It took me an entire day, yesterday to prepare a meal. Durban and all who inhabit it were squashed flat by 100% humidity and a temperature somewhere close
to 400 degrees!!! As if
this was not enough Mother Nature then decided to sprinkle us with a few drops of water …. like a huge tray of bread rolls and shove us back into the oven …. Only we didn’t rise.
I just love summer and all things summery but by the end of March – we Durbanites have fought a brave and arduous battle against that mighty monster – HUMIDITATUS HORRIBILUS!!! My menu was neither long nor laborious … A Greek style starter of Haloumi rolled up in baked brinjals from Erica Platter’s East Coast tables, followed by a Rick Stein Fest celebrating the great food of Puglia – Peas with onions & Parma ham and Potatoes braised with Fennel Sausages…….
This simple meal – in my kitchen – which made Dante’s Inferno look like child’s play, took the whole day to prepare. I cooked something, then jumped into the swimming pool and then collapsed on the couch! This was repeated between each stove-front appearance. What’s a cook to do?
This recipe (on page 32) comes from a fantastic cook book called East Coast Tables by Erica Platter, Clinton Friedman and Gwyn Platter –
with ‘how to drink and pair wines in the heat of KZN’ wine notes from John Platter and is a great summer starter recipe celebrating the arrival in season of those black beauties – augbergines.
This cook book celebrates all specialities, flavours and family recipes from well know kitchens on KwaZulu-Natal’s Coast. I shall be gifting this really great homage to the food of KZN to all my international visitors from now on. Erica HAS captured the essence of the melting pot of food on offer here – she has pieced together an identity that we can be proud of and celebrate. A tapestry of Indian Spices, Mauritian Heat, African amakhowe and amadumbe to the bounty on offer on the infamous Umhlanga Rocks and the authentic pasta dishes of Spiga in Florida Road … all eaten with Chinese Chop Sticks. Contributions come from all corners of KZN’s and well known personalities such as Shaun Pollock’s favourite banana ice cream recipe; Penny Rey Coelen’s Tropical Dream – every bit as elegant as she is to Grant Macquet’s Gamefish Cevice … with loads more!
Devi Sankaree Govender, who lives in Johannesburg’s Northern burbs aptly states in her forward, “I do most of my own cooking, most of it East Coast fare…. In the beginning it made me feel like I was still at home. Now it makes me feel like this is home. See? It’s the food that migrates, not the people.”
The shops are full of beautiful brinjals/ augbergines now – so I chose this recipe to celebrate their
appearance on the Veggie stage and to celebrate our fabulous cricketers The Proteas!!!
(Oh and yes, South African cricketer JP Duminy is related …)
How awesome were our Proteas against India on Saturday … What a nail biter!!!
2 firm, medium –to-large long brinjals
150g soft goats’ milk cheese (the log-type works well
6 marinated sundried tomatoes
1 small bunch each fresh mint, flat leaf parsley, basil
1/3 cup olive oil
Coarse Salt or salt flakes
Using a sharp knife or mandolin, slice brinjals very thinly lengthwise.
Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt flakes, arrange in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet.
Place under a pre-heated grill. Do not leave unattended; turn carefully when they start to brown.
They require only a few minutes on each side.
Set aside on a platter.
Drizzle with more olive oil and white wine vinegar.
Season with black pepper.
Chop mint and parsley
Sprinkle 1tbsp each over brinjals.
When ready to assemble, place a marble-sized knob of cheese, a small piece of sundried tomato and a basil leaf on one end of the aubergine slice; roll up.
Place the finished rolls on a bed of salad leaves.
Dress with a little more olive oil, vinegar chopped mint and parsley.
Note: I varied mine slightly – I used Haloumi cheese which I sliced up and fried in my grill pan – I didn’t have any sundried tomatoes so I omitted them – and I squeezed loads of lemon juice and ground black pepper over them.
NB: the two missing pieces of Haloumi!
My prayers are with all those poor people of Japan – i am lost for words to express my sorrow !!!