Black-eyed beans and smoky aubergines in dill with a walnut and gujalio crème fraiche

1 Mar


Black-eyed beans and smoky aubergines in dill with a walnut and gujalio crème fraiche

I took my 24month old to the children’s library the other day; he adores books just like his mumma. After reading the same book a couple of times he mouths the words whilst I read the book. This always makes me smile within, I came in the top 5% of the county for my English A-level, many years ago now and this boy of mine is a little piece of me. Enough showing off, there is a point to this post that leads to a recipe and to the showing off itself.

So we have been walking down the road that leads to the library these days, because he insists on it. On the way we came across a couple of women with their kids, maybe 3-6 year olds. They stormed down the narrow path on their scooters and as they scoffed packets of crisps I heard their mother’s chuckle that they hadn’t had any breakfast. ‘Oi, how many fish fingers you having’ roared one of the mothers.

We seem always to bump into elderly ladies and I do like it when they smile at my boy chattering away. ‘Look at that lorry mumma, it’s incredible and amazing and HUge.’ Elderly lady asked him if he likes Lorries. ‘Yes, I like lorries and busses and planes and motorbikes’. Elderly lady told me that she has three children, one has moved to Australia, one relocated to Ireland where her husband is from for a better lifestyle with her children and one lives relatively locally. She told us about her grandchildren whom she sees some of the holidays but not all. I am always told before parting from old ladies to make the most of my boy’s childhood because it goes so fast. I am no teenager and I know that I must hold onto these rehearsed words every day.

When we got to the library, my little bullet darted around looking at dinosaur, alien, vehicle and animal themed books and we chose one from almost all of these finely selected categories. The woman who brings her child with a potty (she sits her on it in the actual children’s area) wasn’t there and I was mollified from not having to keep my child from running into a peeing toddler or her wet tights. We made small talk with the librarian on our way out before she proceeded to tell me how I should borrow some library books for myself as reading is important for adult education too and that it broadens the mind. She said that even if I read a few pages each day it is valuable. I tried to intervene to tell her, but she didn’t let me. She continued. I smiled. She spoke loudly and with eyebrows rising and I watched the fine whiskers on her upper lip tremble and she puffed her wisdom to me.

Black-eyed beans and smoky aubergines in dill with a walnut and gujalio crème fraiche

On the way I out I realised that the reason that the librarian had affected me was not because she didn’t let me tell her that I have a graduate and post-grad qualification or a professional background or that that I am food writer and that I keep a clean home with well- fed people in it and that we read and sing and grow flowers. It was because she had perhaps touched on a nerve.

I came home and made a loud, heaving, present and deep dish. Dill, smoky aubergines tomatoes and beans.  Simple yet chockfull. My favourite bit is the dip; smoky gujalio chillies with walnuts in crème fraiche. I am alive and I am still me.

Ingredients to serve 4-6

Two cans of black eyed beans, drained

Two medium aubergines

3 cloves of garlic

25g fresh dill, finely chopped

3 fresh tomatoes

One large red onion, thinly sliced

2 tbsp. cooking oil

2 tsp. smoked paprika

Salt to taste

A good pinch of black pepper

50g walnuts

2 Guajillo chillies

200m plain natural yoghurt

300ml hot water


  1. Wash and coat the aubergines in oil and roast them in the oven at 180degrees until they shrivel. It should take roughly 30-40 minutes. Once the aubergines have cooled then remove the pulp from the aubergines and mash it lightly to separate it.
  2. Soak the guajillo chillies and walnuts in boiling water for 15 minutes before draining it and then blitzing it smooth.
  3. Skin the tomatoes by soaking them in hot water until the skins start to split before whipping the skins off before chopping them.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep pan and then add the red onion, salt and garlic to sauté until the onion has softened.
  5. Add the tomatoes, black-eyed beans and dill and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the aubergine pulp and cook for ten minutes.
  6. Mix the walnuts, guajillo and salt together and when you serve the beans with gorgeous breads, pasta or even rice then top with the guajillo, walnut and crème fraiche dip.

14 Responses to “Black-eyed beans and smoky aubergines in dill with a walnut and gujalio crème fraiche”

  1. Elaine @ foodbod March 1, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    The dish looks great, Deena 🙂 and don’t let someone who doesn’t know you at all upset you, she was making her own narrow minded, unnecessary assumptions, probably thinking she was being helpful!! You know who you are, that’s all that matters xx

  2. Elaine @ foodbod March 1, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    PS did you get my FB message?

  3. Katie @ Whole Nourishment March 1, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    These are frustrating encounters aren’t they. We all want to be understood but some people can’t quite reciprocate that!! But this dish on the other hand is very understood. I have dried black-eyed peas waiting for me and this looks like a great use for them. I like the chilli-walnut combination too!

    • Deena Kakaya March 2, 2014 at 8:35 am #

      Hi Katie, lovely to hear from you.

      I think it’s a frustration that was I was less accustomed to before having my son, now people tend to categorise me because my roles in life are different and perhaps because I wasn’t at work on the Tuesday in question, the librarian just assumed. Though I’m smiling because lots of positive stuff is on the horizon.

      I love this dip Katie, I wish I had thought of it earlier! Xx

  4. Deb March 2, 2014 at 12:31 am #

    I have never understood how complete strangers feel entitled to give advice. It’s best you were able to take it in stride! Cooking is always a great remedy to work out daily tensions. And the Black-eyed beans and smoky aubergines is a tasty way to end a busy day!

    • Deena Kakaya March 2, 2014 at 8:33 am #

      Hi Deb, always good to hear from you. You know I think it’s more me. Life has changed a lot after my big has arrived and I think it’s time to exercise the brain a bit more now x

  5. Poppy March 2, 2014 at 2:46 am #

    Love that deep, rich colour! X

  6. kellie@foodtoglow March 2, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Some people need to feel important, just like some people like to feel they know things others’ don’t – about other people, things, ideas (pet peeve of mine). She sounds like one of them. Well done to you that you held back from correcting her: she probably has a bit of a sad life and gets a buzz from knowing more than others. Anyway, she wasn’t going home to a delicious, inventive, wholesome meal such as this. All good flavours and fabulous nutrition. Lovely. And ugh about the peeing toddler!

    • Deena Kakaya March 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

      Hi Kellie, yes I think she was one of those, she needed to assert herself for whatever self-fulfilling reason.
      Though there is something in this that I wanted to share about myself as I know many other mothers of young children will feel what I did.

      I think a lot us really feel conundrum; somewhere between the elderly lady reminding me to make the most of my baby before he’s no longer a baby and me feeling like i have lost my former self in front of the librarian.

      So glad you like the recipe, definitely loud and wholesome xx

  7. mjskit March 7, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

    I love black-eyed peas but don’t see many recipes, especially unique ones like this. What great flavors. Love this recipe!

    • Deena Kakaya March 9, 2014 at 7:23 am #

      Hello! So glad that you like this recipe, it’s quite a deep dish. X

Let me know what you think about this recipe

%d bloggers like this: