After reading Ghetti's post about Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me by Denis Cotter, I decided that I had to have this book. It sounded really interesting, as it is an entirely vegetarian cookbook, and as I only have limited experience in cooking with vegetables, I could use some pointers on how to cook them in a creative and flavoursome manner. (I sometimes "nuke" frozen vegetables to have with dinner - a sin for a foodie!)
The first dish which I tried out of Wild Garlic ... is a spinach, chickpea and eggplant curry. As ever, I made some minor modifications to the original recipe depending on taste and what ingredients I had available.
I have to say that I was at first repulsed by the finished result because it was well - so green! I don't know what I expected given that the recipe calls for a kilo of spinach, but its greenness still took me aback. However, one mouthful and I was able to overcome the visual repulsion that I felt for this dish. It actually tastes very good, and I have been taking it to work for lunch this week. An unfortunate side effect of eating this curry is that little specs of green sometimes rest on your teeth, giving you a not-so-perfect smile, so I recommend brushing your teeth or sluicing your mouth with a drink after eating it so you can ensure that you retain a Macleans smile.
My version of this dish is as follows:
1kg silverbeet (I couldn't buy spinach)
1 diced brown onion
400g tin chickpeas
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 chopped green chilli
1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds (you are supposed to use coriander seeds)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
200g diced eggplant
400g tin diced tomatoes
Boil the silverbeet for 2 minutes, then run it under cold water to cool. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then puree the silverbeet.
Cook the onion, chickpeas, garlic, fennel seeds and cumin for roughly 5 minutes in a frypan containing 2 tablespoons of heated cooking oil. Add two more tablespoons of cooking oil and the diced eggplant, and cook for about 10 minutes. Finally, pour in the tomatoes and season to taste, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the silverbeet puree and combine well. Simple!
Don't be put off by my photographs - if you like spinach (or silverbeet!), this dish tastes good. I was surprised by how much I like this curry, especially given I was a child who hated vegetables (hence my initial psychological barriers related to the greenness of this curry).