Food and Recipes
Aubergines fresh from a friend's garden has to be enjoyed as soon as possible and as tasty as possible. Aubergines are wonderful in bakes, stews, soups, when grilled and in pickles.
The aubergine is also known as 'eggplant', and 'brinjal' in Asia. Aubergines are very low in calories (only 17 calories per 100g) and fats but rich in soluble fibre content.
Aubergines are deep purple in colour, with a smooth glossy skin. It has a unique taste and texture and a superb superfood for vegetarians and vegans. Nowadays aubergines are available all year, but they are at their very best from August through October when they are in season.
Aubergines belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes. They grow in a manner much like tomatoes, hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height. Italy has become one of the world leaders of growers of the aubergine.
Tasty Cheesy Aubergine Bake
Pecorino and/or Parmigiano Cheese
Lasagne Sheets (optional) or use siced Courgettes
Wash and slice the aubergine and grill or pan fry with some olive oil until golden brown, using a griddle/frying pan.
Slice onions, mushrooms and garlic and leave to one side. You could use or add peppers or courgettes which you would pre-cook in the same way as the aubergines.
Using a baking dish, place lasagne strips on the base of the dish. This is optional. Or if you had sliced courgettes in long strips before grilling, they could be used in this way to line the baking dish. Drizzle oil and add some of the cheese. I like to use cheese generously so when it bakes it melts over the vegetables.
Continue to make layers of aubergines with cheese and adding the sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, garlic, more cheese and drizzling a little olive oil. There really is no right or wrong way to do this.
If you have children, this is a great way to get them involved and interested in food.
If you use lasagne sheets as the final layer on top, cover well with lots of cheese and fresh tomatoes. Or again use strips of pre-grilled courgette and then final drizzle of organic extra virgin oil and then bake in a pre-heated oven 180º C for about 35-40 minutes, or until pasta is soft or everything looks golden. And of course be guided by your nose and enjoy all those aromas.
Serve with a selection of fresh salad of your choice and just enjoy!