No, instead we have been on day trips to 3 different local beaches, to the zoo, to the Kelpies and the Helix, and, somewhat less excitingly, we have had a leisurely trip to Costco and Ikea where we were fairly self restrained in our purchases, investing instead in parenting smugness.
My husband works from home in our small flat, so the pressure is always on to get everyone outside, but today things outside did not look good. The forecast was rain, rain, and more rain. Not wanting to visit the museum AGAIN, and dealing with three kids who were still tired from outings earlier this week, we decided to have a day mostly at home, leaving the flat only to go to the shops for rations.
After spending three hours playing monopoly (where I was not, I confess, able to hold myself back, even with a five year old pouting) I set to work on this baby, a rainy day meal to be sure:
The vegetarian meal that doesn't feel vegetarian, and is available in every respectable good Italian restaurant: Aubergine/eggplant Parmigiana. A meal, as Mr River Cottage dude says, is somehow greater than the sum of all its parts. And it is simple, if it does take ages. Don't kid yourself, grilling those aubergines/eggplants always takes a while, and is a big pain the the backside, but it is worth it if you have the time.
I sliced 5 small ones and gave them a dose of olive oil with my pastry brush then put them on to grill.
They came out in various shades of doneness; this was part of the first batch to come out:
It took 3 batches to finish them, taking quite a while to cook through.
The sauce was put on while they cooked - just a simple affair of tinned tomatoes, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and some fresh basil thrown in once it had sufficiently thickened.
Then three layers went into a baking dish: aubergines, then sauce, then fresh mozzarella and parmesan, and this was repeated three times over.
After forty minutes in the oven, it came out looking like this:
And smelled amazing. I served it with garlic bread. Look at that precision, how carefully the lines were cut, how beautifully the bread was shaped.
Yeah, that's because I bought it ready-made from Lidl.
I can't give you their recipe for it, but I can give you the Aubergine one: