True Eggplant

For the last couple of months or so, Monday nights have been known as True Blood nights. We gather at a friend's house, eat delicious eggplant-centric dishes, play with an adorable kitten and gradually work our way through 3 seasons of vampire flavoured ridiculousness. It's a pretty great tradition. I'm not sure how the eggplant came into it. But after a few weeks, having a True Blood night without eggplant seemed as odd as a TB episode without blood. Or boobs. Or Eric.

So I've been racking up the eggplant recipes. And making them up, as needs be. One of them worked out pretty dang well, so I thought I'd share it with you here.

Eggplant and Lentil Soup (serves 5)

(adapted from an amazing lentil soup recipe sent to me by this cupcake queen)

This soup is my new favourite thing ever. It's simple to make, warm, spicy, nourishing, and fucking delicious. Serve it with some crusty wholemeal bread and red wine, and you have yourselves the perfect accompaniment to some tasty vampire melodrama.

What you need:

2 cloves of garlic
1 large eggplant
2 tins of tomato
1 tin of brown lentils. Make it 2 if you really love your lentils
1/2 tbsp of butter (vegan if you use oil)
3 cups veggie stock
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (more or less to taste)
What you need to do:

Wash and then dice the eggplant into bite size pieces, about 2cm square.

Steam over boiling water for 5 - 8 minutes, covered and turning occasionally. Remove when tender, but still firm. You'll want to taste, not just poke.

Fry the garlic in the butter for a couple of minutes, and then add the drained lentils.

Saute for a couple minutes longer, and then add the tinned tomatoes, stock and spices.

Throw in the eggplant, and cook together for about ten minutes

Then enjoy with a little bit of this:

Goodbye to All That (mostly coffee)

Good morning dear neglected blog! I'm so sorry for the absence. If it in any way makes up for it, you should know I'm about to embark upon a kind of self-flagellation in the name of good health.

I'm giving up coffee.

To be fair, I give up coffee about once a month. It lasts roughly until the next time I have to get out of bed for work. So, an average of about 18.5 hours. As I type this, it's been about 45 seconds since my last cup. I'm not terribly optimistic. I'm hoping perhaps declaring it to the internet will maybe give me pause next time I reach for the caffeine.

Delicious caffeine.

I miss you already.

What I hope I won't miss is the dependency headaches, the bloating (sorry internet), the arrhythmia, the insomnia, and the anxiety. And - since milk became a thing of the past recently - the taste. Let's be honest. Internet, forgive me for being crass, but coffee made with soy milk tastes like balls.

So I've been researching alternatives.

Banana Water

In Japan, the fashion is to eat a banana and drink a cup of lukewarm water to start the day. Oh Japan. That is not happening.


The reason I've placed a picture of a disappointed kitten directly below the word carob should be immediately apparent to anyone who has actually tasted the stuff. Looks like chocolate, tastes like betrayal. Apparently it is an excellent substitute for coffee. Internet, forgive me if I don't believe you.

Yerba Mate

Described variously as 'woody', 'smoky', 'vegetal' and 'grassy', yerba mate tea is apparently a great substitute for coffee. I imagine it's a pretty good substitute for lunch, too, if you enjoy eating salad that's on fire. The picture above sums up exactly how I think this tea would taste, donkeys included. I don't think it's the tea for me.

I think I'll stick to a healthy morning routine of orange juice and grumpiness. Is anyone else living a caffeine free life? Any other coffee substitutes out there I should try?