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Posts Tagged ‘Aubergine’

Well hello there, we have been very quiet for the last few months while our new kitchen and other house renovations are happening. We had really hoped to be back to normal by now but we’re still kitchen hopping amongst are very generous (and patient) family & friends. So normal service will hopefully resume very soon and in the meantime here’s a fab recipe for a super rich ratatouille by Barney Desmazery for BBC Good Food. We served with some steak off the barbecue but it is also great on it’s own with some toasted bread.

Wine Suggestion: we love choosing southern French reds when eating this dish and find that Syrah, Grenache, Mourvédre and Carignan (either on their own or as a blend) just work. Tonight it was the superb Faugères “les Bancels” from Domaine Cébène which is elegant, effortless and wonderfully long on the finish.

Ratatouille – serves 6

  • 3 red peppers, quartered and seeds removed
  • a handful of basil, separate the leaves and stalks (you will need both)
  • a large sprig of thyme
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • 2 courgettes (any colour or a mix), roughly chopped
  • 1 aubergine, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • grilled sourdough, to serve

Put the pieces of pepper onto a baking tray and place under a hot grill until blackened. Tip them into a bowl, cover and leave to cool. Peel the skin off the peppers, then cut into strips and toss back into the juices in the bowl.

Tie the basil stalks and thyme together with kitchen string.

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 4.

Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and fry the courgettes and aubergine for 15 minutes or until browned. It is easiest to do this in batches, adding a little of the oil each time.

Remove the courgette and aubergine from the pan and set aside. Add a drizzle more oil, then add the onion and cook for 15 minutes or until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and sizzle for a minute. Scatter with sugar, then leave for a minute to caramelise before adding the vinegar. Stir in the cooked veg and pepper juice, season well, then pour over the cans of tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

Add the tied herbs to the dish, cover, and cook in the oven for an hour. Remove the lid and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes or until reduced and jammy. Leave to cool until just warm, then stir through most of the basil leaves and the extra virgin olive oil. Scatter the rest of the basil over the top and serve with the toasted sourdough.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Maqloubeh: rice with aubergines & peppers

We had to change our plans at the last minute last weekend and instead of spending it away, and enjoying someone else’s cooking, we ended up at home with an empty fridge. Thankfully we could find all we needed for this fresh Palestinian dish in the local veg shop. The recipe is from Zaitoon by Yasmin Khan – we can’t get enough of this book! Really good served with some yoghurt, pickled chillies and a simple Palestinian salad but it would also make a great side dish for a crowd with some barbecued meat or fish.

Wine Suggestion: as this is both a characterful and elegant dish we’d recommend a fuller bodied white with hints of spice and freshness; a good Alsace Pinot Gris springs to mind first. However, we went a little different and chose the Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco, a traditional blend of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Friuliano and Sauvignon Blanc from the north-east of Italy. Layers of freshness and fruit, hints of different spices and an elegant, refined texture. So underrated as a wine and worth seeking out.

Upside- down rice with aubergines & peppers (Maqloubeh) – serves 6

  • 2 medium aubergines, cut into 2cm thick slices
  • 2 red peppers, trimmed and sliced
  • light olive oil
  • leaves from a few sprigs of thyme
  • 1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves but not peeled
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 300g white basmati rice
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¾ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 40g salted butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper (pul biber) or ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • handful of coriander leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Put the aubergines and peppers on separate baking trays. Drizzle both with light olive oil, ½ tsp salt and thyme leaves, then scatter the garlic cloves amongst the peppers. Put the trays into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes. After 20 minute, add the tomatoes to the pepper tray.

Meanwhile, rinse the rice in cold water to remove excess starch (the water will run clear), then put into a large bowl of cold water to soak for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Set the cooked vegetables aside to cool and pop the garlic cloves out of their skins.

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over a medium heat until they smell good, then grind in a mortar and pestle and place in a jug with the cinnamon, allspice and turmeric. Add the hot stock and ¾ tsp of salt.

Melt half the butter or oil in a large saucepan. Arrange the aubergines to line the base of the buttery saucepan – keep it neat as they will end up on top of the finished dish. Add the tomatoes, roasted garlic and peppers. Spoon in the rice, then pour over the hot stock and 150ml of boiled water. Bring the pan to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover with a clean tea towel and a lid. Cook for 20 minutes, then switch off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Melt the rest of the butter or oil in a small saucepan and stir in the Aleppo pepper or chilli.

