Fried aubergine with saffron yoghurt and pomegranate seeds

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In the midst of excursions and heavy rainfall in Skåne, I actually managed to cook a little. Among other things this delicious aubergine dish courtesy of Sabrina Ghayour’s amazing cookbook Persiana. I definitely have a thing for aubergine and absolutely loved this and so did the few friends that got the opportunity to try it!

Fried aubergine with saffron yoghurt and pomegranate seeds, serves 4

Adapted and translated from Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe in Persiana.

2 large aubergine

olive oil for frying

2 good pinches saffron threads

1-2 tbsp boiling water

250 ml Greek yoghurt

1/2 lemon, the juice

sea salt

2-3 tbsp pomegranate seeds

parsley

Rinse and slice the aubergines lengthways. Either fry the slices in olive oil in a frying pan on the hob or on a baking tray in the oven until soft. Mix saffron and hot water and leave to cool. Mix yoghurt with the saffron water, season to taste with salt (maybe a tad of white pepper) and lemon juice. Chop the parsley. 

Distribute the aubergine slices on a platter, drizzle with saffron yoghurt and scatter pomegranate seeds and parsley on top.

Aubergine parmesan with mozzarella

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This lovely recipe is courtesy of the October edition of my latest obsession; the American food magazine Bon Appetit which I read religiously on my iPad every month.

I am slightly obsessed with aubergine – as you can see in the archives. I just like the soft texture and mellowness you get when they’re roasted and how well they pair with cheese (another of my obsessions).

This dish is more or less a non-layered Parmigiana di Melanzane and I must say I prefer it this way. The aubergine is firmer in these bigger pieces and therefore less floppy and the whole dish requires less sauce so the flavours are more distinct. The finished dish just has a little more finesse and is worthy as starring as the main course at any dinner party.

Eggplant parmesan with mozzarella, 4 portioner

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe.

olive oil

4 garlic cloves

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 tin (400 g) crushed tomatoes (or whole)

2 medium aubergines

4 sprigs oregano (I used dried)

150 ml fresh breadcrumbs

250 g buffalo mozzarella

ca 40 g grated parmesan

Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Using a vegetable peeler, remove skin from rounded side of each eggplant half, leaving a 1 cm strip of skin around the cut edges. Oil an edged baking sheet and place the aubergines cut side down. Drizzle with more oil, add salt, pepper and oregano as well as three whole garlic cloves. Cover with tin foil and bake until soft, 40-45 minutes. 

In the meantime, make the tomato sauce: Add one clove of grated garlic to a non-stick saucepan on medium heat. Stir for a minute or so, add the tomato purée followed by the tinned tomatoes and a splash of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until slightly thickened, 15–20 minutes. Season and set tomato sauce aside.

Toss breadcrumbs with oil. Transfer eggplants, oregano, and garlic to two large shallow baking dishes (or simply use the same one), placing eggplants cut side up. Top eggplants with tomato sauce and mozzarella, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Bake until mozzarella is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden, 25–30 minutes.

Serve immediately with a green salad and nice bread. 

 

Rice noodles with aubergine and spinach

At this time of year all I want to eat is comfort food. And by comfort food I mean anything with melted cheese or copious amounts of cream. Lovely to eat, but not necessarily healthy. Luckily there are some dishes without cream and cheese that still hit the spot, and this is definitely one out of that category.

Imagine cubes of aubergine crispy on the outside but moist and full of absorbed olive oil within, paired with garlic, wilted spinach and rice noodles. All embraced by a light sauce of lime juice, fish sauce and sesame oil. Yu-um!

Rice noodles with aubergine and spinach, serves 2

1 aubergine

a lot of olive oil

1 garlic clove

2 handfuls spinach

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 lime, zest and juice

2 tbsp fish sauce

2-3 tsp sesame oil

90-100 g vermicelli rice noodles

Bring some water to the boil. Put the noodles in a bowl and cover with the just boiled water, Peel and dice the aubergine. Wilt the spinach in olive oil. Remove to a bowl while frying the aubergine dices on high heat and in a lot of oil in the same pan. 

Once the aubergine pieces have got some colour, add the spinach to the pan, press in the garlic and and add the lime zest and juice, sesame oil and cayenne pepper. Let it sizzle for a few minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain the noodles and add them to the pan. Toss and serve. 

Summer salad with sweet potato, aubergine, spring onions and feta

This gorgeous weather needs some lighter food, don’t you think?! Especially if you like me live in a top floor flat with lots of skylights, that apart from letting light in also let the warmth in.

Last week I made this fantastic salad, and I have a feeling I will eat it all summer long. It is just that good. And apart from tasting good it is also good for you. Not bad, heh?

I ate it as it is pictured above, on its own, both for dinner one day and lunch the next. It would of course work well for a summer barbecue or a picnic too.

A salad is a salad; so look at the recipe below as a guide instead of a proper recipe. With the right ingredients you can’t go wrong.

Summer salad with sweet potato, aubergine, spring onions and feta, 2 portioner

2 baby aubergine

1 sweet potato

2 handfuls rocket

100 g feta

3 spring onions, chopped

½ lemon, the juice

extra virgin olive oil

salt, pepper

Wash the aubergine and cut into cubes of ½ x ½ cm. Peel the sweet potato and cut into equal cubes. Place in a roasting dish and coat with olive oil. Season. Roast unril soft, about 20-30 minutes, 200C.

