11 May 2013

Baked Jerk Aubergine with Creamy Rice & Peas

I love Notting Hill Carnival. I don't know why, considering it's bloomin' months away, but I've had carnival on my mind recently. There's a stall near my flat on Saturdays that sells jerk chicken and rice & peas and oh dear LORDY the smell is insane. I don't eat meat and can't cope with spice but man that stuff smells good. There's something so perfect about Caribbean food for me; a quick look on Wikipedia may explain why - listing some of the main ingredients as rice, beans, red pepper, chick peas, tomatoes, sweet potato and coconut. I mean, it's like the best shopping list ever. It's MY shopping list, let's be honest.

I've made my own jerk/rice & pea combos before and, whilst I can't claim they taste in any way authentic (because they don't), I can state they always taste freaking delicious. I have a little jar of jerk seasoning which I recommend you add to your spice rack immediately - way easier than making your own, and I'm a lazy so and so. That way, I can sprinkle and go. Perfection.

This recipe is serious comfort food. I like my rice & peas creamy but still with a bit of bite and my baked jerk aubergine crispy on the outside and going gooey on the inside. I recommend plonking yourself down with a plate of this and a good, long film.

Baked Jerk Aubergine with Creamy Rice & Peas

Makes 1 serving
1 small aubergine
1 215g can kidney beans (or half of a regular size can)
50g grated creamed coconut
60g rice
1 large salad onion or shallot
1 clove of garlic
1/2 vegetable stock cube
jerk seasoning
olive oil

1. Cut off the ends of the aubergine and slice it in half length ways. Score the cut side of the aubergine, I like to do diagonal criss-cross.

2. Mix olive oil and jerk seasoning (depending on how spicy you want it!) and pour over aubergine on an oven tray. Rub together and on the tray to get the halves evenly coated.

If you're ladylike/in any way professional, you could use a pastry brush here. I need to get me one of those!

3. Preheat the oven to around 180*c and pop in your aubergine for around 25/30 minutes or longer if you like it going a bit crispy like me.

4. About 15 minutes before your aubergine is due to be done, start cooking your rice with the stock until the rice is very nearly done.

5. Meanwhile, about 5 minutes before your rice is done, start to gently fry your garlic and add your sliced onion. When golden, add your kidney beans and about half of the liquid from the can.

6. When some of the liquid has gone and the beans are heated through, add your rice to the beans before stirring in your grated coconut.

7. Serve!

I've made similar in the past with jerk-roasted vegetable kebabs and that was also delicious! With smaller veg you can marinate them slightly in the seasoning & oil to get some serious flavour. In the meantime, enjoy this while listening to this (or watch O Brother, Where Art Thou? like I did)-

Apologies for the blurry images - the steam coming off the rice was immense and I couldn't wait any longer to tuck in!

08 May 2013

Bear with me....

...blog is getting a long-awaited revamp and and a snazzy new name x