Happy 2015! Let’s record that eggplant recipe.

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Beautifully wrapped hand made chocolates

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Christmas cookies!

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Gingerbread

Happy 2015!  How special to have had Christmas with both you girls home.  I loved the hand made theme of presents SO MUCH! You two are such creative souls ; from hand sewn donuts (don’t ask, readers!) to scented chocolates, intricate necklaces and boxes of spicy chai, and the worlds best Martha Stewart gingerbread to even a coconut and coffee scrub! Too clever by half! IMG_1194

Extended lazy days, and very late nights, music playing, long conversations, friends dropping by, endless cups of tea, and shared cooking. My idea of holidays at home. Thank you both for being here and making it so memorable.

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Summer days

 

A while ago when we had a lovely family over for lunch, I made an eggplant dish which is reminiscent of one your Nanna cooks. Let’s just say it is one of those dishes which lingers in your memory. Sweet and sour, and thick and yummy. I promised to send this family the recipe, but had to make the dish again to record carefully all the ingredients and steps which I’ve never written down before.

Now, I’ll admit that this does not fit the category of recipes I usually send you girls. Namely: straightforward to make, quick and relatively healthy. Somehow though, I know you’ll both get around to making this yourselves despite the fairly long winded process because you know just how worth while it is.  Nanna serves this eggplant dish with rice and meat dishes, but always has a fresh cucumber sambal or raitha too. When our friends came to lunch, I served it alongside Ottogenhi’s pasta with yogurt and pea sauce. Unusual, but it somehow worked itself out to be a fantastic combination.

Eggplant Curry

  • 4 firm and large purple eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
  • six cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh curry leaves if you have it
  • 1 large bombay onion
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons cummin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 1 tub tomato paste
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying

Method:

  1. Chop up eggplants into pieces about finger length and double finger length in thickness.
  2. Mix the chopped eggplant with the turmeric and salt cover and set aside for a few hours.
  3. Meanwhile,  mix together the tamarind paste, the chilli powder, white vinegar, sugar and tomato paste with a cup of water. Set aside.
  4. Press the juice out of the eggplant pieces between paper towels.
  5. Heat  two tablespoons of olive oil in a large wok or casserole pan.
  6. Fry batches of the eggplant pieces until golden and soft. Drain on paper towels.
  7. When all the eggplant has been cooked, heat the pan again with two more tablespoons of oil.
  8. Throw in the curry leaves and mustard seeds.
  9. When the seeds start to pop, add the cumin seeds, onion. ginger and garlic and stir.
  10. Add the eggplant.
  11. Now add the prepared sauce and stir well.
  12. Cover, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for half an hour, stirring occasionally.
  13. Adjust seasoning according to your taste: more vinegar for sourness, more sugar for sweetness. And of course more chilli powder for heat.
  14. The end result should be a yummy, thick dish, with no runny sauce. The eggplant should be very tender.
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Salt and turmeric first up.

 

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Tomato and tamarind pastes to make the sauce

 

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Frying up the eggplant

 

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Fresh curry leaves, ginger and onion

 

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Sweet and sour eggplant curry

 

Baked Eggplant- And A New Era Begins

Dousing with yogurt

Dousing with yogurt

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Izzy Have You Eaten has been in a bit of a hiatus, but when you went off to Central America for your big adventure, I knew you would not be cooking for a while. We’ve loved hearing about your adventures and looking at amazing photographs of Trinidad, Flores, Antigua, Tulum and Tikal. While you traveled, I took the opportunity to have a little break over the summer and now here we all are, back to seize the new year! Lots more cooking to be done, Izzy.

Congratulations on your next big step, Izzy: post graduate studies, back at Melbourne uni. The incredible thing is that you will now have Little C joining you on campus to start her degree! Something you’ve yearned for.  Not sure what dad and I will do with ourselves in Sydney without  BOTH our girls……

Now of course the other dilemma: this blog name is kinda redundant because in my heart, I will be saying: Izzy AND Little C, have you eaten? Let’s think about that one… in the meantime, Little C had a play and changed the image on my blog header. It is rather artistic isn’t it? If any of you reading this have suggestions of what to do about the title, I’d be glad to hear from you in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box below.

I made these baked eggplant slices the other day, and promptly made them again a couple of days later. They are just so easy and delicious, and they work beautifully as a side, served warm, chilled or at room temperature. I served them the first time with grilled salmon topped with a fresh salsa, next time with a chicken curry. How versatile can you get? Yotham Ottolelnghi is truly an inspirational cook; i have never eaten vegetables in such combinations and variety as with him. I should send his book Plenty to you soon…

Grilled Eggplant with Yoghurt Dressing for 4

  • Two medium sized eggplants. Chose ones that are shiny, and that have a tight skin.
  • 3 table spoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt
  • salt
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Slice the eggplants the whole length in half.
  3. Place the eggplant pieces on baking paper on a baking tray. Make some shallow criss cross slits in the eggplant pieces.
  4. Brush lightly with olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes or less depending on the size of the pieces. Some smaller pieces may take a shorter time to cook.
  5. Remove from oven and arrange on a platter.
  6. With a fork, whisk yogurt with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt.
  7. Drizze the yogurt mixture onto the eggplant .
  8. Scatter with thyme and pomegranate seeds, and serve.