3 large shallots, peeled and finely sliced
60ml (1⁄4 cup) apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon raw sugar
11⁄2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons sumac
1 medium cauliflower
olive oil
a handful each of fresh mint and flat parsley leaves
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
2 medium eggplants (approx 500g)
60ml (1⁄4 cup) hulled tahini
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, peeled
1⁄2 teaspoon honey (optional)

Charring the eggplants directly over gas until blackened gives the most amazing smoky flavor to the babaganoush. However, if you don’t have gas or access to a barbecue I’ve offered an oven grill alternative. You’ll find shallots at most supermarkets. They’re slightly sweeter and milder than a red onion, but if you’d prefer, use red onion instead. To keep this plant-based, use brown rice syrup instead of honey in the babaganoush.


1.To pickle the shallots, put the sliced shallots into a shallow bowl.
2.Bring the vinegar, sugar and salt to the boil in a small pot.
3.Pour vinegar mixture over shallots, stir every 5 minutes or so until cool.
4.They can be eaten after 30 minutes or can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
5.Preheat oven to 200°C. Combine zaatar ingredients in a small bowl.
6.Trim the cauliflower and cut into bite-sized florets (don’t waste the stalk, cut this up into chunks as well, it’s delicious!) Transfer the cauliflower to two oven trays, scatter over the zaatar (reserving 1 tablespoon for later), drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
7.Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until deeply golden and tender then remove from the oven and set aside until needed.
8.To make the babaganoush, if you have a gas hob or access to a barbecue, place eggplants directly over the gas, turning often until charred and tender (approx 5-8 minutes).
9.If you don’t have gas, preheat your oven grill to high and cook, turning often, until blackened and tender (10-15 minutes).
10.Remove from the gas or the oven and transfer to a heatproof bowl, cover with a lid or plate and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
11.When cool enough to handle, peel off the charred skin and place the cooked eggplant into a blender along with the tahini, lemon juice and garlic.
12.Blend on high until smooth, season to taste with salt, pepper and honey, if using (the honey balances out any bitterness).
13.To serve, spoon a little babaganoush onto the base of six shallow bowls, spreading out a little, top with a handful of roasted cauliflower, a little of the drained pickled shallots, a few fresh mint and flat parsley leaves and a sprinkling of reserved zaatar.
14.Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Recipes, food styling Emma Galloway Photography Charlotte Hedley

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