The Husband has been getting his knickers in a twist. Yesterday, he was shocked to discover that I have, on many more than one occasion, worn a pair of his mother’s briefs. The conversation starter arose after I pointed out to The Mother-in-Law that she was wearing my pink stripy socks – a pair that I haven’t seen for about a year. Her defence (excellently executed) was to cross-examine me about the pair of black, lace-fronted knickers that kept jumping between her washing pile and ours; she couldn’t remember who they belonged to.
terrible liar honest person that I am, I clarified that the articles in question were in fact hers and that I had knowingly-put-them-on-and-happily-run-around-in-them-all-day. The Husband looked perturbed – as if he needed a really good talk with The Psychotherpist Boyfriend – as I tried to explain to The Mother-in-Law that she is terribly en vogue and that those knickers really look like my own black, lacy ones at 6 o’clock in the morning, with two children hanging off me.
Unfortunately, neither fashion nor diminishing eyesight helped the cause. And when I got onto the subject of my kibbutz life of old – where people shared clothes, childcare, partners – I totally lost the argument. The Husband took one look at me and said, “YOU JUST DON’T WEAR MY MOTHER’S KNICKERS!”
If you take out the weirdness of it all (I know, that might be difficult), the picture forming about my attitude to personal space in The Mother-in-Law’s House may inspire such adjectives as “lazy”, “unconcerned” or “careless”. I like to think of myself more “laissez-faire”, which definitely helps in the kitchen – and it did last night when I threw together a very quick, very easy, incredibly delicious aubergine dish.
Baked in a sauce that can only be described as a Class A dressing (we’re talking major lip-licking territory), this sticky aubergine caused something of a stir around the table. Had there been ties, they would’ve been unknotted. There was such physical response to the act of eating that it reminded me of a scene from ‘Like Water for Chocolate‘, when the tragic protagonist, Tita, sends her dinner guests into a state of ecstatic delight with a beautiful feast of quail in rose petal sauce. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with Laura Esquivel’s magical South American tale think Meg Ryan in THAT scene, but with more molé and mood lighting.)
In fact, The Mother-in-Law noted just how good dinner was, that I took it as a sign of forgiveness for ‘Pantgate’.
Serves 6 as a starter of 3-4 as a main.
3 small or 2 large aubergines
2 tablespoons peanut butter (cashew, almond or other nut butters would also work)
50ml freshly boiled water
5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of coriander powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoons tamari soy sauce (or any soy sauce will do but tamari is the yummiest)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Tahini, mixed well with a little water
Preheat oven to 200°/ gas mark 6.
Wash the aubergine. Leaving on the stalk – purely for fancy schmancy effect – slice them in four strips lengthways.
Lay them in a single layer, side-to-side, in a baking dish. Sprinkle with a good pinch of sea salt and set aside whilst you prepare the sauce.
Whisk together the peanut butter and hot water in a mixing bowl, until thoroughly combined.
Crush the garlic. Add this to the same bowl along with the coriander powder, maple syrup, soy sauce, sesame oil, and lime juice. Mix well.
You should now have a bowl of thick brown sauce.
Pour on the dressing, turning each aubergine slice to ensure it gets a good licking of the sauce.
Bake medium-hot oven for 45 minutes, turning and basting the aubergine once halfway through the cooking.
Toast the sesame seeds while the aubergine is baking.
Serve the warm aubergine, drizzled with the tahini dressing and a good sprinkling of the toasted sesame seeds.