Aubergine with saffron yoghurt

First of all, my apologies for practically abandoning my blog these past few months. We all lead busy lives, that’s sure, but with writing a Master’s thesis, sitting a competitive exam, having the three kids on holidays and now working a full-time job over an hour’s drive from home, I have not found the time. Even cooking has been challenging. It’s been eat-to-live rather than live-to-eat…

Nevertheless, whether it’s old age or the lack of exercise since I went back to work, I constantly find myself craving vegetables these days. I love veg, but in comparison to pasta, veg take more prep time. In comparison to steak, veg take more cooking time. Boiling veg is just plain boring.

I have a couple of great vegetable cookbooks, but as I said, time has been scarce. Today, I just sat down and went through them. No more procrastinating! (says she, as she procrastinates doing some real work to write a blog post)

My go-to is Ottolenghi, so I tried their “Roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt” from page 29 of their eponymous cookbook. I was a little skeptical. I love saffron, but have generally found its flavor to be very light, if not almost imaginary. I don’t know if it has got to do with decreasing quality of saffron pistils or with my flagging tastebuds, but I didn’t expect too much from it. The flavour did, in fact, come out rather nicely in the yoghurt sauce and it goes well with aubergine. Who knew? (Yotam, obviously…)

What you need:

3 medium aubergines, cut into ccm thick slices or wedges

olive oil for brushing

2 tbsp roasted pine nuts (I only had sesame. Pine nuts would taste better, I’m sure.)

a handful of pomegranate seeds (which, oddly enough, I did have)

20 basil leaves

sea salt, black pepper

What to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C
  • Brush the aubergine slices/wedges with olive oil and roast for 20-30 minutes until they get slightly brown.
  • The recipe says “let cool”, but I was in a hurry and ate it warm. Works, too.

What you need for the saffron yoghurt:

a small pinch of saffron strands

3 tbsp hot water

180g Greek yoghurt

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp olive oil

What to do:

  • Infuse the saffron strands in the hot water for 5 minutes
  • Whisk with all the ingredients and adjust the seasoning
  • Chill (will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days)

To serve:

Arrange everything on a platter; drizzle with yoghurt sauce; sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts; put basil on top. Eat. (Please note the Star Wars plate, illustrated by my then 5-year-old. The green mannikin is Yoda.)

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