Turn the rice pan upside down onto a serving platter, then spoon over the Aleppo pepper butter and scatter over the chopped coriander before serving.

(Original recipe from Zaitoon by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2018.)

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Iranian Pasta

This dish from Yotum Ottolenghi is very different from the Italian pasta dishes that we’re all familiar with. As Yotam points out, Italy totally dominates the pasta scene when in fact there are pasta recipes from all over the place. Try this if you’re up for something way more exotic than spag bol.

Wine Suggestion: We chilled down a Spanish red to go with this, the Jesus Romero Rubus, a vibrant blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Syrah from one of the highest vineyards in Spain. Unoaked this wine has a delicious purity and an excellent length with deep plum flavours, hints of pepper and spice.

Iranian-style Pasta – serves 4

  • 3 large aubergines (1.2 kg in total)
  • 140g crème fraîche mixed with 60g of Parmesan
  • 75ml of olive oil, plus a bit extra
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 150g Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 500g linguine pasta
  • ½ tsp saffron threads diluted with ½ tbsp of lukewarm water
  • 10g fresh mint, shredded

Preheat the oven to 230ºC/210ºC Fan/Gas Mark 8.

Pierce the aubergines a few times with a sharp knife, then place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and roast in the oven for about 1 hour, or until the flesh is totally soft. Set aside to cool a bit, then cut in half and scoop out the flesh into a colander. Leave to drain for at least 30 minutes and discard the skin.

Put the crème fraîche and Parmesan mixture into a small saucepan with 75ml of water. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, stir, then set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan and place on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cumin seeds and cook for 12 minutes or until soft. Add the aubergine flesh and garlic, along with 1 tsp of salt and some black pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes before adding the lime juice. Stir for a final minute, then remove from the heat.

Add the yoghurt to the crème fraîche mixture and heat over a low flame for 5 minutes. Watch the mixture carefully – stir regularly and don’t let the pan heat too much or the yoghurt may split.

Mix the dried mint with a tbsp of the oil and set aside.

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water according to the pack instructions or until al dente. Stir 2 tbsp of the oil through the cooked pasta and divide between shallow bowls or plates. Drizzle over the mint oil, followed by the aubergine. Top with the crème fraîche and yoghurt mixture, followed by the saffron water, fresh mint & a final drizzle of oil. Serve straight away.

(Original recipe from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2014.)

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Hot & Sour Aubergine

This photo is a bit dark in colour but the flavours are vibrant and delicious and we’re now converts to soaking aubergine in brine before stir-frying to give a soft, velvety texture.

Hot & Sour Aubergine – serves 2

  • 1 large or 2 medium aubergines, cut into long batons
  • 100g green beans, halved
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp light soy sace
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour dissolved in 2 tbsp water
  • cooked rice, to serve

Put the aubergine slices into a bowl of lightly salted water and leave to soak for 30 minutes, then drain and pat dry.

Blanch the green beans in boiling water for a minute, then rinse in cold water and drain.

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium-high heat, then cook the aubergine until well browned on all sides. When the aubergine is starting to take on a good colour, add the onion and chilli and continue to stir-fry for 4 minutes or until soft.

Add the sauce and green beans, cover with a lid, then turn down the heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until the aubergine is soft. Serve with rice.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Penne alla norma

We love Rick Stein’s recipes as everything seems to come from true inspiration and has been tested in a real world kitchen so it all works. This recipe is no exception and delivers in flavour and balance perfectly.

Pasta alla Norma is traditionally made with spaghetti but worked just as well penne pasta as a substitute.

Wine Suggestions: Aubergine tends to work with Southern Italian reds really well, but we had an unexpected burst of sunshine so opened a Provençal rosé, Chateau Vignelaure La Source, which is an old favourite. It worked a treat and  will definitely try it again with other aubergine dishes.

