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

29 Sep

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 Responses to “Aubergine and Vegetable Sauce – for people who don’t like aubergine”

  1. Lois September 29, 2013 at 10:48 #

    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!

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 12:39 #

      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. cecilia September 29, 2013 at 13:03 #

    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

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 12:40 #

      Yes, this time we have a nice place all our own to go back to after a hard days work! Those pups are getting a bit super model-ish now in their desire for a good photo 😉

  3. thecompletebook September 29, 2013 at 13:03 #

    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

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 12:42 #

      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. Mad Dog September 29, 2013 at 14:55 #

    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 😉

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 12:51 #

      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.

      • Mad Dog September 30, 2013 at 14:48 #

        Ha ha – I wish I could get a ham in my suitcase 😉
        See you in England soon.

      • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 15:25 #

        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 🙂

  5. cookinginsens September 29, 2013 at 15:58 #

    Cute dogs! I see we feel the same way about aubergine. Great sauce for both the lovers and the haters 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 12:52 #

      It’s good when you can find a way to cook something which pleases the folk in both camps!

  6. Food,Photography & France September 29, 2013 at 16:43 #

    Such an excellent sauce. I like aubergines pretty much any way. The one I don’t like is okra. Have a good trip to England and don’t work too hard:)

    • Rachel September 29, 2013 at 17:27 #

      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! 😉

      • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 12:56 #

        😦 I like it, but I do understand why others don’t!

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 12:52 #

      I do enjoy okra, but I know some people find it a bit slimy. I heard that the trick was not to cut it into thin slices and it does seem to help!

  7. Rachel September 29, 2013 at 17:26 #

    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!!

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 12:56 #

      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 🙂

  8. TheDorsetFinca September 29, 2013 at 18:15 #

    Aha! This is the perfect recipe for me (the aubergine novice)! The pics of your beautiful dogs are so sweet! x

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 14:10 #

      Thanks – glad you liked the pics and hope you enjoy the sauce if you make it!

  9. Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy September 29, 2013 at 18:42 #

    Terrific ideas! I may just give it a try today, as I have all the ingredients fresh from the garden! Even the paste, miracle of all miracles…safe travels!

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 14:10 #

      It’s great when you see a recipe and have everything to hand 🙂

  10. narf77 September 29, 2013 at 19:39 #

    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! ;).

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 14:15 #

      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 🙂

      • narf77 September 30, 2013 at 19:33 #

        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 😉

      • Chica Andaluza October 1, 2013 at 08:25 #

        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!

  11. con jamón spain September 29, 2013 at 21:17 #

    The second that photograph was viewed, the juices flowed. Adore aubergine in all its forms. Will try this recipe for sure.

  12. Eha September 30, 2013 at 05:35 #

    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 . . .

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 14:35 #

      Ah, thank you for your kind words! We are looking forward to the next few months – hard work, good food and working towards a goal seem to be good therapy for us 🙂

  13. Tandy | Lavender and Lime September 30, 2013 at 06:01 #

    The sauce looks fantastic! And what is it with Jack Russell’s and being under the covers? Too cute 🙂 ps I see my new spam filter blocked you. I’ve put you on the white list xx

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 09:55 #

      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”!

  14. Promenade Claire September 30, 2013 at 11:19 #

    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

    • Chica Andaluza September 30, 2013 at 15:48 #

      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!

  15. Peri's Spice Ladle September 30, 2013 at 19:23 #

    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

    • Chica Andaluza October 1, 2013 at 08:24 #

      I’m going to have to look up the dish you mention as I’m intrigued!

      • Peri's Spice Ladle October 2, 2013 at 20:43 #

        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…

      • Chica Andaluza October 3, 2013 at 13:33 #

        Sounds amazing – it would have to be the outdoor grill here too (until Big Man builds me the wood burning oven I keep asking for!)

  16. Karen September 30, 2013 at 20:01 #

    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.

    • Chica Andaluza October 1, 2013 at 08:26 #

      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!

  17. candidshot2000 September 30, 2013 at 21:48 #

    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,

    • Chica Andaluza October 1, 2013 at 08:16 #

      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 🙂

  18. cathyandchucky October 1, 2013 at 02:31 #

    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

    • Chica Andaluza October 1, 2013 at 08:26 #

      Oh no – that must be tough, life without tomatoes 😦

      • cathyandchucky October 2, 2013 at 00:44 #

        I know, but he doesn’t realize how many he actually eats blended and incorporated into various dishes 😀

      • Chica Andaluza October 2, 2013 at 15:37 #

        Aha – we’re all of us good at finding ways of “cheating” a little….well, it’s for their own good 😉

      • cathyandchucky October 2, 2013 at 17:02 #

        Here, here! I agree 😀

  19. TBM October 1, 2013 at 12:15 #

    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.

    • Chica Andaluza October 1, 2013 at 22:43 #

      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!

  20. kathryningrid October 1, 2013 at 18:58 #

    What an outstanding idea! Sounds delicious. And your Alfi and Luna are adorable models!!

  21. spree October 1, 2013 at 22:48 #

    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!

    • Chica Andaluza October 1, 2013 at 23:09 #

      Glad you liked it – we did! And thanks you for the good wishes – we are hoping for an event free trip too 🙂

  22. ChgoJohn October 2, 2013 at 07:00 #

    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!

    • Chica Andaluza October 2, 2013 at 15:43 #

      The pupsters will soon be demanding Gucci sunglasses and champagne en route as they have, as you say, become very used to their jet set life style!

  23. PendleStitches October 10, 2013 at 19:55 #

    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.

    • Chica Andaluza October 10, 2013 at 20:42 #

      This could work well when you’re loving or hating!

      • PendleStitches October 10, 2013 at 21:08 #

        I know! It’s a fabulous win-win! 😉

  24. salima aqiqah December 15, 2015 at 03:32 #

    oh my gosh …..
    I do not believe this is a picture of eggplant
    I thought it was pieces of meat
    unusually great for you mrs

  25. Rak Sepatu Gantung August 8, 2016 at 12:21 #

    very tasty food with very pretty dog, it’s cool combination

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