When the vegetables are done, take out two salad bowls and put a handful of rocket in each. Divide the sweet potato and aubergine between the bowls and crumble the feta on top. Add the spring onions and dress the salad with lemon juice and a good olive oil. Season and dig in.

Spinach and aubergine lasagne for one

Lasagne is a great dish to make if you’re feeding a large number of people, but it can as easily be reduced to just one portion.

One evening last week I found myself with an open packet of fresh lasagne sheets and a bowl of left-over homemade tomato sauce, and of course I thought it would be a good idea to make a lasagne.

The way I make it, without a cheesy bechamel, is a quick and truly delicious approach, and the best way if you’re making a smaller lasagne.

Spinach and aubergine lasagne, serves 1

1 small aubergine

150 g fresh spinach

3 fresh lasagne sheets

100 ml tomato sauce (homemade if possible)

150 ml creme fraiche

100 ml grädde

1 handful grated cheese

salt, pepper

olive oil and a knob of butter for frying

Wash the aubergine and cut it into slices lengthways. Fry these until soft in olive oil on high heat. Put aside. Add the knob of butter to the same pan on medium heat. Add the spinach and stir as it wilts. Add salt and white pepper and drain away the excess water from the spinach. Mix creme fraiche and cream in a bowl. Add salt and pepper.

Spread some tomato sauce in the bottom of a small ovenproof dish (10 x 10 cm approx), cut the lasagne sheet to fit and place it on top of the tomato sauce. Add another layer of tomato sayce, then a layer of aubergine followed by the spinach and then finally the cream mixture and grated cheese. Start again with another lasagne sheet and repeat until the dish is full. Top with a some cream mixture and grated cheese. Place in a 200 C oven for about 30 minutes. Leave to set for a few minutes before serving.

Fabulous aubergine lasagne

I was so proud of myself last night, because I had managed to fix my laptop that wasn’t working all by myself. And, more importantly, I made this amazing lasagne.

I know it doesn’t sound very humble to say that, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you how great this dish was. It is easy to make, no bèchamel involved, melts in your mouth, and the flavours work so well together. Balsamic vinegar in the tomato sauce with plenty of Italian herbs and a pinch of brown sugar work so well together, giving it depth. The aubergine, soft after a little oil bath in the frying pan is nice and smooth, the pasta gives it texture and the icing on the cake is the creme fraiche, cream and cheese layer on the top. I say no more.

So try this, ok? At once, please!

Aubergine lasagne, serves 3 (maybe 4, but it is easy to have seconds and thirds of this)

2 aubergines

olive oil

400 g passata or chopped tomatoes (I always use Cirio – they’re the best)

4 tbsp water

1,5 tsp concentrated vegetabe stock

1 tbsp Heinz chilli sauce or other mild chilli sauce

a pinch of brown sugar

2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Italian herb seasoning

salt & pepper

1 packet fresh lasagne sheets

150 g Philadelphia cheese

100 ml creme fraiche

50 ml cream

100 ml grated cheese (I used Emmenthal)

Peel the aubergines and cut them into 1/2 cm thick slices. Fry these soft in plenty of olive oil on high heat. Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. Add tomatoes, water, stock, vinegar and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to the boil and let it thicken for 5-10 minutes while stiring. Season to taste with Italian herbs, salt and pepper.

When the sauce and aubergines are ready, start layering the lasagne. Start with tomato sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof dish, then lasagne sheets, some more tomato sauce, aubergines, dollops of Philadelphia cheese. Start again with lasagne sheets for the next layer. Finish the lasagne off with lasagne sheets and some tomato sauce if left over. Mix cream and creme fraiche, salt and pepper and spread it on top to cover the dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in 200C for about 30 minutes. Enjoy – you certainly will! 

Mezze: Baked aubergine with pomegranate and stuffed courgettes

As always when I go on holiday, i filled my bags with groceries when I was on my way home from Syria. Soon thereafter I bought the fabulous cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and he uses alot of the things I brought back in his recipes. Perfect or what?!

These two recipes from Plenty don’t require any strange ingredients though, and I highly recommend you trying them. I utterly adored the aubergine dish, but my boyfriend fell in love with the courgettes. I have followed the recipes, but have veganised them where needed. You find the stuffed courgette recipe here in which I omitted the currants. It is from Ottolenghi’s culumn The New Vegetarian on the Guardian’s website, where many of the recipes in Plenty are from.

And below you find my adapted recipe for the baked aubergines with pomegranate.

Baked aubergine with pomegranate, serves 4 or 6 as a buffet

2 medium aubergines

olive oil

thyme

150 ml soy cream

1 garlic clove

juice from 1/2 lemon

salt

pepper

pomegranate seeds

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways and place them skin down in a greased roasting tray. Cut a diaond pattern in the flesh with a knife, being carfel not to pierce the skin. Brush with olive oil a few times, so it gets soaked up by the aubergine. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and a few thyme sprigs. Add salt and pepper. Bake in 200C for 40 minutes. Leave to cool completely.

Mix the soy cream wuth garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. Pour it over the aubergines just before serving and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.