While I was in Cape Town, I stayed with friends in their gorgeous villa. Justin has designed and decorated the house so that it is not only stunning to look at but also very liveable – and while the rooms are classically arranged, there is nothing precious about the house at all except of course, for their gorgeous Labradors who kept me company! In their fabulous kitchen, antique blue and white Spode plates jostle for position on the open shelving with contemporary blue and white bowls and mugs; bone and silver cutlery is stored in earthenware jars, fruit and vegetables are displayed in blue and white bowls on the island and silver and glass cloches are in constant use to cover food which has been prepared. Mixing old and new, marble and wood – the kitchen is just such joy to work in. The evening before the wedding, they had planned to host a “casual” braai (barbecue). We had all had all been to a cocktail party the night before, at the grooms’ (also stunning) house and some of us were feeling a little fragile! Nonetheless, that morning, Justin went off shopping, coming back with bags full of fresh produce, tender beef and cases of bubbles. Jake was arriving that afternoon, flying out straight after finishing his last mock exam and had to be collected. On the way to the airport we discussed the menu and what had to be done. Traffic was horrendous which meant we were running a little late and Justin had some work to do when we got back, so I assumed the role of sous chef and set about chopping ingredients for a salad and marinating the beef for the barbecue.
That evening, the table was covered in a stunning trellis patterned cloth; the centrepiece was a trio of coral Himalayan salt candles surrounded with a swathe of fresh mint from the garden. Plates and napkins were piled up and salads were laid out under the cloches. Huge wooden platters with bowls of nibbles and cheese circulated around the pool where we mingled before the meal and watched another spectacular sunset over the South Atlantic.
While I was sous-cheffing, I found a pile of glossy, purple aubergines which were to be turned into ‘chips‘. Further enquiry led to the clarification that chips meant wedges, so I tossed them in a spice mix I found int the larder and they were roasted in the oven that evening. The leftovers were sprinkled with feta and parsley and served at room temperature with houmous and were absolutely delicious. I couldn’t wait to re-create this when I got back. Chermoula is a North African spice blend consisting of ground cumin and coriander seeds, sumac, chilli, paprika, salt and pepper. It is mixed into a paste with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and coriander before slathering over meat and fish. You can make your own or buy it ready mixed. Google is your best bet! I use the chermoula as a dry rub, coating the aubergine wedges after tossing them in olive oil. The wedges are roasted, turning them over halfway through the cooking time and roasting until the edges are crispy and the thicker bits are soft and squidgy. It’s that wonderful combination of flavours and textures; soft and crispy with a nutty, smokey, tart and salty flavour with the freshness of the chopped parsley and coriander leaves. Delicious with barbecues, as a side to roast lamb or chicken or as part of a mezze.
I am taking this over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #59 which this week is being co-hosted by the lovely, bubbly Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and the fabulous Mila @ milkandbun. If you are new to blogging, please do join the party, we would love to see you. Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too. Be sure to comment, like and follow – Angie has such a friendly crowd at this party that you will come away with lots of new followers (as long as you interact) as well as a lot of inspiration! Submit a post (please be sure to include the link and a mention, in your post, to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #59 post – it’s only polite and also ensures that you can be considered for a feature next week!) or just take a look at others are up to! If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please do take a minute to read the guidelines.
Chermoula Spiced Aubergine Wedges with Tahini Sauce and Feta
- 2 aubergines (eggplants)
- 2 tsp chermoula dry spice blend
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- a good pinch of salt
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 lemon halved and one of the halves, sliced into wedges
- water to thin
- 50 g feta
- 1 Tbsp chopped parsley and coriander leaves
- olive oil to drizzle.
- Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F
- Slice the aubergines into 12 – 16 wedges each, depending on their size.
- Toss wedges in olive oil then sprinkle over the chermoula spice mix and a god pinch of salt and toss again. I do all of this on the baking sheet.
- Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, turning them over once, half way. They should be golden, cooked through and a little crispy at the edges.
- In the meantime, mix the tahini with the juice of half a lemon which will make it very think. Stir in a little water at a time to get it to a good drizzling consistency and then stir in the garlic and set aside.
- Crumble the feta and chop the parsley.
- Place the wedges in a serving platter, drizzle with tahini mix and scatter over the feta and parsley. Drizzle over a little olive oil and serve with lemon wedges.
You can omit the tahini and serve these with a scoop of houmous instead.