatives to suit different dietary requirements AND just for fun. So even if you think a recipe might not be exactly right for you, make sure you check out the variation suggestions. But that’s not all the features. You can also buy a video version with video demonstrations for every recipe.

Ready to try your first eCookbook?

T&HCC 3D Cover

With all Stonesoup products there is a rock solid 60 day 100% money back guarantee, so if you do decide eBooks aren’t for you, you’ll get every penny back. You have nothing to lose!

To try your risk-free copy TODAY go to:

eggplant steaks with parmesan peas

eggplant steaks with parmesan peas

serves 2
takes 15-20 minutes

The secret for really lovely eggplant steaks is the same as regular beef steaks. Cut them thickly! Although for the eggplant it’s best to cook on a low-medium heat so the middles get to go all lovely and melting and the outsides avoid over-charring.

If you’re short on time, by all means go for thinner slices and a higher heat – I guess you could call them eggplant ‘minute steaks’.

Cooking with the lid on helps trap in the heat and steam and minimise burning. IT gives the most divinely silky eggplant texture without having to resort to obscene amounts of oil.

1 medium eggplant
2 handfuls frozen peas
1 large handful grated parmesan cheese
small handful fresh mint leaves
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Get a large fry pan on a medium heat. Slice eggplant into steaks about 2cm (3/4in) thick.

2. Add a very generous glug of olive oil to the pan and then add the eggplant slices. Sprinkle a little salt over the top and cover with a lid.

3. Cover with a lid and cook, turning at least every 5 minutes until the eggplant are soft and deeply browned (about 15 minutes). If they start to burn, turn the heat down.

4. Meanwhile heat a little more olive oil in a small pan. Add the frozen peas and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or until the peas are hot and sweet.

5. Remove peas from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, parmesan & mint. Season.

6. Serve ‘steaks’ with peas on the side.

carnivore: serve peas with lamb cutlets that have been cooked on a high heat for 2.5 – 3 minutes each side

vegan / dairy-free: replace the parmesan with brazil nuts finely grated using a microplane grater.

mushroom steaks: Skip the eggplant. Trim 1-2 large field or portabello mushrooms and sear on a high heat for about 5 minutes each side, until very soft.

herby: Replace the mint with fresh basil or flat leaf parsley leaves.

Jules x


  • Jules, this looks awesome. I’d go for these eggplant steaks before lamb cutlets for sure! I think another reason ebook cookbooks rock is CHOICE! When I search on google, I get a slew of results and too much choice leads to not making a decision at all, and when I’m confident and comfortable with your (Jules) style of food and ease of use, it makes it easier to choose! Barry Swartz has a great TEDtalk on the topic. http://goo.gl/B0or Love the recipe idea, thanks!

  • Hi Jules, I just wanted to say I really like what you’ve done with the variations. I have a number of friends with dietary restrictions, and at first it used to annoy me or feel like work coming up with special foods for them. But once I educated myself a little, the challenge became a pleasure. And now I LOVE the idea of everyone being welcome at the table. I’m going veg myself, so the eggplant steaks sound amazing! Thanks!

  • Love, love, love this one, Jules. Must confess that being of a certain age I have jotted the recipe down on a page of A4!! Such a dinosaur.

    Can’t wait to try this tonight. Loved the peas with baked eggs that we tried on Sunday night.

    Your recipes are THE BEST.

  • Wow, those steaks look amazing. I like the way you’ve cooked them too, will definitely give that a go next time. Often I end up using way too much oil.

    The most important feature of e-cookbooks for me would be the ability to search. It makes cookbooks so much more practically useful on a day to day basis, especially for people short on time (who isn’t?!).

  • Jen
    So glad you liked the eggplant! Thanks for letting me know

    The ability to search is definitely one of the best features… makes life so much easier!

    Thanks for sharing the link to the talk on choice… brilliant stuff!

  • I just had to write in and tell you that I cooked this exact meal last night for dinner and it was fabulous! I’m trying to eat at least two meals a day without animal products which is not easy for a carnivore like me. I think you had me at the word “steak”. And the peas were amazing! I am also a “can’t stand peas” person, but really haven’t tried them since I was 5 and my mother would serve them out of a can. Cheers to you, your recipes are imaginative and out of the ordinary. I will be trying the recipes instead of just reading them more often. :)

  • Katie!
    Thanks for sharing your experience… so glad you enjoyed the ‘steaks’ and that you’re planning on cooking more Stonesoup. Yay!

  • Hi Jules,
    I just made eggplant steaks. I spread some pesto from an Italian deli on each side during cooking and let it brown also.


    WOW. Seriously, WOW. I have never tasted anything like it. It was sooooo good!!! Now I just have to wait for my internet connection to be fully restored so I can buy the cookbook. :-)

  • Made this with a friend tonight – it was delicious! Everything came together perfectly, and so simple! Thanks for the recipe :)

  • I ended up making this tonight and we really liked it! I posted it with a link back here over on my blog. Thanks for the simple, tasty recipes, as always!

  • This was really great- plus quick too! I actually added chickpeas and italian seasonings and served it with pasta/marinara sauce on the side.

  • I had to light some candles after taking a few bites, then resumed enjoying my delicious dinner. I’ve had my issues with eggplant in the past (raw in wraps = mouth numbing), but this was simply divine. Thanks to you, one of my favorite combos is mint, lemon, and peas — so simple, yet so delicious.

  • I just tried a variation of this – I had baby eggplant I sliced thinly and fried, I have added it to my salad and I am pretending it is chorizo, yum :) thanks

  • Hey there.
    I’ve been following your site for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out! Just wanted to say keep up the excellent work!

  • Just made this for dinner tonight and I can’t believe how good those aubergine steaks are! I wished I’d been able to cook about 10 aubergines just for myself, they were so delicious and melt-in-your-mouth-amazing! Thanks for such a great and so so simple dinner idea :-)

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