I try and be tidy, keep up to date and file all the recipe clippings that promise to be my muse, and have them all neatly arranged in files with tabs of primary colours. In my head that is exactly how I live, with organisation and detailed planning. Reality is a teeny bit different. I have piles of magazines and papers dotted around the place like mole hills. Moments exist when all was worthy of a librarians honor and, one day, may reach those dizzy heights again but, for now, I am dealing with tatty scraps of cuttings and invented recipes scribbled within the blank spaces on junk mail. Today, I grabbed a recipe out by Alice Hart, featured in The Telegraph Magazine view it here, and got busy chopping onions and breathing in plumes of escaping fragrant smoke as I ground fresh roasted seeds and spices. I was very excited to be trying something I’d not tasted before.
The dukkah was simple to make. I even managed to streamline the process a little bit further from Alica Hart’s original recipe. I wrote a How To about it here…
I stuck to the original recipe for the lemon and date relish but I baked, hard vegan cheese in place of the feta.
Alice served the feta with a slice of charred bread. I thought it would be nice with a slice of baked aubergine…and it was. Sadly, I had dinner late and it was nearly dark, making good photography a challenge. I had made a DIY Light Box but it was utterly useless and did nothing to bleach the yellow artificial light (anyone have any tips PLEASE let me know), I even tried to adjust the light in the photo with an online editor website. Up until yesterday I had NEVER edited any of my photos and I was pretty excited to find out you can even perform the function online. It still looked bad! (I was going to post the pictures but I couldn’t bring myself to sully the post!)
THIS IS THE BLANK SPACE WHERE THE PHOTO OF MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT THIS RECIPE SHOULD HAVE GONE
I loved the baked garlicky cheese with the sweet aubergines, the dukkah added a salty crumbly texture, which I liked. I rated it a 7 out of 10. Ok…but I wanted the WOW factor, a dish more suitable for the dipping temperatures and the shortening days.
My brain was whirring away in the background, dreaming up ways to improve on it. The next day I had a ‘Ground Hog’ moment. I repeated the process….with changes. I transformed the relish into a chutney. I added a chopped eating apple, a finely sliced garlic clove, and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and let it bubble on the stove for 25 minutes and the let it cool and thicken. I cubed the aubergine and roasted it with carrots and a generous splash of olive oil. I then scattered some of the dukkah over the vegetables and let the oven (220 degrees) roast and deepen the flavours for 30 mins. I served it all on a bed of seasoned Puy and green lentils, and quite frankly, it rocked my world. Isn’t it exciting when a recipe morphs into something surprisingly good?!
What dishes have you ‘tweaked’ lately?