Day 8: Dinner – Aubergine (Eggplant) Curry

Aubergine Curry with Ginger & Chilli / Nutty Quinoa with Greens

Tonight it was time for me to stop resting on my laurels and make something new. Lately I have been enjoying Middle Eastern and Indian inspired meals so decided to go for something along those lines. Jill Dupleix’s Lighten Up cook book is full of fresh ideas for the veggies and carnivores alike. I have had success with most of my attempts from this book so it was time to give these two recipes a whirl: Aubergine Curry with Ginger & Chilli and Nutty Quinoa with Greens.

Both recipes are quite uncomplicated – perfect for a midweek meal. The eggplant had a lovely velvety texture with a fairly nice balance of flavours, although next time I will add a small amount of sugar to even out the acidity. The Nutty Quinoa was a great match for the curry; the pistachios adding a lovely crunch and the mint and lemony dressing was very refreshing. I have to say I haven’t cooked a lot of quinoa in the past so mine wasn’t as fluffy as it could have been, but you and live and learn. If anyone has some tips on how best to cook quinoa, I would love to hear them! Here are the recipes:

Aubergine Curry with Ginger and Chilli
3 medium-sized aubergines (eggplants)
2 tbsp olive oil or canola oil
1 onion, finely sliced
1 green chilli, sliced
2cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g canned diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 level tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped + extra to garnish

Prick eggplants with a fork and place on a baking tray. Bake for 20 mins in a preheated oven at 220 deg cel. to char the skin. Peel away the skin and roughly dice the eggplant. Heat the oil in a non-stick deep frypan or casserole dish. Cook the onion until soft, then stir in the chilli, ginger and garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the eggplant, tomatoes, tomato paste, cayenne, coriander, cumin and sea salt, stirring well. Cook for a further 10 minutes on a low heat. Scatter with extra coriander and serve.

Nutty Quinoa
300g packet of quinoa
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
100g baby spinach
2 tbsp pistachios
2 tbsp sultanas
3 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
3 tbsp parsley leaves, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground fennel
sea salt and pepper to taste

Wash the quinoa, drain and place into a saucepan. Cover with 1 litre of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until al dente. Drain well and cool, then fluff up the quinoa with a for. Add the cherry tomatoes, spinach, pistachios, sultanas, mint and parsley. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin and fennel and season with the salt and pepper. Toss into the quinoa and serve.

Now to tackle the dishes 😦

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