Met my new Higher class today. They are a lively bunch and seem very keen to do well. This is their fourth year together as a class so they have a very strong group identity. So much so, in fact, that this morning I had to fight the feeling that I was a guest in my own classroom. It always takes a wee while to get to know a group and work out the class dynamic. Wondering if this will be a lengthier process since the group already have a dynamic. We’ll see.
Starting the term with a travel writing project. Reading/examining writing by Paul Theroux, Bruce Chatwin, Bill Bryson and some extracts from a Lonely Planet travel writing anthology. The pupils will use what they learn to write their own travel piece.
Talking of travel, a friend of mine was in Sicily last year and fell in love with a spiced aubergine salad. She told me all about it and I began looking for recipes. There were plenty to be found! I’ve tried out several different versions of the dish and all have been lovely. In Roast Chicken and Other Stories (one of my favourite cookbooks, though I’m not at all keen on the sniffy sequel, Second Helpings) Simon Hopkinson tell us the salad was a favourite of Elizabeth David. What more do you need to know? Hopkinson’s version uses allspice instead of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. I prefer the latter combination as it provides more of a kick to liven up out-of-season tomatoes. When tomatoes are at their best/tastiest the allspice version might be better.
This is my entry for Joanna’s HotM vegetable round-up.
1 aubergine (eggplant), diced
4 big, juicy tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 tspn cumin
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbspn raisins
1 tbspn fresh mint, chopped
1 tbspn fresh coriander, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
- Put the diced aubergine into a colander and sprinkle a generous amount of salt over it. Leave for an hour. (Salting aubergines was originally to draw out any bitter juices. Apparently the majority of aubergines available these days don’t need this treatment. I tried salting and not salting. The former version was tastier and the salt seemed to help the aubergine brown when fried.)
- Fry the spices and garlic in a generous lug of olive oil for one minute. Add the sliced onion and fry until golden.
- Add the tomatoes to the spiced onion and cook gently for 20 mins. Add the raisins and remove from the heat.
- In a seperate pan, heat another generous lug of olive oil and fry the aubergine in batches until golden. This can take some time.
- Combine tomato mixture with aubergines and herbs. Taste for seasoning.
- Serve at room temperature drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
This is great as a bruschetta topping or simply eaten with a spoon.
I have been out of town for the past 5 days. I come home and get back on with the blog gang and whew, Wendy, you have so many posts! All of the food goodies look marvelous! I will be back to read about your book tag and especially your travel assignment for the class. Keep us posted on that assignment. Could be interesting!
Yeah, I’ve had blogging-fever this last week. 🙂 Good to see you back!
What a cool assignment! Give those guys the travel bug!
Sicilian cuisine is such a wonderful rendering of Italian, Arabic and Norman – giving it such flavor and originality! And who can say no to eggplant? 🙂
That sounds like a recipe I could use, but I am not sure about the raisins!
Hope the class project goes well!
Wendy, thanks for visiting my blog – was very excited to check out your blog and see a pic of a giraffe! and the magic faraway tree (and I see you have read the invisible woman which I loved). And I love your aubergine salad – sounds like a delish recipe – I too would prefer your choice of spices, and will use these when I get around to trying the recipe 🙂
Holler – Unless you are totally anti-raisin (which film called them “humiliated grapes?”) I’d try it out. The sweetness with the spice works beautifully.