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Entries in aubergine (5)

Tuesday
Aug082017

Rack of lamb with smoked aubergine puree and harissa

I think I have finally worked out why it has become fashionable in recent years for restaurant menus to simply list key ingredients rather than call their dishes something.

Rack of lamb with smoked aubergine puree, caramelised spring onion, crumbled feta, kalamata olives, harissa and a sprinkling of pistachios.

That's how a '90s menu would probably have described this dish. It’s a bit of a mouthful isn’t it? But choose a few key ingredients and list them like this and you have something much more appealing:

Rack of lamb | Smoked aubergine | Harissa | Pistachio

Same dish, different sales pitch. Which would you order?

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Wednesday
Jul032013

Lamb shakshuka with chargrilled aubergine and garlic yoghurt

Inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi

In my last post, I shared Dr Shakshuka’s traditional Israeli shakshuka, which he demonstrates to Ottolenghi in the last episode of Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feasts. In this programme, Ottolenghi also makes his own version of shakshuka with beef and smoked aubergine.

“I have a feeling that what I am doing is slightly sacrilegious” says Ottolenghi.

You can see from his amused expression that Dr Shakshuka agrees.

“If you want to call it a shakshuka, then it’s a shakshuka” he says.

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Tuesday
Aug212012

Silvena Rowe's Smoked Aubergine Salad with Hibiscus Salt

I first tried this recipe when holidaying in Spain. Our very dear family friends Gayle and Gilpin have a lovely house in the arid, mountainous region of the Alicante province. I was lucky enough to be invited along to the 2012 congregation of the Lippy Witches Cauldron – an annual celebration of three of my favourite things: cooking, eating and drinking good wine.

On our first evening we were on the food and wine appreciation committee (no cooking, just consuming). Lippy witch Jools and husband Trev cooked up a range of delicious salads, exactly what I felt like after a typically unpleasant Ryan air flight and a stuffy car ride full of wrong turns and familial bickering. My favourite was this salad from Silvena Rowe’s Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume.

Trev wasn’t so sure. Rowe writes in her introduction to the recipe that “The smell of charred aubergines – nutty, smoky and caramelised – is seductive, and that’s what makes this salad what it is.” Trev lost this element because he roasted the aubergines rather than charring them on an open flame. Still, it was a huge success with all the judges and delicious enough to inspire me to make it again – this time with charred aubergines, which did take it to another level.

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Saturday
Dec182010

Moussaka; an unexpected history

 

MOUSSAKA        A dish common to Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, made with slices of aubergine (eggplant) arranged in layers, alternating with minced (ground) mutton or lamb, onions, and sometimes tomatoes, often with the addition of a thick béchamel sauce. In some recipes, courgettes (zucchini), potatoes or spinach are used instead of aubergine. The dish is baked in the oven.

This definition from Larousse Gastronomique pretty much sums up my recipe for moussaka. If I were sensible, I would accept it as gospel and be done with it. It would certainly save me a lot of typing and you a lot of reading. But sensible I am not and having looked further into the history and origins of the dish I feel the need to share.

The definition refers to Turkey and the Balkans, but in fact the description which follows depicts the Greek preparation. According to Wikipedia, Turkish musakka is not layered, “Instead, it is prepared with sautéed aubergines, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat” and eaten with cacik and pilaf. The Bulgarian and Macedonian versions are layered like the Greek, but contain pork and beef rather than lamb and potatoes rather than aubergine. Like most of the recipes in the rest of the Balkan states, they are topped with a savoury custard.

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Monday
Nov152010

Smoky eggplant (aubergine) and chilli relish

Inspired by David Thompson's Nahm and Longrain's Martin Boetz


I’m all about the relishes at the moment.

This one was inspired by a recent meal at Nahm, David Thompson’s Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in Mayfair. One of the dishes we had was grilled Chiang Mai chilli relish served with trout and lemongrass, pork crackling and herbs. The relish was the highlight, not only of the dish, but of the whole meal. Sadly, its accompaniments were rendered rather bland and tasteless beside it. The pork crackling should have worked, but there was little of it and what there was had been cut up so fine you would be forgiven for missing it entirely. I would have happily foregone the trout in favour of some chunky, salty, crispy strips of crackling for dipping.

Inspired to right these wrongs, I decided to make the relish at home suitably accompanied by lashings of crispy pork belly (more on that in a subsequent post). I did a search online, but was unable to find Thompson’s recipe at the time. Instead I ended up with Martin Boetz’s Roasted eggplant (aubergine) and chili relish from his book Modern Thai Food. I had an eggplant in the fridge that needed using so I decided to try out his recipe.

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