Every week, I write a food article for the healthy living site, We Heart Living. Recently, we were contacted by the Human Appeal International about a fundraiser they are running to help the people in Syria, who are currently facing their 5th year of Civil War. Most people are relying on food parcels and aid agencies to survive, with only tents and make-shift shelters to live in.
Right now, you are probably reading this post somewhere safe, on your tablet, iPhone or laptop, knowing that you can end your day without worrying about how you will survive tomorrow. So please take this moment as a time to pause, reflect, and give thanks for the life you are living. No matter your current situation, show gratitude for all of the blessings you currently have in your life. In today’s world it’s so important that we remain positive and help each other the best we can.
So, in order to help raise awareness for the Human Appeal’s fundraiser, I was asked to come up with a Syrian inspired recipe so that I could spread the message on my blog about the fundraiser and help raise awareness. I actually know very little about Syrian food, but was very excited to learn about the cuisine! Inspired by flavours of the Middle East, I developed a recipe for a stuffed aubergine (eggplant)!
I hope you like the recipe! For more information on the appeal, and how you can help, please visit: https://humanappeal.org.uk/appeals/syria-not-4gotten-appeal/
for the aubergine:
1 medium-large aubergine
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small-medium onion
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tomatoes 300g
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp vegetable stock powder – I used bouillon
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste
for the tahini drizzle:
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp cumin
PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 200C / 392 F
- Firstly, slice the aubergine in half. Then slice a round the edge of each, leaving a couple of mm space from the sides, to make an indent/border. Then deeply score the halves with a knife within that border.
- Next, place the aubergine halves into a heatproof dish, and cover each half with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Then, flip the halves and place them upside down in the dish and then move into the oven to cook for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime prepare the stuffing. Firstly, blend the tomatoes and set aside for later. When there is about 15 minutes left for the aubergines to cook, begin to make the sauce. Finely slice your onion and add it into a pan on a medium-high heat with the 1 tbsp olive oil. After about 2 minutes, add in the cumin seeds and garlic cloves, then fry for a further 2 minutes until golden. Next, add in the blended tomatoes, vegetable stock, ground cumin, cinnamon, mixed spice, chilli powder and some salt and pepper, stir all together and continue to cook until the aubergine halves are done.
- When the aubergines have cooked, remove them from the oven. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the middle. As it was scored, it should fall come apart in rough chunks. Transfer the aubergine chunks into the sauce, and place the skins back into the dish for later and set aside.
- Stir the aubergine chunks into the tomato mixture for a couple of minutes so that all is well mixed, then remove from the heat. Dividing the mixture between two, scoop the stuffing back into the aubergine skins. Set aside.
- Then, make the drizzle. Add the tahini, lemon, water, cumin and a pinch of salt into a bowl and stir together until smooth. Then, drizzle on top of the aubergines and into the dish.
- Lastly, place the aubergine halves back into the oven to heat through for a further 5 minutes. Then, remove from the heat and serve with whatever else you like.