Courgettes, courgettes, courgettes. They’re coming out of my ears. They’re just everywhere at the moment. Courgettes are the fruit of summer, they’re the long, thin, green fruit of our garden England, borne forth in abundance during the summer months. Courgette and Aubergine Antipasti is an awesome way to use a load of them up, make a big platter if you have guests coming round and I assure you it will all get eaten, it tastes amazing, especially after 24 hours to meld and uses up excess vegetables in the blink of an eye. It’s also the perfect recipe for sitting in the garden, reading the paper, turning the veg on the BBQ occasionally, whilst still feeling as though I’m actually doing something useful.
The Big Move.
I’m writing this from a desk that is devoid of ‘stuff’. In preparation for my house move, I have cleared everything away, leaving just a computer, bonsai tree, lamp and notebook. That’s all I ever need on my desk, but I allow outdated notes to fester and cameras to linger for longer than they should. These unnecessary objet are always kept tidy, the notes formed in delicate stacks, perfectly aligned with one another and also with the edge of the desk. The cameras are positioned to look purposeful.
I took pride in my tidy desk for many years, happily declaring that “a tidy desk is a tidy mind”. A colleague once retorted, well, if that’s so, what does it mean if he has a dirty desk? His allusion was obviously a bit risqué, but also pointed out that it’s utter rubbish. The tidy desk/tidy mind saying is a misnomer, a tidy desk is probably the sign of one of the following:
a) Not enough work.
b) Anally retentive desk occupier.
d) A blogger who is about to ‘share’ their ‘inspirational’ workspace online, so has swept the crap into a box temporarily.
e) A misguided belief that cleanliness and tidiness are virtues to be aspired to.
f) An unwavering, borderline obsessive level of personal discipline.
None of these suggestions point towards a tidy mind. I would argue that one of the fundamental struggles I face as a human being on this planet is that my mind is by no measure ‘tidy’, it’s a tangled labyrinth of misdirection and any tidiness I exhibit is a fluke occurrence. Albert Einstein once made a very similar observation:
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”Albert Einstein
Success Comes in Peculiar Packages.
But it doesn’t matter. None of it does. It’s all irrelevant and has no bearing on my happiness as a human being. I’m actually sitting here, tired, packed and ready to go. I just want to leave now, but I’ve chosen to sit here and write this blog post for you, before I go and finish a freelance job and then tackle the final tranche of packing which I’ve been delaying slightly, for some reason, just so I have something to do at the last minute and look busy.
Tidy mind? Fat chance.
Courgette and Aubergine Antipasti
Don’t let the title fool you, this recipe would just as happily be courgette antipasti or aubergine antipasti, or red pepper antipasti, or any other grillable mediterranean style vegetable antipasti. I wonder if it would work with large tomatoes? Yet again, this recipe gives us something which the Italians do so well, it’s a simple preparation of grilling some vegetables then mixing them with a couple of other things. Really, really easy and tastes bloody awesome.
The day after I made these for the photos, I was putting together a nicoise-esque salad, and chopped up a handful of these courgette and aubergine antipasti and chucked them in. It was utterly awesome, it’s transformed the salad and tasted amazing. You could mix them up with some pasta, add them to salad leaves, or just eat them as Antipasti are meant to be, alongside some charcuterie and olives. They’d sit alongside some grilled fish or meat beautifully as well, or pair up with some Halloumi. The possibilities are literally endless, so take advantage of courgette season and get making some courgette and aubergine antipasti!
Courgette and Aubergine Antipasti
By Gavin Wren
Serves 4 as a side
Uses a griddle or BBQ
3 courgettes sliced lengthways 3-5mm thick
2 aubergines sliced lengthways 3-5mm thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch of mint (about 25g) chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely mashed
1/2 teaspoon salt
If cooking indoors, heat your griddle pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or if using a BBQ for cooking, then light the charcoal and leave to burn until white all over.
Toss the courgette and aubergine slices with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, getting a light covering all over them.
Places the slices on your BBQ or griddle, preferably cooking one type of vegetable at a time, because courgette will take longer to cook. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until slightly charred or shows griddle marks. Turn and cook on the other side.
Once each piece is nicely coloured on both sides, remove them and place in a bowl or dish, covered with cling film. Cook all of the vegetables until you have a bowl of soft, warm vegetable strips. In another bowl mix the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, mint, garlic and salt, then add this to the cooked vegetables and gently – with your hands – mix them all together. The vegetables might be quite delicate, so take care when doing this.
Once mixed, you can serve straight away, or they will keep for many days when covered in the fridge, in fact, I think they taste better after the flavours have had 24 hours to meld together.