A couple of weekends ago I met with my good French pal Julie who I had not seen in while.
We met to visit the Paul Strand’s photography exhibition at the V&A. What a lovely place the Victoria & Albert Museum is – did you know it won the 2016 museum of the year award? – and I forgot about the beautiful courtyard is!
After our visit were really ravenous and headed to Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington. I love Lebanese food and it got me a real while to decide what to order and Julie andI decided to share a platter which is a nice relaxed way to try several different dishes. However I must say that the Aubergine Tagine on the menu was totally tempting. I remember I had a couple of aubergines at home that needed cooking and I thought I would try to look for a good recipe to make myself an aubergine tagine. With the internet, it is really easy to find a good selection of recipes. I came across this recipe on the Jamie Oliver’s website and I had nearly all the ingredients at home so I was sold. This version is Algerian inspired and the creation of Christina Mackenzie
There was no indication of how long it would take this recipe but seriously guys, in all honesty I don’t think it took me more than 30mn. So although it may not be easy to prepare this recipe on a weekday, it is absolutely brilliant for a diner party or for a more sophisticated meal at the weekend. Basically, all you have to do is chuck all the ingredients in your tagine dish, slow cooker or Le Creuset dish and let it cook for a little while. I love how easy it is to make and how flavoursome it came out!
That works very well because now is the time of the year when you find aubergine in markets etc. I know in our society when you can find clementines in July and strawberries in December it’s a bit confusing but I really want to make a point to buy more seasonal products that have not travelled from the other side of the world. Not only because I believe in doing my share to keep our planet less polluted but also because it gives us the opportunity to eat products that actually have flavours too!
These are the ingredients you will need:
- 1 red onion, roughly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 10 baby aubergines, halved (or 3 large ones, roughly chopped)
- 1 tin of plum tomatoes
- 1 tin of chickpeas
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 10 apricots, roughly chopped
- 1 sweet potato
Place the tagine/or pan on a medium heat and add a little oil and a knob of butter. Add the onion, garlic, celery and spices, and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until starting to soften.
I don’t use celery often enough and often a bunch is just too much to use in one go so I chop it all and put it in a freezer bag and…no more wastage. I love that trick!
Add the aubergines and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, stirring continuously to get all the spices and flavours into the aubergine.
Next, add the sweet potatoes (skin on is not a problem, just roughly chop then up) tomatoes, chickpeas and their water, the stock cube and the apricots. Season with salt and pepper, give it a good stir, then place the lid on for 1 hour, or until thick and the aubergine is cooked through.
The recipe adises to use a tagging dish which I did not have so instead I used my trusted slow cooker. I had to go to pick up the kids at school and the beauty of using this cooker is that I can leave home and leave it on slow mode to cook until the evening without worrying about the dish getting burnt or setting my kitchen on fire;)!
I am a big stock user and I have been using the Marigold reduced sugar vegan bouillon for a good while but the boxes they sell in supermarkets are just small so I have found on Amazon the possibility to buy this mega version (1kg) which should last me a few weeks!
With a few minutes to go, cook the couscous (I used bulgur for a change in the end) according to the packet instructions, then add the zest and squeeze in the juice. Serve next to the stew, with a dollop of yoghurt for some creaminess and some fresh coriander leaves on top.
Bon appetit to all, you are going to have a feast!!
All photos taken by myself with my Canon 7D mark II.