Sometimes we have to find ideas for ingredients that really need using up. And this is often the case for me when I volunteer at The Felix Project . I am always thinking of ways to optimise the use of a glut of carrots, a pallet load of string bags filled with leeks or numerous boxes of aubergines.
The Felix Project redistributes ingredients from supermarkets and food wholesalers to charities and schools that are providing meals to people that might otherwise miss out. I am just one of the many volunteers that help the project run smoothly. It is great to be part of the Felix family, sorting the food that arrives in the warehouse and taking it out to the charities. Meeting all the other volunteers across London that are volunteering in some way to help feed the city’s needy is truly humbling. And of course it is good to see that we are part of combating food waste.
This week there were aubergines desperately needing to be cooked before they deteriorated . It made me think of Bill Sewell’s recipe for Sweet and Sour Aubergine in his first cookbook Food from the Place Below. You can get through a lot of aubergines with this recipe as, a bit like spinach, these lovely purple vegetables cook down considerably by volume. Also once cooked and cooled they will store in a sealed container in the fridge for quite a while. Great for a snack, or served with pitta bread or added to salad. You wont have any trouble getting through it all. If your aubergines have the odd bruise or spots of deterioration just cut these bits off and get cooking. You can adapt the seasonings according to what you have in the store cupboard. The original recipe called for pinenuts, but I only had mixed seeds, the raisins I replaced with dried cranberries, the parsley became fresh coriander. Don’t go to the shops to find that missing ingredient, look at what you have already and imagine it as a good substitute. Happy cooking and eating.
Sweet and Sour Aubergine. Wash and dice 3-4 ( or more) aubergines. Toss in a bowl with salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Spread out on baking sheets and roast at 190C until golden, about 15-20 minutes. When they are cooked return them to the bowl and pour over some balsamic vinegar. Add it gradually to taste, don’t drown the aubergine! Add a handful or more of raisins or dried cranberries and some sunflower/pumpkin/sesame seeds. Chop some parsley or coriander and toss everything together. Taste, re-season if needed, add a little more olive oil to taste, toss well and serve at room temperature.