My love for Nigel Slater’s cooking used to be intense. It started years ago with his column in the Evening Standard, one of my standard easy ‘company’ meals is sausages with red wine and it started with a recipe for that column. There was a time when the first place I turned to for food inspiration was a Nigel Slater cookbook, I have quite a few.
Nigel and I are not nearly as close as we used to be. One of those reasons is lifestyle, I don’t have a lot of money for food and can’t do the kind of food purchasing that Nigel recommends and I have little patience with the aspirational ‘use only free-range balsamic vinegar’ school of cookery that Nigel seems to go in for nowadays. That’s ok, cooking does and should reflect how you live and the changes in your life. You see it in all cooks, from Nigella Lawson to Jamie Oliver, age, family, location and money have a huge impact on how people write about the food they cook. Nigel’s life has changed and his cooking reflects it but as my life has gone in a different direction, his recipes have become less relevant to me. So I was surprised to see this recipe for stuffed aubergines because it’s such a Nic recipe, with two of my favourite staples, chickpeas and aubergines. I knew I was going to try it and I knew there were going to be some changes. First off, the recipe is for 2, rather than scale down everything, I just used one aubergine and used the leftover chickpea mix elsewhere (stuffed in a pepper, in a salad and by itself with a poached egg have been the approaches so far), I nixed the red chilli because I’m not keen on heat and I didn’t have one handy, lastly I used roughly 6 tablespoons of mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, golden linseeds and sesame) rather than pumpkin and seasame specified in the recipe because I had a bag of those and necessity is the mother of all invention..Welcome to my cooking rota little stuffed aubergine and thank you for (at least for this recipe) reuniting me with one of my favourite cooks!