On Saturday we headed down to Hyde Park to go to the annual Winter Wonderland. It seemed so long ago that we were last there (though it was only a year) bemoaning the fact that we had to leave early to get back to Canterbury. Excitedly, we planned how late we could stay the next year when we would be Londoners like all our friends – it closed at 10pm so not that late! Unlike last year when we found a cozy bar and holed up for the night, this year we wandered round most of the attractions, buying German beer and mulled wine as we went. The park is huge. After four hours there I don’t think we covered all of it. Each section has a different theme, from German market, to a mini Oktoberfest with light shows and a live Queen cover-band, and of course all the fairground rides illuminating the skyline.
As soon as the weather turns cold, and I start feeling festive, it seems like all my healthy eating plans go out the window. I want live off a rotation of meats, bread, apple crumbles and hot chocolate. Sneaking fresh produce into my diet becomes an uphill struggle against what I crave. Aubergine is a brilliant vegetable for those seeking a substantial alternative to meat, with its spongy bite and savoury flavour caused by the charring. I usually throw it in to heavily spiced dishes like curries and burritos, but I was looking for something simpler as an easy lunch.
This Mediterranean inspired aubergine and pomegranate bruschetta is a little bite of sunshine in this cold, wet English winter weather. Sweet pomegranate seeds burst with each bite and fresh mint brings a bright freshness to each mouthful. Lemony yoghurt pulls all the flavours together, the citrus balancing out the umami of the griddled aubergine. What I love most about it is that the hot toast and vegetable make this satisfyingly warming, which is exactly what I want at this time of year as I hide under layers of jumpers.
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makes 4 recipe by Jenny Brown
4 thick slices of good quality bread (I used this recipe with white flour instead of wholemeal)
1 tbsp olive oil
zest of half a lemon
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
150g plain yoghurt
pinch of salt
seeds of half a pomegranate
2 sprigs of mint
- Slice the aubergine into 7mm (approx) rounds and brush each side with a little olive oil. Heat a griddle pan to a high heat and lay the slices across it, making sure they don’t overlap. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each until the firm flesh has gone soft and lines are charred across it.
- Mix together the yoghurt with the lemon juice and zest and a pinch of salt.
- Lightly toast the bread, then assemble the bruschetta: generously layer aubergine, followed by a drizzle of yoghurt, a scattering of pomegranate seeds and a few leaves of mint.