Met my new Higher class today. They are a lively bunch and seem very keen to do well. This is their fourth year together as a class so they have a very strong group identity. So much so, in fact, that this morning I had to fight the feeling that I was a guest in my own classroom. It always takes a wee while to get to know a group and work out the class dynamic. Wondering if this will be a lengthier process since the group already have a dynamic. We’ll see.
Starting the term with a travel writing project. Reading/examining writing by Paul Theroux, Bruce Chatwin, Bill Bryson and some extracts from a Lonely Planet travel writing anthology. The pupils will use what they learn to write their own travel piece.
Talking of travel, a friend of mine was in Sicily last year and fell in love with a spiced aubergine salad. She told me all about it and I began looking for recipes. There were plenty to be found! I’ve tried out several different versions of the dish and all have been lovely. In Roast Chicken and Other Stories (one of my favourite cookbooks, though I’m not at all keen on the sniffy sequel, Second Helpings) Simon Hopkinson tell us the salad was a favourite of Elizabeth David. What more do you need to know? Hopkinson’s version uses allspice instead of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. I prefer the latter combination as it provides more of a kick to liven up out-of-season tomatoes. When tomatoes are at their best/tastiest the allspice version might be better.
This is my entry for Joanna’s HotM vegetable round-up.
1 aubergine (eggplant), diced
4 big, juicy tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 tspn cumin
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbspn raisins
1 tbspn fresh mint, chopped
1 tbspn fresh coriander, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
- Put the diced aubergine into a colander and sprinkle a generous amount of salt over it. Leave for an hour. (Salting aubergines was originally to draw out any bitter juices. Apparently the majority of aubergines available these days don’t need this treatment. I tried salting and not salting. The former version was tastier and the salt seemed to help the aubergine brown when fried.)
- Fry the spices and garlic in a generous lug of olive oil for one minute. Add the sliced onion and fry until golden.
- Add the tomatoes to the spiced onion and cook gently for 20 mins. Add the raisins and remove from the heat.
- In a seperate pan, heat another generous lug of olive oil and fry the aubergine in batches until golden. This can take some time.
- Combine tomato mixture with aubergines and herbs. Taste for seasoning.
- Serve at room temperature drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
This is great as a bruschetta topping or simply eaten with a spoon.