Last week I was horrendously snowed under with work and things like our CAS fete and exams, so I never managed to cook something. But whenever that happens I make sure to make up for it the next week, so I have to cook 2 things this week.. a.k.a. today and tomorrow since I'm going away on Saturday.
This first dish is a creation I came up with the other day. I like trying to come up with a dish that has a good balance of food, simple ingredients, loads of nutrients and nothing processed. I had planned to make the base with baguette, but my mum and sister had made a bunch of cheese pretzels (with grated cheese in the batter, not the runny filling) for the fete and my dad had made some croutons with them the other day which tasted great, so I used those instead. I discovered my love for sauteed aubergine when I made the aubergine and feta muffins and I kept eating aubergine out of the pan...
This was super easy and I'm pretty please with how it came out. My intention was to sprinkle some lentils over the top, but I ended up buying a packet of sprouts, which were really not to my taste. My mum didn't mind them, but I had to take mine out, so I leave it up to you.
By the way, this is flexible recipe: swap the vegetables for mushrooms, zucchini, kale, broccoli, anything you like. But I like the taste of these ones and they sauté quickly and deliciously. You can also change the cheese to any other crumbly one like ricotta or feta and use baguette or country bread for the bottom. Even regular bread would work, come to think of it.
See? It's endless :)
Note: This is a really vague recipe, because the proportions and ingredients are entirely up to you.
I made about 3 servings. My mum had prepared some cottage cheese yesterday for an Indian dish and had some left over. She crumbled it and mixed it with fresh coriander, salt, cumin powder and some coriander powder. Although the spicing was different from the rest of my dish, it all tasted really nice together. But you can season the cheese with other herbs if you like.
Aubergine, washed and chopped
Fresh basil, washed and slivered
A tomato, washed and chopped
Herbes de Provence, or dried basil, rosemary, thyme & oregano
Freshly ground pepper
Spinach, washed, roughly chopped and ends removed
Red bell pepper, washed and sliced thin
Lentils (cooked) or sprouts
Cottage Cheese, crumbled (see note)
Tear your bread into medium-sized chunks and warm quite a bit of oil on a skillet (these taste great when they're a little oily and moist). Add the bread, season with a little salt and pepper and cook, stirring from time to time. You can make them soft and chewy or hard and crunchy.
Remove the bread and add some more olive oil, some Herbes de Provence and some rosemary leaves. Throw in the chopped aubergine and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, flipping them occasionally until the aubergine is coloured and tender.
Remove the aubergine and add more oil and herbs, along with the bell pepper and some salt and pepper. Let the bell pepper get soft, coloured and a little roasted. Add the spinach and tomato and make sure to season them too. Stir and let the tomato release its juices and the spinach wilt. You can add some rosemary if you want.
If necessary, the aubergine can be reheated in the microwave, the pan or the oven. If the croutons aren't hot anymore, heat them in the pan with some olive oil (trust me, the olive-oil-y-ness is the best part). In a bowl, layer some croutons, then some bell peppers and spinach, then the aubergine and topped with the lentils or sprouts, the cottage cheese, some fresh basil slivers and, if you want, a small dollop of yoghurt.