Whilst I have flirted along since my teenage years with going veggie I never quite follow it through, something always draws me back, convenience perhaps or maybe a sausage roll wafting its evilly delicious aroma! However, I still frequently tread the veggie path as I just adore my vegetables and love to try out new vegetable based recipes, and fortunately my boyfriend B, a former meat and token veg man is most willing guinea pig and we both really enjoyed this dish last night and with very minor tweakings is definitely on the keeper list.
I do think sometimes making veggie food stand out can take a little more effort than for example cooking a chunk of meat but is so worth it, these baked aubergines were full of flavour with great texture and enjoyable to make too. They look good as well on the plate, always a bonus as they do say we eat first with our eyes!
When it comes to recipes I am a bit of a magpie, collecting them from papers, blogs, and frequently in-store magazines, sometimes they get filed away and forgotten about but I had kept this one out on purpose to remind me to make! The inspiration for these came from a little Tesco magazine but tweaked to what we had in etc. The original recipe calls for chunks of sourdough to be used but a while back I picked up from Sainsburys reduced a tub of Pistachio and herb laced chunky breadcrumbs and they did a great job, I think anything similar would suffice.
Keeping it simple, alongside I roasted baby new potatoes and these gorgeous beefsteak tomatoes, which work perfectly, providing juice. My oven is a nightmare and the only real change is longer cooking time but for a regular oven I would just stick to the recipe!
Serves two
1 medium sized aubergine
2 tbs olive oil
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
Half an onion, diced
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
2 heaped tbsp herby breadcrumbs
6 green olives sliced
2 tbsp grated grana padano (or veg equivalent)
1/2 lemon zest
1 heaped tbsp fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Pre-heat oven to 180/ gas 4
1) Slice the aubergine lengthways, and using a small knife and spoon remove most of the flesh from the bulbous end. Brush the shells with olive oil and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until softening nicely and going golden in colour. If they are quite wobbly, take a small slice of the outer shells to give stability.
2) Finely chop the removed aubergine flesh. Heat the remaining oil in a large saute pan, and gently fry the flesh, celery, onion and garlic for about 15 minutes, add a splash of water if it looks too dry. Cool slightly and combine with remaining ingredients
3) Stuff the mixture into the aubergine shells, return to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.

With autumn gently arriving, now that awful heat of our short summer has passed, the colour of aubergine always makes me think of darker nights drawing in and also that being they are perfectly in season, I have sent my dish over the Four Seasons Food who’s current theme is Sliding into Autumn.

By andrei