Baba Ganoush, Baba Ganoush Can You Do The Fandango?

What a start to the school holidays! Rain, rain and more rain. 

 I love aubergine and my favourite way to prep it is just brush with olive oil and put it under the grill. No salting it, no shallow frying it in batches, and no need to turn on the oven especially to roast it.IMG_6851

I chopped one big aubergine in 3 lengthways pieces and stuck it on. It took about 10 minutes on each side with the grill on a medium heat. At this point I had no idea if I was making some sort of pasta with aubergine and tomato sauce for dinner or what. But it was bucketing rain so I decided to bring the warmth, middle-eastern style. We enjoyed Baba Ganoush with Fennel, Carrot and Apple Coleslaw served with Quinoa. Catchy name eh?

Aubergine cooked, it was time to settle down with my boys while it bucketed rain outside and have a Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back viewing. That’s two hours of PEW-PEW PEW-PEW PEW-PEW, a few very mild double entendres, and a shocking paternity reveal. Y’know; in case you haven’t seen it.

I looked at about three baba ganoush recipes and decided they were all different enough for me to just chance my arm with the basic ingredients. Also, some of them involved draining the aubergine of water for ages and sure I’d no time for that with the movie-watching and creme-egg-eating.

I lashed all the below into the blender and crossed my fingers.

  • Flesh of 1 grilled aubergine
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup of Glenisk Natural Yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon tahini (you can leave this out, but I love the taste)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of dried mint (I have fresh mint in the garden most of the year, but I’m reliant on the jars right now)

Baba Ganoush is just the fancy name for a smokey aubergine dip. I lacked the smoke (barbeque or naked flame) but it came out great; nicely smooth and flavoursome. Pomegranate seeds on top would really set it off visually and give a sweet crunch. (That would only happen if I managed to meal plan though.)

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Finished his dinner, then finished the Baba Ganoush.

I cooked us up some quinoa (1 cup uncooked fed four) in Marigold stock and set about making a carrot, fennel and apple coleslaw for the side. This is a super healthy coleslaw – it’s a simplified version of a Winter Veg one that Jamie Oliver does – the dressing uses yogurt rather than any mayonnaise. My mum always made lovely fresh coleslaw when I was growing up, but somehow horrible claggy deli counter versions seem to have become the standard offering.

When I’m in charge it’s not dinner unless there’s a load of toasted seeds or nuts involved so in went the toasted sunflower seeds in with grated apple and carrot and chopped fennel.

The dressing is just these four, all mixed quickly with a fork.

  • A good glug of olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup of Glenisk Natural Yogurt

I gave the boys the apple and veg with some plain yogurt as the dijon is quite hot.

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You too can conjure up Arabian nights on a rainy spring evening in Dublin with a little help from Glenisk! But maybe add some gauzy veils rather than Penney’s pyjamas to really get the effect right.

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A Week In Dinners: What We Ate Round Ours.

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As part of a look at what ‘real’ families eat, Sinéad over at Bumbles of Rice started a ‘Week In Dinners’ linky. I’m always interested in what other people are chomping down on, and I think it’s important to represent for the veggie contingent here in the Properfud house.

Monday: I concocted something with bulgar wheat, chickpeas and a creamy nutty dressing which was FINE but a bit forgettable. It got eaten by everyone but the leftovers are still in the fridge. I suppose I should chuck them now.

Tuesday: A random walk through the Marks & Spencer food hall meant some items threw themselves in my basket like Cheese Tasters, overpriced dark chocolate and stem ginger cookies (for a trip to a friends house), a Nutty Superfood Salad and a Sprouted Bean Salad.  For dinner the husband cooked up some quorn pieces with red pesto, a little stock and frozen spinach and we ate that served with the salads. The boys picked the bits they wanted out of the salads and we ate the rest. I didn’t even try to make them eat any more than they wanted because I wanted it all to myself.

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Me, when I get my hands on Cheese Tasters

Slim-With-TinaWednesday: I got my hands on the Slim With Tina book a couple of weeks ago. You can find out more and buy it here.

I’m not slimming (see above), but I do really like Tina’s approach to health and fitness and this book includes lots of great meal ideas. I learned to run properly on a Run With Tina group course, and have had a strong social media friendship with her since.  My ever-popular pancake recipe even made it into her book with some healthy modifications! I was like a proud mammy when I saw that in there.

