What a wonderful weekend. I went to the big smoke to see my old uni pals, catch some exhibitions and eat and drink nice things.
My friend Sarah looked after me so well that it was like staying at a B&B. This woman really knows how to cook and I also stuffed myself silly at some other London eateries; you can check out my Instagram feed if you’re curious.
Now it’s Monday again and back to the hum drum of work and evenings that seem to disappear into thin air. Seriously, where does the time go? This morning hit me particularly hard – quite literally, as our boiler was on the blink and I had to endure an ice cold shower. I’ve been super tired and cranky all day and couldn’t be bothered to cook much tonight.
At the weekend, I was reading Sarah’s copy of Tender by Nigel Slater (we talked about how we’d like to spend a day in his kitchen) and was very taken with his vegetable recipes. I’ve had some aubergines languishing in the cupboard for a while now and this stew would have been just the tonic after a day at the office but Nigel says that the dish needs time for the flavours to mellow. It just wasn’t meant to be.
No, tonight called for a quick dinner to use up leftovers so I invented this little recipe which can easily be modified depending on what you’ve got in the kitchen. You could use cauliflower in place of the broccoli, and obviously ordinary oranges work just as well as the blood variety – they just look less pretty. And if don’t eat nuts, you could use lentils (try using the tinned ones if you’re in a rush) or beans. I used fennel seeds as I thought they’d go nice with the orange but you could try chilli flakes or cumin instead.
Anyway, give this dish a go. It’s really rather tasty.
Roasted aubergine, broccoli and citrus salad
Serves one – or two people if serving as a side dish
One or two courgettes
One blood orange
A handful of tenderstem broccoli
2-3 tablespoons of flaked almonds
3 teaspoons of Fennel seeds
One clove of garlic
Two tablespoons of olive oil (I actually used sesame oil but I’m not sure if it’s traditionally used for roasting)
The juice and zest of half a lemon
Mint or coriander (optional)
Heat the oven to about 200C. Slice the aubergine and place in an ovenproof dish. Remove the skin from a clove of garlic, squash it with a knife and rub over the aubergine slices. You can also cook the clove with the aubergine depending on how fond you are of garlic or keen to ward off vampires/potential suitors. Drizzle over the sesame oil and sprinkle on some fennel seeds and place the dish on the top shelf of the oven.
Start preparing your carbs if you’re having them. I went for bulgur wheat as making it is dead easy (the same goes for couscous) but this salad would go well with rice, quinoa, baked sweet potato or some good bread.
After the aubergine has been cooking for about 15 minutes, remove the dish, add the broccoli florets, plus a drizzle more oil, and return the dish to the oven. Cook for another 15 minutes or so.
In the meantime, grate your courgette and lemon zest, add the lemon juice and set aside, and slice the blood orange.
In a dry pan, quickly toast the flaked almonds (you could also use pistachios) being careful not to let them burn and add to a bowl. Using the same pan (this will reduce the amount of washing up), heat a small amount of olive oil and gently heat the courgette mixture for a minute. Now place this on a plate or in a bowl, add the bulgur wheat (mix in a small amount of olive oil and lemon juice to pep it up a bit), aubergine, broccoli and blood orange and top with the almonds. I added some tahini for extra creaminess (and protein – my mother would be proud) and you could also chop up some coriander or mint if you want extra colour and flavour.