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.

Fried leeks with paprika sauce

We enjoyed a tapas style dinner on Saturday (for a while at least, then I got a tummy ache and had to lie down *sigh*) and I made these nice little things. The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty, but I didn’t follow it exactly. The sauce I made up myself and it worked really well with the leeks.

Fried leeks with paprika sauce, serves 2

3 leeks, trimmed

1 egg, beaten

 breadcrumbs

salt, white pepper

at least 500 ml vegetable oil

200 ml creme fraiche

juice from 1/2 lemon

salt, white pepper

1-2 tsp paprika

Cut the leeks into 5 cm long pieces. Boil in salted water until soft (about 15 mins). Drain. Heat up the oil in a pan. Dip the leeks first in the beaten egg then in the seasoned breadcrumbs. Fry until golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel.

Mix creme fraiche, lemon juice and spices. Serve.