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Burnt aubergine how hard can that be??! Very apparently. And so my odyssey began…

It is interesting how bound up in food our memories are. My Mom always seems to connect memories to food, maybe that’s where I get it. Her blue cheese honeymoon story is always a fav 😉 I enjoy how connected to emotions food can be. We all have comfort food, things you want when feeling sad or lonely. Good moments remembered through what we were eating or the smell of the food. That’s probably why I’ve been drawn back to Ottolenghi after being introduced to him through K’s culinary adventures. I love reading his recipes. The descriptions that accompany his recipes really invoke your senses and share his memories that accompany the dish. At the moment I haven’t had the good fortune of obtaining an Ottolenghi cookbook I rely solely on the guardian website for his recipe series. I came across this recipe a while back and pinned it to my must make list. It sounded like a wonderful week night meal, easy and comforting, or as the recipe said.. “The smell when these emerge from the oven is pure bliss: sweet, smoky and reassuring.” As I said burnt aubergine how hard could it be…

The recipe suggests laying foil across your burners, turning them on medium high heat, and roast for 15 mins or so. Now I have a brand new oven, an oven which T. had serious concerns over me having a smooth flat top apparently I’m messy (sarcastic tone implied). So for him to arrive home from work to me burning vegetables on my new stove top, would not have been good. I envisioned it being one of those stories that would live on for years. What I thought was a wise decision was to roast the aubergine on my griddle. After about 30 mins they were no where near burnt.. Sigh.. these still had to cool, drain, and the dish takes an hour in the oven. Dinner was looking later and later.. So I put the aubergines next to each other and tried to close the lid of the griddle, nope those suckers popped right out.. Sigh.. Opened it again and left them to cook. I was nearing an hour and no where near burnt.. Sigh.. I tried to close the lid again and this time with success after I held them in place for a little bit. I gave the aubergines 10 more minutes and called it a day. This meal was getting very time consuming and not in a good way. Take my advice if you can’t cook these on a BBQ don’t bother. I then had to cut down the cooling time (ouch!!) in the interest of eating at a reasonable time and peeled the aubergine. What a mess!! It is hard to tell, and there were no instructions in the recipe, but the seeds from the aubergine really seemed to overtake the mash. So it was a wait and see when I compiled the dish and placed it in the oven. I think you could have obtained the same level of burntness, probably incorrect, by placing them under a broiler.

I will admit the smell was wonderful when removing the foil from the dish. It was a lovely meal once finished, but not one that I’d rush to make again.

I did alter the recipe slightly by using a mixture of pork and beef mince (equal parts), I think adding the pork gives a nicer texture than just using beef. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. The aubergine was slightly tasteless more garlic would have helped or if they were more burnt… perhaps?

Here are a few photos of my odyssey to burnt aubergine and baked meatballs:


And so it began…

Please just burn!

Please just burn!!!!


Grated potato, onion, and parsley for the meatballs


Ready to roll



Aubergine mash on the bottom, meatballs, chicken stock and water ready to bake


Nearly 3 hours later… Dinner is served!