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