Thursday 8 March 2012

Summer Moussaka

From Quiet Food, The Buddhist Institute of South Africa, Double Storey Books, 2006.

I’m not really sure why this has been called a summer moussaka. There doesn’t seem to be anything in the recipe that makes it more one season than another. But since it is supposed to be summer at the moment, despite the weather which definitely isn’t, I decided to give it a go.

It’s one of those recipes where you cook lots of sections one after the other and then combine them for the final dish. This would suit the premise of the book that suggests moving from fast food to slow food and then on to quiet food. By ‘quiet food’ I suspect that the cook, by taking time and enjoying the cooking process, reaches a state of relaxed being where they can sit back and eat in a calm manner.

Eggplants (or brinjals as the recipe calls them) are sliced and fried.

A white sauce is made and some grated cheese added. I used a mixture of cheddar and Parmesan.

 Mushrooms are fried.

Onions are fried and garlic added in the last few minutes. Then canned tomatoes are added with tomato paste, marjoram, ground allspice, dried basil and seasonings. The fried mushrooms are now added to this mix and it is cooked at a simmer level.

It is then time to put all the sections together. First in a casserole goes a layer of eggplant, then the tomato mix, then the cheese sauce. The layers are then repeated. Over the top of this to finish it off is sprinkled a mixture of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

This is all baked for a good 30 to 40 minutes. A good time for relaxing.

The recipe calls for it to be served with noodles. I couldn’t go with that idea. It also suggested it be served with crusty bread and a salad. I wasn’t sure about that either. What it really needed was a crisp green salad but I, choosing poorly, had a warm lentil and rice salad with it.  It all ended up a lot of muddy brown items on a plate. They tasted all right though. And was I calm? Relatively, I guess.

Taste: ✔✔✔ 
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔

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