Baba Ga-who?

I've started thinking that cooking is a bit like getting dressed. You CAN just wear a pair of jeans with a white t-shirt and some flip flops. Or you can wear a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt and some Christian Louboutins. OR you can wear jeans, white t-shirt, Louboutins, massive necklace, sunglasses and, like, a Kelly bag or something.

But that doesn't mean to say that you looked any the less fabulous in your plain jeans and t-shirt outift. It looks good, it's simple and it basically sends the same message.

I take this approach in the kitchen quite often these days. If I'm making something and I don't have all the ingredients specified in a recipe I just sort of gloss over it and make a more basic version of whatever the recipe is suggesting. Similarly, if I'm making something and I happen to have a jar of kaffir lime leaves, an avocado, or some sour cream hanging about, whatever I'm cooking takes on a more spruced-up, Louboutins-and-Kelly-bag attitude.

And so it went last night while making baba ganoush, which as you all know perfectly well is a mediterranean aubergine dip made with mashed grilled aubergines and tahini. But I didn't have any tahini. So I stood there looking at this damned aubergine that had been sitting in my larder for ages and needed to be eaten *somehow* and thought "Maybe I ought to just to a jeans and white t-shirt thing with this".

The resulting dip was so unbelievably delicious, although again apologies for horrible-looking photo - that I urge you to make it very soon, as soon as the sun comes out again.
Yes, okay, salting aubergines is boring but it's not labour-intensive and it's worth it.
1 aubergine makes more than enough dip for 2 people. I've split the ingredients up into things that are essential for this dip - the jeans and white t-shirt, if you like - and the added extras that will turn heads.

Jeans and t-shirt
1 aubergine
2 glugs olive oil
lemon juice

Jeans, t-shirt and Louboutins
1 tablespoon yoghurt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Jeans, t-shirt, Louboutins and Kelly bag
garlic clove
small bunch parsley
small bunch mint

1 So, you've got to salt your aubergines now - bad luck. I cut mine into rounds, but you can cut them lengthways if you like. Sprinkle both cut sides with salt, sandwich them between 2 chopping boards and then pile a few heavy cookbooks on top of the boards. Leave them for as long as you like, minimum 35 minutes.

2 Now grill your aubergines. I fried mine on a griddle, but you can also stick them under a grill. It should take about 20 minutes for them to be soft all the way through and burnt and sticky on the outside.

3 The recipe I was working to said to take the skins off but this was too fiddly, so I just chucked them in, skins and all, to a food processor with all the rest of the ingredients. If you do it, you may find that you need to add more or less of certain ingredients depending on how much you like paprika and raw garlic.

Not strictly baba ganoush, but totally great. And, hey - if Patricia Field taught us anything, it's that there are no rules in fashion.

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