Well I am back home in Germany, experiencing crass opposites. From bright sunshine to cloudy grey, from the warmth of 25 degrees to a freezing –5 degrees, from pure relaxation to a whirlwind of chores and routines, from a houseful of family and the buzz of commotion to a serene and fairly empty home, from indulging in exquisite dishes from every part of the world to simple and comforting home cooked meals, from high heel sandals to high boots and from light cotton to thick flannels.
Crass opposites is an understatement to say the least. While part of me is happy to be back home another part still yearns to be enjoying the carefree days in Dubai. Winter in Weimar has been long this time. Beautiful for sure but it can stop snowing and be freezing cold already.
For me January and February are generally boring months. Time seems to be at a standstill as I await with anticipation for the first signs of spring. I usually taunt it to come earlier with colorful tulips and hyacinths, leaving an alluring scent all over the house. It does not always work and as I put on my gloves and snuggle deeper into my woolen scarf I look at the piles of snow outside with disdain.
The supermarket shelves are already beginning to stock up on strawberries and rhubarb. It’s hard but I am keeping my fingers away. It’s not the time yet, I know but they tease me with all their promises of juicy Spring excitement.
So, while I wait I am jonesing for vibrant flavored food. Tart, tangy, mellow, smooth, creamy, fruity and intense.
It all came in the form of one recipe – the first recipe I saw when I opened the crisp pages of my new Ottolenghi Cookbook (thank you Hilda) was of deliciously roasted aubergines smothered in thick yogurt spiced with vibrant saffron. Of course regulars to this space will know the love affair I have with this spice, so the recipe was calling my name. I truly love the fact that jewels of pomegranate added a slight tangy flavoring and roasted pine nuts gave it a nutty crunch.
Greek yogurt gave a wonderful creamy texture to the dressing – so good I was spooning it on its own.
Roasted Aubergine Salad with Saffron Yogurt, Pine Nuts and Pomegranate
Adapted from Ottolenghi - The Cookbook
Printable version of recipe here
3 medium aubergines, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
a good handful of pomegranate seeds, approx. 1/2 pomegranate
handful of basil leaves, coarsely chopped
coarse sea salt and crushed black pepper
For the Saffron Yogurt
pinch of saffron strands, infused in approx. 3 tablespoons hot water – 5 minutes
180g thick Greek yogurt
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
- Make the sauce first by gently beating the yogurt in a small bowl until it is smooth. Pour in the saffron infused water and stir to incorporate. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well. Adjust seasoning to taste. Refrigerate till required.
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees C. Toss the aubergine wedges with salt, pepper and plenty of olive oil in a large bowl until the aubergine is nicely coated. Transfer the vegetables to a roasting tray or an ovenproof dish. Roast for 20-35 minutes depending on how your oven works. Once the aubergine wedges have taken on a deep golden color take them out of the oven and allow to cool.
- Arrange the aubergine wedges on a large serving plate, then drizzle generously with the saffron yogurt. Sprinkle with pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and basil leaves.
- The saffron sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in the fridge.
- Once the aubergines are roasted they can be stored in the fridge for 3 days. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
- This is a great starter with some pita bread. We however, enjoyed it as a side to a lovely Middle Eastern style chicken.
- Leftovers? Use this to stuff pita bread for delicious vegetarian sandwiches.
This is a glorious dish with robust contrasting flavors and vivid, exuberant colors. Each ingredient complements the other playing off the aromas perfectly. I could not get enough of this – I love aubergines and paired with the saffron yogurt it was heavenly. Tom enjoyed the diverse flavors the dish provided, making each bite explode with a whole new flavor combination.
I am sorting through my pictures of Dubai and hope to take you away to a fun filled photo tour with me towards the end of the week. Hope you’ll join me then.
Jamie is hosting this month’s Monthly Mingle and has chosen Bread & Chocolate as her theme. Make sure you join us - you still have a few days so pop over to Jamie’s lovely blog and check out all the details!
If you like aubergines you might like these ideas from WFLH:
|Ratatouille Provençal||Aubergine Choka|
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