Wednesday, 17 January 2007
Aubergine Shaped Body
I'm on a vegetarian roll this week. That may or may not be because I had a quick check up last week at the doctor's and was told to start reversing the effects of my annual Christmas indulgence. A portly chap at the best of times, a slab of butter, bottle of wine, pound of cheese and countless chocolate every day has not exactly helped my figure and arteries. I've been running 3 times a week since the New Year and last night I had my first game of football for four years. Not a single piece of badness has passed my lips since Saturday, so I'm chuffed that my willpower is holding out.
What makes it easier during these testing times are brilliant dishes that taste sublime and are incredibly healthy, a combination not often associated when it comes to healthy eating. I myself frown upon a 100% healthy diet, life would not be worth living if so. A good balance is what they say and after my own hedonistic displays over the festive period I thoroughly agree. Hence the reason for playing around with legumes and root vegetables for the past week, and after the stuffed pepper dish I am pleased to say that I have discovered another meatless gem. I keep saying this and I want it to sink in, but this dish is very easy to achieve as most of my dishes are. Kitchenphobes, it is important to realise this as it will hopefully encourage you to cook more and realise that food should NEVER be something to be afraid of. Lesson one over.
This is another tagine I'm afraid, but one very different from the tomato and chicken based tagine I gave you earlier this week. A mushroom, aubergine and chickpea tagine, it is jumping with health and flavour. More spices and the addition of fruit make it more authentic and a slight hand on the spices guarantees a different taste sensation with each bite. You could even change the vegetables to suit your preference if you aren't a fan of the purple one, but I encourage you to try this even if you don't. People who don't like aubergines tend to complain of the texture or bitterness, but combined with chick peas the texture becomes irrelevant and the spice masks any bitterness you may have experienced before. Personally, I love these two qualities and it remains one of my favourite vegetables. Allow it to caramelise slightly along with the onions, it will only enhance the flavour.
At some stage soon I will be writing something dreadfully unhealthy and delicious. But whilst I am on a roll to rid myself of my spare tyres, give these recipes a go and watch yourself glow with health and your taste buds scream with joy. Just don't blame me if you find yourself becoming a vegetarian....
To feed 4
3 Cloves of garlic
1 Large Aubergine
200g mushrooms of choice, but button mushrooms hold their texture better if a little flavourless
1 can of chopped tomatoes or 400g of fresh
1 can of chick peas
100g dried apricots (try to buy organic naturally sun dried, so much more flavour and colour, like little caramels)
2tsp paprika and ground coriander
1tsp cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin
half teaspoon cinnamon
Fresh coriander and parsley
1 - Slice your onion and garlic, half your mushrooms, cube your aubergine and add to the olive oil heated in a large casserole dish. Stir for 10 minutes until softened and coloured.
2 - Add the spices and stir for 1 minute until fragrant.
3 - Add the tomatoes, chick peas and water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
4 - Serve with cous cous and scatter with toasted almonds and finely chopped coriander and parsley.