A year ago it was the humble leek that got the prestigious casa azul plant of the year award, for reasons too numerous to list here. For 2013 there is another clear winner, more exotic and almost as prolific; a beringela, the aubergine.
Since mid summer there were plenty to pick, plump and purple, right up to the end of November. Every time I picked what I thought was the last batch I left the plants and their nodding violet flowers to die, only to discover more fruit a few weeks later. I’m also pleased because there was a time when Richard said he didn’t like them. Roasted over the dying embers of a summer barbecue and turned into baba ganoush he was happy but otherwise he didn’t like their texture. Since my vegetarian days they have been one of my favourite veg so I took it as a personal challenge to make him change his mind. Well, numerous dishes later he seems to have come round. They have been oven roasted with potatoes, lightly fried in chilli oil… .
…curried with coconut milk and served in half with roasted toms. Not to mention the pasta and other middle eastern dishes, I particularly like the fact they go so well with cumin.
And all eaten with great relish, so a culinary as well as horticultural success. Here’s to a good 2014 harvest and happy new year to everyone!