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Thursday, 4 February 2016

AUBERGINES WITH TOMATO SAUCE

Good Morning to you,


You'll never guess how we spent Saturday afternoon?

.... we didn't do anything interesting.

.... and it certainly was not fun.

Actually, it is something I have avoided doing since Christmas time.... isn't that dreadful.  A full month of avoidance.

I think I had better tell you.

We cleaned our Rangemaster ovens.... I bet you didn't expect me to say that, did you.

.... and I hate the job. 

Is hate too strong a word. No I don't think so. For some reason or another it is a job I really detest doing. I resist cleaning my ovens for as long as humanly possible.  I don't ignore my ovens, I do check them each week and I think to myself, I'll do that job next week, I just haven't the time at the moment.... which of course isn't true, I just convince myself that it is.

.... you know what I am doing don't you. I am deflecting. I convince myself that all the other things I have to do, are far more important, so the ovens can wait to be cleaned for another week.

I suppose, I shouldn't detest the job, because I make the mess, don't I.  On second thoughts, that's not strictly true is it. It's the 'whatever I am cooking' which makes the mess.... yes, I feel much happier with that explanation.

.... and I hear you thinking, why is Daphne writing ovens, instead of oven. Did you think I had made a spelling mistake and not deleted the 's'.

I confess, I am the owner of two ovens, which makes double the work.... two ovens to clean, when I hate cleaning just one oven.... how silly is that.  Two ovens means double the cleaning and double the avoidance.

Now, I have to tell you, I'm not averse to clean ovens, in fact I love to see my ovens sparkling like new.  I love to see the racks without a mark on them.  I love to see the oven doors clean.... so why the resistance.... shall I be honest, yes I had better come clean.

Yes it's time to admit it.  

My name is Daphne and I don't want to be the one who cleans the ovens.

There, I've said it.  That's a weight lifted.... I feel a lot happier now.

I blame my father..... only kidding.  

My father used to clean our family oven every Sunday after our Sunday lunch.  It was routine.  The table would be cleared, the dishes washed, dried and put away and then it was the turn of the cooker to be cleaned..... and so the following Sunday the process would be repeated.  It makes sense doesn't it, because the more you clean the oven, the easier it becomes.  

I mean I am not thoroughly bad, I clean the top of the cooker each evening after supper.  I wipe down the outside of the cooker as well.... its just the inside which I cannot work up enthusiasm for.

There is guidance out there.  I have read blogs which encourage us to create a timetable, to do our housework, which of course is a brilliant idea and something I could do.... but I have to tell you, timetables and me, they don't work anymore.... and they don't need to, as I am retired and there's the rub, I feel I have all the time in the world. If something isn't done one day, it can be done another day and that is how the days turn into weeks and dare I say it, sometimes months.

I spent my working years with timetables to make sure that jobs were completed when they needed to be. I also had timetables for our girls after school activities, Brownies, Guides, Gym classes and swimming classes. If I am honest, I feel I've earned the right to be timetable free. 

Luckily I am with someone who really does not mind cleaning the cooker.... George is amazing, he does the lion's share of the work, and I come behind making sure everything is dried and spick and span.... if there are marks which George has missed, it is my job to remove them.... that's how we work. We work very well together, even though we are as different as chalk and cheese, but  after 45 years of marriage, we seem to have fallen into roles which work for both of us.

I am pleased to report, the ovens are sparkling once more, so I have made a conscious decision to clean them more often, as it will make my life a lot easier.

.... I do hope I can keep that promise.... what do you think the chances are.....probably 50/50 or would 60/40 be a fairer percentage.  

If I'm being honest, it's 100% as I speak to you. Yes I really mean it, but I think once the moment has gone, it's going to be more like 80/20.... sorry, but I feel, it's better to be honest.

.... all I can say is, thank heavens I have George.

So in return for George's hard work, I made him one of his favourite suppers.



