I’ve been doing more cooking-in-hotel-room demonstrations.
Tonight is the last of a run of shows at The Bloomsbury, once again curated and hosted by my good friend Robin Ince, and this year called ‘Christmas Science Ghosts’. Like previous years it’s a hugely eclectic variety bill of comedy, music and (mostly this year) scientists doing short routines, songs and mini-lectures. And it’s brilliant – positive, informative, and completely without cynicism. I cooked there last year (pancakes) and it was that experience which pushed me to create the ‘Anarchist Cook’ show that I’ve been enjoying performing all over the place throughout 2014. At this years show I’ve been doing a Christmas breakfast of scrambled eggs (cooked sous vide in a freezer bag in a travel kettle), toast (simply cooked on a well-buttered inverted iron), gravad lax (salmon cured in a mix of salts and sugars pilfered from the breakfast room, and pressed in the Corby trouser press for twenty-four hours) and herbs stolen from a scented garden for the blind.
Anyway. Here’s a recipe I made some time ago. It’s really easy and rather healthy. And totally vegan.
Creamy Aubergine and Courgette Curry
1 large aubergine
4 cloves garlic
1 large ‘thumb’ of ginger
1 dessertspoon mild curry powder (Bolsts is best, the one Matt talks about here)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 green chilli
1 big pinch crushed chilli flakes
1 teaspoon marmite
5-6 large spoonfuls of soya yoghurt*
*Provamel make a really good yoghurt replacement that’s excellent for cooking with. It’s called ‘Soya Natural’ and it’s unsweetened (where lots of ‘plain’ soya yoghurt has sugar in it). It’s creamy and pleasant but more importantly it seems to be less likely to split than regular yoghurt and I’ve used it in curries as well as in stroganoffs.
Put the oven on at 190 degrees C.
Slice the aubergine into half inch slices and score the surface with a criss-cross pattern. sprinkle with the curry powder and drizzle with a little oil. Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. While that’s cooking…
Slice and fry the onion in oil over a medium heat and when it’s softened add the garlic and ginger and the whole green chilli (it just stays in there, adding some flavour but also looking great in it’s complete glory). While that’s all cooking toast the seeds (fennel, cumin and coriander) in a small pan before grinding in a pestle and mortar and adding to the pan. After another minute or two add the courgettes, sliced however you fancy them, stir around, add a tiny splash of water and put the lid on for three or four minutes.
By now the aubergine should have been done enough so remove it from the oven, complete the scoring cuts to roughly cube it and add it to the pan along with about a coffee mug’s worth of hot water with the marmite dissolved in it. Bring the heat up until the liquid in the pan is bubbling and let it boil rapidly until the liquid is reduced by half. Then turn the heat off and let it cool for five minutes before stirring in the yoghurt (you can of course use normal yoghurt instead of the vegan one), one spoonful at a time and beating it in to avoid splitting.
Warm it through gently again to serve and sprinkle with fresh coriander.
It’s also extremely good with fish in it, or very easy with prawns. Pre-cooked prawns can be added straight from the freezer during the final stages. Add them after the rapid-boiling of the aubergine and marmite stock. Stir and put the lid on for 10 minutes before adding the yoghurt as before.