Zaalouk ~ Moroccan Aubergine salad

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I am absolutely loving my trip home, especially last week when my Mum, sister and I jetted off for Ladies on tour in Marrakech!! Wow it’s a cool city. I thought it was a bit like “The Lion the witch and the wardrobe”, your’ll be wandering along a street that smells like wee and not look like anything exciting is down it, then you go through a Riad door and boom, your suddenly in the most incredibly beautiful moroccan courtyard. It’s insane!

I’m going to put lots of photos and restaurant tips up soon so I won’t go into massive detail now. However, I will say that the food is pretty tasty. We did two nights of Moroccan feasts, and they really are feasts. You start with salads…not salads like we know, not many greens. Instead there are about 9 plates of different dips and veggies. The one I have made was my favourite, probably because I have a slight obsession with aubergines. With the plates you get a basket of flat breads and just dig in. Then after that it becomes a meat feast. Chicken tagine followed by lamb and cous cous, then sometimes even two desserts..pfff I had to walk around the block a few times before bed.

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Serves about 5-6 as a starter mezze plate
 
2 medium sized Aubergines
2 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 heaped tsp paprika
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 pinch cinnamon
sprinkle of dried chilli
5 medium tomatoes, skinned and seeds removed
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
glug extra virgin good olive oil
½ tsp pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar
small handful of fresh coriander and parsley finely chopped

Firstly cook your aubergines. Preheat your oven to 200˚C and put the whole aubergine on a baking tray covered with some foil and bake for around an hour, turning over halfway through. The flesh should be soft all the way through, you can check by poking or stick a skewer in. Once cooked take out and leave to cool

To skin the tomatoes, score a cross on them and pour boiling water over the top. After about 10-20 seconds the skin should split and then just take them out and it’s super easy to peel off the skin. Then de-seed them and chop them up into small squares.

Add the olive oil to a medium sized saucepan and gently fry the sliced garlic until almost golden. Then add the spices for a minute giving them a good stir then add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes down for about 20 minutes until they fall apart and become a yummy thick sauce. Season the sauce and put aside.

Grab your aubergines and cut them in half lengthways and spoon out the flesh from the skin into the tomato sauce. Using a spoon poke the aubergine around a bit so it breaks up.

Stir in the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, herbs and seasoning, with a glug of good olive oil. Give it a taste and adjust the amount of lemon, herbs etc to your taste.

Serve up with some moroccan flat breads or sourdough with a mezze plate…I served it with some manchego cheese which was darn tasty.

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Behind the scenes shooting in my Mum’s greenhouse

Asian style chilli jam

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This Christmas I was slighty stuck on what little presents to get lots of people so I ended up getting all creative and making gifts. I am not a hugely creative person apart from a little obbsession I had recently with making pom poms. Which, by the way are still quite possibly the coolest things EVER and a great way to decorate your house, or in my case, the Christmas tree, my car, a light in our room and I even made a crazy wall installation thing inspired from pinterest which was pretty bad.

Anyway I used my other talent and I made lots of jam! This recipe is really bloody delicious and is just generally an awesome thing to have in the fridge to go with snacks and on the side or in meals to add a spicy amazingness. I hear from my friend Anna that it goes nicely with a block of cheese!

The recipe is from Diva by Victoria Blashford-Snell a famous local chef to us in Dorset who’s book is totally fab. This is exactly her recipe but I added some lemongrass too to make it even more asiany. The photos are from the countryside shoot I did at my parents home in Dorset with my friend and super star photographer Aneta Mak.

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Makes about 2 jars depending on the size

500g ripe tomatoes chopped
4 red chillies, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves
5cm piece of ginger, chopped
2 stalks of lemongrass peeled and chopped
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
300g soft brown sugar
100ml red wine vinegar
3 fresh Thai lime leaves (or dried if you can’t get fresh)
55g raisins

Place half the tomatoes, the chilli, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and fish sauce in a food processor and blend to a puree.

Place the puree in a heavy-based saucepan with the sugar, vinegar, lime leaves and raisins and bring to the boil slowly, stirring.

Chop the rest of the tomatoes up into small squares and add to the jam once it has come to the boil along with the outer leaves of the lemongrass.

Simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If the tomatoes are very watery it may need longer, but the jam will thicken when cold. Remove the lime leaves and the lemongrass stalks and when cool pour into steralised jars and keep in the fridge. It should last for months if sealed tightly.

Buy some pretty jars and some ribbon or nice string with labels to give a more personal pretty touch. I use Weck jars because they are really cute. Happy present giving!