Working with Old Baking Methods: Flame Roasted Aubergine Spread

“Everything you have contact with will be woven into your garden.” Kathy Stinson

Where should I start….a picturesque garden full of ripe produce signifies and summarizes good people and good life. Good people, who have the love, care and attention to nurture plants, so they provide pleasure for others…Good life, where Mother Nature hugs the people and plants with beautiful, fertilizing kisses of sun and rain…My mother’s garden is a joy to look at, it is an inspiration to get in and it is an honour to be catered from…

 

People who like all things traditional, all thing tasty and all things healthy should definitely enjoy baked fresh garden produce, created with the flame roasted method. Unlike many thinks, it is not only producing savoury treats, but there are brilliant sweet dishes cooked on fire such as the traditional chimney cake.

  

Flame-roasting simply means preparing food over an open flame. One express in a fancier way saying “grilling,” however, technically fire-roast food can be done in the broiler, on the stovetop burner, or on a gas or charcoal grill. The basic idea of the flame/fire-roasting baking method is exposing the food to the to fire so that the flame blisters it externally and sometimes slightly blackens the skin of the food. This intensifies the flavour and gives it a hint of smokiness. Probably many people would hurry now to correct me and highlight the differences between baking and roasting….well…Roasting and baking are both dry heat cooking methods, using hot air to conduct heat. Both methods brown the exterior of the food, adding delicious flavour. The structure of food is maybe the only factor that sets these cooking methods somewhat apart. Roasting involves cooking foods that already have a solid structure before the cooking process begins, baking is a process where foods that lack structure early on, then become solid.

While roasting used to signify food cooking over an open flame, roasting today is done in an oven, but some things, like the aubergine caviar, can simply not be pushed to their highest potential without flames….There is something ancient, something sexy, something truly human about fire…

” I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” Joshua Graham

 

Ingredients
6 large aubergine (or 8 small ones)
1 large onion (diced finely)
10 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
5 tbsp fresh mayonnaise
Possible additional spices/condiments – OPTIONAL:
1/2 inch ginger, 2 green chillies, 2 spring onions, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tbsp chopped coriander, 1 tsp curry powder, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp natural yogurt

 

Method
Wash aubergines and dry.  Roast over a gas flame. Leave it over the flame until a side of it chars black, turning it to ensure all of the aubergine chars black (cooked when they leak fluid and become soft). Carefully transfer to a bowl. Let it cool. When the aubergine is cool enough to handle, carefully peel off the charred skin. It should come away easily, but if tiny bits of the skin may remain (my Transylvanian mother-in-law would not approve), only to add to the flavour. Chop up the flesh and mash it slightly with a potato masher. Keep some texture. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper and onion, mix thoroughly. Serve with fresh bread rolls.

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