This Sunday was Mother's Day but in all honesty my mum isn't the biggest mother's day fan. She sees it as a capitalist cop out; That we should appreciate people all year round, and basically it's made to sell us tat we don't need. All of which is true. But I love my mum. So here's to her, and a very happy un-mother's day!
To celebrate an un-mother's day, you need a very un-mother's day like dish, that wll still please your mother. Forget daffodils, and Victoria sponges. Choose a favourite of your own mum's , something that no one else would know she likes, and cook it for her from scratch, no mass marketed nonsense here.
For my dish I chose Caponata. A traditional Sicilian aubergine stew. Nope my mum's not Italian, she had this at a restaurant recently and loved it, and has been banging on about it ever since, begging me to make her a version at home. So what better way to celebrate un-mother's day than by doing something she has been nagging me to do for months.
Caponata is all about aubergine, its the star of the show. But there are loads of versions of caponata and what else you put in alongside is really up to you, I love adding courgette, and a lot of recipes call for celery, however I'm not the biggest celery fan so I left it out. the making of a caponata is all in the balance of flavours, you need to balance the sweet, (in my version agave syrup) The sour (red wine vinegar) and the salty (capers). Some recipes call for dried fruit like sultanas but honestly I wasn't feeling it, I'm not the biggest fan of fried fruit in savoury dishes (i don't mind ti sometimes but I really don't know if caponata calls for it!). I served mine with olive ciabata. This stew is surpisingly filling, as it's most aubergine and tomatoes I was expecting to be hungry after but my god I was wrong. Caponata is traditionally served as a stew with bread but any left overs would also go great over pasta for lunch the next day.
Obviously my recipe is my own interpretation and not a traditional Scillian redition, but my mum certainly liked it. And that's what matters on Un-mother's day. So happy un-mother's day everyone, and remember celebrate the people you love every day and don't make them have to nag you too much!
1 large aubergine
2 large beef tomatoes
1 small red onion
3 sun dried tomatoes (20g)
3 teaspoons caper
1 TABLESPOON RED WINE VINEGAR
1 TEASPOON AGAVE SYRUP
20g fresh basil (chopped)
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
30g pine nuts
1) Dice the aubergine into small cubes. Place onto a tea towel/ paper towel and liberally sprinkle salt on top, to draw the moisture out. Add another towel on top and leave for at least half an hour.
2) Once the aubergine has sat for half an hour, cover the bottom of a large pan with olive oil. Place onto the hob and allow for the oil to get hot. Add the aubergine and fry on a high heat for a few minutes, untill the aubergine has browned.
3) Remove the aubergine from the pan and place onto a paper towel to dry off excess oil.
4) Thinly dice the red onion and Add it to the same pan, there should be enough oil left, if not add a little water to the pan. Fry until soft .
5) dice the beef tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes, add to the onions.
6) Once the tomatoes have softened and become mushy add the pasatta, herbs, chilli, capers, vinegar, agave and 50ml of water to the pan.
7) Bring the sauce to the boil then turn down to simmer. Add the AUBERGINE BACK INTO THE PAN AND ALLOW TO SIMMER For 20-25 minutes.
8) Heat a dry pan on the hob, add the pine nuts and dry fry for a few minutes, tossing all the time, until golden brown.
9) Add the pine nuts to the pot. Remove from the heat and serve with toasted olive ciabatta.