Baba-ga-what-now?

One of the things I love about Sydney is the sheer amount and variety of restaurants there are. It’s astounding! In this town, you could eat out every night of the year and never get bored. In my small corner of the city alone there are several Thai, Indian, tapas, Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese, modern Australian, Japanese, vegetarian and Turkish places. There is also a French restaurant, a Polish place, a Brazilian barbeque joint, a Himalayan and a Chinese restaurant. And this is all just in my immediate neighbourhood!

If you start heading over to other suburbs the list just keeps getting longer and longer and loooonger. And, no doubt the pounds will begin to pile.

I guess this multicultural mish-mash is thanks to years of immigration. It’s strange that all these interesting and exotic people never thought to move to the sunny emerald isle and share their tasty treats with us, isn’t it?! In fairness we could have done with a bit of variation over the years, potatoes are yum, but even they can get a bit boring after a bit.

Or maybe it would have all be a bit too unusual for us? If they had thought to move to Ireland, perhaps all these new tastes would have just blown our little mind-holes. Like, I’m pretty sure if I mentioned baba ganoush to some folks I know back home, they would look at me with vacant faces and say baba-ga-what-now?

It’s aubergine (or eggplant) barbequed and all smushed up into pure deliciousness. Just in case you didn’t already know.

I saw this beautiful recipe in a recent issue of SBS Feast magazine and I am so excited to share it. Not only is it absolutely stunning and pure exotic, it’s also quick, easy and super delicious. Perfect for impressing people or for exploring a new cuisine; only if there are no spuds left in the fridge of course.

Haloumi with baba ganoush and pomegranate

You’ll find the original recipe here.

Ingredients

For the baba ganoush:
1kg (about 2 large) aubergines (or eggplants, look at me getting down with the local lingo!)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the haloumi:
400 g haloumi
1 tbsp olive oil

For the dressing and to serve:
2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 pomegranate, broken up into seeds
Toasted flatbread and lemon wedges, to serve

Traditionally, making baba ganoush means busting out the barbeque. The aubergine should be cooked over a flame until the skin is blackened to give the flesh a lovely smoky flavour. However, not owning a barbeque, I simply cut the aubergine in half, brushed with a little olive oil and put them under the grill for about 20 minutes, and it seemed to work quite well.

Once they have cooled, peel off the skin and chop up the flesh very roughly. Place the aubergine into a blender or food processor with all of the remaining ingredients d blitz until smooth. Season to your taste with a little salt and pepper.

Rinse haloumi, then drain and pat dry. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until hot, then cook haloumi for 2 minutes each side or until well browned.

In the mean-time, you should toast the pine nuts in a hot dry pan for 3-4 minutes or until brown, keep a close eye on them as they can easily burn.

Make the dressing by whisking together the extra virgin olive oil and pomegranate molasses until combined.

To prepare the dish, spread the baba ganoush over the base of a plate. Place the cooked haloumi on top. Scatter over the parsley, mint, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and drizzle over the dressing to finish. Serve with warm toasted flatbread and lemon wedges.

Don’t admire this dish for too long before tucking in, hard as it may be, it’s best eaten before the haloumi and flatbreads cool down.

Yumbolicious.

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12 thoughts on “Baba-ga-what-now?

  1. This looks fabulous! I bet haloumi goes wonderfully with babaghanoush.

    And I’m very jealous of your neighborhood with all of those restaurants! I have very fond memories of living in that kind of neighborhood in Philadelphia, with not only restaurants, but so many kinds of little international markets, too. Now that I’m living in a smaller city, the options are pathetic in comparison.

    • Thanks Allison! Yes we’re very lucky we’re so spoiled for choice, but you know, sometimes living in a smaller city means when you do find great places it makes them all the more special. Also, it’s nice to save some things as treats. When we were still living in Dublin, one of the best things about getting away to London or continental Europe was the obligatory visit to an African restaurant, I always looked forward to it. Now there is one in the next suburb and I’ve only been once!!

      • I know what you mean! It’s more exciting to take advantage of that stuff when it’s a rare treat than when it’s right next door. (Oh and Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurants are what I miss most about west Philadelphia! The nearest one to me now would probably be in Los Angeles…)

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