Home-made Baba Ghanoush

If you’ve come here thinking I’m going to tell you how to make ‘coy daddy’ or ‘pampered papa’ you’ve come to the right place, apparently that’s what baba ghanoush actually means!! (Thank you Wikipedia, for your commitment to my education).

Now you might remember my post about my first Thanksgiving dinner I went to this year where I made a salad – I know I’m so festive(!) Well I’ve had an aubergine left over ever since and I just had no idea what to do with it. I don’t really know why I bothered buying it in the first place because I don’t even like aubergines… I blame it on the holiday season making me go crazy.

Anyway, last week whilst I was making my awesome Stuffed Pepper Pots I got an epiphany and decided to make baba ghanoush because what’s the main ingredient? You got it. I figured with all the different spices I wouldn’t be able to really tell that I was eating aubergine, which made it more appetising than just roasting slices of it in the oven. This was a real trial-and-error experience because I’d never made it before but I can’t think of a time when I’ve eaten it either, it’s just something you see on cooking programmes. So I wasn’t prepared with a concrete idea of what typical BG should look or taste like, that said I really enjoyed how it turned out!

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Yin and Yang?

This is also a special recipe because it has no tahini. Why? Because it’s not an item I ever use and the one time I bought it I gave it to my friend because it was just useless in my kitchen. I wasn’t going to buy a 7 euro jar just for this recipe – I guess pampered papa wasn’t feeling so pampered after all. The result? So garlicky just like I like it with a nice twang of lemon. I’m glad I only had one aubergine because it allowed me to experiment without wasting too many ingredients in case it turned into a disaster. Ok I’ll stop writing now and just give you the recipe:

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Ingredients

~Aubergine/eggplant (most recipes call for at least 3, if you’re not sure how you’ll like it then try with 1)
~Sliced shallot and garlic (I used 1 large shallot and 3 medium-sized cloves)
~Seasoning – s&p, half a tspn of ground cumin, 1/4 cup of olive oil and lemon juice

I quartered the aubergine, sliced the shallot and garlic and put it in the micro-oven for about 1hr at 200C. I didn’t add any oil because aubergine’s soak it up and I didn’t want it to be a greasy mess at the end. The shallots and garlic had a smoky taste, being smaller they cooked a lot lot quicker so if that’s not your thing you could just fry them separately in a pan.

I peeled the skins off the aubergine and had this weird urge to just rip into them. I saw this mushy, grainy texture hiding beneath. A part of me wondered if that was literally the only part meant to be added in BG but a bigger part of me didn’t care and just threw it in the blender, along with all the other ingredients and spices. (Don’t go overboard on the cumin, it’s another food thing I’m not fond of so I only used a little because it can be overpowering.)

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Using the blender, I realised it wasn’t mixing as well because I just didn’t have a big enough quantity to reach the blades, so next time I’m for sure going to use more aubergines (or you could dice it up real small and mix in one of those mini herb blenders). Due to that, the BG didn’t have a smooth texture but was rather chunky – I loved it but of course go with what suits you.

Bisous!

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Serving suggestion – grill seeded bread and spread with feta cheese and baba ghanoush

 

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Stuffed Pepper Pots

So I made these Stuffed Pepper Pots during the week for dinner, and they were uh-mah-zinggg. You definitely know it’s a winner if you can get a boy to wolf down a vegetable stuffed with vegetables!! It was really simple and full of healthy ingredients. It’s also gluten-free for all you fussy eaters and depending whether you omit/substitute the meat and cheese, it can be vegan too.

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Love these colours! I only used two bell peppers but the stuffing mixture was so much that I easily could have made all four.

Ingredients

Bell peppers
Quinoa
Feta cheese
Sliced ham
Mix of grated veggies and sliced courgette
Seasoning – black pepper, chili powder, lemon juice (I don’t like to add salt to my food, plus there is already salt in the cheese and meat).

