After a weekend of the highest indulgence – the fam were in town, so all we did was drink mulled wine, eat, eat and eat some more. We went to the bar at the Ritz Carlton and it was awesome. It’s pretty expensive, but it was an experience because the bar guy brinks over a box of fragrances… it’s a dark wood box like an apothecary. I felt like I had been escorted back to a more mystical time. haha. Anyway, so he brings out this box and you smell all the fragrances and you choose a drink based on which fragrance you like best. Such a cool idea and he knew his stuff, which made it worth while. I got the rose, honey and yilang yilang one and it was divine. Anyway, my point is I over indulged so I thought it was time to get back onto the nutritious eating track.
I have also decided recently that I am too stuck in my ways when it comes to cooking, sticking only to the things I feel comfortable with. Like European and Asian food. I wanted to discover some new spices and flavours, so I decided to go for something a bit more Middle Eastern. I thought this was more of an Israeli dish, but my flatmate insisted it was more arabic. I’m not an expert but I think there is a lot of crossover there in terms of cuisine. Anyway, so I used some spices I had never heard of like za’tar and sumac. I had never heard of them, so kind of got a kick out of trying something new! Za’tar is a mix of herbs like oregano and thyme. Sumac is powdered berry which has a tangy lemon like flavour and a pinch of salt – it’s red! This was really delicious and was inspired by Ottalenghi’s Aubergine with Pomegranate and Buttermilk recipe.
Here is the recipe for
Aubergine with Buttermilk and Pomegranate
2 large aubergines
75ml olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp za’atar
1 tsp sumac
A few sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
For the sauce
100g Greek yogurt
1½ tbsp olive oil
1 small garlic clove
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a baking tray with grease proof paper.
2. Half the aubergines lengthwise (keep the stalk – it looks cool!)
3. Make 4 long slits (not right the way through to the skin) in flesh of the aubergine and then 4 more accross these slits to make a grid like shape.
4. Brush with olive oil until it soaks into the flesh and sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until soft
5. Mix together the buttermilk (or ayran), yogurt, 1½ tbsp olive oil, garlic , and a pinch of salt and put to the side.
6. Half the pomegranate and hold it over a bowl while hitting it on the back with a wooden spoon – keep doing this until all the seeds come out. Remove the white skin that may have come out too.
7. Spoon the sauce onto each aubergine and sprinkle some, pomegranate seeds, thyme, sumac, za’tar and salt & pepper on top.
The winner of my Plate to Pixel Giveaway is Jo from Chic and Gorgeous Treats. Congratulations! And thanks to everyone for entering.