Spiced Eggplant with Savoy, Lentil and Pomegranate Salad

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It’s becoming more obvious everyday. I think I finally need to make the move, the one I planned to a couple of years ago but got sidetracked by other travels, it’s time to come and live in London for a while. It’s a weird thing, to want to come and live in one of the biggest and coldest cities I’ve ever been to, but I feel there is so much opportunity for me here, as well as one of my dearest friends, and, when it gets too cold, I’ll just shoot off down to Spain or Morocco and warm the cockles. Anyway, I’ve got a few more months here in Europe, I’m sure I’ll have more of an idea by the time we head back to Australia.

So, we finally got to catch up last night, my dear friend and I. The conversation did not have more than a two second gap in it for about five hours straight. I was so excited to cook for her and wanted to make something wholesome and delicious, but, as it is when travelling, I’m also restricted by the ingredients I can use. Luckily there were some spices in the cupboard here and I was able to find the rest of the ingredients in the endless Middle Eastern grocers lining the main street here. So much pita bread!

If large enough, the eggplants are sufficient on there own as a meal, but we ate them alongside some warmed pita bread, hummus and a quinoa salad. Find the recipe for my favourite creamy hummus here.

I adapted this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories, one of my favourite food blogs to turn to when I want some inspiration for a truly healthy and wholesome meal. I also made some little chocolate and almond cakes for dessert, completely sugar, dairy and gluten free. They were so delicious! Unfortunately we were too busy eating and talking to think to get any photos by the time dessert came around!

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large eggplant

Olive oil

2 tbs garam masala

2 tbs curry powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

Salad

1 small savoy cabbage, finely sliced

400g can puy lentils, rinsed and drained well

Bunch parsley, finely chopped

1 pomegranate, arils (seeds) removed

1 tbs olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbs maple syrup

salt and pepper

To serve, hummus, pita bread, quinoa salad (optional)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthways and use the tip of a knife to cut a criss cross pattern, about 1cm deep, into the flesh. Drizzle well with olive oil, using fingers to rub all over. Sprinkle with the spices, salt and pepper, and use fingers to rub spices into the cuts. Drizzle with more olive oil if they feel too dry. Place in the oven and cook, for about 45-50mins, or until flesh is dark on top and soft in the centre.

Meanwhile, for the salad, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Blanch the cabbage, for 1min, drain and rinse under cold water. Leave to drain as much water out as possible. In a small jar, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper and shake well. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lentils, parsley and dressing and toss to combine.

To serve, place the eggplants on a large serving platter, scatter the salad over the tops and sprinkle with the pomegranate. Serve with sides such as hummus, pita bread and quinoa salad. Enjoy!

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Spiced Tarragon Chicken and Quinoa with Spinach and Tomato Salad, Pappadums and Yoghurt

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while you can probably see by now that I love putting food in edible ‘cups’, whether it’s lettuce, cabbage, pita, spinach leaves, pastry or pappadums, I just love piling all of the yummy textural ingredients into another textural ingredient and trying to take a bite without making the worlds biggest mess; which is impossible. But that’s part of the fun, neat eating is boring.

This is a great weeknight meal as you can just pick up a barbecue chook on your way home and whip this up in no time. Of course you could cook the chicken yourself too if you like; shredded poached chicken breasts work well. You will also need a microwave for the pappadums if you want to do it quickly. You can deep fry them too but I prefer the microwave method as it keeps them lower in fat. Come to think of it, I think pappadums are the only thing I ever use the microwave for! Use any colour of quinoa that you like, or even replace it with another pulse, legume or grain if that’s what you’ve got in the cupboard.

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 BBQ chicken, flesh and skin removed, shredded
3 tsp curry powder
2 tbs coconut oil
2 tbs black mustard seeds
1/2 cup tarragon leaves
3 tsp garam masala
2 long red chillies, deseeded, finely chopped
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups quinoa (red is best in my opinion)
1/2 cup green split peas
3-4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
Punnet of cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 shallots, finely sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped cashews
Greek yoghurt
Pappadums (cooked to packet instructions)

Method

Combine the chicken in a bowl with the curry powder and some salt and pepper. Use hands to rub into the chicken and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat and cook the mustard seeds, stirring, for about 3mins or until they start to pop.
Reduce heat to medium, add the onion, garlic and chilli, cook for another 5mins or until soft.
Add the garam masala and half of the tarragon leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 min, or until fragrant.
Add the quinoa, split peas and 3 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for about 20-30mins or until quinoa and peas are cooked and the liquid is absorbed. If liquid absorbs before the quinoa and peas are cooked, add some more stock and continue cooking.
Meanwhile, for the salad, combine the spinach, parsley, tomatoes, shallots, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Toss lightly to combine and set aside.
Once, quinoa mixture is cooked and liquid has absorbed, stir through the curried chicken and turn out onto a serving plate or bowl. Scatter with the other half of the tarragon and the cashews.
Serve with the salad, pappadums and yoghurt.
Enjoy!