Every winter I forget how to take photos when it’s dark outside, but decided I liked the mysterious moody what’s-her-story vibe that I ended up getting from these ones.
Tomorrow is my last day of work. The day after that is my birthday. Let’s face it, I am both commanding and exuding some serious special snowflake-ness right now.
With that in mind – the sentence could actually end there, like, just always keep in mind that I am a special snowflake, but actually I did have more to say than that – I have installed a donate button, just on the offchance that anyone feels like supporting me fiscally. Then, after Easter, I’m going to start featuring sponsors. Sponsors being the elegant blogger word for advertising.
This may make my blog seem less authentic or more cluttered to you or something, but honestly, everything is advertising. Why, I’m advertising myself right now just by getting you to read these words. Furthermore, money is useful and nice, and I’m sure you can relate to that.
Don’t for one second feel like you’re obliged to click the donate button, it’s mostly there in case some opportunistic rich person looking to burn through some cash just to feel something real happens to wander past and like what they see. It simply doesn’t hurt to have it there. I adore this blog and while I’d love it to be my primary source of income…somehow…I’ve been more than happy thus far to throw myself at it with every resource I have. But considering I’ve been writing it since 2007, and again, I’m going to be unemployed from 5pm tomorrow, I am entirely chill with my new gimme-the-loot attitude. Plus I’m only going to be collaborating with lovely, cool sponsors, in case you’re worried that you’ll start seeing ads for margarine.
And so, to the food. I made up this recipe in my head as I wandered around the vege market on Sunday. Considering I’d been kept up till 3am on both Friday and Saturday night by fun and good times, I feel I definitely deserve a bouquet of flowers for just being able to put on pants and make decisions like this. But honestly, it’s barely a recipe, it’s just vegetable A on vegetable B on vegetable C, and what motivated it was the freezing weather and the thought of having the oven on for a long time to warm up both the house and the soul.
I tend to blast eggplant with as high a heat as possible, but figured that slow-cooking might break it down in an equally appealing way. And, forever keeping texture in mind, I decided that it needed some kind of contrast, which is where the fried cauliflower comes in. It was all very easy, it worked, and it tasted wonderful. By the way, you can arrange the eggplant and butternut however you feel. My alternating slices felt more pleasing than typical lasagne-style layers, but it all gets covered in cauliflower and falls apart when you spoon it onto your plate. If you still need to arrange them really specifically even with this in mind, I can most definitely respect that.
slow roasted eggplant and butternut with fried cauliflower
recipe by myself.
1 large butternut
2 medium eggplants, or one large one, or literally whatever
1/3 cup cream
1/2 cup vegetable stock
half a cauliflower
Set your oven to 160 C. Slice the eggplant and butternut into rounds. This will be harder with the butternut, just do what you can. I had lots of half-moon scraps that I just tucked underneath everything else. Layer them up how you please, pour over the cream, the stock, and plenty of olive oil – a good couple of tablespoons – and roast for two hours, although check at one and a half if you’re impatient.
Melt at least 25g butter in a pan till it’s sizzling. Roughly slice the cauliflower florets into tiny pieces and fry in the butter, not stirring too much, till they are all dark brown and crisp and crunchy. Remove the dish from the oven, sprinkle the cauliflower over evenly and scatter with thyme leaves. Serve immediately, because the cauliflower will lose its crunch if you leave it sitting too long. Oh and PS, you could replace the cream with more stock and the butter with more olive oil if you want to make this vegan/dairy-free.
I was nervous before I started eating it that I’d somehow failed at putting vegetables in the oven. The liquid hadn’t reduced down much and some of the eggplant looked unpromisingly undercooked. But I was wrong. Which means I was actually right in the first place. The bottom layers slowly absorb the stock, and it was all excellent: butternut softer than the plush underside of an expensive persian cat, yieldingly silky eggplant, buttery nutty popcorn-crisp cauliflower. You can add a zillion more things to this – mustard, nuts, more cream, more herbs, spices, bla bla bla, but I felt like being lazy and letting the flavour of the vegetables shine. Plus there’s butter, and sometimes that’s all you need.
As I said, the liquid doesn’t reduce down very much, so ideally you’d serve this over rice or couscous, or just something that can absorb it all and which you can squash the butternut into with the prongs of your fork. But just as is: super cool.
I feel like I say this a lot lately, but thanks for the kindness following my mega-bleak post last week. While I’d like for you to not have to worry about me (apart from in the “is Laura famous enough yet? Whatever can I do to make this happen? Let’s talk about our top 25 favourite instagrams of hers” kind of way) it also doesn’t sit right with me to be falsely perky simply to attempt to reassure you. It’s not like I’m the only person going through stuff here, I just happen to be very open about it on the internet.
Who could possibly be falsely perky while eating pizza while wearing pizza socks? Admittedly I always get some existential angst going on around my birthday – about how I have this one day, and I have to make it the best it can be and not waste a second and have the time of my life and have I achieved anything lately and so on, but am hoping I can trick this one into being low-key yet excellent. Could also go for dramatically excellent, as long as there’s some excellence involved.
title via: feminist icon, rap icon, general icon Missy Elliot dispensing sound financial advice in her song Work It. “Ain’t no shame ladies do your thing, just make sure you’re ahead of the game.”music lately:
PJ Harvey, My Good Fortune. This song has been with me a long time and remains so, so good with that zig-zag guitar riff and the ey-ey-ey-ey stretching out of the words that is so perfect for dancing to.
Patsy Cline, Walkin’ After Midnight. This song is everything.
Trip Pony featuring Jaykin, Daze. Dreamy dreamy dreamy.
next time: hopefully things will be looking even further upwards, and I can get some cool baking done over the easter break.