For a while, I’ve had a few vegetarian recipes circling in my head that I wanted to try but I’ve never really had neither the opportunity nor the time. This is because I believe that vegetarian dishes require complex flavors otherwise it’s boring. So this means a lot of work.
And if it’s going to take a lot of work, I will have to make it worth the effort. So when she asked if I was inviting anyone over, I sent the Faerie Imp an invite. And to my delight, she and her Man was available.
Like any other guy with friends and loved ones coming to lunch, I worry a lot: will there be enough to eat? Will they like the dishes? Do they mind using their hands? Is the China pretty enough?
All types of pâté share the same pattern: there’s roasting or boiling, then there’s the chopping or blending, addition of cream, jarring and finally a short period of rest to let the individual flavors get to know each other and develop into something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Personally I’ve always felt that to make a vegetarian dish more interesting, the flavors would have to be complex without going over the top. I think this Eggplant Pâté does the trick.
When you read a food blog or an article on food or watch a food programme, it is inevitable you will encounter the phrase “he cooks with his heart” or “he cooks with love”. It appears so often that it is become a cliche.
So what does it mean to cook with love?
I was to cook Sunday lunch (more about that later) and I was worried that there won’t be enough to eat and most of the dishes I was making were rather mild, so I needed something with a little punch.
I’ve always liked roasted garlic and I like aged Anchovies, but while the two have very strong flavors, they are one-dimensional. So I did a little thought experiment and decided that the principle was sound and hence I combined the two.
Verdict: One of my guests said he would like to dive and swim in it.
This is easily the most contentious thing that I’ve ever made. Just the description alone made people pucker up and cringe. Until they taste it.
My first taste test with a Euro-centric group garnered high praises, so much so that one actually reserved the pickling liquid to reuse at home.