And A Life In Between

Aubergine á la Avignon

Aubergine á la Avignon

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Food is such a big part of our lives.  Just about everything has a food angle to it!

“It’s our anniversary, where are we going to go for supper?”  “Saturday looks like it is going to be a great day for the beach – shall we pack a nice picnic basket?”  “The in-laws are coming over for Sunday lunch – what new dessert recipe can we try?”  “Let’s watch some videos of our trip to France; then we make some Frenchy foods.”

Benjamin Franklin said “Eat to live, don’t live to eat.”  Well, thank goodness then that I need to eat to live, because I really like living, which means I can really like eating!

We have never returned from our travels with bad food memories (apart from one really bad pizza we had in Rome; think the restaurant was too close to a drain because the smells were awful!).  There are always things that we’ve tasted on our journeys that we try and replicate at home.  A recent favourite is from our trip to Provence a few months ago.

Avignon was our base.  On the must-do list was a picnic on the Ile de Barthalese with its iconic view over Pont Saint-Bénézet and the Palais des Papes.  We decided to stop over at Les Halles to pick up some substance for our al fresco lunch.  Walking around, the “Aubergines á l’ Italionne” caught my eye.  (I love aubergine – a love that only developed a few years ago.  I blame it on all the badly cooked aubergines I’ve had in my life up until that point!)  It looked so good and smelt divine and when one of the local residents standing in line in front of us chose this for her lunch, the deal was done.  What more do you need than the local stamp of approval?!

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Who would not want to have a picnic if you can have such a view?!

Back at home, in the absence of a recipe, hubby and I only had our taste buds and memory to go on when we tried to recreate the dish.  Here is to encouraging a few more aubergine converts with our version.

Aubergine á la Avignon

(serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 large aubergine

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped finely

1 teaspoon garlic, chopped finely

400g beef mince

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 ½ teaspoons tomato puree

2 cups water

1 ½  teaspoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of dried Provençal herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary and basil)

Salt & Pepper to taste

125g mozzarella cheese, grated

Method:

  1. Cut the aubergine lengthways in 1cm thick slices. Keep the skin on.  You need four slices.
  2. Remove the skin of the remainder of the aubergine. Chop into small cubes.
  3. Heat two tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Fry two slices of aubergine until soft, turning regularly to ensure a nice brown colour on both sides.
  4. Transfer the aubergines to a baking tray.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the remaining two slices of aubergine. (Aubergines love butter so it is better to do them two at a time to ensure each gets enough to keep them soft and get that nice and golden colour.)
  6. Heat a table spoon of olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped aubergine, onions and garlic.
  7. Fry until golden brown and soft.
  8. Remove the aubergine, onion and garlic from the pan and set aside.
  9. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and add the mince. Fry until brown.  This really adds to the flavour.
  10. Once the mince is brown, add the chopped aubergine, onions and garlic back in.
  11. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, two cups of water, sugar, herbs and salt and pepper.
  12. At this stage, pre-heat the oven (on the grill setting) to 180°C
  13. Let the mince mixture boil until the sauce is reduced completely.
  14. Once done, place some mince on top of each aubergine.
  15. Top it off with grated mozzarella.
  16. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
  17. Serve with a salad.

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Voilà! Aubergine á la Avignon

Aubergine á la Avignon

February 5, 2016
: 4

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 large aubergine
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped finely
  • 400g beef mince
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons tomato puree
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of dried Provençal herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary and basil)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 125g mozzarella cheese, grated
Directions
  • Step 1 Cut the aubergine lengthways in 1cm thick slices. Keep the skin on. You need four slices.
  • Step 2 Remove the skin of the remainder of the aubergine. Chop into small cubes.
  • Step 3 Heat two tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Fry two slices of aubergine until soft, turning regularly to ensure a nice brown colour on both sides.
  • Step 4 Transfer the aubergines to a baking tray.
  • Step 5 Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the remaining two slices of aubergine. (Aubergines love butter so it is better to do them two at a time to ensure each gets enough to keep them soft and get that nice and golden colour.)
  • Step 6 Heat a table spoon of olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped aubergine, onions and garlic.
  • Step 7 Fry until golden brown and soft.
  • Step 8 Remove the aubergine, onion and garlic from the pan and set aside.
  • Step 9 Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and add the mince. Fry until brown. This really adds to the flavour.
  • Step 10 Once the mince is brown, add the chopped aubergine, onions and garlic back in.
  • Step 11 Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, two cups of water, sugar, herbs and salt and pepper.
  • Step 12 At this stage, pre-heat the oven (on the grill setting) to 180°C
  • Step 13 Let the mince mixture boil until the sauce is reduced completely.
  • Step 14 Once done, place some mince on top of each aubergine.
  • Step 15 Top it off with grated mozzarella.
  • Step 16 Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
  • Step 17 Serve with a salad.
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