Why does everyone need to see me before Christmas? It’s not like I’m going to spontaneously combust in the New Year. It’s only a few days into December and already I’m in such a constant state of hangovery I could cry – and then I did…
“… it’s because you weren’t paying attention and now look what you’ve done!” The customer behind me pointed to the box of eggs that had fallen off the conveyor belt and smashed all over the floor.
“Why should I pay attention? It’s not a test!” I said as I attempted to scrape up raw egg with my bare hands into a 5p plastic bag. “… and besides, they’re not even YOUR eggs, they’re MINE, so why do you care?”
“I care because now someone has to come and clean up YOUR mess, simply because you weren’t paying attention,” he spat angrily down at me.
“SO??!!! It’s not like I’m running around Waitrose throwing eggs about the place you grumpy old sod.”
“Would you like me to get you another box of eggs madam?” asked the rather bored looking cashier.
“No, no, it’s fine,” I say angrily brushing my hair back from my face, forgetting my hand was coated in raw egg. “I’m worried if you do, this man might murder me… ” The man didn’t murder me, but he looked like he was about to – especially when I wished him a Merry Christmas on my departure.
Feeling smug, I got into my car and rang Jamie, ready to have a good old rant but, as soon as he answered the phone, something peculiar happened. I started squeaking and sobbing down the phone, about the mean egg man in Waitrose. Weird right?
Anyway, enough about eggs – I broke mine, so this aubergine and chickpea stew is eggless. With warm cinnamon and spicy undertones, this stew is definitely one to curl up on the sofa with on a cold winter’s eve.
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Aubergine & chickpea stew
Serves 4 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 1 hr / V Vn Gf Df ❄
1 tsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 aubergines, cut into large chunks
6 medium sized tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 can tinned chickpeas, drained
500ml vegetable stock, I use Knorr stock pots
3 bay leaves
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried parsley
100ml *vegan red wine
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Greek or dairy free yogurt (optional)
Crusty bread or 200g of couscous
Drizzle of Pomora extra virgin olive oil
1. Finely chop the onion and the garlic and add them to a large cooking pot with a teaspoon of oil. On a medium heat sweat the onions and garlic for around 5 minutes or until softened. (If the onions are getting a little too much colour, add some water to allow them to steam rather than burn).
2. Add 1 tsp of cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika and 1 and a half tsp of cinnamon then give it a good stir. Add a little water to the mix if again it’s looking a little dry and to allow the be spices to release their lovely aromas.
3. Cook the spices for a couple of minutes before adding the freshly chopped tomatoes, 500ml of vegetable stock, 100ml red wine, the aubergine chunks, drained chickpeas, 3 bay leaves and 1 tsp of dried parsley. Give it a good mix and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil.
4. Turn the heat down to a simmer, pop the lid a jar and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. After 15 minutes, take the lid off, give it another stir and continue to cook without the lid for a further 15 minutes (this allows the sauce to thicken).
5. Take the stew off the heat and carefully pick out the bay leaves. Serve in bowls topped with fresh mint, yogurt, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a big chunk of bread.
If you’ve had a go at making my aubergine stew or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
V– Vegetarian Vn– Vegan Gf– Gluten free Df– Dairy free ❄– Cool fully before freezing. Consume within 3 months.
*Most wines are unfortunately not vegetarian or vegan, due to products used in the ‘fining’ process. Wine makers are also under no obligation to disclose if they have used animal products on the label. Vegetarian and vegan wines are available in most supermarkets.