When life hands you lemons… why not convince your 5-star Chef mate into making a cooking show, he’ll know what to do with them lemons!

My long time friend Chef Arnie is a bit of a gypsy who’s been traveling around the world working at some amazing restaurants and events. From Quay, Cumulus and Golden Fields in Australia, he recently returned from Zurich Switzerland running a restaurant called the Artisan a Urban Garden, with a predominately plant-based menu. He’s also single and ready to mingle after Iso, ladies!

Chef Arnie came up with a menu, meeting my brief of something that was healthy, tasty and easy to make with ingredients you can find during Iso. So on today’s menu is:

Pan fried Mackerel fillets, Moussaka with Middle Eastern flavours, chunky tzatziki and garden salad.

Serves 4

Part One: Plant-based Middle Eastern Inspired Moussaka

  • 2 med eggplants sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 600ml tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 tin white beans
  • 3 tablespoons Lebanese 7 spice or cumin powder
  • 1.5 tablespoon gram marsala or curry powder
  • Rosemary sprig
  • 200ml water


  1. Season eggplant with salt and let sit for 10mins
  2. Cook onions and garlic till soft add spices and cook for 2 mins don’t burn
  3. Add tomato paste and cook for another two mins
  4. Add tomato puree and use water to rinse of remaining tomato puree from bottle
  5. Bring to boil and take off
  6. Wash off salt on eggplants
  7. Cook eggplant on hot pan till colour but not soft
  8. Add cooked eggplants, sweet potato, beans, chickpeas and rosemary
  9. Season with salt and pepper
  10. Add sauce and mix gently
  11. Layer in baking tray. When layering try and keep beans and chickpeas in the middle of the layers so it doesn’t burn on top when baking
  12. Bake for 25-35 mins @180c
  13. If you are using a deeper baking tray and it’s start to brown to quickly just cover with foil.
  14. To check if it’s cooked poke sweet potato with skewer or knife it should be soft.
  15. Cover with foil when ready
  16. Leave in oven turned off if eating straight away

Part Two: Pan fried Mackerel & the side dishes.

Iso, is also perfect time to learn new skills, like cooking and boning a fish! This time boning & Pan frying Mackerel fillets (you could substitute for another fish if need be). And making our side pieces.

Chunky tzatziki

  • 1 Lebanese cucumber or continental cucumber cut into large dice
  • 250g Greek yoghurt or vegan yoghurt
  • 1/2 tablespoons of dried mint or a good handful of chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 wedge lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add everything together and season to taste

Garden salad

  • 2 baby cos cut into wedges
  • 4 radish sliced
  • red onion sliced
  • A handful Chopped dill
  • Squeezed lemon half
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Put everything together in a bowl, add lemon, and olive oil just before serving


  • 8 medium or 4 large mackerel fillets

When every component is ready fry off mackerel fillets finish cooking with abit of butter if desired.


Arrange all components on a plate like you are cooking first time for someone you like and enjoy.

Give this recipe a try and feel free to share with friends, have yourself a virtual dinner party. If you would like Chef Arnie’s 7 Spice Recipe, get in touch.