I was recently given a few aubergines, they weren’t glossy and perfect but they were perfectly usable if I didn’t mind a bit of waste. This was my cue to get chopping. With a beautiful, new (to me) Dutch oven I wanted to make my first use of a stew type dish was obviously in order. This is an indulgent version with red wine in the sauce and tinned cherry tomatoes but you could easily replace the wine with water or stock and the cherry tomatoes with ordinary tinned chopped tomatoes. Ramiro peppers often look expensive but if you can find somewhere which sells them by weight they tend to work out a lot cheaper than supermarket prices.
Ingredients (feeds three or four)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 white onion
- 1 large aubergine
- 1 red ramiro pepper
- 1 generous teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 125ml(ish) glass red wine
- 125g/4oz approx’ puy type lentils (or fill the glass you measured the wine in if you’re not then drinking from it)
- 1tin cherry tomatoes in juice
- water to cover
Put the oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
Roughly chop the onions and sweat in the oil with the garlic.
Dice the aubergine into roughly 1 inch cubes and chop the pepper into pieces about 1/3 the size of the aubergine chunks; add both to the pan, stirring regularly.
After about 10 minutes add the allspice and stir for a minute more. Add the red wine, turn up the heat and bring to a lively simmer until the wine is reduced by about 1/3.
Add the lentils, tinned tomatoes and enough water to just cover all the ingredients. Cover the pan and simmer over a gentle heat for 20 to 30 minutes (until the lentils are cooked), stirring occasionally. I usually uncover for the last 5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit.
I normally serve this with rice, mashed potato, or crusty bread.
I found last week’s new recipe (I’m a bit late writing about it) nestled in the page of The World Vegetarian Cookbook. I like aubergines, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve eaten in our local Turkish restaurant, I thought I should give this dish a try. For some reason I thought it would be fiddly to make, it wasn’t; I confess I made my life easier by not bothering to peel my tomatoes but, despite the recipe calling for peeled tomatoes, it doesn’t look like they were peeled for the illustration of the finished dish in the book.
Simple made special by spice
Basically Imam Bayildi is aubergine stuffed with aubergine, onion, tomato and a few pine kernels. It doesn’t sound the fullest flavoured of dishes but a bit of allspice lifts it from nice but uninspiring to delicious. The aubergine shell had a delicate flavour, mild with a hint of olive oil, while the stuffing was rich and fruity. I polished off two portions and would happily have eaten more but I’d halved the quantities given in the recipe so didn’t have more to eat. I will definitely be making this again and next time I’ll be making the full four portion version, maybe even more. The recipe book suggests Imam Bayildi can also be eaten cold so leftovers won’t be a problem.
4 out of 5 for ease of making.
5 out of 5 for flavour.
A guest cat
This pretty lady is the reason I missed a week and am late writing about this week’s recipe.
More about her next Sunday!
Less laze for a more interesting lunch
I admit it, I’m lazy about lunches. Typically I buy something at work to eat that day and the next, a tub of fresh soup and some nice bread or a packet of oatcakes and something to accompany them. This approach is lighter on my pocket than a daily trip to the sandwich shop would be but I always feel that if I could just get myself a little more organised I could spend less and have the satisfaction of something I’d made myself. It seemed to me that the challenge was to find lunch options that looked interesting enough to motivate me to try them, this week I came across one.
Aubergine Tahini Pâté
In The Book of Vegetarian Cooking by Ted Smart I came across this pâtè recipe which sounded similar to the Baba Ganoush I sometimes buy to go with my oatcakes. Given that I’d buy Baba Ganoush more often if it was less expensive I decided this had to be tried. As often seems to be the case, something I’d assumed would be fiddly turned out to be incredibly easy, basically bake the aubergine and then peel it and purée with the rest of the ingredients. I was pleased before I even subjected it to the taste test as, for around the same price as the Baba Ganoush I usually buy, I had about three times the volume of pâté. Tasting it I was pretty happy too, eating my way through this is going to be no hardship at all. I actually like the consistency more than that of my usual bought option, mine is less wet. The flavour isn’t quite as nice as that of the Baba Ganoush, I’d like a little more lemon and less garam masala or possibly different spices; I’ll take a cheeky look at what I buy and then have a play with the recipe. I will make this again.
5 out of 5 for ease of making
3.5 out of 5 for flavour