Recipe Corner: Café Cat’s Spicy Eggplant and Tomato Soup


(Photos and recipe courtesy of Linda Peek at

English-born Linda Peek has cooked for rock stars, dignitaries, and royalty in her role as a diplomat’s wife and is now sharing her stories and recipes at her amazing Canberra, Australia food blog.

There aren’t many food bloggers who can list “Diplomat’s Spouse” as a former career, but for Linda it was a natural progression from one experience to the other. She lived in Geneva, Switzerland until she met her husband Matthew, a member of the Australian Diplomatic Service. “We’ve been privileged to live on five continents with postings to Tel Aviv, Kuala Lumpur, Pretoria, Santiago, Paris and Copenhagen, with home postings to Canberra in between. That’s fairly unusual. Diplomats who learn a difficult language like Arabic, Chinese or Japanese, tend to get posted back to countries where they can use those hard-earned skills,” she adds.

“The most important duty of an ambassador’s spouse is entertaining, event management and catering. I was fortunate because I enjoyed these responsibilities and managed events without employing expensive caterers,” she says. Having travelled the world for over 35 years in the diplomatic corps, Linda refined her cooking and catering skills for diplomatic events and receptions. (Linda manages her own brokerage company, Oztrade Pacific, which handles frozen fruit, juices and purees from various countries into Australia/New Zealand, Europe and South America and Australian cheese into South America. For inquiries/information, go to:

“I began collecting recipes when I was at school. Some of the recipes in my large collection have been in my family for generations, others were passed on by friends and chefs around the world. Many have been adapted over the years to make them lighter or update their presentation. I’ve served them to royalty, PMs and other VIPs, and there have been no complaints.”

Linda’s Spicy Eggplant and Tomato Soup recipe was first published in 2013 at: “This is a very satisfying soup. I created it when a friend was coming for lunch, and I had one lonely eggplant sitting in the fridge. I stuck the eggplant in the oven and let it cook for a while. The final mixing and reheating takes less than 10 minutes, and it’s that easy,” she says.

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“While the subtle flavor of the eggplant is overpowered by the tomato, it does provide a nice texture,” Linda says. “The peanut butter, garlic and red chili add an Asian touch to the flavor combination. I’ve made this recipe with crunchy and smooth peanut butter, and while they’re both nice, I prefer the creamier result you get with the smooth variety.”



1 large eggplant

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 500g jar tomato sauce for pasta or marinara sauce (about 4 cups)

Topics: Eggplants, Soup

1 jar of water (and maybe a bit more)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 chicken or vegetable stock cube

3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

1 small red chili, seeded and chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


To serve:

Sour cream or Greek yogurt

Fresh chopped coriander or parsley

Fresh pita bread or crusty French or sourdough bread, or toast


Preheat oven to 350°F. Pierce eggplant a couple of times with a knife, so it doesn’t explode in the oven. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until it feels soft when you squeeze it. Halve eggplant and scrape out the flesh into a food processor, discarding skin.

Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and heat to boiling point. Check seasoning and add more water, if necessary, to make the desired consistency. (This will depend on the size of the eggplant.)

Ladle soup into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and chopped coriander or parsley. Serve with warm pita bread, French or sourdough bread, or toast.

Serves 4.

Canberra food blogger Linda Peek shares her unique stories of food and travel as a diplomat’s wife at:

For this recipe, go to:

Subscribe to receive a new recipe from Linda in your e-mail every Wednesday, go to:


Armenian Moussaka

Also try: Linda’s Armenian Moussaka at:

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