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Anyway, she has a delicious simple Chana Masala recipe in the book. I had run out of chickpeas so it was technically Bean-a Masala, as I used a couple of tins of mixed beans. This is a real store-cupboard meal for me, I always have the ingredients (or substitutes!) on hand. I picked at food as I cooked and then ran out the door to my Boxfit class as the boys sat down for dinner. Plates were cleaned!  I also did some grilled aubergine and courgettes on the side because I swear I get itchy if my day doesn’t have enough veggies in it. My husband didn’t even offer them to anyone so I ate them all later *burp*

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Thursday: I made both banana bread and scones on Thursday so had run out of steam a bit by dinner time. Baking with a toddler is double the work, and due to waning enthusiasm for both bonding and cleaning up obviously I dispatched him to in front of the TV while I rolled and cut them. That tiny baby bib is what he insisted on wearing as his apron. It protected NOTHING.

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Luckily I found some Lorraine Pascale marscapone gnocchi in the freezer – this stuff is so good, I always make a good big batch and freeze some. I fried that up, served it on rocket with basil pesto, avocado and yellow peppers. Plates were served according to taste preferences – that is no leaves, loads of pepper for the kids. I think Teddy robbed about half my gnocchi.

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Friday: I cooked up some fresh rice and the boys ate leftover Chana Masala. I didn’t feel so great with a crappy sore throat, and the husband had his eye on a takeaway. I eyed up an avocado smoothie recipe in a bid to make myself feel healthy. Then I thought about the Cheese Tasters for a bit. Curse you M&S and your tasty snacks! I relented and made the smoothie (and it was delicious). Did I have takeaway later? You’ll never know…

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Don’t forget to look at all the other Week in Dinners posts over here!

Tomato & Aubergine Curry with Quinoa

One of these weeks, we’re going to do a meal plan.  We’re going to online shop and get it delivered in a late night cheapo slot.  Then we’re not going to phone each other at 5pm saying “any thoughts about dinner?”.  We’re not the worst in the world for store cupboard ingredients and there’s nearly always assorted fresh veg in the bottom of the fridge so I can usually rustle up something but it’s often a bit meh!

This tasty curry came from one of those evenings – sometimes I do hit the nail on the head.  After a lazy day out and about having fun I had a craving for something ‘good’ to eat.  The child is gone crazy for ‘teetos’ (potatos) lately so I’m trying to balance it out with slightly more exotic meal-bulkers hence the quinoa!  There was an aubergine in the fridge and a quick google led me to this tasty Aubergine Curry with Fresh Tomato.  You’ll notice I’ve switched the name round in the post title, that’ll be because I only had 1 aubergine handy, large though it was, it didn’t deserve top billing.  I added in mange tout to bulk up the veg quotient.

See, I have to show off these things, to balance out the chips & a 99 days.  Dominic absolutely lapped this up, and I loved it too.  Where possible, I don’t fry aubergine slices – I coat them with some olive oil using a pastry brush & stick them under the grill, turning once.  You get more done at once, they don’t need such careful minding, and they don’t soak up as much oil.  Whether you consider that a good thing or a bad thing now, is up to you…

Jill

Le sigh. Sometimes I wonder why I bother.

My daddy makes me the best dinners.  He got me from the creche last night when mamma was still in work and we went home and played for a while we did trains and jumping.  Then he went to the kitchen to make dinner and one Handy Manny later it was ready.  We had sausages and then  out of the white beeping  box we had potatoes, carrots & broccoli.  I nommed it up.  Sausages are new to me, mamma won’t eat them with me and dadda but sometimes she has special ones from the brrrfreezer and dadda and me eat them too.

Today my mammy chopped up 2 big oberjeans and put them in the dangeroushotoven. Mostly I like to see what she’s doing but it was taking her ages today and I didn’t bother. There were tomatoes and pasta too and cheese on top and it took so much time that I had a bath and everything.  Then we all had dinner together. Doma had dinner and dadda had dinner and mamma had dinner but only mamma loved dinner.  I don’t think dadda likes oberjeans very much and I said my tooth hurt and it was better when I had milk then my other tooth hurt and I drank more milk and it was better so I stopped eating dinner and had a yogurt and mamma said she thought i mean my tung hurt and she shouldn’t have put chilli in the dinner.

Dom

Tentative words.

I *think* we have our mojo back.  Maybe it’s because I started with a recipe from a cook book instead of my imagination, after the bad run of dinners.

