Baked Aubergine

Another weekend over and back to work. Weekends seem to pass so slowly and quickly at the same time. How have you been spending yours? On Friday I participated (minimally) in a virtual escape room breaking out of a Texan prison. 2 hours of puzzle-solving later and I was completely mentally exhausted.

It was Burns night last night and I hope that those of you who celebrated Burns’ night yesterday didn’t come out of it with too much of a hangover. I just learnt today that apparently 25th January is also St Dwynden’s Day – Wales’ own Valentines’ Day. St Dwynden was a Welsh princess that was unlucky in love. As a result she became a nun but hoped for others to be more lucky than her! As Burns would say:

‘As fair are thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my Dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry’

Tonight I made an aubergine bake. I took this recipe from Nigel Slater’s ‘The Kitchen Diaries’. If you’re not familiar with Nigel Slater, he’s a famous chef in Britain who writes his cookbooks in the style of a diary with seasonal recipes. He’s very articulate and has also written an autobiography which I highly recommend.

I’ve changed his recipe a little, I find that when you pan fry aubergines you end up using lots of oil and it’s just easier to bake them. I used dried breadcrumbs rather than bread, a punnet of cherry tomatoes in place of one tin chopped tomatoes and I also added in some veggie bacon as I had some to use up.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tin butter beans
  • 2 aubergines
  • 4 rashers vegetarian bacon
  • 2 onions
  • 1 carton passata
  • 1 punnet plum tomatoes
  • 3 stems rosemary
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 30g parmesan
  • 1 lemon
  • Spray oil/extra olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and line a baking tray

2.) Chop up the aubergines into thin slices and spread out on the baking tray

3.) Spray with oil and sprinkle over salt and pepper

4.) Bake for 25 minutes.

5.) In the meantime, peel and chop the onions and fry in oil until soft.

6.) While these are frying, add 2/3 the oregano, strip the leaves from the rosemary, dice finely and also add 2/3

7.) Chop up the bacon and fry for a couple of minutes.

8.) Peel and chop the 2 cloves of garlic and add one to the onions.

9.) Cook for one minute and add the plum tomatoes, a bit of salt and about 100ml water, Turn up the heat to break down the tomatoes.

10.) Once broken down, add the passata. Drain the tin of beans and and chuck in the pan. Cook for a couple more minutes.

11.) Line a pie dish with the aubergines

12.) Pour the tomatoes into the pie dish and put in the oven to bake for 45 minutes.

13.) In the meantime, mix up the breadcrumb topping. Grate the parmesan and zest the lemon. Try not to get the white bit (the pith) as this will make it taste bitter.

14.) Mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining oregano, rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and parmesan and stir through the 1.5 tbsp olive oil.

15.) Once the aubergine is ready, top with the breadcrumb mixture and bake for a further 5 – 10 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden.

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