''La vida no es como deberia ser, sino como es.'' - Facundo Cabral (1937 - 2011)
''Life is not as it should be but as it is.'' - Facundo Cabral (1937- 2011)
I had it all planned. So perfect. So organised. Thinking I was being really clever, I prepared 2-3 dishes for the blog in advance several weeks ago, including this amazing vegan aubergine dip. I photographed and edited them, then stored them away in a file titled 'rainy day reserves'.
That rainy day came this week. It came with a vengence; you see it is getting colder, darker and well... rainier so finding the right lighting for my photoshoots has been quite hard. In addition, my son is off school, my husband is away on a business trip and consequently photographing and styling fresh material for the blog is completely impossible (I tried it in the past, but 4.5 year olds and food photography do not pair well;)).
So, on Wednesday night - rather smugly - I opened my 'rainy day' food pictures only to find that they looked horrendous! What I considered decent photos just a few weeks ago I can now clearly see are barely acceptable! :( I know I've moaned about bad pictures before, but it's soooooo frustrating when you've got a mega yummy dish and you can't translate that into a pretty picture. Needless to say I had a mini meltdown.
In my defence, sometimes a little cry is quite healthy and therapeutic :).
Of course it wasn't just about the pictures. Upon reflection, I think I'm missing summer and sunshine (surya energy is where it's at for me). I'm longing for bright July and marvelous August. I'm still dreaming of warm evenings in the garden, a gentle summer's breeze and my beloved comfortable white birkis. And no matter how hard I try, I can't get excited about grey skies or short days. Or... perhaps I'm just feeling overwhelmed by all the challenges that this beautiful, yet complex thing called life is throwing at me.
But, Thursday was a new day. And Pacha Mama reminded me that seasons change for a reason. That life is good, despite little setbacks. That life is very good in fact, even when things don't go the way I want them to. She did all this by waking me that morning with untypically bright rays of sunshine. No hiding under warm blankets! Oh no, the world was calling, eager to show off its colourful autumnal coat. Hence why my son and I decided to make the most of it all and explore our magnificently seasonal surroundings. These pictures are the result of what we found around us: an array of life and vibrancy and beauty:). Oh and isn't it lovely that 4.5 year olds and outdoor photography do pair well ;)?
We had such a lovely day, walking around and spending quality time together surrounded by nature. And, as I write this blog post and the sun is setting over London, it suddenly feels fitting to celebrate, rather than lament this time of year. Hence the title of this humble dish - Autumnal Aubergine Dip.
I hope that, despite the so-so pictures, you give this recipe a try because trust me, you won't be disapppointed. This dip is ridiculously delicious, easy to make and completely perfect for autumn ;).
Thanks for reading everyone.
AUTUMNAL AUBERGINE DIP (V+, P, GF, NF)
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-6 as a starter
2 large aubergines/eggplants
2 (organic) unpeeled garlic cloves
2.5 tbs of tahini
1 tbs of (organic) extra virgin olive oil + extra to garnish
juice of 1 lemon
sprinkle of paprika
a pinch of salt
Wash and trim the aubergines. Cut in half and place - skin upwards - on a baking tray lined with grease proof, non-stick baking paper. Prick the skin of the aubergines several times with a fork and then pop into an oven set at 200C/390F for 50 minutes. After 40 minutes, please place the garlic cloves in the oven as well and roast for the last 10 minutes (as shown in second image above).
When the aubergines and garlic are done, let them cool before peeling the skin off both (this should come off very easily). Discard the skin.
Roughly chop and then place the flesh of the aubergines and garlic in a bowl. Add the tahini and olive oil. Then mash everything up with a fork until nicely combined, smooth and with little chunks here and there of aubergine flesh. Next add the lemon juice and salt. Mix, taste and add a little bit more salt if require Garnish with some more olive oil and some paprika.
Tip: The flesh of the aubergine was moist but not watery when I took it out of the oven. If your aubergines still have a lot of water in them, please drain this away. Also, don't be alarmed if the skin of the aubergine goes all black or even burns. It's suppose to :)
Eat with... Persian Herb Salad and Home-Made Pita Bread.