One more summer recipe – Aubergine bake

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I tested a corner before I remembered I needed to take a piccie! Yum yum…

I shouldn’t be on here as I have way too much work to do before I tittle off to the Libyan Pelagos. But I can’t stand it right now. So here’s one more recipe before I go. This has a bit more work than most of my recipes but is still pretty easy. Aubergines really work out much better if you take a bit of extra time to prepare them properly. So, after slicing them length ways I salted them, left them in a colander for an hour, rinsed them off, patted them dry, layered them in a greased dish, covered them in a layer of bacon and then pre-baked for twenty minutes to get them going. It definitely paid off as they were delicious and well cooked.

Everything else about this dish is piss easy to do. I believe in good easy food because I have to work, so have no time for faffing about playing chef. I want grub. Nutritious, sustaining, tasty nosh.

Here’s the recipe.

ps Haloumi freezes very well

Aubergine bake

2 or 3 aubergines sliced length ways

3 toms whizzed/pulped

1 chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 fresh red chilli

8 rashers of bacon

1 pot of greek yoghurt

half a packet of grated haloumi cheese

1 tsp oregano

a little seasoning

EVO oil

Put the sliced aubergine in a colander and give a good sprinkling with sea salt. Leave for an hour, rinse, pat dry with kitchen paper or a freshly laundered tea towel, layer in a greased oven dish and cover with the rashers of bacon. Bake on a medium low heat in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes to get the aubergine started.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Here’s what I do: I quarter the toms after removing the tough middle bit and add to an electric whizzer along with the garlic and chillies and a little seasoning. I pulp the lot and then add the onion quarters, which I pulse till they are all chopped in with the sauce but NOT pulped. Once I take the aubergines out of the oven (don’t turn it off!), I cover the aubergine and bacon with the tomato sauce, sprinkle it with the oregano, spread a good thick layer of yoghurt over the top (Do it carefully with the back of a spoon to keep the sauce and yoghurt distinct and separate), then sprinkle over the grated Haloumi and drizzle with a little EVO oil. Bake on medium low for an hour until the top is a deep golden brown. Leave to cool in the oven for 20 mins before serving with a green salad. Serves 3 to 4 people.

 

Baked Summer vegetables and sausages with quick onion chutney

The photos do neither justice but they were both really tasty: honest. Its the poor lighting in my kitchen at night that’s to blame.

I’m sick of politics at the moment, so I thought I should give you a nice summer recipe. This could be my last post until the end of August as I’m off to bum around Crete and Andros over the next few weeks. The chutney is great with the sausage and veg bake as in here, but its brilliant with other things too. If you’re having a party and want a nice hor d’oeuvre, I recommend little squares of pumpernickel or some crackers with cream cheese topped with the chutney. I also think this chutney would go well with a pan fried or grilled salmon steak

This is easy simple food. The secret to it coming out really good is making it in the right pots. The sausages and veg were done in my cast iron casserole. It was a pretty cheap one that I got for 30 euros in Lidl but it does the job brilliantly creating lots of rich juices that are heaven mopped off the plate with a bit of bread. Use the best sausages you can get. Mine were gourmet ones with wild boar from Proussos, a mountain village in Evrytania; the Switzerland of central Greece. A friend gave them to me to cook for us both.

The chutney required a mandolin to finely slice the onions evenly and a saute pan with a lid. I got one for my birthday and it’s proved to be a marvelous addition to my kitchen. Good utensils take a lot of the pressure to be perfect off the cook because they do half the job for you. You don’t need to worry too much about the amounts with this chutney. You can increase or decrease proportions of any of the ingredients to your taste. But as given here, the recipe did work very well.

Have fun cooking and eating. Happy hols and I’ll see you all when I’m back with a tan.

 

Sausage and Veg bake (serves 2)

2 tomatoes quartered

2 small potatoes cut into wedges

1 green pepper in chunks

1 small onion quartered

1 or 2 chopped chillies

2 or 3 cloves of garlic with their skins on

2 or 3 good sausages cut into big chunks

a little seasoning for the veg

a little EVOO

Preheat the oven while you are preparing the veg. Put the veg in the casserole pot with a little seasoning and a good glug of EVOO. Toss everything together to coat well in oil and seasoning. Add the sausages and put the lid on the pot. Put in the oven on high for 10 minutes then turn the temp down to low. Bake with the lid on for a further hour and then without the lid for about 15 to 20 minutes til the sausages are browned off a bit. Remove the pot from the oven and replace the lid and let sit for about 20 minutes before serving (pop the nice mushy garlic from their skins at this stage) with the onion chutney, crusty bread, feta cheese, a green salad and a cold crisp white wine such as an Assyrtiko from Santorini or Paragka by Kir Yianni.

 

Onion chutney

3 or 4 medium onions finely sliced, preferably with a mandolin

a little EVOO

1 ½ tbs of demerara sugar

75 ml of red wine vinegar

75 ml of balsamic vinegar

1 or 2 chopped chillies or some chilli flakes to taste

 

It’s a good idea to make this a day ahead as it improves with age. Put your finely sliced onions in a saute pan with a lid with a glug of oil over a low heat. Stir occasionally. They need about 20 minutes to soften well. Don’t brown but a bit golden is fine. Add the other ingredients, stir and replace lid. Leave on a low heat and stir occasionally until all the onions have turned to a kind of caramelized marmalade. Turn off the heat and leave to cool with lid on. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill til needed