Sunday, 24 July 2011

Saturday night's Middle Eastern inspired dinner

I realised we had a couple of stray aubergines lurking sadly in the bottom of the fridge and had a notion to make some baba ganoush. Except I don't really know how to make it, and all the recipes I could find online seemed to differ, so I just made one up. We'll call it Gill's Aubergine Dip.

To go with the dip, we had roast vegetables, cous cous, and chicken. Here we go.

For the aubergine dip:
2 smallish aubergines
5 cloves of garlic
Big tablespoon tahini
Juice of half a lemon

For the chicken:
Chicken thighs, chopped and marinated in:
Chopped garlic (to taste)
Bit of olive oil
Some Cinnabar Smoke Blend rub, from the Spice and Tea Exchange

For the cous cous (serves 2-4 depending on what else is on the table)

200g cous cous
450ml chicken stock (ish)
5-6 dried apricots, chopped
small handful of sultanas
small handful toasted pine nuts
chopped parsley

For the roast vegetables:
Red onions
Garlic cloves (whole, but in skin)
Anything else you like!
Olive oil (either a spray or a drizzle, however it comes)
Some Lebanese 7-Spice, to taste

First of all, put the chicken to marinate. I did mine in the morning; we ate this at dinnertime.

Next, make the aubergine dip. Crank your grill up to hottest and put the aubergines under the grill, turning every ten minutes or so. They need to go squidgy; the skin will go all charred and wrinkly. When they are squidgy, remove and let them cool. When they are cool enough to handle, scrape out the flesh into a bowl, add all the other ingredients, and have at it with a stick blender (not a dodgy euphemism). Season to taste. Add chili if you like; however you want it :)

Then put the vegetables in - they'll take about half an hour to forty minutes depending on what you're roasting, how much, etc. Just remember to turn them! While the veg are doing, fry off the chicken in a pan til it's golden brown.

Finally, make up the cous cous - it will just take five minutes when you add the stock (and I'll be honest, I just used a boullion cube, it's really not worth the hassle!) and cover the bowl with a tea towel. When the cous cous has sucked up all the liquid, give it a bit of a fluff with a fork.

Serve everything with a salad and, if you need to make things go further, some flatbreads for scooping the dip up with.

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