Monday, July 16, 2012

If I were a vegetable

I would either be a sweet potato. Or an eggplant.

Because you know what they say; you are what you eat.

This was the title of my year 8 home economics book which I found when sorting through some of my old school books.  I had set it aside with the intention of attempting the dishes at home on my own. If I remember correctly though, the only thing I attempted again were mini pizzas (a fancy term for English muffins sliced in half, topped with sauce, ham, cheese, etc and popped in the oven). Back in those days, I was terrified of the oven and stove, requiring my friends to do everything apart from the chopping and mixing of ingredients. Oh how things have changed… and for the better, of course. I would never have dreamt of baking or frying something on my own back then.

Now back to the cricket: sweet potato and eggplant.

As I have previously mentioned, Dad has managed to kill every single sweet potato plant he has placed in the ground, both in the garden and at home. Dad’s mate and co-director at the garden even had a bet that should Dad and I both plant identical pots with sweet potato, mine would flourish while his would fall into disgrace. Luckily though, he’s had more luck with the eggplant at the garden.

I absolutely adore both eggplant and sweet potato. My favourite way to consume sweet potato is to dry-bake it, similar to how it is often sold in Asia (it is even better when plastered with peanut butter!). I’m not sure how that obsession developed, but my Japanese grandmother is to be blamed for my love of eggplant. It all started in the June of 2004, when she served us up eggplant tempura. There is nothing I love more than succulent Japanese eggplant in a crisp batter, dipped in my grandma’s special sauce and eaten alongside hot, fresh rice.

Photo sourced from internet
The eggplant from the garden is so good that I can easily eat it raw. My favourite way to eat it cooked at the moment is pan-fried in some olive oil and eaten with fresh white rice and miso paste. Mum also used to make a Chinese eggplant dish when I was younger, frying it up with oil and garlic. I’ve been too afraid to try eggplant cooked another way because I love these two versions far too much. However, there is a recipe from My New Roots that I am absolutely desperate to try.

For the moment though, I am more than content to stuff piece after piece of pan-friend eggplant with miso into my mouth until we get a decent oven in which to roast the aubergines. I also need to wait for the summer to come again as we just pulled out the last of the eggplant crop at the garden. In the meantime, I’m waiting for the cauliflowers and leeks to mature… it’s soup season!!

- Matilda

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