Roasted eggplant with anchovy dressing and crispy oregano

Roasted eggplant with anchovy dressing and crispy oregano
Roasted eggplant with anchovy dressing and crispy oregano

Regular readers of our blog will have noticed we are fans of the prolific chef and author Yotam Ottolenghi. He has a genius for highlighting and complementing the flavours of his ingredients. His books have introduced us to many new ingredients over the years, most of which are now regular items in our pantry.

Like many people this year, we have spent a lot of time self-isolating at home, and one of the projects which kept us busy was cooking through Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook, Simple. As in all of his books, the recipes in Simple really bring so much flavour from a small amount of ingredients.

Ian’s favourite vegetable is eggplant but we know not everyone is a fan of its texture or flavour. Trust us though, if anyone knows how to make the eggplant shine, it’s Ottolenghi, and this is the dish to convince you eggplant-doubters to include this vegetable in your repertoire more often. Don’t be put off by the anchovies, it really just adds a depth of flavour and umami to the recipe rather than a fishy or overpowering taste.

We changed the recipe slightly by reverting to an older version of the recipe which uses crispy oregano. If you really can’t be bothered with this step, just use fresh oregano instead, although the crisp oregano does add an interesting texture to the dish.

This serves 4 people as a side dish, or 2 as a main. It goes well with just about any protein, but eggplant is always wonderful when paired with lamb. We hope you enjoy, let us know in the comments of you give it a try!

  • 4 medium eggplants
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 45ml vegetable or canola oil
  • 20g anchovy fillets in oil
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 ½  Tbsp oregano leaves
  • 5g parsley leaves
  • salt and black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 240°C
  2. Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
  3. Slice the eggplant into 2cm thick discs and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Place the eggplant slices on the baking trays and brush both sides with 70ml of the oil. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the eggplant is a caramel brown colour and cooked through, but still holds its shape. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking tray to cool.
  4. For the crispy oregano, heat the vegetable or canola oil in a small saucepan over a high heat. Test if the oil is hot enough by dropping in an oregano leaf. The oregano should sizzle, become crisp and turn a brighter shade of green immediately. If the oil is too hot, the leaf will become dark in colour. Once your oil is at the right temperature, add one tablespoon of oregano leaves to the oil and cook for just a few seconds, until crisp. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel.
  5. To make the anchovy dressing, drain and finely chop the anchovy fillets and crush the garlic clove. In a bowl, whisk together the anchovy, garlic, white wine vinegar, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper and a good big pinch of salt. Slowly add the remaining 30ml of olive oil, continuing to whish until the dressing is well combined.
  6. Finely chop the parsley and the remaining oregano, and place in a bowl with the eggplant. Pour over the anchovy dressing and gently toss to coat the eggplant. Place on a serving dish and scatter with the crispy oregano just before serving.

Banoffee Pie

IMG_3454

One rainy weekend, we noticed we had too many bananas and the thought of baking a batch of banana bread didn’t really appeal to our sense of adventure. A quick raid of the pantry later, we realised we had the ingredients for a Banoffee Pie and so we decide to try something new! There’s nothing like spending a rainy day in the kitchen and having a comforting treat as your reward. Banoffee Pie is a well-loved English dessert, and you’ll see why, with its crunchy biscuit base, luxurious caramel layer and the freshness of bananas and cream, it’s very hard to stop at one slice. Best of all, this is actually a really simple dessert to make, no baking required and very minimal effort to assemble!

Dulce de Leche Filling:

  • 1 can (395g) condensed milk

Place the can of condensed milk in a saucepan of water, ensuring it is fully submerged. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 hours, checking every 20 minutes to see if the water needs to be refilled, so the can stays completely submerged. Remove the can from the water and cool to room temperature before opening.

Crust:

  • 50g butter
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 40ml Thickened Cream
  • 200g sweet biscuits (e.g. digestive biscuits)
  • 80g slivered almonds or blanched almonds
  1. Toast the almonds in a moderate oven until lightly browned. Once cool, roughly chop the almonds and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, grind the biscuits until they resemble breadcrumbs.
  3. Melt the chocolate, cream and butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, or in the microwave.
  4. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the ground biscuits and almonds and mix well.
  5. Press the mixture into the base and sides of a 25cm tart mould, ensuring the mixture is evenly distributed. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set the crust.

Chantilly Cream:

  • 250ml thickened cream
  • 2 Tablespoons icing sugar

Whip the cream and icing sugar together with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

To Assemble:

  • Crust
  • Dulce de Leche Filling
  • 2 large bananas, sliced into ¾ cm slices
  • Chantilly Cream
  1. Spread the Dulce de Leche filling across the base of the tart.IMG_0310
  2. Cover the caramel with sliced bananas.FullSizeRender
  3. Put the Chantilly cream in a piping bag, and cut the end of the bag into a 1.5cm opening. Cover the top of the pie with little dollops of cream, until completely covered.
  4. Garnish with edible flowers of your choice. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.