It’s not often that I cheat in the kitchen – although who can blame us when we’re time strapped? I will happily grind and roast my spices, releasing each intrinsic aroma and letting them infiltrate the spirit; readymade tandoori or curry powder, while convenient just isn’t quite the same. I soak and boil pulses to ensure that the depth of fresh flavour and texture is captured and I get that thick, smooth gravy; the canned alternative may win time-points but can be juice-deprived. What are kidney beans without their rich, succulent velvet juices? I make my own, malleable and moist paneer; I find the ready-made kind can be stiff and chewy, sacrificing freshness for minutes. I create yogurt at home, so that I know it will be smooth and mild, cooling and creamy, just like it’s supposed to be. I craft the sausages for my weekend breakfast with my own fair hands and I love indulging in home-made idli or dhokla only after soaking and grinding the lentils and the rice.
But I do use short-cuts- that’s not cheating! I deploy optimal weekday solutions to address the conundrum that many of us face; that is that I need a delicious, attention-grabbing, taste-bud rousing and nutritious dinner within 30 minutes of laptop releasing, coat slinging, shoes tossing and key chucking and phone grabbing for ‘hi mum’ at 6.30pm. 30 minutes before dinner time. It’s that time frame within which my husband decides to raid the snack cupboard for low GI snacks and hummus. Hmmm…
I love this recipe because it looks like an effort has been made, but it’s oh-so-easy. It’s so delightful, I have hankerings for it. Personally, I am a girl who likes unravelling foods. You know I like stuffing vegetables and filling them and…well, you get the gist. Mouthfuls of surprises…give it a go.
I serve these rolls on a salad. Today my salad was made of asparagus, plump tomatoes and walnuts. They also work well for a bbq or picnic.
Aubergine and Halloumi Rolls
2 large aubergines, cut lengthways into long slices about 2-3cm thick
Halloumi cheese cut into 3 cm chunks
Spices: 1 tsp. cumin seeds, ½ tsp. fenugreek seeds, 1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
7 tbsp. of red pesto (that’s the cheat)
2 tsp. smoked paprika
- Grind the spices together to form a powder, and toast them on a hot, non-stick pan (but low flame) for a couple of minutes to release the aroma, but do not brown the spices.
- Combine the spices with the minced garlic and red pesto and paprika to form a tangy paste
- Set the slices of aubergine out in a plate and microwave them for 3 minutes. Dry off the water and then put them in the oven at 200degF until they become pliable. This should take approximately 10 minutes.
- Remove the aubergine slices from the oven and once they have cooled enough to become manageable, spread about 1tsp. of the paste onto the aubergine slice, put into a chunk of halloumi cheese and wrap into a parcel.
- Put the rolls back into oven (at 200degF again) until they brown. This should take about 10 minutes further.