It's time for another round of "Other Blogger's Dishes" - the delectable things I cook from around the blogosphere. I can tell you, I have hardly looked at a food magazine since I started food blogging, because there are so many wonderful dishes knocking around.
Peter at Kalofagas is always a source of inspiration - I have heaps of his dishes bookmarked to make at some stage. I actually made two of his dishes on the same day - his melitzanosalata and the pork ladorigani.
I'd intended to cook my aubergine for the melitzanosalata on the barbecue, but the weather didn't play along at all. It was blowing a gale, 10 degrees colder than it had been and pouring with rain. But in the recipe Peter says "I’m let down when I taste that the eggplant was roasted in the oven", and I couldn't bear to disappoint him! So I lined my roasting tin with foil, put a good bed of beech smoking dust down, and put the aubergine on a rack over them. Covered the whole lot in foil and put it on the stove to start smoking, then into the oven to bake. It didn't give as smoky a flavour as doing them directly on charcoal, but it certainly gave a bit of the lovely smoked aubergine aroma that you look for in this sort of salad/dip.
The pork dish was much more straightforward - and absolutely delicious! I cut the skin that I'd removed from the pork belly into chunks and baked them in a hot oven and used the lovely resulting crackling as a garnish for the dish, but followed the rest as written (ish - I used tequila instead of white wine because it was open and sacrificable).
I served the melitzanosalata and pork ladorigani with some (bought) wholemeal pita bread, some courgettes sauteed in olive oil and garlic, finished with a squeeze of lemon juice and some hummus. A really wonderful meal - and definitely enough garlic to keep the vampires at bay. Thank the foody gods that Paul likes garlic just as much as I do!
Of course, when I make hummus I have half a jar of tahini left over. Normally, I just make more hummus. But on this occasion I was keen to try out a dish I saw on Laura's blog Hungry and Frozen - halvah shortbread. Now, I am a sucker for shortbread anyway, but the addition of ground almonds and tahini sounded just wonderful! Unfortunately, my food processor is too small for this quantity, so I just went in with my hands to combine all the ingredients. It is completely delicious! It has the rich sesame flavour of halvah and the wonderful buttery flakiness of shortbread. Because the halvah gives so much flavour, I think this would be a really good recipe to veganise - you really wouldn't miss out on anything by using vegetable shortening instead of butter. I think this would also make a wonderful dessert with some yoghurt and poached figs. Definitely try this one!