I’m very fond of aubergines – I think they look so magnificent, so purple, so shiny, so smooth, so rounded, and I like eating them too, but unfortunately trying to use them at home hasn’t been very successful. Once, many, many years ago I made a magnificent melanzane parmigiana, and have never since manged to make it quite as well or quite as delicious. Another problem with it, no-one but me likes it and it’s difficult to make a tiny one-person dish; yes, I could make one and freeze portions, but that would just add to the contents of the freezer which gets forgotten. Baba ganoush, what a lush and yummy thing – except when I make it somehow it’s too wet, or too sticky, or tasteless, or indifferent.
A couple of days ago I came across a recipe on Instagram which seemed interesting, different and fool-proof, for something described as an easy muttabel recipe, from an Arab food writer. It seemed so simple, and had the unusual ingredient of tahini, as well as yoghurt, garlic, and seasoning. I bought a great glossy aubergine and followed the simple recipe. The Arab cook dry fried the aubergine, unpeeled, but I wasn’t confident that I wouldn’t burn it, and also thought it would take an absolute age to cook it so it was soft all the way through. I put it in a slow oven, about gas mark 2/3, for an hour, then another hour, and then it was cooked. When it was cool enough, I skinned it and roughly chopped the flesh, then chopped it more finely. When it was completely cool, I added yoghurt, salt, garlic, tahini, until the consistency seemed similar to that in the little video the Instagrammer had shared.
It was fairly successful, not bad, 6/10 I’d say – and then my son who is also very keen on cooking and is an excellent cook, sent me another video, this time from a Turkish cook called Refika. I need to buy another aubergine, and then I will try again – I am determined to find the perfect recipe!! Here is a link to her muttabel mezze recipe, again it looks easy, I have all the ingredients, except the aubergine – so, as they say, watch this space!