Pasta alla Norma – Pasta with Aubergines, Tomatoes, Chilli & Cheese – serves 4

  • 500g aubergines (2 large ones)
  • 500g well-flavoured tomatoes or top quality tinned plum tomatoes, drained (Italian brands are best)
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ tsp crushed dried chillies
  • A large handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 100g finely grated ricotta salata or crumbled feta cheese

Trim the aubergines and cut into two across the middle, then cut each piece lengthways into chip-sized sticks. Toss with 1 tsp of salt and set in a colander over a bowl to drain for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, if using fresh tomatoes, squeeze them over the sink to get rid of most of the juice and seeds. Roughly chop the tomatoes and set aside.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil (about 4.5 litres) and season generously with salt (about 8 teaspoons).

Pat the aubergines dry with kitchen paper to remove the salt and any liquid. Heat 4 tbsp of the frying pan, add half the aubergines and fry until lightly golden. Lift onto a plate lined with kitchen paper  and leave to drain while you fry the next batch. After removing the second batch of aubergine, leave the oil in the frying pan to cool.

Put the spaghetti into the boiling water and cook according to the packet or until al dente. 

Before the pasta is ready, add the remaining oil and the garlic to the cooled frying pan and return to the heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle gently, add the crushed chillies and the tomatoes and cook over a high heat for a few minutes or until they have broken down into a sauce. Season well and stir in the aubergines.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce with the torn basil and half the cheese, then toss well. Divide between warm bowls and serve sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

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Aubergine & Lamb Stew

This is not the best looking dish but who cares when it tastes this good. To quote Itamar Srulovich (of Honey & Co. and the author of this recipe):

“Do not cook it to impress. Cook it for the ones you love the most, or just for you; it is that good.”

We concur Itamar!!

Wine Suggestion: Try a Mediterranean-style wine, a Primitivo or something similarly juicy from the south of Italy. We paired this with a lovely organic wine by Michele Biancardi, his Uno Piu Uno which is a cracking blend of Primitive and Nero di Troia. Only 12.5% abv but juicy and delicious so it didn’t overwhelm the lamb and aubergine and had enough depth to compliment it perfectly.

Patlican – Lamb & aubergine stew – serves 2

  • 450g lamb neck, cut into large dice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 aubergine, cut into large cubes (about 350g)
  • 1 large tomato, cut into large cubes
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • ½ small red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Season the lamb cubes with the salt and pepper.

Heat a large pan over a medium-high heat, add the oil and the diced lamb, and sear the meat all over. When the meat has browned (about 5-6 minutes), add the aubergine, tomato, onion & garlic. Cover and leave to steam for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and stir in the chilli and thyme. Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, then pour in the water and pomegranate molasses.

Keep cooking on a low heat for 50-60 minutes or until the veg have broken down and the meat is soft enough to tear with a fork.

Serve with bread so you waste no sauce!

(Original recipe from Honey & Co.: Food From the Middle East by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Saltyard Books, 2014.)

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Haloumi & Aubergine Kebabs on a bulgur & pea salad

We’re much keener on nutty bulgur than quinoa that seems so popular at the moment. Bulgur makes for a much more interesting salad in our opinion and these aubergine and halloumi kebabs are a great veggie option for the barbecue. Leftovers taste nice for lunch the next day too.

Aubergine and Halloumi Kebabs with Garlic & Herb Bulgur Wheat 

  • 2 aubergines, sliced into strips
  • 200g pack of halloumi cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus more for brushing
  • 1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped mint

FOR THE GARLIC & HERB BULGUR WHEAT

  • 200g bulgur wheat
  • 175g frozen peas
  • 6 tbsp garlic oil (to make garlic oil just gently simmer a couple of peeled and smashed garlic cloves in oil for about 10 minutes, then discard the garlic and let the oil cool before using)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • handful of herbs (such as mint, parsley, chives or a mixture) roughly chopped

Brush the aubergine strips with olive oil and barbecue until softened. Thread onto skewers with the halloumi cubes.

Mix the remaining olive oil with the chopped capers and mint.

Barbecue the kebabs until the cheese is golden and drizzle over the dressing to serve.

Meanwhile, cook the bulgar wheat in boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender, adding the peas for the last few minutes.

Make the dressing with the oil, lemon juice and seasoning. Fold the herbs through the drained bulgur wheat and peas and gently stir in the dressing.

(Original recipe for kebabs from BBC Olive Magazine July 2014 and bulgur wheat from BBC Good Food.)

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