The Aubergine

Aubergines have to be my favourite vegetable. I love that they marry well with other vegetables such as tomato and potato. They have a velvety texture and a creamy taste and more than earn their title as the vegetarian steak.

Although in some quarters they are suggested to produce intolerance, as along with potato, peppers and tomato, the aubergine is a member of ‘the nightshade family’ or Solanaceae, a deadly associated name for a wonderful group of vegetables (and fruit, if you count the tomato, which is technically a fruit). We have little evidence for the problems of the ‘nightshade family’, concerning the above group of four as a whole, and why would you want to exclude these versatile vegetables from your diet? Some are however known as histamine producing – the aubergine and tomato – but histamine intolerance is a rare occurrence and can be identified by knowledgeable practitioners, plus aubergine is only classed as a moderate inducer. Another possible consideration for reactions to the Solanaceae group is the alkaloid solanine, which is found in green potatoes, so store your potatoes well, covered in the dark to avoid sprouting and this should not be a problem.

I have not had experience of the bitter flavour with aubergine so wouldn’t usually resort to salting them, but the above infographic is useful as once salted they will not absorb as much oil, so it might be worth taking the time to do it. Segnit’s flavour thesaurus matches the aubergine with walnut and tomato and a sprinkling of nutmeg. So, here is my recipe for you – please tell me how you like it!

Ingredients

1 aubergine

1 tablespoon of olive oil

100g carrots

1 tin of tomato

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

150g walnuts

150g of sharply flavoured cheese (if vegan you can use alternative vegan cheese here) but I used Manchego.

Method

Chop the vegetables and walnuts

Fry the spices in the oil to release their flavour.

Add the vegetables to a casserole dish with the tomatoes and mix in the spices and salt to taste

Cook for 1 hour at gas mark 6, 200 degrees C

Crumble the cheese, sprinkle on the top of the casserole and grill to melt

Serve with crusty bread (gluten free or otherwise for those following a low fodmap or gluten free diet.)

Aubergine stuffed with lamb and pine nuts

This recipe is another Ottolenghi recipe which I have modified to make it low fodmap and is quite simply delicious the original version can be found in his Jerusalem recipe book. It was very easy to modify really- just don’t add any onion to the recipe! Cinnamon is low fodmap and one of my favourite spices. It does take time to prepare so it is probably a recipe for a Sunday evening meal – slow food and great for fodmaper’s with IBS. Serve with wholegrain rice for a complimentary starchy carbohydrate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingredients

4 aubergines

6 tablespoons of oil

11/2 teaspoons of ground cumin

11/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

500g mince lean lamb

50g pine nuts

20g flat leafed parsley

2 teaspoons tomato puree

3 teaspoons of sugar

150 ml water

1 teaspoon of tamarind

4 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

seasoning

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Method

Slice the aubergine length-ways and place skin side down in a roasting tin. Brush with 1 tablespoon of oil and season. Cook at 220 degrees C, gas mark 7 for about 20 minutes.

Whilst the aubergines are cooking make the sauce. Add the remaining olive oil to a pan and add half the dry spices and cook for 2 minutes to release the flavour of the spices. Add the lamb, pine nuts, parsley, 1 teaspoon of the tomato purée, 1 teaspoon of sugar and seasoning. Cook for about 10 minutes till the meat is browned.

Place the remaining spices in a bowl and add water, lemon juice, tamarind, remaining sugar, 1 teaspoon of tomato purée, cinnamon sticks and season well. Remove the aubergines from the oven and top each with a quarter of the mince. Pour the sauce into the bottom of the roasting tin. Place the dish back in the oven cover with foil or a lid, reduce the temperature to 195 degrees C or gas mark 5 and cook for another one and a half hours. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Serves 4

Moroccan roasted vegetables

I love roasted vegetables and these are no exception. This is a Moroccan themed dish using Fodify low fodmap spice mix (purchased) to flavour the gluten free couscous (corn based.)

Ingredients

200g of carrots

1 small bag of mini aubergines (or one large aubergine)

Small handful of green beans

200g of gluten free couscous

2 teaspoons of Moroccan spice mix

15g pine nuts

15g pecan nuts

1 tablespoon garlic infused oil

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Spray oil

Method

Spray the vegetables with spray oil and roast in a hot oven till soft

Add couscous to a bowl and add an equal amount of hot water and leave to soften.

Chop the pecan nuts.

Add the oil to a frying pan and add the spices, pine nuts and pecan nuts and lightly toast.

Pour the toasted nuts into the couscous and mix well

Taste and season.

Add the couscous to the serving dish and pile on the roasted vegetables and sprinkle with lemon rind.

Serves 5 – 6