Yes it’s actually a thing I googled it! Really just meaning mini pizzas with eggplant as the base which can be eaten as a appetiser, snack or with antipasto.
With my influx of basil pesto in the house and the family eggplant delivery I received from my sister-in-law the other day I was eager to use them both. I was making a traditional eggplant parmigiana for dinner and had some eggplant left over so I decided to bake some extra thick cut slices with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of oregano in the oven for 15-20mins until was just cooked through without being mushy.
Topped with some extra tomato passata I’d made, spooned some of the Homemade Basil Pesto from the other day and topped with some shredded cheese. Popped back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese was melted and we had a delicious pre dinner appetiser. It is a great idea for entertaining, something a little different and suitable for vegetarians. I just called them mini eggplant pizzas but soon discovered there was an actual name for them. You learn something new everyday don’t you. hehe
It does feel like it takes a while to kick off after being planted. The anticipation gets overwelming you water, then wait, check the progress everyday you watch the tedious amounts the plant is producing and ask yourself is it all worth the bother. Then all of a sudden it’s out of control with more herbs than you can possibly use in a salad or cooking. Sound familiar?
Winter tends to be perfect for growing a herb patch as it’s not too hot and it grows quite quickly, so we need to think of creative ideas to use up the excess. Basil for example takes off like wild-fire and before you know it it turns to seed so it’s best to pick it before this happens. Some people freeze them and use in soups etc. though I tend to like herbs fresh and basil I find is one of them as it keeps the quality of flavour better, in saying that some herbs are brilliant to dry like rosemary, bay leaves and oregano and keeps well in the pantry for a good while so you have it on hand year round.
I picked a bucket load of basil the other day so the first thing I make is Basil Pesto what else. It uses a decent amount of leaves and keeps so well in a jar in the fridge. It’s brilliant in pasta, soups, meats, on bread as a topping or dip. It’s very versatile and flavour packed giving a boring dish plenty of flavour. I like making all different versions of pesto but basic basil always wins.
This recipe makes a good size jar you can half or double the recipe depending on how much basil you have to use. I suggest to use two smaller jars if you have a lot and use one at a time. Another tip would be to pour a little amount of olive oil on the top once in the jar to make a thin layer and do this each time after using it. This will help preserve the pesto and keep fresh.
Have a go at making it you will be addicted in no time, there is just no comparison to the bought stuff that lack and lose the freshness and flavour and are full of preservatives too.
Homemade Basil Pesto
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
6 cups basil leaves
200ml olive oil
3 tbsp grated Parmesan
Salt and Pepper
Place pine nuts and garlic in a food processor or vitamix and blend till smooth.
Add Basil leaves and gradually add olive oil a little at a time whilst motor is still running. Blend until smooth.
Add grated Parmesan and season with salt and pepper
Hello Winter… It is the first day of Winter in Australia and it has definitely shown up ready for the party. It was a crisp chilly morning on the GC. The kids all slept in late (which never happens) making us rush for the school drop off creating plenty of hysteria in the house. Welcome Winter I can not wait! (slight sarcasm)
After visiting my sister in the vibrant city of Melbourne I can’t complain much they have been putting up with cooler weather for months now. I came back gaining a better understanding on how weather affects places differently and how it affects your city socially. We all know that in our warm climate here in Queensland we don’t really have respect for the cold and can’t cope with a day under 20’C. It is apparent that we all go into hibernation mode as soon as winter peaks it head out.
This being said I can’t say the same for Melburnians. May it be that they are acclimatized being used to their radical weather patterns, the city’s bustling cafe culture, the sporting and arts mecca that draws people out or just a ‘get on with it’ attitude the people of this unpredictable inner city obtain. They still tend to eat out, lunch and brunch as much as the summer even in the coldest of days.
Maybe it is the fact we are so spoilt with warm weather majority of the year that we take advantage of the cool weather to recluse indoors and have a break from the dining and party scene or our bodies are just not equipped to tolerate the chilly weather, heaven forbid we wear a coat or jacket when we’re out and about.
A major factor would be that the city of Melbourne is known for it and have made it work for them. Heating and double brick cafes are a must and making it a comfortable environment. Alfresco dining was once an only option on the Gold Coast, restaurants and cafes soon realising we don’t always have the warm sunny days like in the past decades and have been slowly changing it’s scene over the years offering more alternative styles of dining. While roof top bars, hip beachside cafes are perfect in the heat of Summer, indoor social spaces and quaint small bars and eateries are popping up all over the coast which makes winter socializing a much more enjoyable experience.
Our Winters are only short-lived and we may not have the array of contemporary dining and entertainment like those Melburnians but for most that live here would agree our lifestyle is the sunshine and we have to be pretty grateful for that.
Home cooked meals and home entertaining are more what we crave at the moment and why not enjoy the comfort of our home, it is a great excuse to brush up on your cooking skills and share it with loved ones.
I came back feeling like soups, soups and more soups. It is my go to in cooler weather apologies if you see an abundance of soup recipes lately and to come I just can’t help myself. Here is one soup recipe that is bound to warm your belly up and satisfy those homecooking feelings, also with the combination creamy cauliflower and the pepperiness of watercress that go so nicely together. It is not too heavy making it a great starter or a light meal on its own with some warm crusty bread. If you don’t have watercress at home you can leave it out or use some fresh parsley but it really does taste better with watercress. It can be easily found in the fresh herb section at the supermarket.
Heat a large pot on high heat, melt butter and add leek. Cook for 2-3 mins until softened
Add the cauliflower and potato to the pot followed by stock and milk
Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 mins cauliflower should be soft.
Take off the heat, Add the watercress leaves and blitz with a hand-held blender till smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with extra watercress leaves and cracker pepper and warm crunchy sourdough bread.