The easiest pickle in the world*


Previously I posted about my roasted aubergines, and before that, I shared a recipe about using raw aubergines. Now, I don’t want to seem obsessed with the things, but I am having a garden bonanza type glut and I’m bottling them like crazy to enjoy after the season finishes. The resulting glossy, olive oil-y pickle looks so pretty I had to share!

First take your cooked aubergine, in my case roasted on the BBQ until blackened. Scrap the insides out and discard the skins:


Admittedly not the prettiest at this stage! While they are roasting or oven cooking, sterilise a clean jam jar by ‘cooking’ on medium hot for 10 minutes in the oven. While they are still very hot (maybe leave it a couple of minutes out of the oven, so it’s the same temp as the hot food you’re putting into it) carefully add your aubergine pulp. You can also add fresh or dried herbs at this stage, maybe some chillies. Pack down to exclude as much air as possible. Mix olive oil with vinegar – red wine, white wine, cider vinegars, whatever you have available – around 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 oil. Season with salt and pepper, and pour over the packed aubergine, making sure to wiggle the contents to exclude all air pockets. Leave a good layer of the oil mix covering the top layer so nothing is uncovered:


Pour boiling water over the lid for a minute – a kettle full should do – and then screw onto your still hot jar.

Simple and delicious! And I promise I won’t post any more on aubergines this season*!



Roasting aubergines and baba ganoush


I’ve been so lucky with my crops of aubergines this year. Determined to avoid crop fatigue – you know, grew so many that you can’t stand the sight of them by the end of the season – I’ve been using them in as many different ways as I can think of.

There are as many ways to preserve as there are to serve, and I’ve tried a few over the years. But one of my favourites is just roasted, and bottled with olive oil and maybe the odd herb. Roasting brings out the unctiousness of aubergine and has the added bonus of removing the skins, leaving only the fluffy, soft interiors. And it couldn’t be simpler.

Wash and place on barbecue:


Look at those gorgeous colours!

Roast for about 20 minutes, turning ocasionally:


Myriad of purples and browns

Of course you could do this under the grill or in the oven, but in a hot Australian autumn, I’d much rather use the barbie. Plus you get an aroma from an ope flame that’s difficult to achieve in an oven. If you have a charcoal grill, top marks and happy days!

Once they are blackened all over and soft inside – obviously larger, fatter varieties will need cooking for longer – remove and cover. I usually put a plate over the bowl that I’ve placed them in. Allow to cool slightly; the steam caught in the sealed space will help the skins slide off. roastedandsteamedOnce cool enough to handle, peel or scrape out the innards, discarding the skin. Use how you wish – baba ganoush, pickling, salads, the world is your proverbial.

I bottled mine, by sterilising a jar (yes, one mid sized jar was enough for all those (admittedly skinny) aubergines) in the oven for 10 minutes, and layering the roasted, seasoned aubergine with a mix of 3 parts olive oil to 1 part red wine vinegar. Leave a layer of oil over the top and seal firmly. Store in the fridge for added safety!

As to the baba ganoush. All I can say this time around is – don’t substitute korean sesame paste for tahini. It just doesn’t work. Next time I’ll stick to the recipe….

I say aubergine, you say eggplant….

Let’s not call the whole thing off, though, because aubergines are awesome. Velvety, versatile, and easy to grow.

IMG_2928My home-grown aubergines are still tiny wee things  and it’ll be weeks before they’re ready, but they’re cheap in the shops at the moment, and I lobbed 2 big ones in my trolley as I whipped past recently. As the weather turned frosty (ie dropped below 30º) over the weekend I thought I’d crack on and make some pickles.

A quick search online revealed, of course, a mass of recipes for pickled aubergines, and so as usual I picked the best of a few and fiddled about with them. There were a crop of raw, salted, pickled recipes, and as I’ve never tried pickling a raw aubergine (always grilled them first) I thought I’d give it a go.

Most recipes suggested peeling them first, but I love the skins and they’re such a wonderful colour, so I compromised and peeled half.  Most recipes suggested chunks or dice of aubergine, but I like a nice large surface area when pickling anything, so I went with slices instead. I also cut down on the salting time, from 6 – 8 hours, because it was mid afternoon, and I’m lazy. So essentially I: Continue reading