brinjal potato curry (hercule)

cookery chat with david & sandra biddle

5: brinjal potato curry

The last few months have been quite stressful for us two. For a long while we have been contemplating selling our loved Captain Hasting Dutch barge style narrowboat. The main reasons being that it was built to be a live-aboard boat and with us now spending more time at our house, we felt it was being wasted. We also calculated that we had spent less than four weeks on board in the last two years. So when the opportunity came along to sell it to two lovely like minded people – we sold it.

Having been boaters for 25+ years owning a range of boats from small Springers to traditional boats – we couldn’t just stop boating. We looked at the possibility of share boats – but our style of boating is week-ending and having short one or two week trips as and when we want. Being a little restricted of when and where we could go boating meant that this option was not on the table for us.

Around 15 years ago we became besotted with Sea Otters and almost purchased a 55ft boat from Sawley Marina – but at the last moment we came to our senses that £85k was too much. (this was a lot of money for a 4 year old boat 15 years ago – it is now!!). So, in the back of our minds we both fancied revisiting the Sea Otter range of boats.

We did quite a bit of research and joined the Sea Otter Owners Club, and most of the negatives highlighted by non-owners were unfounded on further investigation. We made a decision that our next boat was going to be a Sea Otter.

We viewed a few 30ft models – but being very sought after boats, there were not many for sale, we also realised that although these were perfectly formed – they were a bit too small for us and we would miss having a separate bedroom.

Finally we drove down to London to look at a 41ft boat – unused for the last two years and purchased from new by the owner selling it. It was exactly what we wanted – definitely in need of some love and attention, new battery banks, inverter, solar panels and new DC fridge. We agreed a price and spent the next month or so trying to arrange delivery to Debdale Wharf and sorting out the work required.

Last week we became the proud owners of an immaculate 41ft perfectly formed in terms of design boat – as with all of our boats we always name them from Agatha Christie novel characters (in the past we have had – Miss Marple, Miss Lemon etc) this boat was named Hercule. When we met David Suchet recently we told him this and he said he thought the name was an excellent choice.

You may be asking what this has to do with the food editorial we contribute to on a regular basis. Quite simply it has a massive impact. Unlike our previous boat which had an AGA style cooking range this one has a traditional 4 burner gas stove. This has meant we have had to look closely at how we cook and prepare meals – we have also opted not to have a microwave onboard – so our main cooking is on the stove, use of a slow cooker, pressure cooker and course our COBB for the sunny days we have left this year (if any!!)

With us being so busy and learning how the new cooker cooks – if that makes sense, this month's recipe is something simple to try. We hope you enjoy as it is something for the cool nights ahead of us.

Brinjal Potato Curry


  • Mustard seeds - 1/4 tea spoon
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tea spoon
  • Cumin powder - 1 tea spoon
  • Coriander powder - 1 tablespoons
  • Chilli powder - 1 tablespoon
  • Ginger garlic paste - 1 tea spoon
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 3 tablespoons
  • Tomatoes - 100 grams
  • Onions - 100 grams
  • Cumin seeds - 1/4 tea spoon
  • Eggplant (aubergine) 150 grams
  • Potatoes - 150 grams
  • Coriander chopped - 1 tablespoon
  • Mint leaves(chopped) - 1 tablespoon


  1. Boil potatoes
  2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker add onions, salt, saute it and add ginger garlic paste, tomatoes, turmeric, chilly powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, mix this and put the lid on. Let it cook for 15 to 20 minutes in a low light (4 to 5 whistles). Use this gravy in many veg and non veg curries
  3. Heat oil in a pan & add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter, add cumin seeds, eggplant pieces, salt, mix it well and put the lid on. Let it cook for 3 minutes.Then add water and again put the lid on and let it cook till eggplant is tender
  4. Then add onion gravy. Cook this for few minutes, then add potatoes (boiled) cook for 5 minutes then switch off the flame, & add coriander chopped
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About David Biddle

David & Sandra Biddle have been boating for around 25 years. They have both made their careers out of cooking, and enjoy sharing their passion for food and good wine. Their tastes are wide ranging - from spicy, to Italian to good old English.