Tuesday, 21 July 2020

One Week Eating Local (2) Part 6 and Aubergines

Since I wrote about how quickly the first aubergine was growing on the 23rd June, the greenhouse has produced lots of aubergines, I sent some home with Eldest Daughter. It's always better to have too many than too few, yet until maybe 10 or 12 years ago I'd never even eaten one and certainly not grown them.
We didn't really grow many to sell at the smallholding until we had the third polytunnel up, that was when Col packed up County Council full time to go self-employed in 2012.
Aubergines or Eggplants (they were originally white and smaller) or Brinjal - so many names in different parts of the world, are members of the the nightshade family Solanaceae.

 Wikiwotsit says
 The aubergine is unrecorded in England until the 16th century. An English botany book in 1597 described the madde or raging Apple:

This plant groweth in Egypt almost everywhere... bringing foorth fruite of the bignes of a great Cucumber.... We have had the same in our London gardens, where it hath borne flowers, but the winter approching before the time of ripening, it perished: notwithstanding it came to beare fruite of the bignes of a goose egge one extraordinarie temperate yeere... but never to the full ripenesse.
Because of the plant's relationship with various other nightshades, the fruit was at one time believed to be extremely poisonous. The flowers and leaves can be poisonous if consumed in large quantities due to the presence of solanine.
The eggplant has a special place in folklore. In 13th-century Italian traditional folklore, the eggplant can cause insanity. In 19th-century Egypt, insanity was said to be "more common and more violent" when the eggplant is in season in the summer.

 In the past......before I started growing them........ they were very bitter. Old recipes always say that the slices need salting and rinsing to draw out the bitterness, but that's been bred out of them, making them easier to use. 

Last year I made lots of Aubergine and Tomato Sauce for the freezer which was a good use. Later in the year I did boxes of roasted mixed vegetables including aubergines - which wasn't a good idea. Roasted chunks of aubergines frozen and re-heated are  not nice!

 Need new ideas and when I searched among all the photocopies and cuttings in my folder I found

Aubergines with Goats Cheese
For each person
One aubergine, halved lengthways
Olive oil (I used rape seed oil)
Sun Dried tomato paste (I used one of my own plum tomatoes sliced)
Fresh Basil leaves - torn
Goats cheese (or brie or cheddar)
  1. Preheat grill. Brush both sides of aubergine with Olive oil and season. Place aubergines cut side up on a baking sheet and grill for 7 minutes. Turn them over and grill for 5 minutes
  2. Spread the cut sides with tomato paste and arrange basil leaves on top. Slice goats/brie cheese and arrange on the aubergines. Season and grill until bubbling.
  3. Serve with salad leaves and crusty bread.

I tried this a couple of weeks ago with goat cheese and then last week bought Suffolk Gold because as far as I know there are no local-ish producers of goats cheese selling it in Suffolk.

Grated it over the top and it was better than goats cheese as it melted really well
This is so quick and easy to do and  I ate it with one of my homemade herby bread rolls.
I've got one other aubergine recipe to try (if I can find it again) which is a layered aubergine and potato concoction. But for freezing for winter I'm definitely doing some batches of the tomato and aubergine pasta sauce.

Back Tomorrow


  1. that is my kind of recipe, I shall give it a try. Our aubergines are outside, and in an area that is probably a bit too shady, but I'm still hopeful!

  2. It sounds absolutely delicious.

  3. Aubergines are one of my favourite savoury fruit. Agree, they do not freeze well, which is a shame when growing your own.

  4. Hi Sue, could you please share your tomato and aubergine sauce? xxx

    1. It's on the separate Recipe page, scroll down a bit

  5. The first time I had aubergine was when I attended a vegetarian cookery course. Didn't like them then and avoid them when possible.

  6. Brinjal bhaji is my favourite side dish with a curry.

  7. sorry Sue youre not convincing me , theyre the veggie equivalent of Satans veg closely followed by turnips ...UURRGGH

  8. I'm not a huge fan of aubergines but added to a roasting tin of Mediterranean style veggies or hidden in a ratatouille or pasta sauce they go down pretty well.

  9. I wait in hope for my aubergine plant in the greenhouse. Lots of buds now but no flowers yet. It seems to be growing so slowly. Even tomato feed has not helped.

  10. We've never managed to grow aubergines successfully, but I do love them, especially roasted and cold the next day as a salad with a blob of mayo and some chunky bread. Never tried freezing them though.

  11. I have made this a few times (adjusting spices as I don’t have those suggested).
    It was one of Nigel Slater’s asimple asuppers

  12. I too cook aubergines with goats cheese, but put Score each half before adding a smear if pesto, the cheese and a light sprinkle of Parmesan before baking in the oven. Delicious with crusty bread and tomato salad.
    Have you eaten grilled aubergine slices cooled and smeared with homemade mayonnaise? Equally yummy!

  13. I much prefer the long skinny Asian eggplants. Eat them sliced up in stir fries with meat. .

  14. Melitjania here and in Italy. I've never considered them to have much flavour of their own but they are a great carrier for other flavours. I make a 'compost' by stewing up any vegetables getting a bit old in the fridge (diced fine or grated) with plenty of tomatoes and herbs, then layer that 'sauce' with grilled slices of eggplant, last layer sauce and top it with crumbled feta and bake it in the oven. However the very best recipe that uses eggplant is baba ganoush. Divine.

  15. During Lent I love to have eggplant parmigiana, rather than chicken parm. Just as good and healthy too. We also like eggplant lasagna, using sliced and drained eggplant as a replacement for the noodles. You can use a meat sauce or just a marinara sauce.

  16. Took me a while to relocate this recipe (and make it again just to make sure it was as good as I remembered it - and it is. I can't explain to myself why I don't make it more often.) Korean Aubergine Salad.
    1/2 kilo of aubergine, cut into quarters lengthwise and steamed, then torn into long strips. Chop in 1 spring onion (I used mild red onion), and toss it in a dressing of 1 Tb brown sugar, 1 Tb sesame oil, 3 Tb Japanese soy sauce, 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped), 2Tb rice vinegar (I used cider vinegar) 2 TB crushed toasted sesame seeds (I used a big tsp of tahini). Mix it all together and serve at room temperature.

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