This month, for the food bloggers’ challenge Random Recipes, Dom from Belleau Kitchen has tasked us to randomly select and cook a recipe from a friend’s cookery book collection. Since he’s away in America and is cooking from someone else’s cookbook collection he thinks we should too. My friend Gus has a fantastic selection of vegetarian cookery books so I thought he’d be the perfect person to ask; he’s also the only person I know, in real life, who I can talk food with who gets as excited about it as I do. I’m glad to know Gus. 🙂
Gus randomly selected Sally Butcher’s Veggiestan; a vegetable lover’s tour of the middle east. The recipe he opened the book at was The Swooning Imam, a deliciously exotic combination of aubergine, garlic, onions, tomatoes and olive oil flavoured with paprika. I want to own this cookery book! It’s packed full of so many interesting and unusual recipes with food combinations I’ve never even thought of (fried eggs with dates for breakfast?) Love it!
The OH and I both swooned over our Imam biyaldi (there may have been little mewling noises of pleasure) – the flavour intensity and texture combination was perfect, but then I’m a big fan of onions and garlic. I served it with freshly baked khobez, an Arabic flatbread. My only complaint was that the first instruction in the aubergine recipe was, “Leaving the hat on the aubergines, score through the skin and peel it away in stripes”, which I did, and while I was doing so I was thinking that my imam biyaldi was not going to look like the gorgeous black-capped swooning imam in the recipe photo, but hey-ho I’ll do what I’m told. No, my imam looks nothing like her imam because of this. I don’t think I interpreted the directions wrong, did I? It says to peel away the skin! Ach well, lesson learned. The next time I make it, which I will – this recipe was really quick and simple to prepare in addition to being fantastic in flavour – I shall leave the skin on so my aubergines too look like a “little cartoon imam lying on his back – black cape and hat and all.”