Tag Archives: aubergines

So Can You Cook? 7

About 18-months ago, a group of our friends started what has come to be known as ‘The Brunch Club’. Every couple of months somebody in the group volunteers their yard – the hope is always for good weather – on a Saturday or Sunday. The rest of us put together a plate of something and turn up at around 11.00am for brunch. It is always a great time, and brunch often extends to the early evening. These brunches are that important time where everyone relaxes, and catches up on what everyone else has been doing. It is important for our group, because with some of them living a distance away, and others having the responsibility of children, we tend not to spend a lot of time together. Our friends always manage to surprise me with the creativity they display in their choice of food for these occasions. I include below some recipes that you may find useful should you choose to do the same thing with a group of your friends. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Don’t forget to gather together a varied selection of fruit, fresh, sweet and savoury dishes. Start with a champagne cocktail, then if everyone turn up with a couple of bottles of wine, a long day is guaranteed.

Carrot and Apple Cider Cocktail (an appetite stimulant)
2 medium carrots, chilled and chopped
¾ cup sparkling apple cider, chilled
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint
ice cubes

Process carrots through juice extractor then combine with other ingredients. Pour over ice.

Lebanese Pancakes stuffed with ricotta
20g fresh or 7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
125ml + extra 500ml lukewarm water
250g plain flour, sifted

FILLING: 300g ricotta mixed with 250g walnuts finely chopped and mixed with 2 tablespoons caster sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon or, alternatively, 1-2 teaspoons rosewater or orange blossom water, or 1 tablespoon honey.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Dissolve yeast with sugar in 125ml wwater and stand for 10 minutes until bubbles form. Add mixture to flour in a large bowl, then gradually add extra 500ml warm water. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour. The batter should bubble and rise. Heat a heavy-based frypan, and when hot smear with oil (vegetable is best, as it doesn’t flavour). Reduce heat to medium and add a small ladleful of batter to about 8cm (4”) diameter. Fill the uncooked side with a spoonful of the ricotta mixture, then fold into a semi-circle and press edges to seal. Brush with a little vegetable oil or ghee (from butter section of supermarket), then bake in oven until golden. Dip in attar syrup (500g caster sugar, 300g water & 2 tablespoons lemon juice boiled for 7-10 minutes until syrupy, then cool and add 2 tablespoons rosewater or orange blossom water). Serve with your favourite preserve and some slivered or flaked almonds, and dust with icing sugar.
Approx cost $5.00 for the batch. Makes 20-24

Carrot and Orange Salad with Craisins
Craisins are dried cranberries, which are available from the dried fruit section at the super market
4 medium carrots
4 oranges
3-4 tablespoons Craisins, soaked overnight in your favourite fruit juice
good pinch salt
pinch pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Peel thin slices of carrot using your vegetable peeler. Remove skin and pith from oranges and slice into rounds. Mix and refrigerate ingredients to develop flavours.
Arrange orange rounds into a neat mound on the plate, reserving 1-2 rounds. Arrange carrot strips on top, reserving 1-2. Place reserve orange slices, then reserved carrot slices, then sprinkle over Craisins and oil remaining in dish.
Serves 4-6
Approx cost $6

Stuffed and Pickled Baby Aubergines (make 4-5 days ahead)
350ml white balsamic vinegar (from supermarket)
125ml extra-virgin olive oil
4 whole cloves
1teaspoon salt
1 star anise
pinch cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
12-18 baby aubergines (eggplants), between 5-8cm long (3”-4”)

Trim stalks from aubergines and simmer in boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain overnight so water leeches out.
Make brine by mixing vinegar, oil, cloves, salt, cayenne, star anise and single garlic clove. Set aside. Make stuffing by mixing walnuts and 2 cloves garlic.
Split one side of each aubergine almost through to the skin on the other side. Press open and fill with walnut suffing. Layer in a plastic or glass container and pour over brine. Seal and refrigerate for 4-5 days.
To serve, remove from oil and drain. Serve as an appetiser or as part of a mezze platter.
Makes 12-18
Approx cost $5

Tim Alderman 2015


So Can You Cook? 4

2 tablespoons peanut oil (or other if allergic)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3cm piece ginger, peeled, grated
½ banana chilli, deseeded and cut into strips
2 medium banana eggplants, cut into fine strips
200g marrow or squash, peeled, deseeded, cut into fine strips
1 tablespoon spice paste (recipe to follow)
Salt to taste
6 pieces banana leaf, each 20cm square (available from Harris Farm or quality grocer)
8 shallots, peeled
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
10 cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled (try Asian grocers, or use dried to taste)
6 lge red chillies, deseeded
5cm galangal, peeled (Asian member of the ginger family. Substitute ginger)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 kaffir lime leaves (Harris Farm grocers)
100g candlenuts (try a health food store, or Asian grocers. “Herbies” at Rozelle stock them. They are used to thicken the paste)
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised (use the flat of your knife_
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or other if allergic)
Coarsely grind all ingredients except lemongrass in a mortar and pestle(prefered), or a food processor. Heat oil in a heavy-based pan, add the paste. Add lemongrass and cook over a LOW heat for 30 minutes. Cool completely before using.
This will keep in the fridge for 1 week, or freeze small quantities.

Recipe continues
Heat a wok or heavy-based frying pan. Add oil. When smoking, add garlic, ginger, chilli, eggplant and marrow. Sauté for 2 minutes until golden, then add spice paste. Stir, season, then remove from heat. Wash and dry banana leaf. Soften for 5 minutes in a moderate (180C) oven, so they will fold without splitting. Set on a bench, and divide mixture between them. Fold ends of leaf in, then roll to seal the parcel. Secure with a toothpick. Steam for 20 minutes and serve as a snack.
NB Banana leaves are not eaten. They are used to protect their contents, and give a subtle flavour. Wrap and freeze extra parcels for later use.
Makes 6 parcels
Approx $2.00 per parcel

I adore the flavour of tamarind. It’so sweet/sour. You can get it from Asian grocers, or from “Herbies” at Rozelle.

Fresh fruit such as papaya, mango, pineapple, lychees, rambutans, pawpaw, berries and passionfruit.
¾ cup palm sugar, chopped
½ cup water
1 pandanus leaf (Harris Farm or Asian grocer)
4 tablespoons tamarind paste (no seeds)
4 red birds-eye chillies, whole
Pinch of salt

Bring palm sugar, water and pandanus leaf to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add tamarind paste, chillies and salt and simmer 5-10 minutes. Cool before drizzling over fruit salad for an unusual hot-sweet-sour dressing.
Serves 4-6 (depending on size and quantity of fruit)
Approx $2.80 per head

Tim Alderman 2015