Simple pleasures

A saucy dip

Aubergine and roast red pepper dip. Or pasta sauce.

I had started with the intention of making a dip. It turned into a pasta sauce. And that is not a bad thing when that pasta sauce becomes an instant favourite; we’ve had it three times in the last two weeks, not least because a jar of it from the fridge made an excellent emergency supper when an underfloor gas leak one evening this week has led to the hob being disconnected.

We are left, temporarily with a two ring burner for our cooking. So it’s basic meals for the next week, I don’t think a barbecue every night is an option, we’re not Australian for God’s sake.

This does also make an excellent dip, served slightly warm with fresh flatbreads, so make enough, store in sterilised jars for up to five days and you’ll have a few options. You can omit the chilli if you want to feed it to the children, but the kick you get really lifts the sauce. I’d suggest training them to love chilli instead…

2 large aubergines
2 Romano peppers (just increase the bell peppers if you can’t get these)
1 red bell pepper
1tbsp ground cumin
1tbsp ground coriander
A lot of olive oil, this dish really needs it for richness and depth
1 dried red Scotch bonnet chilli or habanero
1 good quality tin of plum tomatoes
10 or so cherry tomatoes
2 large cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to season

Heat the oven to 180c
Slice the aubergines and peppers put them in a roasting ray with the cherry tomatoes.
Blitz the remaining ingredients in a blender and pour over the peppers and aubergine. Season well and add a little more olive oil for fun. It really should have an indecent amount.
Cook for 45 minutes until soft and ‘done’ then leave to cool.
Blend roughly and serve hot with fusili. Or Malluredos, but that is next to difficult to find.

This week
The Sea, The Sea, by Iris Mudoch. Very funny, sublime and evocative. The main character is a self-obsessed pomposity of a man and a joy to read.
The final series of Episodes. I’m glad it’s over, but I’ll miss it. I loved the ending, never saw it coming, but it was blindingly obvious when it did.
Suanne Sundfor’s new album, Norwegian interestingness
Awful and boring the worst of England bland and mediocre, loveless pub food in our favourite East Sussex village. And it cost an arm and a leg each night of our stay too. The worst of this country’s attitude to food.


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