I was busy on the phone disapproving about something missing in the service from one of our feckless utilities, when I was rudely interrupted by a rather strident voice from the kitchen ordering my immediate presence to “enjoy Fanny’s Baba Ganoush”. For a minute I was lost for words, as the worst of all images came to mind in a flurry of hideous technicolor. I ended my call and pondered. Was it time to have Fanny sectioned? She had been taking her pills so I decided on a diplomatic response and tentatively entered her domain. Despite the awful possibilities that could have lain behind the invitation, the reality was much simpler. She had been busy making a dip, – which can also be a side dish or indeed part of a meze. This is really rather a pleasing number and accompanies bread or a main course with equal aplomb. It is of Middle Eastern origin and very flavoursome.
2tbsp tahini, plus more as needed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 lemons – juiced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
sea salt, to taste
extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
Preheat an oven to 200°C
Place the aubergine on a baking sheet, prick with a fork in several places, drizzle with a little olive oil and sea salt and bake for about an hour till completely collapsed.
Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, slice open and scoop all the aubergine flesh out into a bowl – using a fork, mash to a paste.
Add the tahini, garlic, most of the lemon juice and the cumin and mix well.
Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.
Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, form a shallow well with a spoon.
Drizzle some olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the chilli flakes and parsley.
Serve at room temperature.
Ideal with flatbreads and/or part of a meze