Aubergine and Vegetable Sauce – for people who don’t like aubergine

We’re on a countdown to our next mammoth England trip. If all goes well this week, we’ll leave on Friday in the early hours and get there on Saturday night. This time we won’t pretend to ourselves that we’re going to be there for three weeks and end up staying for nearly ten months! Oh no…this time we are going to do even more of the renovation work ourselves and will take it slowly. We’re planning on three or four months, so we’ll be enjoying the Rye Bay Scallop Season, Bonfires and Fireworks and Christmas too…along with plenty of hard work.

Preparation for the trip, apart from sorting out our house and garden here for the winter, means buying plenty of Spanish goodies to enjoy and share, booking the vet to sort out the paperwork for the pups and digging out our winter and work clothes. Last year we left with mixed emotions, this year it has not been a great summer for us in Spain due to family illness and loss…it’s going to be good for us to have a change of scene and the distraction of hard work.

Aubergine Sauce (4)

One of the things we’re also doing is eating as much of our lovely garden produce as possible and eating what we have put buy in the fridge and freezer without buying too much food before we go. Big Man planted aubergines for me, an act of true love which ranks almost as highly as his first ever gift to me of a cauliflower. The man knows how to “woo” me. He’s not crazy about aubergines but will eat them as he knows I adore them. I finally figured out that the skin and the texture of aubergines are what put some people off. Personally, for an aubergine lover, I feel it’s probably a great part of the attraction. Time to figure out how to get round that issue so everyone is happy. Bring on the aubergine and vegetable sauce…

Aubergine Sauce (3)

For a portion to serve four people

  • 4 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 large aubergine
  • 1 large green or red pepper (sliced)
  • 2-3 cups of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of tomato purée (concentrate)
  • 1 small glass of red wine
  • A level teaspoon of sweet or smoked pimentón (paprika)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A pinch of sugar (optional)
  • Olive oil for frying

This is pretty much a traditional tomato sauce, apart from the way you deal with the aubergine. Start by cutting the top off the aubergine and slice it lengthways into quarters. Placing the white flesh against a grater, keep grating until you get to the skin and then stop. Repeat with the remaining quarters. You could also do this in a food processor, but you’d need to peel the aubergine first, and it’ so quick to do it’s hardly worth bothering. Discard the purple skin or feed it to some friendly local chickens.

Slowly braise the garlic in a little oil until soft, then add the aubergine and peppers and cook slowly (covered) until the vegetables are softened (about 10 minutes). Now add the tomato, the concentrate, the wine and the pimentón and season lightly. Bring to a bubble and then reduce the heat and cook very slowly (covered) for about an hour. Stir every so often and you may need to add a splash of water if it’s getting too thick. The aubergine melts into the sauce and gives it a slightly meaty texture.

I think you'll find I look great from any angle...
I think you’ll find I look great from any angle…

Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary (I didn’t need to add sugar as I used mature tomatoes from the veggie garden, but sometimes you need just a little pinch). Cook for a few minutes uncovered and enjoy with pasta, pizza, over meat or fish or as a bruschetta topping. If you don’t tell an aubergine hater what’s in there, they probably wouldn’t even know as the seeds look like tomato seeds when cooked and the taste is a wonderful mixture of slow cooked vegetables.

Luna starts her acclimatisation training for the colder English weather...
Luna starts her acclimatisation training for the colder English weather…

And because tomato sauce is not desperately exciting to look at, I’ve also given you a few gratuitous Alfi and Luna photos…


60 thoughts on “Aubergine and Vegetable Sauce – for people who don’t like aubergine

  1. I adore aubergine but I do understand why others don’t; I like its texture but I made a mistake recently of not scorching the skin so it ended up rather leathery, I didn’t mind and I was the only one eating it anyway, but another time I’ll do it differently. I love your recipe, I have an aubergine so I’ll try in the next couple of days.
    Good luck in England, I hope you have a wonderful time, I take it you’ll be in the south-east, hope you don’t get too much snow if you stay over winter!

    1. I love aubergines with the skin scorched, but don’t always do it – especially if making baked dishes. Yes, we’ll be on the south coast. It usually has a bit of a warmer micro climate, alllthough we did get a few (rare) days of snow last winter…brrrrr!

  2. very sweet doggie god shots. Aubergine in the sauce does thicken it beautifully, I dread the coming cold, hope it is not too cold in england this time, but at least your new little house is cosy!.. c

  3. Would you look at the pups – precious little fur balls. They do photograph well Tanya.
    I too am a aubergine lover so I love the idea of this sauce even more!
    Oh yay, we are going on another renovating trip – I love those. Can’t wait to see what you and big Man are going to do.
    Go safely on your journey.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. Yes, the pups have started to love that camera (well, Alfi always did!). Aubergines are so good and I will miss the ones I’ve been getting from our garden 😦 Yes, another renovating trip, another Victorian house…we’re looking forward to it and we learned so much last year that we’ll be able to do so much more ourselves!

  4. Gosh, you’ll need a lorry just for all the ham you’ll need to take with you, let alone chorizo, saffron, lemons, cheese, etc.
    I’m excited today – packing for my flight to Barcelona tomorrow, sadly I won’t be staying for 3 months 😉

    1. Aha – you’ve clearly seen the new car we bought in the summer to accommodate our supplies and long journey! Glad you mentioned the jamon, must remind Big Man we need one more to see us through! Hope it’s a wonderful trip, have a couple of glasses of cava for me (please!) and hopefully we’ll see you in the UK soon.

