Food cravings. If you’re like me, this devilish food impulse will be something you’re all too familiar with. Food cravings aren’t just reserved for pregnant women with a hormonal soft spot for pickles, but is something we all go through… repeatedly…on a very regular basis. (Yes, even people like healthy food guru and yoga fanatic Gwyneth Paltrow!)
These past couple of years, I have had various food craving episodes. There was that one month last year in which I ate a ridiculous amount of chocolate (even ridiculous for a Belgian citizen, and that says a lot). Last month I had my Indian food obsession and decided to end every meal with an extra bowl of dal. And yes, I even went through a cheese phase, which led to my kitchen smelling of old people’s feet 24/7.
But this week, I am craving something entirely different. And for once, it falls within the “healthy” category. So forget about cheesy crust pizza, dark chocolate and matured Roquefort cheese, this week everything is all about the humble aubergine. (Or as you Americans like to call it: the “eggplant”)
Apologies, that word cracks me up every single time.
I know. You’re probably all thinking: Why would one ever become obsessed with aubergines? Sure, they can be pretty good, but do you really want to eat them day in and day out?
Well, dear readers, I do.
And mark my words, after you’ve made these two recipes, I’m sure you’ll be on an aubergine binge fest too.
Exotic Aubergine “cheesecake”
It’s not an omelet. It’s not a soufflé, and no, it’s also not a quiche. It’s a little bit of all these three things and more. It is an easy peasy, hearty cheesecake that mixes soothing cream cheese with salty feta and combines aromatic spices with theflavour-absorbing texture of the aubergine.
- 1 aubergine, cut into chunks
- 2 eggs
- 150gr cream cheese
- 80gr feta cheese
- 1 tsp za’atar
- Fresh coriander
- ½ tsp nigella seeds
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Red chili, finely sliced
- ½ tsp turmeric
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the aubergine for 5 minutes together with all the spices until everything starts to smell incredibly fragrant.
- Transfer the aubergine to an oven-proof dish, sprinkle over the chili pepper and half of the coriander.
- Mix together the eggs and cream cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour the batter of the aubergine mix and crumble the feta cheese over the top.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the egg mixture has set, but is still slightly wobbly in the middle. To finish, sprinkle on some extra coriander.
Smothered Sweet and Salty Aubergine with flowering garlic chives and smoked tofu
This dish may not look very dashing, but trust me, this dish is the edible equivalent of an English gentleman. The aubergine is stewed in a combination of sweet and salty flavours and in less than 15 minutes the entire mix turns into an Asian food fiesta. The intensity of the smothered aubergine is balanced with some incredibly pungent flowering garlic chives, coriander and is served with some smoky tofu. Yum!
- 1 aubergine, cut in fine chunks
- Bunch of flowering garlic chives, finely chopped (flowers included)
- Lots of fresh coriander
- 1 tsp miso paste
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey (or a bit more if necessary)
- ¼ tsp star anise
- ¼ tsp Chinese five spice
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 100gr smoked tofu
- Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and add the aubergine. Fry for a couple of minutes and season with salt and pepper. Add the miso paste, honey, soy sauce and spices and let everything simmer with a good splash of water until you almost get an aubergine “mash”. Stir in the sesame oil and the chopped flowering garlic chives (you’d be amazed how garlicy this type of chives tastes!) and coriander.
- Meanwhile, fry the smoky tofu in a separate pan and serve everything together and sprinkle on some extra chives and coriander.