Tag Archives: aubergines

Tandoori spice baked aubergines on a vegetable-rice bed

aubergines

It’s almost at the end of August, but still quiet here. Schools do not seem to start until mid-September, so the buses are intermittent, the metro pleasantly spacious (quite odd!), and many shops are still closed. The worst heat may be over, and I stocked up on vegetables on my way home, noting the usual accumulation of older men outside the ferramenta (hardware store), the bar and their venue with the yellow & red door, for the Rome football club. Very location and time specific, these gatherings. The older ladies never seem to congregate in quite the same way. Regardless of age, people lean out of their windows in the evenings, often in their undershirts, to catch a whiff of a breeze, to see what is happening in the piazza (not much), and to toss comments back to someone inside the other shuttered rooms.

albergo rosso
The Albergo Rosso in Garbatella. Almost tandoori red? I’d seen a recipe like this recently calling for aubergines and curry paste, which I did not have, but I excavated a really old jar of tandoori-barbecue spice powder of dubious vintage, which worked just fine. You might need less spices if yours are fresher. Taste them to see. At least with the heat relenting, it is possible to cook again, which is wonderful!

Tandoori-spice baked aubergines on a vegetable-rice bed

Three small aubergines, sliced lengthwise
200 ml plain yoghurt
2 tbs tandoori-barbecue spice powder (use less if yours is not quite old…)
3 tbs olive oil, to grease aubergine bases

1.5 cups rice
3 cups water
1 onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
10 cherry tomatoes

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Heat your oven to 220C. Slice the aubergines lengthwise in three. I took off a little on either side so the slices would lie flat. Brush the bases with a little olive oil or sunflower oil, so they do not stick. Stir your spices into the yoghurt, and spoon some over each aubergine slice. Bake at 220C for a couple glasses of wine  — until they are soft — maybe 30 min?

Separately, boil your rice. Just before it is done, toss your chopped onion and chopped bell peppers on top, so they steam just a bit. Spread the cooked rice out on a serving dish, add some halved cherry tomatoes, and top with some of the baked aubergines.

tandoori spice baked aubergines

I could have sliced these, to faciliatate diner in the sofa, but that would look quite messy. Tuesday is TV night, when a friend comes over, so we enjoyed this with “Alpha House”  and “Dag”, the latter a dark Norwegian comedy. After months of Scandi thriller noir, it was a nice change!

Aubergine-zucchini fritters

imageOttolenghi  can generally do no wrong, so when The Guardian had his recipes from Puglia, that certainly had to be tried. However,  I tweaked his recipe. Blasphemy, I know! However, a) I had an aubergine shortage and b) no breadcrumbs, but was c) too hungry to go shopping, and d) am not fond of deepfrying food. Hence the tweaks. These were SO good though! Definitely something for fans of roasted vegetables to try!

Aubergine-zucchini fritters

Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Aubergine fritters at
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/20/puglian-recipes-yotam-ottolenghi-olive-oil

1 small aubergine, diced
2 zucchini, diced
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
Salt and black pepper
1 egg
75 g grated cheese (I used pecorino, use what you have)
50g wholewheat flour
5-6 basil leaves, chopped
1 scallion, chopped (white and green parts)

To fry: 2 tsp olive oil
To serve: sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce

Heat the oven to 230C. Put the diced aubergine and zucchini on a baking parchment-covered baking tray. Drizzle over 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until starting to brown, then take out. It will smell delicious, but don’t eat too much of this yet.

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Now, dig out your food processor, if you have one. (Or chop and mix at this step.) Set half the roasted zucchini and aubergine aside, and scoop the rest into the food processor. Add the egg, flour, grated cheese, basil leaves and scallion and blitz it until it is roughly mixed. It will not look pretty. Spoon into a bowl, then add the remaining roasted zucchini and aubergine that you had set aside. Again, do not eat this just yet (though I think this might be really good with pita bread, if you skipped the egg).

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Heat the last 2 tsp of olive oil in a frying pan, and spoon in a heaping tablespoon of the vegetable batter. Fry until golden and firm enough to turn, maybe 3-4 minutes on medium high heat. When done on both sides, park the cooked fritters on some kitchen roll (optional, these should not be very oily) while you fry the rest.

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Serve the fritters warm with sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce. A cold tzatziki on the side might be nice instead too. This served two for dinner, with a couple leftover for lunch.

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The English in-laws arrive tomorrow for a week, which will be lovely, I may just make these fritters one day for them. I probably overshopped today: shiny dark aubergines, fragrant cherry tomatoes, some crisp pears, and some broccoli romano (looks like a pointy green cauliflower). It all looked so good. The veg drawer is already stuffed, including some declining zucchini, but I feel more prepared this way. It all gets used somehow!

Improvised aubergine and almond rigatoni

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Living in Rome, you might think we stroll to the market in the morning, lovingly selecting the perfect vegetables for dinner. Well, that is often true on the weekend, but weekdays I swing by the Egyptian fruttivendolo on my way home, and buy something from the cheaper section outside. One euro a kilo, slightly battered: last time I bought aubergines, to make Nigel Slater’s Grilled Eggplant with Creamed Feta. Delicious! We oven-roasted the aubergines, grilled would have been even better. Great with the feta and yoghurt. But we had lots of roasted aubergines left the next day, so what to do with it? Roll it with ricotta, bake it with cheese, hmmmm? There were also some wrinky cherry tomatoes lurking in the fridge, and I fancied pasta, so I tossed in some almonds and hoped for the best.

This is my humble Fiesta Friday 35 offering this week: a humble weeknight pasta dish, but quick to make, and tasty enough to serve friends. Thanks as always to our hosts: this week, Angie, Prudy and Naina. I already have my eye on those tasty apples pies, mmmmmm…..

Improvised aubergine and almond rigatoni
One red onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
250 grammes cherry tomatoes
400 grammes leftover sliced roast aubergines
50 grammed unblanched almonds
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
400 grammes rigatoni, or pasta of your choice
Optional: grated parmesan, and basil to garnish

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Put your water for pasta on the boil, and cook pasta while you prep the sauce. In another pot or pan, gently fry the chopped onion in the olive oil until it softens. Halve the cherry tomatoes, then tip them in with the onion and let them cook for a few minutes.

In the meanwhile, using a food processor (or excellent knife skills), roughly chop the almonds. Add the slices of roast aubergine to the food processor with the almonds, and chop roughly. Now, tip in the tomatoes and onion, and process until it is smoother but not enturely homogenous. You should still feel the slightly gritty almond buts. Add salt and pepper to taste. It may not look pretty, but see how you like the flavours..

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Drain pasta, ladle sauce over, and enjoy! Add parmesan if you like (we do) and basil leaf for garnish if you have some.

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Notes: I had seen a recipe for aubergine walnut pasta, with hard boiled egg yolks and tomato sauce, but was too hungry to boil eggs as well. I would have added sage, but the sage on our balcony died in the August heat and has not yet been replaced. With in-laws arriving in two weeks, reviving the balcony boxes is a project for this weekend. That, making sure we have enough tea bags to make endless cups of builder’s tea, and scrubbing the kitchen. “They will not mind!” says my husband, but I do. You could make this with less tomatoes and add olive oil, but we wanted to keep this light. More fresh basil could be nice too. A great weekend to all!
Fiesta Friday