Stuffed and pickled baby aubergines

17 Feb

Stuffed and pickled baby aubergines

There is no race

Do you count when you run? I do. Perhaps it’s because I don’t want to run, or maybe there is a secret sense of achievement in ascending numbers. 34, 35, 36, 37…my mind bounds as fast my body, to the beat of my feet…38, 39, 40.  I feel all of my thoughts in pictures.   I see myself in PE at secondary school; one of my teachers had a rule that if we wanted to participate in with his scheduled activity we could, if not we run on the course that whole lesson. The default option was always to run. I saw myself at college, pre-hockey game. My dad would make me two eggs, two slices of toast and a large milkshake and I would run thinking of my breakfast and my aims, I needed those three ‘A’ grades for my a-levels, though I wasn’t sure why. 41, 42, 43, 44.

Stuffed and pickled baby aubergines


I feel the drizzle on my face and my throat is dry, my mind is running down the hill at junior school when the other girls didn’t want to play with me that day. The hill was littered with daisies and when you don’t know what to do, when standing still and all alone is confusing and unsettling, you stay busy and run.  45, 46, 47, 48…The new part of the school was being painted red and I could smell it amongst the daisy chains. 48, 49, 50…I wore trainers for the journey to work. I ran up the steps and down the spiral staircases and along the platforms, weaving myself between people traffic, frowning, as you do and thinking about the first meeting. If I got a seat I would whip out my phone and prepare to bash out that presentation.

51, 52, 53, 54…she said I should consider something that made me feel weak, he said that I need to do more. I said I have no time and that I am tired. You know when I am this busy, in this race, I nibble and not eat so much. I’m tired.

55, 56, 57, 58… I’m in the park with my best friend and we are young and laughing. It is what we did. There was nothing else, no competition, no pressure, no agenda. We walked a lot, we laughed a lot and we made up silly songs. We got wet, we ate a lot and we accepted. 59…I am in my quiet and secret spot on that bench amongst flowers. It is serene and cold and nobody knows I am there. There is no race.

If you have no time and you pick a lot, like me, make it one that will last. These sumptuous and silky bites give way to zing and heat and crisp little red peppers. These baby aubergines are stuffed with red pepper, parsley and garlic and this is a fine combination at any time of day. The idea of picking for me is to satisfy any mild hunger but more so, any urge for taste that will linger for a while. If I could keep a jar of these in my car with me I would, for an intermittent sigh of relief.



300g baby aubergines, stems removed

1 medium sized red pepper, finely diced

15-20g parsley, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic

1-2 green chillies

½ tsp. cumin seeds

Salt to taste

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. lemon juice

400ml white wine vinegar

4tbsp. sugar

200ml water



  1. Clean and sterilise the jars you will put the aubergines into and then dry them thoroughly.
  2. Boil the baby aubergines for 10-12 minutes before draining them and leaving them to cool and dry.
  3. When the baby aubergines are cool and dry, make a slit into them, lengthways.
  4. Combine the red pepper, parsley, garlic, salt and chilli and then drizzle in the lemon juice and oil. Stuff 1 tsp. or more if possible into the aubergines before letting them rest for ten minutes of so.
  5. In the meantime, bring the white wine vinegar, teaspoon of salt and sugar to a simmer before gently placing the aubergines into the brine. Simmer for three minutes before removing them with a slotted spoon.
  6. Pour over the brine, so that the aubergines are completely submerged.

The aubergines will taste best the day after and should keep for a week in the fridge.


22 Responses to “Stuffed and pickled baby aubergines”

  1. Deb February 17, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    A robust post! From the heart felt story to the spicy recipe, I want to make spicy pickled aubergines!

    • Deena Kakaya February 17, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

      Thank you lovely Deb, I always appreciate your generous words xx

  2. Caroline Taylor February 17, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    These are so pretty, a lovely thing to do with aubergines.

    • Deena Kakaya February 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

      Hi Caroline, it’s lovely to hear from you. Thank you, they really are a joy to have in the kitchen be even more between some flat bread and hummus xxx

  3. kellie@foodtoglow February 18, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Lovely story, recipe and images. I just wish I could ‘run’ straight to the store and buy all of the ingredients. But I am away, and it is 5 am. Dreaming of aubergines eaten in cars…

    • Deena Kakaya February 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

      Thank you Kellie, your tips on photography have been so helpful, I’m very grateful!

      Are you away for a fun reason? Hope you are very well xxx

  4. Anita Menon February 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    One beautiful post after the other. You should try writing fiction or your own memoir. Love the idea of spicy pickled baby aubergines, Do you speak Gujarati?

    • Deena Kakaya February 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

      Thank you Anita, I really appreciate your encouragement.

      They really hit the spot, I’ve been eating them on the go, especially in the evening when the boy goes to sleep.

      Yes, I do speak Gujarati x

      • Anita Menon February 18, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

        Nice. So do I!

        • Deena Kakaya February 18, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

          Yes I read on your site that you have a very interesting background x

  5. Joanne February 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    I sometimes find myself counting when I run also! It’s calming somehow. I’ve yet to meet a pickle I didn’t like, but I must admit I’ve never seen stuffed eggplant before! Yum!

    • Deena Kakaya February 20, 2014 at 11:44 pm #

      Oh you do it too? I had never stuffed and pickled an aubergine before but its awesome! xx

  6. greenmackenzie February 19, 2014 at 10:04 pm #

    Another post with a great heartfelt back story……beautifully written and so engaging… I’m dreaming of pickled aubergines 🙂

    • Deena Kakaya February 21, 2014 at 8:56 am #

      Thank you so much, this one is great after a brisk walk with some lovely flatbread x

  7. Namrata February 21, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    Pickled aubergines .. wow a first for me. Your picture looks enticing.

    • Deena Kakaya February 21, 2014 at 8:30 am #

      Hi Namrata, great to hear from you. When I concocted this one I got flutters in my tummy when it actually worked. I may make more fir gifts xx

  8. Jac -Tinned Tomatoes (@tinnedtoms) February 22, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    Lovely recipe and story 🙂

    • Deena Kakaya February 22, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

      Thanks Jac, that’s very kind of you x

  9. Karen Burns Booth February 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    LOVELY story! I used to count when I used to run too…..and, what a fabulous recipe, I love your use of spices in this Deena! Karen

    • Deena Kakaya February 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

      Thank you so much Karen, I’m so touched when people read and enjoy the story that goes with the recipe. Glad you like the recipe too xx

  10. mjskit February 24, 2014 at 12:34 am #

    I love pickling food, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Beautiful and tasty I’m sure! I ran for years and always loved running by myself. I never counted, but I loved feeling the morning air against my face and in my lungs. Morning has always been my favorite time to run! Great post!

    • Deena Kakaya February 24, 2014 at 8:06 am #

      Thank you so much, I was rather excited to have come up with this one, it works so well!

      I admire your zest for morning running, what a way to start the day x

Let me know what you think about this recipe

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