Well, I don't know what has happened to the last month. For me the chaos of Christmas and New Year was enough to deal with and I was looking forward to the respite that January usually brings. However with baby's 3rd birthday on the Bank Holiday Monday and the arrival of an 8 week old puppy two days later the return to school has not brought all the free time I was hoping for.
One thing we have found time for is our New Year ritual of ignoring the dull, grey days outside and planning the year ahead and the various holidays we would like to go on! We obviously wont be going to Stockholm, Brittany, Prague, Istanbul, Geneva, Paris, Greece, Gozo and Morrocco this year. In fact we'll be lucky with a trip to the Lake District but there is nothing wrong with dreaming of the sun!
But back to reality and tonight I'm out to supper to celebrate a friends birthday and I've been asked to take some food, specifically this aubergine salad. It truly transports you to balmier climates and the aromas that fill the kitchen whilst you cook it are amazing. I love it for the fact it is far better made at least a day in advance, getting tastier every 24 hours and I often incorporate it as part of a huge meditarrenean style feast with a slow roast lamb and a selection of food from one of my favourite cook books, Falling Cloudberries, by Tessa Kiros (I did this for my sister's hen night).
Sarah and I were introduced to this recipe by one of our NCT group (we were very lucky to have had an NCT group full of good cooks!). It was originally a Delia Smith recipe, but I've adapted it to make it quicker to make, as follows:
1 can tomatoes
1 teaspoon of allspice berries
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
some fresh mint, flat leaf parsley and coriander
- Cut the aubergine into small cubes, cover in olive oil and roast in the oven till cooked (40 mins to an hour)
- Dry roast the cumin seeds and allspice berries (in a saucepan on the hob), when they start jumping around take them off and bash them into a powder in a pestle and mortar
- Fry onions, garlic and chilli till soft
- Add tomatoes, aubergine and crushed spices, then salt, pepper and fresh herbs
- simmer for 5 mins then store in the fridge over night