Baked Aubergine With Chick Peas & Green Chilli

The clocks went back last night which means that today will be spent in a sleep deprived haze. Dexter was up at 4am.... yes I did just say, 4 f-ing am. I mean, who does that on a

Sunday?

Urgh! 

Yes, already it's pretty plain to see that today isn't going to be one of the best. It's raining out, we have little more than a Supermarket trip planned & India has a stinker of a cold. But, at least we will have something nice to eat, right? Yes, totally, because tonight we are having this awesome baked aubergine dish that I found in Bill Granger's

Easy

book. 

Now, to be honest my (albeit fuzzy) mind doesn't naturally want to put chickpeas and aubergines in the same dish. In fact, i probably wouldn't have ever cooked this dish if I'd thought about it a little more, but I am SO glad I did. Now, this will forever signify the start of the winter season for me. You know,

the sodding rain

 the crisp sunny mornings,

the frozen nights

 the fire roaring in the front room,

those stupid adult hats with animal faces on

 the cosy hats & gloves, and now.... 

this dish

.

I urge you to make this asap because lets face it, winter can be a little bit rubbish at times and this will cheer it up in a big way. Unless you don't like aubergines, and then I can't help you today because I'm just too dang tired...

So, for 4-6 you will need:

3 aubergines, cut lengthways into 1cm thick slices

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced / finely chopped

1 tablespoon of grated ginger

1 green chilli, finely diced

2 tsps of paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

400g tin chopped tomatoes

400g tin chickpeas, drained

2 tbsps pomegranate molasses (or 1 tbsp of brown sugar mixed with 1tbsp fresh lemon juice)

- this is what i did

1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tbsp chopped mint

2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Crumbled feta cheese to serve (optional)

And you will need to do this:

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C / gm4 

2. Sprinkle your aubergine slices with sea salt and set aside in a colander - leave for 20 mins then drain, rinse & pat dry with kitchen paper.

3. If you are not using pomegranate molasses, mix up your brown sugar with the lemon juice in a small bowl until the sugar has mostly dissolved - set aside.

4. When your aubergines are ready to cook, heat two large frying pans over a medium-high heat. Lightly brush each slice on both sides with olive oil, and add a single layer to each pan.

5. Fry for 4-6 minutes on each side until well browned. Set aside & continue with the next batch.

6. Lay half of the aubergine slices in a medium casserole dish, keeping the others aside.

7. Return one of your pans to to the heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil & add the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, paprika & cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft & translucent.

8. Add your chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and your molasses / lemon juice + sugar combi. Mix well & season.

9. Pour half of the tomato & chickpea mixture over the aubergine slices in the casserole dish. Cover with the remaining aubergine slices & then pour over the remaining mixture. 

10. Place on the middle shelf of your oven & bake for 15 minutes.

11. When the 15 minutes are up, remove from the oven & dress with your chopped mint, chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds & a sprinkling of sea salt. 

12. Serve! (with some feta if you're feeling fancy...)

Now, please tell me it's time for bed? No? Then where the hell is my onesie? Joke - I am an

ADULT

...