Brinjal (Aubergine/Eggplant) Walnut Pesto and Butternut Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes

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Spiralized Butternut Spaghetti……finally !!!!  Do you know how long I have wanted to do a Butternut Spaghetti meal? Well, let’s just say…a l-o-n-g time ! and, you are going to love this one….

Firstly, it is incredibly easy.  Secondly, it is extremely tasty, and…Thirdly, you just need to make this.

This pesto, is my everything right now. I mean,who would have thought that a brinjal (sorry I am using the name I use for it here in this country) pesto would be so incredible awesome?….. Me !  because I love nuts and anything with nuts IS awesome !!! By the way, if you don’t have walnuts, I am sure any nut will be equally as great…it is just that I had ….Ummmmm…a fair amount of walnuts, so walnuts have been going into EVERYTHING 🙂

So, here goes.

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Brinjal (Aubergine/Eggplant) Walnut Pesto and Butternut Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  25 – 30 minutes

Total time:  40 – 45 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the pesto:  

1 medium-sized (approximately 400 grams) brinjal (Aubergine/Eggplant)

6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 teaspoons white vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/2 – 1 cup of dry toasted walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup packed basil leaves, chopped

1 – 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (depending on size)

salt and pepper to taste

Makes  just over one  cup of Pesto 

approximately 800 – 900 grams uncooked spiralized butternut spaghetti (for the best results, please use the largest, thickest blade you have on your spiralizer).

approximately 350 grams tomatoes of your choice (I used exotic tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, cut in half).

Instructions:

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make the Pesto:  Cut the brinjal in half, lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the brinjal in the heated oven and roast for about 25/30 minutes or until done. Then remove from the oven.  Scoop out the insides and discard the skin. Allow to cool. Place the cooled flesh of the brinjal into a food processor and add all the other ingredients.  Process until the consistency you like and taste and add more salt or pepper if necessary. If you find that you would like a thinner consistency, by all means add another tablespoon or two of olive oil .

In the meantime, place the spiralized butternut onto a couple of baking sheets. You may want to just get a knife and cut the spiralized butternut pieces a little shorter (mine were massively long) so it’s more edible. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mine took about 8 minutes till it was firm but done. (Try not cook the butternut until it is too soft, as it will just mash up and break when tossing through the pesto.) When done, set aside and keep warm.

Whilst the butternut spaghetti is in the oven roasting, dry toast the walnuts, and roast your tomatoes.

To dry toast the walnuts:  This you do by just adding the dry walnuts to a small frying pan and frequently toss with a wooden spoon.  You do not add any oil to these, as nuts have their own natural oils. Continue to toast until slightly fragrant, and then remove from the stove and set aside.

To roast the tomatoes:  Place the tomatoes (cut side down if you cut them in half) on a baking sheet, drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in the pre-heated oven and allow to roast till the tomatoes pop oven and look a bit wrinkled.

Once everything is done, serve hot.  Add more cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves for garnish.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  For the pesto: If you do not have a food processor and will be using a blender, you may want to use a pestle and mortar and break the nuts up more.

Also, quantities do not have to be the same and can vary. (That is what I like about pesto’s, you can make it your own)

 

Garlic and Herb Bread

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Happy New Year everyone.  I hope 2016 will be a good one for you.

Well, the New Year has begun, and as much as I am not really into the ‘New Years’ resolutions, because they kind of just never work out, and I blame myself completely….I am more into trying to just improve my life… (please note the operative word…trying ! )

Anyway enough of that.  As much as I would love to kick off the New Year with a well deserved healthy recipe….its not going to happen, instead I am going to share with you the best Garlic and Herb Bread recipe ever !  It is loaded with carbs, fattening greasy butter, healthy herbs and healthy garlic…so you see it is not ALL bad, just a little…but you know,…… it is totally worth it.

This bread, I have been doing for years, and it beats all the store bought garlic breads by miles in my opinion.

A huge plus is that it is so easy to do.  All you need is the bread, herbs, and the garlic butter.  Word of advice…please please please use fresh garlic and not the bottled jobs.  There is a massive difference in taste.  The fresh, tastes fresh with no preservatives, flavourants and colourants in it.  The bottled jobs….are just a no no…I don’t want to even go there.

Okay, so once you have all the ingredients, mixed the garlic, herbs and butter together, it is a matter of slice, apply loads of delicious fattening garlic herby butter on BOTH sides of the sliced bread, and then on the top of the bread, wrap in tin foil (aluminium foil) and bomb in a preheated oven for 20 – 30 minutes…and DONE.  Next is just to devour it, and that really won’t be a problem.

