Sunday, 17 July 2011

Well, here I am sitting in hospital, having gone into labour early and having our little boy four weeks before his due date, and three weeks before my scheduled caesarean!  Unfortunately, after a few days in neonatal and a couple at home, we are in the sick children’s hospital as my wee man has a chest infection!   I’m so looking forward to getting home with my boy to my girls and to some decent food!
My husband has brought me my notes from home and I thought I’d take the opportunity of being cooped up in an isolation ward with my darling boy to post another recipe.
This time a North African recipe for a lovely cooked aubergine salad called Zalouk.    Although having spent some time in the Middle East and North Africa both with work and for pleasure, this is more of a culmination of attempts to recreate flavours experienced both there and in one of my favourite North African restaurants in London.  For those of you from the region, please don’t take offence at my deviation from tradition, but hope you will agree this is a tasty version.
Serve Zalouk warm with pitta as a starter or dip when entertaining – yum (much better than the macaroni and cheese with boiled, cubed mixed veg I was just served here in the hospital!)
1 large (or two small) aubergine
3-4 tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons of parsley
1 medium chilli (deseeded) or 1 teaspoon lazy chilli
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
60ml olive oil
80 ml water
This is really simple but very tasty! 
Peel and dice the aubergine and peel and deseed the tomatoes (and chilli if using).  Put all the ingredients into a food processor (I use a magimix) and blend together.   Add an extra splash of olive oil to a deep pan and add the blended mixture to the pan.  Simmer the mixture over a medium heat for around half an hour ensuring the pan is covered.  Stir occasionally and season.  Remove the lid and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes until there are no liquids remaining.
I often serve this with warmed pitta as a starter before a main of my lamb and prune tagine – the recipe for which will follow on a later post.

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