      1. You can, if the butcher cuts the foot off, it fits in a big one diagonally. I speak from experience! Or you could buy a boned one – not quite so good but you could take it to Marek and he could cut you slices on the slicer in the shop 🙂

    1. Yeah, okra… everyone tells me I haven’t had it the “right” way, but I’ve tried it every time I’ve been faced with it (and in Texas that is often!) and I just don’t see the point! 😉

  5. I think your tomato sauce is fascinating! 🙂 And the pups are adorable. Me, I love aubergine (eggplant) but I don’t have much luck cooking it usually. I have no idea way… maybe because I like it? Anyway I’ll try this sauce – mmmmmm!! Hungry now!!

    1. Aubergine can be a tricky one to cook, I agree, but this method of grating and not using the skin worked really well. Glad you liked the pups – we’re a bit biased (of course) but they’re such good fun 🙂

  6. Unctuous and sumptuous eggplant. Humble, silky but incredibly desirable. Everything I have come to expect from your recipes and one that is going to do a repeat performance on a regular occasion here on Serendipity Farm when my beds of eggplants start doing their thang later in our summer. I am going to plant twice as many as I adore the things and you are right, the skin and flesh texture combination is what makes me love them. Are you doing another house? (Probably a stupid question but hey, I have been known to be stupid for a living 😉 ). You are right about a change being as good as a holiday and spending time in the U.K. will clear out the soul, especially when you are working like Trojans. Have a blast and you are heading off on the day that we have to start Daylight Savings. I will be officially grumpy beyond belief that day! ;).

    1. Glad you’re a fan too – I adore them! Yes, another project. This time we’re only going to do one (and not 3 like our last, mad year)! Bizarrely it’s another old Victorian house in the same road as the very first one we did. Another one that belonged to an older couple and was passed to their children who were not interested 😦 Oh well, we are going to breathe some lovely life back into it and hopefully a wonderful little family can enjoy it again as it was originally built as a workers home…I adore these houses and this one escaped a lot of the bomb damage and has a beautiful coved ceiling in one of the rooms and an original fireplace in the main bedroom. Must look out some photos 🙂

      1. I love following what you and the big man are doing in these houses. It’s a really interesting view of renovating. I keep expecting to see Phil and Kirsty dropping by for a cuppa 😉

      2. They’d be lucky to get a cuppa for the first day or so as I need to sort out a spare kettle…a can of beer maybe if Big Man wants to share!

  7. Lovingly hope the permutations and combinations of your plans are fully to your likes. Would have thought the coming months would be the ones you would love to be on your mountain . . . day by day, hope you make each of those and the place in which you are happy and relaxing ones . . .

    1. Funny, as I have been having trouble posting comments to your blog – I always have to confirm twice. Hopefully this will sort things! PS. Luna loves being covered up but Alfi hates it, as you say…a Jack Russel “thing”!

  8. I love aubergines too, as does my OH but we generally avoid eating them out as it seems most people can’t cook them properly.
    Lovely doggie photos, and hopefully we’ll catch up soon x

    1. They can be tricky little critters to cook and have had some horrible ones – actually, I had a lovely aubergine dish at a restaurant in Hastings…think it was called Ada (Turkish). Hadn’t expected it, but we had a great meal there!

  9. Did someone let you know aubergine is my ‘difficult vegetable’:)

    I only ever eat it as ‘baingan bharta’, a popular spicy Indian prep! And now I’m tempted to give your recipe a try, it looks so good and has amazing flavors to complement the aubergine…thanks for reading my mind there:) LOL

      1. Its worth a try, the aubergine is roasted (on a open pit fire back in India and on an outdoor grill around our place! can also be roasted in an oven) and then cooked in Indian spices and aromatics! Delicious…

  10. Your sauce looks terrific…I love aubergine like you do. Have a safe trip to England, I will enjoy following along on your new renovation. It does my heart good when someone fixes up a home with history to it but has been neglected.

    1. Thank you Karen, it makes me sad too to see how some folk (usually old folk) have been living…heartbreaking. But hopefully we can bring life back to these beautiful little homes!

  11. This is the first time I am in your blog. I thought your dog is very cute. How old is he/she? On the other hand, this meal you prepare look very delicious. I am adding it in my bookmark for future reference. Thank you,

    1. Welcome to the blog, glad you liked it! Both dogs are 3 years old, the black and white one is Alfi and the white and tan one is Luna. Come back to visit again soon 🙂

  12. Lovely recipe. Thank you. Now to try and convince my partner to eat a tomato based sauce! Too bad if he dosn’t, I’ll eat it all myself 😀 Take care on your trip away and most of all, have fun xox

  13. Big Man is such a sweetie! And it’s almost firework season. Oh poor Miles. he hates them. I can never enjoy the fireworks because I’m home trying to settle Miles down.

    1. Have you tried Valerian for him…talk to your vet but we use it on the long trips we do, it just calms them a little without leaving them groggy. And yes, Big Man is a sweetie – he knows nasty carnations don’t work for me…much better a wheel of cheese covered in rosemary or the famous cauliflower!

  14. for those of us who love aubergines, this is a win win! the versatility of a sauce like this makes it something like a trifecta (i think?) Anyway, wishing you and your pups and your big woo-ing man a lovely time back in England, without all the “eventfulness” of your last trip!

  15. This sounds like a wonderful dish, Tanya. Like you, I love aubergines in just about any way that they can be prepared. Your pupsters never looked so good. Jet-setting suits them. It seems like you just got back to the Mountain and now you’re off again. Safe travels and don’t work so hard!

  16. Strangely I swing between loving and detesting aubergine…moon phases or something, I don’t know. It comes down to the texture. So this is totally swoonworthy in my book.

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