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This is awesome as a side for a meal, or a braai (barbecue)

Garlic and Herb Bread

Preparation time:  15 minutes *

Cooking time:  20 – 30 minutes

Total time:  35 – 45 minutes

Serves ….not sure, depending on the size of the bread you get and how hungry everyone is 🙂

Ingredients:

500 g butter, room temperature

15 cloves of garlic, chopped very small

a handful of fresh herbs (I used basil,chives, thyme and parsley), chopped

a fancy loaf of bread

Instructions:

In a medium sized bowl, add the butter, chopped garlic and chopped herbs.

Mix thoroughly with either a fork or a tablespoon.

With a bread knife, slice the loaf into slices, but do not cut completely through. The bread should still be able to hold its own and end up ‘fan like’ with all the slices still joined to the bottom of the loaf of bread.

Then, generously add the garlic, herb butter to the slices of bread, buttering both sides of each slice.   And, add the garlic, herb butter over the top of the bread.  Do not skip this part !

Wrap in tin foil (aluminium foil) and place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celcius for 20 – 30 minutes.

If you are wanting a crisper top of the bread, nearing the end of the time, just open up the tin foil (aluminium foil).

Enjoy 🙂

  •  Preparation time can be reduced, if you prepare the garlic herb butter  before hand.

NB*  This butter is can be frozen.  If you have any left over, put it in a sealed container and place in the freezer.   It can be used for so many other dishes as well.

Grilled Brinjal (Aubergine or Eggplant) Sandwich

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Brinjal, Aubergine, Eggplant…they are all the same vegetable :-).

Here in South Africa we generally use the word Brinjal.  I believe that the word, Aubergine is used in Britain and in the States, the word Eggplant is used.  It has always intrigued me that the same vegetable can have numerous names depending on which country one lives in….why is that???

Well, no matter which word you use or prefer, this is the ultimate vegetarian grilled sandwich !!!

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The original recipe came from a Your Family magazine, which I cut out years ago and put into my recipe file.  Desperately wanting something vegetarian to braai (barbecue), and knowing that the combination of brinjal (aubergine or eggplant), tomato, mozzarella and basil just all compliment each other so well, this was a no brainer.  I had to try it.  I have changed the actual quantities slightly, and found this to be necessary due to the size of the various vegetables.

Ideally, these are perfect if you are ‘braai-ing’ (another South African word) or ‘barbecuing’ as a no meat alternative.  They are actually so delicious, even the typical meat and potato man would love them !

I am all for trying out different foods and with the warmer weather approaching us, I am keen to get some new ideas for when we braai (or barbecue).

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Just for interest, I have attempted these on the stove, and it works, but it’s just so messy with oil splattering all over the show, and then you need to squash them down, as they are quite chunky, in order to make them in a sandwich form…..hmmmm not really worth it….Braai-ing (or barbecuing) is the way to go and all you need is one of those grill goodies (braai grid), and then it works like a dream :-).

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These healthy little babies are a winner, there is no doubt, and I love the added touch of baby marrow (zucchini).  So, this super easy recipe is definitely going to stay.

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Grilled Brinjal (Aubergine/Eggplant) Sandwich

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  25 – 30 minutes

Total time:  35 – 40 minutes

Makes 6 sandwiches

Ingredients:

1 x large brinjal (aubergine or eggplant)

2 x medium-sized tomatoes

1 x block of mozzarella cheese, approximately 400 grams

a handful of fresh basil leaves

4 – 5 baby marrows (depending on size)

Freshly ground salt and pepper

Olive oil for basting

Instructions:

Ideally arrange a ‘braai grid’ for the braai or barbecue.

Prepare the braai (barbecue).

Slice the top and bottom off from the brinjal (aubergine or eggplant).

Then, at 1 centimeter intervals, slice the brinjal (aubergine or eggplant) into discs.

Lay these discs on a board.

Then, slice the tomatoes at approximately 1 centimeter intervals as well.

Place a slice of tomato onto half of the brinjals (aubergine or eggplant). The other half will be used later to top and finish off the sandwich, so don’t stress.

Top the tomato with a healthy slice/s of mozzarella cheese.  I also cut the cheese into approximately 1 centimeter slices.

Wash the basil leaves under water, and add the fresh leaves onto the mozzarella slices.

Then, with a potato peeler, slice up the baby marrows (zucchini) and place on top of the basil leaves.

Now, grind a generous helping of salt and pepper on the baby marrows (zucchini).

Place the other half of the brinjal (aubergine or eggplant) on top of the towering sandwich.

Baste the top of the brinjal (aubergine or eggplant) with a little olive oil.

Gently put the towering sandwiches in the ‘braai grid’, close and secure.  You will notice that the sandwiches get squashed quite a bit. Pop any veggies that popped out, right back into the sandwich 🙂

Put the ‘braai grid’ over the medium coals of the braai (barbecue).

A good sign that they are ready is the cheese will start to melt.

Allow to cook for about 30 minutes.

Take off the braai (barbecue).

Enjoy 🙂