You’re never too old to learn about new cultures, foods and destinations. So, what do we know about Azerbaijan? The capital is Baku, they have huge oil reserves that have made them lots of ‘new money’ and they don’t like Armenia much. Oh, and they won Eurovision last year. Cath drew Azerbaijan out of the hat and whilst she got to see her country ride to glory on ‘Running Scared’, she also got to host this year’s Eurovision Party (which made her really running scared).
What an interesting place AZ turned out to be. Bounded by the Caspian Sea, Russia, Georgia, Armenia & Iran, as well as a disputed Turkish border, it is a crossroads between Western Asia and Eastern Europe. This makes for a very interesting cuisine, with plenty of Middle Eastern and Balkan flavours as well as Muslim and Turkish influences. I knew the party would be massively over catered so I made my choice small and simple. This recipe also gave me a chance to try out another recipe I’ve been wanting to make for ages – ‘The World’s Laziest Mayonnaise’ from The Last Appetite. As you can see, I’ve used my best Azerbaijani crockery or as close a proximation as I could get from the Op Shop.
- 1 x large eggplant
- 4 x tbsp mayonnaise (from a jar or try making it from the recipe below!)
- 50g walnuts
- 2 x tbsp coriander finely chopped
- 1 x tbsp dill finely chopped (or 3/4 tbsp dried dill)
- oil for frying
- Pomegranate molasses (optional)
- Slice eggplant lengthwise into 1cm slices
- Soak slices in a bowl of water for 1/2 hr or longer if you have the time. This assists in preventing the eggplant from soaking up too much oil when you fry them.
- Heat a frying pan or griddle and coat generously with oil.
- Gently press water from eggplant slices and place into frying pan.
- Fry until lightly browned on one side and then turn over and brown on other side.
- Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to soak up excess oil. Allow to cool slightly.
- Whilst you are waiting for the eggplant slices to cool, prepare your walnuts (and mayonnaise if you are making it).
- Chop walnuts finely. You don’t want walnut meal but you are looking for a fine dice/crush. This can be done in a small food processor or by hand.
- Mix mayonnaise, crushed nuts, coriander and dill together
- When the eggplant can be handled, spread the mayonnaise mix thinly on a slice.
- Roll the eggplant into a small roulade, with the filling on the inside.
- Repeat for remaining eggplant slices.
- Place slices on plate, drizzle with pomegranate molasses and a scattering of herb mix.
- Serve at room temperature.
Lazy Mayonnaise (1 cup)
- 1 x egg (room temperature)
- 2 x tspn Dijon mustard
- 1 x tbsp lemon juice
- 1 x crushed garlic clove
- 200ml olive or canola oil
- pinch of salt
- Stick mixer or immersion blender (Bamix)
Watch this short video of TIFFIN making mayonnaise : 20 sec Mayonnaise
- Crack egg into a tall container or jug. No need to separate the egg.
- Add mustard, lemon juice, garlic, oil and salt.
- Place hand blender in very bottom of jug and blend until it thickens into mayonnaise.
- The mayonnaise is fresh so it’s best eaten in the first few days and keeps no longer than a week.
- How easy was that?
So it’s off to the land of meatballs, Volvos and ABBA as Sweden revisit their Eurovision glory days in 2013. See you then.