We had friends over to celebrate the New Year’s Day and I decided that an anti dote to Christmas would be roast lamb.
Ok so it’s normally an Easter thing, but we were having a quiet New Year so I wanted delicious food that would feed the soul as well as hungry revellers after a bracing walk.
|View from Lymington over the Solent to the Isle of Wight|
Tired of nut roasts and slices of fish I turned to my cook book of the moment,
Made in Sicily by Giorgio Locatelli.
It’s entirely his fault I became a Sicily convert. I was hooked after watching one of his programs on TV a few years ago and then spend a few gorgeous weeks there last summer, splitting our time between Ernesto and Elda’s beach hut style villa near Noto
and Butera 28
the Palazzo of the Lampedusa family in Palermo.
Anyway back to the food....more precisely Aubergines..
They aren’t popular with certain members of the family however this recipe had everyone, family and friends, converted. It combines the sweet taste of raisins, pine nuts and onion with a shavings of pecorino cheese all rolled up neatly in aubergine and baked..OH WOW..
The taste is divine.
|Aubergine Rolls with bay leaves|
So whilst we had them as a starter and moved onto the very slow roasted lamb, teen V had them instead of the lamb with roasted veg....
For us meat eaters they were a delicious starter and for her made a welcome change from nut roast.
On a practical level they can be made in advance and just put into cook for 10 minutes when you take the meat out so everyone is served at the same time.
The blend of nuts, dried fruit, vegetables and cheese is very well balanced and so offers a nutritional delight.
Serves 4 as main or 6 as starter
Preparation time 10-15 minutes but allow 2 -3 hours for draining drying etc..
Cooking time 10 minutes
2 Medium aubergines
Sea salt and black pepper a pinch of each
Splash if olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
20g pine nuts
20g pecorino cheese, grated
Lots of fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp of breadcrumbs
Juice of 1 lemon..I forgot to put this on the finished dish and it was gorgeous with out – your choice-
WHAT TO DO:
1. Slice the aubergines thinly length wise, sprinkle with salt and leave to drain for a few hours
2. Wipe off any excess water or salt and squeeze them to get rid of any extra moisture.
3. Boil a saucepan of water and blanch each aubergine in the water for about a minute then leave on the side to drain.
4. Heat the oil in a frying and slowly fry the onion until soft, for a few minutes then add the raisins and pine nuts for a further minute. Take off the heat and stir in the cheese, salt and pepper. You should have a nice dense mixture, but you might want to add more olive oil here.
5. Now place the slices of aubergine on a board and spoon a tsp of mixture at one end and then roll it up. Put it on a wooden skewer with a bay leaf between each roll.
6. Put about 4 rolls to a stick and place in an oven proof dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake for about 10 minutes.
Giorgio says to squeeze the juice of a lemon over the top before serving, but I didn’t and it was great..the choice is yours.
It is easy; just make sure you leave enough time for each stage.
|Bay tree by the garden gate|
The other unexpected pleasure I had when out getting some bay leaves from the garden was to discover the Mahonia, (spiky leaved shrub with small yellow flowers that smell amazing) had blossomed and smelt so beautiful. You felt spring was near, even though I know it’s not!
|Winter garden 2013|
So armed with bay leaves and a sprig of mahonia we celebrated the start of 2013
HAPPY NEW YEAR!