Mediterranean Stew

This next recipe used to be the Café “Teaching Stew”, both because it was considered easy to make and was one of the few legible recipes we possessed at the time. All new workers made it as their first attempt and were only allowed to progress when they had mastered Mediterranean Stew. This proved to be a mixed blessing as, although it is a simple recipe and when made properly both looks and tastes wonderful, some of the heroic failures turned out by learners ruined its reputation and it fell out of favour and off the menu. Recently it has been rehabilitated and is just as satisfying as ever it was in its heyday.


250g Black Eye Beans
250g Black Olives
50g Mushrooms
1 Small Aubergine
3 Medium Carrots
2 Courgettes
4 Sticks Celery
½ Spring Cabbage
1 Large Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
125g Tomato Pureé
2 Teaspoons Basil
2 Teaspoons Mint
1 Tin (400g) Tomatoes
250ml Tomato juice
250ml Red Grape Juice
3 Tablespoons Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper


  1. Soak the beans overnight in cold water, rinse, cover with water in a pan and bring to the boil, leave to simmer until cooked. Black Eyed Beans are among the quickest to cook so there is no need to panic if you have not soaked them, just wash well and cook, they will be ready in under an hour.
  2. Peel the onion and chop or slice into medium pieces. Peel, crush or chop the garlic, or blend it in a little olive oil. Put a large pan on a medium light, add the olive oil garlic and onion and allow to cook gently. If you are using dried herbs add them now and allow to cook for five minutes. If you are lucky enough to have fresh herbs wash and chop them and add to the onions after five minutes.
  3. Meanwhile wash and peel your vegetables as necessary, make sure to peel the carrots if they are not organic. Slice the celery and courgette, not too thinly, and add to the onions.
  4. Cut the aubergine into four lengthways and then chop into bite size pieces, add to the pan and stir the contents round to help cook evenly. Leave to cook for a further five minutes.
  5. Chop the carrot into small sections or julienne and add to pan, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  6. Blend or chop the tinned tomatoes and add to the pan along with the tomato puree, fruit juice, vinegar and seasoning. Mix well together, cover and allow to cook on slowly until the beans are cooked.
  7. Whilst the beans finish cooking wash and shred the spring cabbage.
  8. When the beans are cooked drain them, rinse and add to the pan with the cabbage and olives, mixing everything together. If you do not stone the olives please warn your guests, unless you are on commission from a dentist. If necessary thin with water and adjust the seasoning.
  9. Allow to simmer for a further 20 to 30 minutes until all the flavours are blended.
  10. This is another dish that benefits from a nice glass of red wine, half in the stew and half in the cook of course!

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