While waiting for the flames to die down and the coals to glow white hot, a big bowl filled with a glorious garlicky Levantine dish of eggplant mashed and mixed with various seasonings is a perfect opener for what is to come. An Egyptian friend told me that ‘baba ghanoush’ (or baba-ganouj), translated from Arabic means, "My father is spoiled like a child by my mother". I’m not quite sure if Nabil was taking the mick, but even if he was it sounds fitting!
3 large eggplants
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp yoghurt
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil to drizzle
1 tsp paprika
Flat bread or pita bread
Heat a grill or barbecue and cook the eggplants until the skins are completely burnt, turning them around every so often. Leave the eggplants to cool then cut them in half and scoop out as much of the flesh as possible, scraping near the skin.
Put the flesh into a food processor or blender with the garlic, tahini and yoghurt, and season with salt and pepper.
Blend until smooth then add the lemon juice and any more seasoning if it needs it. (You can use some chopped fresh chilli if you like it hot, hot, hot!)
Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with chunks of warm flat bread, a plate of crispy crudités or pita pieces (toasted pita bread cut into small pieces.)
**Do pop over to Shan’s blog where she hosts the What’s Cooking Wednesday for more delicious recipes from bloggers at every point on the compass!**