All day I have had ideas flitting about for a more ‘serious’ blog post — something nicely theological to lead us away from the temptation of more notes from the nature reserve.
But since then, dinner got in the way — and a new recipe that is far too much fun not to share. Certain details may be specific to location. Adapt as need be.
Smoked Aubergines (Eggplant)
(Oh dear this is getting complicated already.)
1. Go to Homebase to buy a trivet. Best to do this after a funeral when you are over there anyway. You want a new trivet so as not to ruin the one you use to cool muffins. Homebase has the perfect thing — strong, with thick horizontal bits and not too many cross bars.
2. Buy an aubergine. You thought that was going to be easy didn’t you. So let me be more specific: buy a small thin aubergine that will cook evenly in seven minutes. Looked through the whole box of aubergines and still found nothing that is remotely the right size or shape? Get what you can — this is Dunoon after all.
3. Ignore trivet and aubergine for several days, trying to find time to cook.
4. Realize it is the longest day of the year, which must mean there is time to cook.
5. Set the (washed and dried) trivet over the largest gas burner on the stove. Set the (washed and dried) aubergine on the trivet. Put the flame on as high as it will go. Quickly turn it off again. Get the cat out of the kitchen. Close the door, open the window, and start again…
6. Are you having fun yet? If not, stand over the aubergine until it starts to catch fire. Think ‘oh, it’s working’ and go make the sauce.
7. While the aubergine burns, mix oil, lemon juice, finely sliced garlic and a small bit of red chili.
8. Periodically turn the aubergine, marvel at how easy this is. Wonder why you waited so long.
9. Eventually, the skin will go black and the first juices will start to hiss. Careful now — you want charred smokey aubergine, not aubergine flambe and the fire brigade.
10. Once the skin is black all over, poke at it to make sure it’s soft, take it off the heat and slice at 1/4 inch intervals 3/4 of the way through.
11. Put it back on the flame for a few minutes (making a mess of the cooker, juices spitting everywhere) while you chop some coriander (cilantro).
12. Put the aubergine on a plate, pour over the sauce. Add coriander, salt and pepper. Taste, and lament the flavourless aubergine you should have known better than to buy.
13. Remember that there is Rose Harisa in the fridge. Dollop on generously. Mush it all up together and rejoice in a new found meal.