The VegHead exceeded government guidelines on the consumption of alcohol last night. Thursday was, therefore, a “slow” day. Earlier in the week, prior to this unfortunate slip in decorum, The VegHead and SheWhoMustBeFed had earmarked Thursday dinner as Beetroot and Aubergine Sri Lankan Curry night, on account of having a particularly nice looking aubergine (tight, dark flesh and firm to the touch) as well as two precooked (and un-vinegar-ed) beetroots in the fridge. However, come dinnertime both comfort food and ease of preparation was called for. Thus, I introduce to you “the lazy version” of the curry. Total cooking time is not much more than the time it takes for the aubergine to cook through.
Needing (serves two):
- 2 cooked beetroots (not preserved in vinegar or salt), cubed
- 1 medium aubergine, cubed in a chunky sort of way
- 1 cup of cooked butter beans
- a few thin slices of onion
- 2 tablespoons of harrisa paste (or more or less to taste)
- olive oil
- generous handful of chopped fresh coriander
- 1/3 cup of coconut milk
- sauté the aubergine, beans, onion, and paste in a generous splash of olive oil
- once the aubergine is cooked, add the beetroot (adding the beetroot later in the cooking process ensures that you end up with some colour variation in the meal. Add it too early and everything just ends up purple. As the beetroot’s already cooked, you’re really just warming it up and getting it coated it spice)
- just before serving, mix through the coriander and the coconut milk
Serve with mashed potato a.k.a. “comfort food”
A VegHead reverse engineering of an oft ordered entree from our favourite local Moroccan restaurant (Al Fassia – in Windsor). Al Fassia serves this on a bed of finely chopped lettuce, the fresh green of which offsets the brilliant red of the dip in a dramatic manner. If you choose to do it that way, do not spoon the aubergine dip onto the lettuce until just before you serve, or the leaves will wilt and stain.
What goes in:
- One medium sized aubergine
- One medium tomato, finely chopped
- A few thin slices of onion – finely chopped
- One small crushed clove of garlic
- Two tablespoons of harissa paste
- Juice of half a medium lemon
- Olive oil
- Quarter the aubergine lengthways. Holding the skin against your hand, grate the flesh (use the medium to large holes on your grater)
- Saute the aubergine, onion and garlic in olive oil. Do not allow to stick.
- Add the harissa paste and continue to cook for another minute or two
- Add the tomato and tomato
- Simmer until the juices from the tomato have mostly evaporated
- Stir through the lemon juice
Serve warm with toasted pita bread (can therefore be made ahead of time)
This recipe makes between 150 and 200 grams of harissa paste.
What goes in…
- 100 grams of dried red chillies (or 120 grams of fresh red chillies)
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup of edible fresh or dried rose petals (or 1/4 cup of dried petals)
- 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon of coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon of sea-salt
- Olive oil
A note on the rose petals… If you happen to have a garden full of blooming roses, and they have not been sprayed with anything nasty, then simply add about one rose worth of fresh, fragrant, red petals. Another source of culinary rose petals might be a high-end tea shop (make sure it is 100% rose petal, not rose-infused tea). An alternative might be culinary rose essence. Steer clear of dried rose petals that are designed for pot pourri as they have probably had perfume added to them. Similarly, stay away from shop bought “fresh” roses as they have most likely been sprayed. The provenance of the rose is therefore very important and if you’re not 100% sure – do not add this ingredient at all.
- In a covered pan, boil the chillies (minus the stems) in a very small amount of water for about 5 minutes. If there is any water left, drain it off and discard. Advisable to have the kitchen extractor fan on high when you’re doing this as the steam can be brutally spicey to pets, loinfruits, and those with a tender sense of smell. Do not ever, ever, ever allow all those chillies to burn or you’ll have to be put into an oxygen tent for the remainder of your life. This is a drag, as you’re only ever allowed to suck grey protein mush through a straw if you’re in an oxygen tent.
- Blend (BaMix baby) to a smooth paste, adding olive oil to achieve the right consistency.
- Place in a jar, drizzled with more olive oil to seal it.
Will keep in the fridge for at least two months.
Very tired last night after a busy weekend so this was perfect. 10 minutes to prepare, about an hour and a quarter to cook…
- cup of broad beans (must admit I generally use frozen broad beans if I am putting them in a tagine. The fresh ones are WAY too expensive to use as an ingredient in spicy dishes. Fresh broad beans in season deserve to be respected through being lightly blanched and their flavour enjoyed to the fullest unadulterated)
- cup of chopped aubergine
- 1 small preserved lemon – chopped (if you make your own preserved lemons then one quarter of one lemon)
- 1/3 cup of your favorite olives
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- berbere or harrissa paste (note to self…need to post those recipes up!)
- handful of chopped parsley and also coriander
- 1 courgette. Slice in quarters length-ways, and then halve those quarters cross-ways
- Preheat oven to scalding. Preferable preheat the tagine too while you get everything else ready
- If the broad beans are frozen, defrost them in some boiled water for 5 minutes as doing so will reduce baking time by about 20 minutes
- Mix all the ingredients except for the courgette and pour into tagine
- Arrange the eighths of courgette in a clockwheel around the top. Drizzle each lightly with a little more olive oil
- add water until just below the level of the tagine base.
- Bake the covered tagine for 60 to 75 minutes or until the water is mostly boiled away.
Serve with cous-cous