When I was young….ger (because I’m still young, though strange how many years have crept by) I went to see Rickie Lee Jones in St Kilda. The lights were still up & there was just a piano on the stage. A woman came out, scarf around her head, casual clothes & runners and wiped down the top of the piano. Then she sat down & played and Then the lights went down. Not a soul in the audience had recognised her.
She was a great performer back then and both she and her band were so relaxed and having so much fun it was totally infectious .
Last night the box of eggplant never seemed to diminish as I chopped my way through it I hummed RLJs to myself.
Eggplants into cubes, they’re slippery blighters at the best of times & 6 kgs of eggplants is as many eggplants as I ever want to chop in one go. They filled my biggest pot and were exceptionally difficult to stir until they cooked down by a 1/3. I stuck with it till I had it to the point where I could leave it for the night.
This morning, after seeing the youngest off to school ( the one morning in the week that I don’t have to leave home- I love it!) I put an old album, yes album, of RLJ on and spent the next few hours happily singing my way through my jobs while the mix cooked down. Even managed to weed a garden bed between the yurt & the house. 24 jars later (& all of them med. to large bar 3 small ones) and I’m done. Just waiting for the kettle to boil so I can wash the pot as its too big for the sink.
I’d like to think it will last but it’s my grade 2 girls favourite spread & it’s great in a salad with roast pumpkin and in baked potato &…. Well anywhere really. I don’t make it hot. There’s 6 tsp of minced chillie in it but its not enough to do more than warm it.
One of the secrets of a healthy diet, apart from healthy treats, are having accoutrements that you can add to salads and simple meals that turn them into something special.
One day ill have a registered kitchen with any luck, when my boat comes in, & i’ll make extras for all of you who are even less keen than I to chop a lot of eggplant. Till then I’ll share the recipe requiring only 1 kg of eggplant ( which is about 3 good sized ones)
1kg eggplants (roughly 3 good sized ones chopped into smallish cubes) Chillies to taste( if dry then soak first) 4tsp chopped garlic 3tsp fresh ginger 2tblsp black mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 cups oil ( I used safflower/ sunflower, we stock both) 3tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
2tsp garam masala ( NB. Goes in last)
Blend chilli, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, turmeric with enough water to make a heavy paste Heat oil and add paste Cook for a few minutes Add eggplant & cook on low heat till soft stirring regularly ( do be patient as its really better to have the eggplant well cooked) Add salt, sugar & vinegar & simmer till thick Stir in garam masala and remove from heat immediately Bottle into hot jars and sea
** I should say that the only quantity I’ve ever adjusted in this recipe (ive adjusted the types of oil, sugar or vinegar used) is the chillie because it depends on what you’re after and the types of chillie you have. A tsp of paste per kg hardly registers if that’s any help.=