I thought I'd actually write about something I'd cooked for a change - I don't think I have for ages! To be truthful, things have been a little quiet on the cooking front as my health is not brilliant at the moment - I have an overactive thyroid which had been in remission for about a year but recently has decided to start its ritual ass-kicking again. There are plenty of worse things in the world, but it does make me very tired sometimes, hence all things cooking being pretty quiet. Still, I'm on medication now and should start feeling better soon, so onwards and upwards!
I have decided that having some meat-free meals might be quite a good idea, because we do eat a lot of meat. Because we like meat (mmm, meat). But we like vegetables too. And what with our veg box and our new-found love of farm shops, we have quite an abundance of them at the moment. So, I'm attempting to make at least two vegetarian meals a week.
Last week I made this Mushroom & Potato Curry, courtesy of BBC Good Food, and it was nice enough - nothing particularly special, but we enjoyed it.
This week I decided to have a look through Nigel Slater's Tender for inspiration, as it is such a good book for all things vegetable. I settled on something from the aubergine section called 'A hot stew with tomatoes and coriander' (for owners of the book, I refer you to pages 58-59; for non-owners, I refer you to the link above where you can purchase this wonderful tome).
The lemon juice, ginger and garlic paste was hard to make. I only have a hand blender and it didn't work well at all. I gave up eventually, when the ginger and garlic had kind of turned to a mush, but they they were still floating stubbornly in the lemon juice. I chucked it in the pan with the aubergines and it worked, though.
I also didn't 'relax' the aubergines. I never even knew that this was the done thing before reading Tender. This is where you chop the aubergine up, put salt on it and let it rest for half an hour. Sorry Nigel, but I'd had a full day of work, was tired from a bad night's sleep and, goddammit, I was hungry. So, the aubergines went straight in the pan. I actually happen to like the way aubergines soak everything up anyway: the pieces are like little gelatinous cubes absorbing everything in their wake.
And that was actually the best thing about this dish: the way the aubergine absorbed the flavours of ginger, garlic, lemon, chilli, tomato and coriander. What a beautiful mingling of flavours. Oh, how I wish blogger had smell-o-vision. I served it with warmed flatbreads and it was loooovely.
A warning, though - unless you really like the spice do not, I repeat DO NOT, put in two chillies with seeds, as Nigel intrepidly suggests. I did one with seeds and it was at about my limit for spice (and I think next time I will remove the seeds to make it more suitable for my palate).