A Vegetarian Lunch for 410/14/2008 08:45:00 PM
A Vegetarian Lunch for 4
Baked Stuffed Eggplants
Chickpea, Coriander and Feta Salad
Rice and Lentils
White Mochaccino Cake
This was the menu for an ill-fated lunch party I had a couple of weeks back, where 2 of my guests did not rock up (including the vegetarian for whom the menu was designed!), and I sat in a huff for most of the afternoon. Ah well. The rest of us had a good time eating and catching up, although I must say the experience put me off entertaining, at least for a little while.
The stuffed eggplants (first photo), were an adaptation of a recipe in Tessa Kiros' Falling Cloudberries - her version is stuffed with minced beef, I substituted rice.
I'd never made stuffed eggplants before, so it was quite interesting for me to figure out how to do it. You start by disembowelling the eggplants (the recipe says to use a spoon, but I found a little utility knife much more effective), then boiling the shells for about 10 minutes until soft. In the meantime, you cook the eggplant flesh with some onions and rice, tomato passata and stock until the rice is cooked. Let it cool a little, add some parsley and feta. Then, you stuff the mixture into the eggplants, layer them in a lightly greased dish, pour over some tomato sauce, sprinkle with parmesan and bake! (I couldn't find animal-rennet free parmesan, but by the time I got around to baking, I realised our veggie guest wasn't going to show, so I sprinkled parmesan over the eggplants with gay abandon).
Side dish of choice was my absolute favourite chickpea salad - at the insistent request of 2 of my good friends (who did come!), who tried it at the Lunch for Leukaemia, and loved it! What can I say? They've got good taste.
I served the meal with rice and lentils - 1.5 cups of rice, half a cup of puy lentils, which I simply put in the rice cooker with 4 cups of water. Too easy.
Dessert - a must for my coffee-drinking government buddy was a grown-up version of the white mochaccino cupcakes I made for Fanny's Sugar High Friday: Cupcake event. Or more simply put, a blonde mocha layer cake from Nigella's Forever Summer. Going from previous experience, I halved the icing quantities so that I wouldn't have a huge amount leftover. The halved amount didn't make quite enough to cover the entire cake, but that's fine because it is verrry sweet.
I have to say I prefer this cake in delicate cupcake form, but I loved the way it looked sitting on the kitchen table, all majestic and swirly.
As far as the food was concerned, the lunch went quite well - the taste of each item was nice, and full of healthy legumey protein. However, in total the meal was a bit rice-heavy, and quite uniform in texture. My next challenge will be to get a bit more texture happening in my veggie meals.