There is nothing like the satisfaction of growing ones own vegetables. Towards the end of last year we moved house and one of the first things we did was buy 6 large apple boxes into which we dumped 4 ½ cubic metres of soil and a whole lot of love. Not long after the addition of these fine raised beds to our back garden we received a lunar calendar from a friend, an ancient relic from the 70’s whose colours had long since faded, lending to it an apt sense of mysticism. We took it, lining the wee lunar illustrations up as per her instructions to divine what to sow when and then I diligently took to the garden on the days given. I turned and sowed and watered and then patiently waited for all signs of new life to spring forth from the damp, dark soil.
Amongst the leeks, carrots, tomatoes, rocket, beetroot, beans and basil I also sowed tiny eggplant seeds. I had grown them only once before and I remembered them for their pretty purple flowers and big furry leaves. Whether or not you have grown your own eggplant or bought them, this recipe makes a great addition to any line-up of canapés. They are quick and easy to make and when rolled up and presented on a platter make beautiful looking additions to any cocktail soiree.
Makes approx 50 pieces--
2 eggplants, preferably Japanese eggplants, otherwise use the narrowest ones you can find
4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp pinenuts
100g goat feta
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1. Finely slice the eggplant lengthways into strips approximately 2-3mm thick, brush with olive oil and either grill or cook on a hot skillet.
2. Fry the shallots and garlic in a little olive oil until soft and translucent. Then add in the pinenuts and cook for a further minute. Put in a bowl and set aside to cool.
3. In a food processor combine the feta and yoghurt and process until smooth and creamy.
4. Add the cheese mixture to the cooled shallot mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix to combine.
5. Cut each piece of eggplant in half lengthways (if not using slim Japanese eggplants) and spread the goats cheese mixture two thirds of the way down each piece. Place one or two basil leaves on top of the cheese then roll up and arrange on a serving dish.