Aubergines with buttermilk sauce & pomegranate seeds

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I absolutely love aubergines: big shiny purple or the white ones perfectly illustrating why they are also called eggplant, small green or tiny pea-sized aubergines from Asia, long & slender Middle Eastern varieties. The almost meaty flesh is the epitome of savoury when fried, grilled or roasted, creamy and satisfyingly unctuous it melts on the tongue and offers itself as a worthy partner to almost anything from other vegetables (Ratatouille to name but one), lamb or feta or chicken, chillies and coconut or stands proudly on its own when charred for Baba Ganoush – any recipe featuring aubergines is my friend, especially when a meatless dish is called for.

My aubergine guru is Ottolenghi, who seldom lets me down and these divine aubergines with za’atar, a tangy yoghurt-buttermilk sauce & pomegranate kernels guarantee you plenty layers of flavour. One half is a perfect starter, two halves are my favourite lunch Continue reading

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Beetroot ‘carpaccio’

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This fabulous winter starter may sound a little fancy, bordering on pompous but apart from the original beef carpaccio, beetroot may be one of the few thinly sliced things to come close to be called after the eponymous Venetian painter of beautiful reds, Vittore Carpaccio. His precious vermillion, ruby, intense scarlet & carmine reds made the contemporary of Bellini, Mantengna, Giorgione and the young Titian the proper patron of the famous Harry’s Bar’s classic and maybe even the humble sliced beetroot. Just look at the beautiful burgundy-coloured beetroot slices, Carpaccio would have happily lend his name to this vegetarian version. Continue reading