Baked Aubergines with Tomato Sauce and Feta Cheese.  I say George's favourite.... he has quite a few favourites, so it's hard to pin down his actual favourite.... but he really did enjoy this aubergine dish.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to today, is in honour of the most wonderful, Sir Terry Wogan, who passed away on Sunday.  Sir Terry was a radio and television presenter of the highest order.  I have listened to his programmes for years and he is the only person, who amidst the chaos of getting two little girls ready for school and a husband off to work, made me laugh. He had a wonderful sense of humour that will be missed by so many people. The BBC have been honouring Sir Terry for the past couple of days, with reminders of his broadcasts, which had me laughing out loud. We were also treated to Sir Terry's favourite music.

So today, in honour of Sir Terry, who had so much wit and wonderful Irish charm, I am playing a couple of songs which Sir Terry loved.


  
The first one is the beautiful song True Love from High Society sung by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly.

.... and while I organise my ingredients, I am listening to the wonderful Nancy Wilson singing (You Don't Know) How Glad I am

Sir Terry, thank you so much for all the fun and laughter. I will never forget you. You will be missed.

THE INGREDIENTS
YOU WILL NEED
TO MAKE
AUBERGINES WITH TOMATO SAUCE
AND
 FETA CHEESE

2 large aubergines
200g Feta cheese
2 tablespoons of olive oil

TOMATO SAUCE

2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 medium onion
400 ml of chicken stock
3 sprigs of fresh basil
1 tablespoon of olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

HOW TO MAKE
AUBERGINES WITH TOMATO SAUCE
AND
FETA CHEESE

You will need.

1 round dish size 25cm x 25cm x 5cm
1 large or 2 medium sized baking trays
parchment paper


TOMATO SAUCE


Finely chop the onion.


Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil
into a medium sized pan
and add the chopped onion.
Cook until the onions
are translucent.


Crush the garlic
and
add to the onions. 
Cook for a minute or so.


Chop the tomatoes
and
add to the pan.


Add the sugar
and 
stir the ingredients together.


Add the
chicken stock
and stir.
Bring the mixture to a boil,
then reduce the heat,
to medium.
Cook for 25-30 minutes
until the sauce has thickened,
stirring occasionally.
(Do not place a lid on the pan as 
the sauce needs to reduce)


Chop the basil
and
add to the tomato sauce.


Season
with sea salt
and


freshly ground
black pepper.

WHILE THE TOMATO SAUCE
IS COOKING.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan


Wash
and
slice the aubergines
into 1/2 inch slices.


Place the parchment
paper onto the baking trays
and
arrange the sliced aubergines 
on the parchment paper.


Brush the sliced aubergines
with the remaining
olive oil.

Sprinkle with a little salt
and 
bake the aubergines
until golden in colour.


When one side
is golden,
turn over and brown the other side.
This takes about 30 minutes.

While the tomato sauce
and
aubergines are cooking


slice the 
Feta cheese into
small cubes.

NOW IT IS TIME
TO ASSEMBLE
THE AUBERGINES,
TOMATO SAUCE
AND
FETA CHEESE


Place a little of
the tomato sauce in the 
base of the dish,
just enough to cover the base of the dish.


Place the browned
aubergines on top.


Using your fingers
crush the Feta cheese
and
sprinkle over the aubergines.

Continue layering,
tomato sauce, aubergines and Feta cheese.

A little tip.
When layering,
place the aubergines on
top of each other,
then when it comes to
serving
the aubergines are stacked together
which makes it much easier to serve.


Finishing with the 
remaining Feta Cheese.

Place in the pre-heated oven
and
bake for 45 minutes.


By which time you
will have
a very healthy supper.


All you need
is
my Soda Bread with Black Olives
to dip into the sauce.

Enjoy.

Forgive me if you feel this recipe is a little long winded, but trust me it isn't really. Once the tomato sauce is cooking, the aubergines are easily sliced and baked at the same time.  

Talking of aubergines, normally I just slice the aubergines and think nothing about the size.  I just slice away automatically, but of course I needed to let you know how thinly to slice them, so I found my quilters ruler and I measured for you....now that's a first for me in the kitchen, but it combines my two loves, cooking and quilting.

I have used Feta cheese, because it is a cheese we love, but you could use another cheese of your choice.

The only thing I would mention, is do not serve this dish piping hot.  As with a lot of Mediterranean dishes, this dish tastes so much better, when it is served warm, as opposed to hot.

Whichever cheese you choose, I just know you will add this recipe to your repertoire.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,






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