The best dinner party centre piece

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Recipe from KinoVino3: Flavours of the Pomegranate 

Here is one of my ‘signature’ party treats, which has been tested (quite successfully) on my friends at numerous house-parties. It was equally successful at KinoVino3 when I made a more authentic Georgian versions of this. Not only does it taste great but the best part about this dish really is the preparation – it’s a fine work of a jeweller. Patience, precision and a steady hand are prerequisites. So here’s what you do.

To make the amount shown on the picture you will need

4 aubergines

8-10 baby peppers

1/2 pack of feta cheese (forget about it if you are opting for the authentic Georgian thing)

1/2 pack of walnuts

1 bouquet of fresh coriander

1 tea spoon of ajika

olive oil

sea salt

Method:

Pre-heat the grill.

Cut one of the four aubergines in the middle, sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt, and put under the grill.

Sprinkle the baby peppers with olive oil and some salt and place under the grill, to keep aubergines company.

Using a very sharp knife slice the rest of the aubergines length-wise into very thin, almost see-through strips. Make sure they are thin enough to be rolled but also strong enough to hold the stuffing.

Place them on the non-stick frying pan (no oil) and cook until they turn golden brown.

Once the veggies under the grill are ready (don’t be afraid to burn them a bit), take them away from the grill.

Place the peppers in an air-tight jar and forget about them for a bit.

Using a spoon separate the flesh of the aubergine from its burnt skin and place in a bowl.

To that bowl add the rest of the ingredients and blend using a hand blender. Add olive oil to ensure smooth but solid consistency of the paste.

Once the paste is ready spread it over the aubergine strips and roll them carefully so they don’t burst.

Now is time to remember about your peppers. Take them out of the jar and peel off the skin (a very tricky procedure). Using a spoon or a (homemade) pastry bag fill the peppers with the paste. If you have even more time on your hands you can make a grilled pepper paste to fill your peppers (just substitute grilled aubergine flesh with that of the peppers).

Lay out in a dish and sprinkle with some pomegranate seeds and dried mint.

Your guests will be blown away by this party treat and might ask to move in with you!

My love affair with adjika

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A version of this recipe was used at KinoVino3: Flavours of the Pomegranate

One of the (very few) perks of growing up in the Soviet Union for me was the exposure to the vibrant cuisine of different Soviet republics. My preference always went to food from Georgia. The abundance of herbs, nuts and spices always attracted me and the key ingredient that stole my heart was adjika – a red spicy powder or paste with subtle smokey, nutty taste. It has some ancestral connections to Indian curry and bares some resemblance to the North African harissa. Adjika can be added to pretty much any (savoury) dish and here is my absolute favourite recipe:

Red kidney bean stew with feta, walnuts and coriander; my own variation on a traditional Georgian bean stew called ‘lobio’.

Ingredients:

1 tin of red kidney beans

1 onion

2-3 cloves of garlic (the amount is really up to you)

2-3 ripe tomatoes

1-2 tbs of tomato paste

1 tsp of adjika paste(again adjust the amount according to your taste)

handful of walnuts

1/3 pack of feta cheese

fresh coriander leaves

1/2 unwaxed lemon

Method:

Dice the onion and finely chops the garlic.

Fry in olive oil over medium heat in a deep pan or a pot until almost cooked.

Add tomato paste, adjika and chopped tomatoes; wait for the bubbles to appear.

Reduce heat. Add red kidney beans and allow them to soak up the flavours (aprox. 15-20 mins)

Chop walnuts and coriander leaves. Crumble the feta cheese.

Remove from heat and stir in the ingredients above.

Allow for feta to melt and let the stew sit for a few minutes. Plate the fiery mixture and squeeze a bit or a lot of lemon juice before serving. Add a few coriander leaves for decoration.

Seat tightly and prepare to be blown away by the unique flavours and textures of this dish. A chunky bit of sourdough to mop up the sauce would not be a bad idea, though a bread-free option is just as delicious!

Note: this recipe does not require salt, as feta and adjika paste will do the trick. It also works equally well without the feat (like in these pictures, if you are opting for a vegan meal)

 

KinoVino Press

My very young project has had some lovely articles written about it. I am very thrilled and grateful, and can’t wait to see what’s more to come. You can read about the August events by following these links.

A wonderful post about KinoVino3: The Flavour of Pomegranate in an arts blog by Ben Mirza

An article about KinoVinoViy: a special Ukrainian edition with my dearest Olia Hercules in Angliya newspaper (in Russian, I am afraid)