For my birthday party last week, Anja (swords lady) brought over some gorgeous fresh produce from her magnificent veg garden. Amid the bounty was the largest eggplant I’d seen in a while, but I’ve held out til now to make something of it, because I’m trying to conserve energy with my oven. Now that I’ve splashed out on electricity and on some new spices (Spanish smoked paprika, anyone?) I can honestly say I do not at all regret a moment! I had some lovely spicy stew left over that I wanted to use up, and what better way than to add roasted eggplant flesh and roast it in fresh new spices and ingredients? Yes please! A good alternative to other add-on carbs such as rice or pasta.
A. The phases of the luminous eggplant:
- Preheat to 180C, preparing a roasting pan with baking paper and a spray of non-stick stuff (or oil it lightly).
- Slice your eggplants lengthwise, scoring lightly atop and splashing salt if required. I used a rosemary & salt combination, very lightly, on top. Because I was paranoid I lightly pricked the domed side of each half, just to ensure maximum baking-ness took place.
- Once the oven is heated place the eggplants face-down on the tray and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, then flip. Paint each half with 1/2 tsp of olive oil and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Take out and set aside to cool.
- Take a spoon and carefully scoop out the flesh, transferring that to a bowl at hand.
- Splash some tumeric, thyme and other spices such as paprika in the shell of the eggplant and, with clean hands or the back of a spoon, work it into the flesh-shell.
- Pulse/briefly blend the innards with a handful of celery leaves or any green leaf with a distinct taste you enjoy, adding lots of smoked paprika.
B. The stew/innards:
Many recipes I’ve found for stuffed eggplants speak of making a stew right there and then. Since I had my leftovers which I desperately wanted to enjoy (but in a different, dashing way) I am not shy about saying it was too excellent to set aside in favour of a younger model of stew. For the sake of concision, here is my rough stew:
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups shredded cabbage
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium red or yellow onion, diced
- 3 medium carrots, sliced and diced
- 1 cup frozen pumpkin, diced
- 250g baby marrows, sliced and diced
- 5-6 cups water/stock, prepared beforehand
- 3 TBSP tomato paste
- 60 ml tikka cooking sauce, or 2 TBSP lite soy sauce/red vinegar
- spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, white pepper, paprika, etc
- curry powder, onion powder – yum yum!
- Water sauté the onions and tomatoes, then add in all the other veggies and lentils, with sufficient broth/stock to cover the veggies. Boil for 30 minutes, then simmer for another hour, stirring occasionally. The water : ingredient ratio is dependent completely on how soup-y you want your stew to be.
C. Baking it all together
One does not necessarily need a stew, as such, in the eggplant, but I love me some spicy nomness. Using leftovers means that you don’t faff around turning the oven off and on unless you plan your steps in whichever order suits your situation (making stew or fillings from scratch on the pan may take varying times, naturally).
- Ensuring the oven is still pre-heating or heated, mix your pulsed celery and eggplant innards mixture with the stew, then carefully spoon the magic into your open-faced eggplants. Splash with more smoked paprika atop, or black pepper.
- Optional: sprinkle on some nutritional yeast, fold in cashews or raisins, streak with a balsamic reduction, whatevs.
- Bake for another 15-20 minutes until lovely.
D. The experience
LOVELY! NOM! nomnom. Wow – I really truly enjoyed this dish immensely. I first licked the plate when transfering the eggplant out of the roasting and it was a little dribbly and I just went all “ohmygoodness” and sort of swooned/rolled my eyes back into the heavens. Who needs cheese when the beautiful, soft and stringy innards of the eggplant add its own masterful creaminess to the fold. Gad! But seriously, so many variations! I definitely want to add nuts next time, maybe even some peppadew. This is something I would not be ashamed to serve to my family or friends at all. Tis just too bad Man-thing doesn’t like eggplant. *weep* Oh wait, MOAR FOR ME! >:)
Warm, spicy, creamy. What better combination? My photos do this meal no justice, but it is a savoury delight. Mmm! Cannot wait for tomorrow’s lunch!
The one thing I usually cannot wait for in the day is my two smoothies. My morning monster (now with papaya replacing banana, or mango, depending on what’s available) is electrifying! I add some cayenne in them to zing up my brain the mornings, and there’s just constant energy and I’m not famished again until 12h30ish, and then I pace anxiously for 16h00, when I can indulge in this straw-licking fresh and cooling treat.
Minty apple smoothie
- 1/2 cup soy milk, or milk of choice, low-fat
- 1/2 cup cold water, or as needed (I usually splash some more in there)
- a big handful, or approximately 5-6 thick leaves of spinach, cleaned and de-spined, then broken up
- 5-6 mint leaves, washed
- 1 nub ginger, grated (1/2 TBSP)
- 1/3 of a normal cucumber, peeled, slice and frozen for a few hours beforehand (I never usually peel my goodies but it helps to make an icier and less chunky smoothie (with bits of peel everywhere).
- 1 medium-small apple, cored and sliced and diced (with peel on) and also frozen.
- 1 tsp spirulina and/or matcha green tea powder
- 1 TBSP ground flax seeds, soaked in 3 TBSP of water and left in the fridge 15 minutes beforehand.
- Blend & Enjoy!
The garden job of paving was completed yesterday, so today Man-thing and I went out for a gander at the plants at the big nursery where they house the most tempting shiny ever. It’s on par with a kitchen accessory store for me, or a whole foods market. We plotted over some coffee and second breakfast (for Man-thing) and walked away with some beauties. It’ll take some time to expand and settle everything in, but once the creepers start a-creeping and the plants start a-growing we’ll be in business like a Monday morning. 🙂