A couple of weekends ago I had an intense craving for baba ghanoush, so I decided to make a mezze style dinner. There were only 2 of us so I didn’t go too over the top making lots of dishes, but I did do something I don’t do very often and that is make a dessert.

I always use Nigel Slater’s baba ghanoush recipe. It is the best I have ever made or eaten, even though the aubergines were just cooked on my big gas burner and not over charcoal. He’s right though; you really do need to turn the skins absolutely black for the best flavour. I just stick to the basic version because it’s so good, but one day I may try some of his twists.

Woman can not live by baba ghanoush alone so I did a few other dishes too. I made the baked falafel from Appetite for Reduction, which I enjoy as long as I forget that they are called falafel and think of them as chickpea cakes. I added in the peperonata from Vegan Fire and Spice, with the extra chili in, some home made flatbreads and a bowl of lightly dressed baby spinach.

This was an excellent tasty dinner. It doesn’t look like much but scooping up baba ghanoush and salad with flatbread alongside the sweet oily peppers and crunchy chickpea cakes was a delight.

Unusually for me, I made dessert. Matthew had a dessert wine he wanted to open (which turned out to be corked anyway), so I had a hunt for something easy which could be prepared ahead and contained storecupboard ingredients. I found the baklava in World Vegan Feast and decided to give it a go. I made half of it to fit what I had in, and I used a combination of pistachio, walnuts and hazelnuts for the nutty element. I also couldn’t resist adding a smidge of cinnamon, but I promise it was only a tiny one Bryanna! My filo pastry was a leftover half packet from the freezer, and wasn’t in the best condition, but it really didn’t matter, I just threw into the cooking dish and it all worked out.So easy!

I adored this dish. I’m a huge fan of and filo and the delicate flavour of rose was a delight.
A little goes a long way, so I was nibbling on recrisped squares of this after dinner all through the week.

Food Network Friday – Reuben Meatball Sliders

It was Kelly’s turn to choose Food Network Friday although if I hadn’t have known I might have suspected Tami had chosen, or even me in my sleep, because our love for sauerkraut and Reubens is unparalleled.

The selected dish gave us plenty to go at. The main challenge was how to make the meatballs. I decided to adapt the Black-Eyed Pea and Tempeh Meatballs from Appetite for Reduction. I made them as written but I changed the flavourings and used more paprika, caraway and dried dill, and used dill pickle juice instead of the vinegar. I also used rye bread for the crumbs. I baked them the day before, and, going against the ethos of the book, fried them before eating.

We don’t get slider buns here and on Friday night after work I had no plans to start making them, so I used sub rolls. I picked up a lovely bag of fresh sauerkraut from a new Polish shop that’s opened near work beside the San Jose solar companies. For the thousand island dressing, I used the Reuben sauce from American vegan Kitchen, but I went heavier on the ketchup. I heated the sauerkraut and added the sauce like the original recipe. I didn’t substitute the cheese in the meatballs so I added a thin layer of Vegusto melty to the subs when I grilled (broiled) them.

The real revelation of this dish was the sauerkraut. Served warm, with the rich creamy but tangy sauce, it provided a perfect bed for the slightly bitter meatballs.

We’d make this one again. Thanks for the great pick, Kelly!

And, I used up the left over meatballs in a version of the glorious goulash from Robin Robertson’s Vegetarian meat and Potatoes. They fell apart a bit in that but were a delicious change from the plain tempeh I normally use in that recipe.