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 hungovery 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 and 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 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 behind me might murder me… ” The man didn’t murder me, but he looked like he was about to when I wished him a Merry Christmas on my departure.
Feeling smug, I got to 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 / 15 mins prep / 30 mins cook / V Vn
1 tsp rapeseed/olive or sunflower oil
1 white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 aubergines, cut into large chunks
6 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
1 can tinned chickpeas, drained
500ml vegetable stock (I use knorr stock pots)
3 bay leaves
1 and a half tsp cinnamon
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried parsley
100ml red wine
Pinch of chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
25g packet of fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
Greek or coconut yogurt to serve (optional)
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to serve (optional)
Bread to serve (optional)
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, cinnamon, smoked paprika, cumin and a pinch of chilli flakes and give it all 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 on and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. After 15 minutes, take the lid off, give it another good stir and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
5. Take the stew off the heat and carefully pick out the bay leaves. Serve in bowls topped with freshly chopped 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