Ajvar sauce and friends…

It’s not news that I like making and eating sauces and dips and pastes, there is currently 10 jars of different ones in my fridge right now, and this week I’ve made a few new concoctions to my collection. As one lead to the development of another, then another, and so on, I thought I’d share them all at once. I’m also co hosting the weekly Fiesta Friday blog party this week with my lovely friend, and her great blog, Jhuls, so please do join us and see what everyone is bringing to the table this week..

So my saucy week all began with ‘ajvar’. Ajvar is historically a Serbian ‘salad’ made with roasted red peppers and aubergines, garlic and sometimes chilli; I realised I’ve virtually made this previously without realising that I was making somehing that exists with a name, I was just chucking things together one day…like you do! Then I saw this on Instagram and looked it up and decided to make my version of it.

The inclusion of the aubergine flesh to the sauce adds more texture than flavour – I have found this in some of my experiments, roasted aubergine flesh often adds a ‘whipped’ lightness to a sauce or dip, and of course adds a healthy fresh addition too πŸ™‚ the sauce therefore tastes more of the lovely sweetness of the red peppers, and the finished texture is quite thick so can be used in a variety of ways: on toast topped with goats cheese screams out to me! 

Also, all of the recipes I read called for roasting and peeling the red peppers, which I did here, but next time I make it I will leave the skins on; I have found that the skins often add an almost emulsifying effect to sauces that I like. 

Ingredients 

4 red peppers (i used 2 long red and 2 red bell peppers because that’s what I had!)

2 small/medium aubergines

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Olive oil (some recipes have said 1/3 cup, I just poured a decent amount in, but probably not as much as that)

Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar 

Salt to taste

Chilli flakes (optional)

Method 

Heat oven to 200C

Place the peppers and aubergines (prick the skins first) on a baking tray and roast until the skins of the peppers are charred and the aubergines are completely soft to the touch

Place the peppers in a plastic bag to cool and sweat, this makes it easier to remove the skin

Once the aubergine and peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and stalks of all of them, and the seeds of the peppers

Add them to a blender with the garlic, a good amount of olive oil, a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and a pinch of salt, and blend until smooth

Transfer to a saucepan and simmer over a very low heat for 20-30 minutes until thickened

Add salt to your taste. 

Add chilli flakes/powder as it cooks if you choose 

Either use it warm as a sauce, or transfer to a jar and allow to cool

NOTE: Mine definitely benefitted from developing its flavour more overnight and being used the next day

Of course, making ajvar started a range of ideas bubbling in my mind, and as I had a lot of carrots that needed using, I peeled and roasted them all, ate some with my dinner, and used the rest in some sauce ideas. Like this one, above, which basically followed the ajvar idea and quantities, just with carrots instead of peppers.

It is made of roasted carrots, roasted aubergine, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, Aleppo chilli flakes & a pinch of salt, again left overnight to develop the flavour, and it worked very well! The aubergine flesh really lightens up the density of the root vegetables, and a squeeze of lemon juice is always good with carrots. I keep dipping a spoon into it quite happily πŸ™‚ 

As I had so many roasted carrots, I also created this sauce by blending roasted carrot, roasted red onion, roasted garlic, olive oil and some of my own harissa. 

And this one, which is made up of roasted carrots, roasted red onions, passata, olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes, and a spice mix of ground roasted cumin seeds, roasted caraway seeds and roasted coriander seeds. 

I blended this with some added water but still kept it quite thick and ate some heated and topped with goats cheese, alongside some sweet potato wedges. I aim to use it as a sauce or spread, I’m sure it would make a tasty soup with added liquid. 

And so ends my collection of sauces from this week, I hope you have found one or some of them interesting. It’s just a case of chucking things together and seei what emerges really! 

Happy Friday and happy weekend πŸ™‚ 

Right, I’m heading over to Fiesta Friday to start reading as soon as it kicks off…

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38 thoughts on “Ajvar sauce and friends…

  1. Debi @ My Kitchen Witch

    I love Ajvar! Olive oil quantities are “as much as it takes” in my recipe – that is by eye and to stop when it no longer emulsifies. Traditionally red wine vinegar is used, but I sometimes use balsamic. And, you are right, the addition of an aubergine adds texture and complexity to the mixture. Nice to see you experimenting with other ingredients as well!

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  2. Life Diet Health

    Hello Elaine! πŸ™‚ I hope you and the boys are well. Seems like you’re keeping busy – TEN sauces wow! I discovered ajvar a couple of years ago when my Serbian blogging friend kept mentioning it like it was ketchup or mayonnaise! πŸ™‚ These jars of yours certainly look the part and I love the carrot version so I’ll give that a go soon! πŸ™‚ Thanks for co-hosting Fiesta Friday… glad I actually managed to turn up at one you’re co-hosting! I’m hoping this year I’ll be back online more! πŸ™‚ Have a great Bank Holiday weekend xxx

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    1. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

      Hi, thank you so much, we are all well, I hope you and your boys are too πŸ™‚
      I’m loving the ajvar, I just love having a fridge full of homemade choices!
      Enjoy Fiesta Friday and have a good weekend xx

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      1. Life Diet Health

        πŸ™‚ Final football match of the season tomorrow and a win would make them champions of their league! Hoping it wont be too cold to watch! I might go and make a jar or two of your sauces now… not sure I can warrant having 10 but I’d love all that choice! Enjoy the extra day with your boys xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. sallybr

    That is quite a spread of goodies! I don’t make sauces and dips often enough – I’ve been a bit more adventurous with salad dressings lately, but then found a jar of a very nice dressing I made using carrots (blended raw) forgotten in the back of the fridge. That is simply wrong!

    oh, well – gotta do better.

    I love all of your ideas, but the first one with the peppers and the eggplant, that is really calling my name!

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  4. Johanne Lamarche

    The sauces all look like flavor powerhouses Elaine. When I first read the ajvar description I thought it looked just like harissa. Is the difference the addition of eggplant? I’m off to Morocco in 3 weeks where I’ll be eating quite a few of these sauces!

    Johanne Lamarche

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

      Lovely, you lucky lady!
      Yes, harissa wouldn’t have the aubergine in it, and it would have more spices and additional flavour in it. The ajvar is all about the pepper πŸ™‚

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      Reply
  5. Sandhya

    Elaine, I like your idea of having a ‘saucy week’ πŸ™‚ I love all kinds of sauces, chutneys and pickles too and get carried away with an idea. So I can relate.
    I like the ajvar- never had it but sounds like such a yummy combination of flavors and textures.

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  6. Lily

    I love sauces and dips too! They are delicious, fun and shareable. Though I’m not as good as you and make my own. I have to admit I’m a store-bought sauce and dips kind of person.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Pingback: Shatta inspired meals… | foodbod

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