Aubergine is a sublime ingredient and if treated with care will enhance any component it is paired with. It can be deadly because when accompanied with tomato as you need to balance the acidity of the tomato with the bitterness of the aubergine, which the Sicilians and Greeks have mastered perfectly.

I was fortunate to have visited Greece recently where new friendships were formed and re-forged. How you might wonder? Well with sensational rustic, hillside food of course. Greeks are infamous for their slow-roasted lamb, so what better way to enjoy it than in the heart of a rural village with fresh grazing lamb. There was an abundance of delicious food, surrounded by conversations of inspiration, laughter and the renewal of old friendship. The food was delectable, with fresh Greek salad, slow-roasted chicken and pork smoked over firewood. For me the spit-roasted lamb, left me in awe, there were just no words to describe the flavour, the smell and the texture it was an education for the senses. Every bite was slowly savoured and accompanied by roasted aubergine, which simply melted like butter. The stories told stories and the struggles of life was an inspiration and were commemorated by wholesome food.

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The setting was a moment of discovery, met with incredible, aspirational people with a love for life, greeted with smiles and a life well-fed. Leaving this place left me feeling delighted and wanting more.

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Ingredients:

1 aubergine, diced into bite-size pieces
1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
10 grams of capers
75 grams of green olives
2 tablespoons of herb vinegar
200 grams Vine Ripened Tomato Sauce (recipe here)
10 grams sugar
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning

Method:

Firstly, place the diced aubergine in a colander and toss with a teaspoon of salt and set aside so that the salt can remove the water from the aubergine.

Meanwhile, rinse the capers in cold water and place in a bowl.

In a large frying pan add a generous drizzle of olive oil and add in the diced onions and sauté over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally.

While the onions are in the pan, make a quick dressing by dissolving the sugar in the vinegar and set aside.

Next, roughly wipe off the salt from the aubergine with a kitchen paper. Place a medium-size frying pan with olive oil onto a medium heat and cook the aubergine until they are slightly tender.

Once the onions are translucent, mix in the olives and capers and soften for a minute and slowly stir in the vine-ripened tomato sauce and slowly cook for 10 minutes.

After the tomato sauce has been simmering for 10 minutes pour in the sweetened vinegar and let it evaporate.

After 5 minutes gently stir in the aubergines and cook for a further 2 minutes and serve.

If you want to feel warm this winter, enjoy this little taste of heaven with my seasonal SUCCULENT ROSEMARY LAMB WITH ORANGE AND ALMOND PESTO.

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