Method

Slice the stalks off of the peppers and put to one side as they will later serve as the ‘lid’ to your ‘pot.’ Gentle scrape the seeds out from inside the peppers and discard. Drizzle oil on the skin and place in a hot oven for about 10m on 200C so they start to soften a little.

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Meanwhile, in two separate pans, start cooking the quinoa and vegetables. I’m not big on measuring quantities so make a reasonable estimate as to how much you require, plus the amounts of both will vary depending on the size and amount of peppers you have. Once they are cooked through, mix together in one pan and add your seasoning. The mix of chili with lemon or lime goes together makes for a really nice burst of flavour, otherwise I find quinoa to be quite bland!

Remove the peppers from the oven and start layering the fillings with quinoa and veg, feta cheese and ham. I would’ve preferred diced or shredded chicken but a) we didn’t have any and b) even if we did I would’ve been too lazy to cook it!! #reallife

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With the lids on, place back in the oven for 5-10 mins on 200C so the cheese starts to soften and melt and it all becomes goddamn irresistible inside.

Ta-da! Super easy right?

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Season Greetings: Thanksgiving in Paris and getting ready for Christmas!

Happy 1st December! I love when the first of the month starts on a Monday, everything feels logical and in the right place (just a glimpse of the OCD-person living inside of me haha.)

Last week really felt the like the holiday season was beginning, as I celebrated my first home-made Thanksgiving at my friend Caitlin’s apartment in Paris and I can safely say I’m officially a convert! She made an amazingggg glazed ham and everyone brought a homemade dish with them (my contribution was a warm salad made of roasted sweet potato and aubergine mixed with rocket, diced apple, beetroot and sliced almonds with a lemon and olive oil dressing, so yummy!) The Boy and I also raided his parent’s attic for Christmas decorations and fixed their house up in style. All I need now are a few more mugfuls of vin chaud and my Christmas playlist on the iPod to keep the festive spirit going!

I’d always heard and read a lot about the Thanksgiving shop in Paris, just around the corner from St Paul metro stop in the heart of the Marais district. Given I’ve never had reason to celebrate this coma-inducing holiday I’d never frequented the shop and hadn’t really understood what the big deal was beyond Monica shoving a turkey over her head to regain Chandler’s affection. This year was different because a real Thanksgiving dinner was being planned by real Americans who know the deal. Plus, who doesn’t love food?!

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My friend Hannah and I spent a Saturday around the Marais, obligatory red Starbucks cup in hand of course, and popped over to the shop. It was amazing! Tiny as hell and packed to the hilt, we squeezed between other patrons looking for goodies. I was surprised to hear French more than English as I couldn’t see the attraction of American goods to the people of Paris – all that sugar, c’est pas vrai!

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It was of course quite pricey and many items were foreign even to me as an English person more familiar with American cooking than maybe the average Frenchie, so I would only really go again for a special occasion!

Now I do admit, putting up Christmas decorations at the end of November was abit early but there’s nothing better than being surrounded with all that festive cheer. It’s the first time I’ve helped decorate a house that wasn’t my family’s so it was lovely seeing all the little items they have and their own traditions.

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Obsessed with these super slim candles and the packaging

Busy Santa!

Busy Santa!

Having lived in Denmark for a few years when The Boy was a very little boy, his family still has various decorations from during their time. These ‘scary Santas’ below are similar to the German Krampus, the evil/demonic/generally-not-very-nice character that punishes bad children over Christmas. (I can’t find the name for them in Danish, anybody out there have an idea?)

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These gold-plated ornaments are so beautiful! They come from the Danish craftshop Georg Jensen where each year they create a special edition Christmas ornament with the year stamped on a ribbon used for hanging it up. I think these date back to about 15-20 years ago and are still in great condition!

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This one on the left is a traditional julehjerte or pleated heart, a very typical Danish decoration. Apparently their creation goes back to Hans Christian Andersen’s time!

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There’ll be lots more festive posts coming up, I hope everyone is having a great start to the month!

Bisous!