Wednesday 22 April 2009

"My father is spoiled like a child by my mother" - WCW?

Finally! Stripped of strangling winter woollies, we had our first braai (barbecue) of the year on Sunday. We did have to move the table around from time to time to get out of a frisky wind, but can there be anything more sublime than the sound of food sizzling over coals and the tantalizing smoky aroma that accompanies it? For me, it is epitome of summer and those lingering childhood memories of sun, sand and sea.

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!


For the perfectly delicious smoky taste of this heavenly mezze dish, it's crucial that the eggplants are roasted over a flame (on a barbecue) or under a grill until the skins are completely charred.

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

To serve:
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!**


Hana Njau-Okolo said...


That Baba Ghanoush sounds, looks and probably tastes tamu sana with pita pieces!! And that is a brilliant painting and great photograph. Wishing you many more enjoyable barbecues!

Mama Shujaa.

A Cuban In London said...

'can there be anything more sublime than the sound of food sizzling over coals and the tantalizing smoky aroma that accompanies it?'

No there isn't :-). You brought back memories of the hog roast at my uncle's when I was a teenie wee child. And as for your eggplants (known as aubergines on these shores), well, I am a 'berenjena' man (that's Spanish for 'aubergine'). Many thanks for such an uplifting post.

Greetings from London.

Beth Kephart said...

Will you be opening a restaurant soon?


Anonymous said...

How funny. I just picked up a Baba Ghanouch recipe in the grocery store yesterday - I'd not hear of this delight until I came to Canada and now it is a favourite and I thought it time I tried to make it myself.

I love the translated name, even if it's not entirely correct.

Lori ann said...

Oh perfect Tessa, I felt the cold wind, until i schooched over into the sun with you.

Not sure if i will make this, if my husband sees i can then i won't get taken to one of my favorite Indian restaurants! just kidding :) sort of...
beautiful post, picture and painting (I am off to see if the same one is in your cookbook)

♥ Lori

Karin Bartimole said...

yum!! We're headed for a nice warming this weekend and I hope to get the grill fired up, too. I think your recipe just might help fit the bill :) Love your beautiful egg plants.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Yum yum yum, must make this now. Loved the translation of the name too. If it isn't true it is beautifully right all the same.

Lynn said...

What a beautiful blog you have. This is my first time visiting. I came via What's Cooking Wednesday. Your photos are gorgeous. And the little "favorite mugs" on the side are so stinkin' cute. It's nice to meet you ;)

Woman in a Window said...

Sounds lovely but the imagery around the bbq has me salivating over a good old kill of something roasted? Dead animal anyone? Oh, with garlic, of course.

Delwyn said...

Baba Ghanoush is delicious and your eggplant painting is delightful...

Danielle Barlow said...

I'm so glad you posted this recipe! I have a fridge full of aubergines, and was wondering how best to use them - my family are sick of eating nettles!

Jinksy said...

Love the painting and the photos, but leave me out of the hot chilli part, please! Hope your pink colour has faded....
love, jinksy x

Ces Adorio said...

First of all thank you for your comment on my blog, you made my day. It is wonderful to laugh heartily.

Now this post. Why is it that I always have this feeling that I am watching a scene from that beautiful now classic movie "Out of Africa". I can hear a like-Karen von Blixen clad woman describing the barbecue to me but with an air of Rudyard Kipling too? You give me goosebumps this sunny morning.

I love eggplant and I love the way you prepared this.

This beats being a greeter at Walmart or selling All-clad pans at Williams Sonoma but I can transport this to the cafe where I will be in the company of brilliant women like you!

pRiyA said...

mmmmm...haven't made this in a long time. i love brinjal. thanks for the reminder.

Irene said...

Baba Ghanoush sounds biblical and I imagine the women of some ancient tribe sitting around a campfire roasting aubergines to make this lovely dish. I think we need an Egyptian here to tell us what the name really means. Baba would be father, of course, but ganoush? Anyway, I think I could eat a large portion of that bowlful by myself without any problem and I bet it's very nutritious.

In the vein of the Cuban, greetings from Maastricht.

Renee said...

Forget the eggplant, look at the painting. The colours are amazing.

Love Renee xoxo

Shan said...

Mmmmm looks delicious!

Unknown said...

And just as you're dusting off your braai stuff, we're packing ours away.
Enjoy the summer - I'm coming for a visit by the way, at the end of next month, want to say hello? Meeting up with some bloggy mates in London on the 26th at 5pm... :-)