We got The Silver Spoon as a present from a friend.  Now I’m sure I read before that it was traditionally given by Italian mothers to their daughter-in-law-to-be before they wed her son.  Ahahahaha. Charming.  Of course, I can’t find any reference to this now, but all I can say is I’m glad it’s a whopping great book, because if it were given to me with any such inference it’d be used as a weapon.

“Looka after mya little boya,  I’ve-a markeda hisss favourites…”

THWACK!

(Luckily my mother in law doesn’t conform to any such stereotypes – sometimes indulging her son’s meaty cravings when we visit but also always feeding me imaginative veggie food, and all the while conforming to her own Coeliac and her husband’s Diabetic dietary requirements. Yikes)

I was going to make baked beans, and had soaked and cooked cannellini beans in prep for that.  Then I realised I forgot to defrost the tomato sauce, and had a quick scan through my reasonably small cook book collection for an alternative.  (Aside: I find as a vegetarian, I don’t have a huge grá for cookbooks.  Despite watching lots of cookery shows, the associated books are usually way too meaty to bother buying.  I’ve just ordered Simon Hopkinson’s Vegetarian Option though – I can’t wait to flick through and cook from it. )

I love beans – they’re filling & super nutrious. I came across this simple healthy recipe, which was a nice contrast to the heavy creamy pasta we’d had the previous night (not complaining but I can’t eat cream/mozzarella laden dinner every night)

good to go

Summer Cannellini Beans (Serves 4)

3 tbsp Olive Oil

1 Garlic clove

1 diced Aubergine

1 Yellow pepper diced (only had red. sue me)

2 Tomatoes (only had cherry toms so used 1/2 a tin of chopped toms.)

350g Cannellini beans

Grated rind 1/2 Lemon

Basil leaves & Parsley, chopped

Salt & Pepper

Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic & cook until browned, then remove and discard (what! discard garlic, never…).

Add the aubergine, and pepper to the pan and cook over a high heat for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and beans, cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Season with salt & pepper and cook, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the beans to a warm serving dish and sprinkle with the lemon rind, basil and parsley.

Mix well and serve.

Dominic really loved this.  He doesn’t have a particular problem with veg, or any one food we offer (besides unreconstructed bananas) but I’ve definitely noticed that as he’s gotten older he has gotten that bit fussier maybe just due to being more aware of what things are.  When he’s happily eating one thing, he’s not really into trying the different coloured/textured thing beside it.  Maybe he’s a bit OCD! So he might lay into his sweet potato wedges, but not touch the roasted peppers.  Or eat the tofu but not the noodles.  Last night he ate every single scrap of his scrambled egg, but wouldn’t touch the toasty soldiers.  This is a great one pot dinner – where the ingredients sorta stick together, each forkful contains lots of different bits and pieces, and the textures are not dissimilar.

Win.

Jill

Its that al fresco time of year again!

eat away, mama doesn't have to mop the garden

There’s only one thing to do when the child’s last hour of creche is spent in the sandpit and thats keep him outdoors until the bath is run.

Dominic’s grasp of cutlery has vastly improved.  And boy does he not want my help anymore.  So with our ‘spell’ (eh, 2 days so far) of good weather, I decided that we could take the mess outside.

I was alerted to a fantastic veggie blog recently by Donal Skehan on Twitter.  It’s called Veggies and Me written by an Australian woman living in Dublin.  The food photography is gorgeous, and I really like the perspective of a vegetarian Australian living here.  I plan to make Chargilled Veggies, Chickpea & Halloumi salad and After workout Breakfast eggs (except without the early morning workout) but this week I tackled the Eggplant Parmesan with Lentils.  As Megan points out, this is a little time consuming and might make a good weekend dish.  However,  I prepared and assembled it after pilates one night, while baking sweet potato wedges and a sneaky quorn escalope in the oven for that evening.   Then we popped it in the oven the following evening and had a couple of nights out of it.  I’m not sure of the authenticity of the name, as there’s not a bit of parmesan to be seen, but I’m sure you could sprinkle the veggie kind on there.  Lentils were a great touch I have to say – it really made the dish unrecognisable from the dense chewy comfort food version that husbag has dished up in his day.  We’ve argued long into the night about the idea of ‘too much mozzarella’ existing.  I think you can have too much, he doesn’t, but we can hash that out for ages.  Whether this recipe sticks to the brief or not (I’ve checked there’s a lorra lorra eggplant parmesan recipes out there, each one slightly different) it’s a fantastic family food.