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.)

Paprika Meatballs – Low FODMAP

Ingredients

400 g lean beef meatballs (ensure no onion in ingredients)

400 g tin of chopped tomato

2 teaspoons of Spanish Smoked Paprika

2 teaspoons cornflour

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of granulated sugar

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of asafoetida

1 teaspoon of garlic infused oil

Method

Place meatballs in a casserole dish.

Pour the tomato into a measuring jug, add to this the paprika, cinnamon, sugar, garlic infused oil and asafoetida (take care to ensure that you place your asafoetida in a tightly sealed container – it smells very strong but adds a real depth of onion flavour to the dish.)

Then add this mix to the casserole dish.

Measure out the cornflour into a small dish and then add water to form a paste (cornflour is really great to use to thicken dishes – its wheat free and mixes very well with cold water – therefore NO LUMPS 🙂 yay!)

Add this to the dish and mix well.

Cook in a preheated over at gas mark 6, 200 C, for at least 1 hour (more if you can stand to wait to try it!)

Serves 4 – served here with freshly boiled rice and roasted marrow.

Low FODMAP, wheat free (ensure that asafoetida is pure if you have coeliac disease or a wheat allergy – it can sometimes be diluted with wheat flour) gluten-free, egg free, dairy free. Check spice labels for allergens.