Just like Zürich’s hormonal high-schoolers, I went back to the office this week. This time, it feels special. I’m due to finish my PhD within a year and feel like I’m an organic chickpea trapped in a pressure cooker. I’m also celebrating the long-awaited end of a bout of shingles that ate the skin of my back for over a month. A blessed opportunity to enjoy life’s simplest pleasures. Such as sleeping in my favourite position (on my back). Not screaming with pain when my clothes touch my skin. Going to the swimming pool or hugging the children of those of my friends who don’t think I have the plague, after weeks of lonely quarantine. Weeks I spent walking my rashes from room to room in our flat. I kept myself busy plucking hair off my legs with tweezers under the blank gaze of our neighbour’s obese cat. Utter boredom.
The virtues of confinement finally became apparent, though. I developed a palpable hatred for 99% of my belongings. The lucky 1% is my dear blender. I’m ready to dive into austerity. Cool kids today call this “minimalism”. I just call this adulting, or going through premature mid-life crisis. Given what I’ve hoarded in 30 years of life, I might be able to reach this holy stage in about 35 years. I just need time to convince my parents, the most relentless suppliers of Art Deco trinkets I’ve ever met.
I was familiar with Middle-Eastern aubergine dips before. This is my take on their Hellenic counterpart. I’m ditching parsley, which I don’t like (except blended into oblivion in a smoothie, thanks to my dear 1%). I also blend it very smooth, while the Greek serve it rather chunky. I have a foolproof tip to get rid of the pungency of garlic. Simply blend it with an acidic medium, such as vinegar. I do the same with lemon juice for hummus. You can now gorge on garlicky foodstuffs without everyone around you noticing it on your breath. Don’t thank me. Now I’m off getting rid of a salad spinner. I should remember that I really don’t like lettuce before buying one again.
Greek recipes #6: Melitzanosalata, aubergine dip with garlic
Makes 1 bowl
- 4 aubergines
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1/2bunch parsley, optional
Heat the oven, 180°C. Place the whole aubergines on a baking tray and cook for about 50 minutes.
Rip them open and scoop out the flesh.
Blend the garlic, oil and vinegar. Then add the aubergine flesh, season and blend.
Mince parsley and fold into the dip.