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AUBERGINES & EGGPLANTS

Nightshades have been getting a bad rap lately. Apparently they are an inflammatory food. I am a lucky lady with a strong constitution and I can’t get get enough of ‘em. 

Whatever you want to call them, the one inarguable fact is that they are seriously tasty. Their sponge-like texture means they are great for soaking up flavour, but also means that if they aren’t cooked correctly they can be watery, bland and not worth the time of day. Here are a few ideas to avoid the latter. 

ROASTED EGGPLANT WITH TAHINI YOGHURT


People who have come over to my house for dinner have likely been served this dish one way or another. It is a Rose classic, that is tried and tested and loved by all (mostly myself).

Serves 6-8

Ready in 30 mins

INGREDIENTS

2 large eggplants, halved lengthways and then cut into slices

5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp ground cumin

salt and ground black pepper

2 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 handfuls rocket

1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley, to serve

TAHINI YOGHURT DRESSING

1/2 cup greek yoghurt

1 tbsp tahini

1 clove garlic, finely grated

1 tbsp lemon juice

A little water, to thin (if you like)


METHOD

Preheat oven to 220ºC fanbake and prepare an oven tray with baking paper for easy clean up. 

Place sliced eggplant in a bowl with 3 tbsp olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper toss to evenly combine. Spread out into a single layer and roast until softened and slightly crispy, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with a clean tea towel so it steams and softens further as it cools. 

While the eggplant is cooking, cook the chickpeas with 2 tbsp oil, garlic and lemon zest in a frypan on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice. Transfer (with the juices) to a serving platter with the eggplant and rocket and toss to combine. Top with tahini yoghurt dressing and sprinkle with fresh parsley to serve. 

MOROCCAN TAGINE

I have spent the past couple of years trying to perfect tagine after spending a few weeks in Morocco. I don’t think it will ever be quite the same, but it’s pretty close. This is also ridiculously easy and makes your house smell like a magical souk.

Ready in 1 hour 15 mins

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 inch freshly grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp ras el hanout

2 cups diced pumpkin (3-4cm)

2 eggplants, diced (4cm)

1 x 400g can tomatoes

1 x 400g can chickpeas (and their juice)

2 cinnamon quills

2 cups vegetable stock

10 dried apricots, roughly chopped

1 tsp salt


METHOD

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof pot that has a lid. If you do not have a pot like this then you can cook it over the stovetop but it tastes better when you put it in the oven.

Cook onion over medium heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic, and ginger and cook another 2 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure garlic does not catch. Add tomato paste and spices and cook until aromatic (about 2 minutes). Add a little water if it starts to catch and burn.

Add pumpkin and eggplant and mix well to ensure vegetables are evenly coated in spices. Add all remaining ingredients. The amount of salt you use will depend upon how salty your stock is. Cover with a lid and place in the oven to cook for 1 hour. 

If you are cooking it over the stovetop, cook it on low heat with a lid on for around 1 hour.

Serve with couscous, lemon and mint and yoghurt. 


BABAGANOUSH

Tastes as fun as it sounds, and keeps in the fridge for a few days if you have the self control not to devour it immediately.

INGREDIENTS

2 large eggplants, cut into rounds about 2cm thick

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves


METHOD

Preheat oven to 220ºC fanbake and prepare an oven tray with baking paper for easy clean up. 

Place sliced eggplant in a bowl with 3 tbsp olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper toss to evenly combine. Spread out into a single layer and roast until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with a clean tea towel so it steams and softens further as it cools. 

Once the eggplant has cooled to touch, peel away the skin of the eggplant (don’t worry if you don’t get it all) and add flesh to a food processor with remaining ingredients except parsley and lightly blitz to combine. Adjust lemon/tahini/salt to taste. 

Serve with a sprinkle of dukkah and some warmed pita/turkish bread or fresh crudités.