Why do certain foods make us nervious? What foods make us shake at the knees and break out in a sweat when we think of having to make them ourselves from scratch?
Breadmaking is one, I for one am not actually afraid of making bread, I just need to master the art of making bread that actually rises!
Pastry… has a reputation for being difficult to make yourself but is easy to take if you have the right recipe and a few tips. Luckily for pastry I have both: An idiot-proof pastry pie crust http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/new-post-28/
Aubergines, or Eggplant, whichever you like to call them
are were on my Food Fear list.
The “why?” is Simple to answer, it’s on of the few vegetables my Mother never cooked, no one in my family cooked, and so I just looked at this vegetable and though, “looks cool, but what the heck do you do with it?” Artichokes, for me are in the same food group.
So, My first foray into cooking with aubergines http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/new-453/ was a success and since friends are coming around for dinner I decided to have another go. In recent days the work and physiotherapy combination has been heavy going so Himself will be cooking almost the whole menu for our guests.
After my last effort, Alison, a fellow blogger at http://oranjeflamingo.wordpress.com/ gave me one of her favourite aubergine recipes “Eggplant Balls” http://www.veggienumnum.com/2010/01/eggplant-balls/”
I do have to say that I could have done a better job on these… mea culpa, they were ok: we had several different sets of guests and their comments ranged from loving them to so-so (ok, the so-so was Himself who is now comparing every aubergine recipe to the first one I made, so the bar has been set very high indeed.)
Alison suggests in her comment that these could use the oomph of more spices, so I doubled the recipe, dumped fresh red chilies with seeds into the food processor with ample onion, a large measure of oregano, seven large cloves of garlic, then added a heaped tablespoon of dried red pepper flakes for good measure.
Then I turned the food processor on.
Duh, I ment to use “Pulse” instead of full power and the bottom half of my mixture went to mush rather quickly. I stopped in time to rescue to top of the mixture and then pulsed some fresh bread into large rough crumbs and mixed it all together with cheese.
Moral of the story: if you are over-tired when you start out cooking then mistakes are bound to happen.
Still, the mix smelled wonderful, so I shoved the lot into the fridge and went off for a sleep. Later, I sat and rolled the mixture into balls and yes it was firmer, but it could have been better. (Lesson learned: time spent just finely chopping the ingredients would have been sooo much better)
To counteract the softness, I rolled the balls in breadcrumbs before frying them and they came out wonderfully from the fryer: golden, hot and crunchy.
Then there was the taste test… Hey! Where’s the kick?
We could hardly taste any warmth at all, in fact, the six year old daughter of one of our guests found them mild enough for her tastes and went happily back for more of them…
They were certainly packing a punch in the garlic and onion department but I think that in adding breadcrumbs to save my mushy mix I somehow mangaged to totally disapate the heat of the peppers.
Darn, Darn, Darn, Darn, Darn.
I don’t think that this was at all the fault of the recipe, it was my lack of concentration whilst in control of a food processor that did the damge here.
I also need to confess that I roasted the aubergines whole, using the same method as in my first recipe, rather than in the slices outlined in this one, so maybe that resulted in them retaining a lot more water and making the mix too wet as well.
I’m going to give aubergines a rest from our menu for a little bit and but have already resolved to make this recipe again in the future, ergo: smaller in size, plenty of chili and the ingredients chopped by hand.