Monthly Archives: April 2010

Eggplant Crepes

I made this a little while ago but it’s taken me a while to get around to posting.  Things have been busy.  Nonetheless, they were absolutely delicious and I should have posted them sooner.  I love eggplant.  So much.

There was kind of a chain of leftovers in the inception of this dish.  First, The Socialist, not one to be wasteful, turned the leftover seasoned flour from the Giant Pumpkin Arancini into a spicy crepe batter.  The crepes had a subtle chilli kick that worked really well with maple syrup – yum!  Then there was leftover crepe batter, I had an eggplant in the crisper, and lo, eggplant crepes!

Eggplant Filling

1 eggplant, cut into 2cm cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tblsp harrissa (adjust to taste)
2-3 ripe tomatoes, chopped OR 1 tin tomatoes
250g fetta, cut into 1cm cubes
A good amount of fresh corriander, chopped

Heat a large pan and add a good glug of olive oil.  Add the eggplant cubes and fry, stirring occasionally, until they start to colour.  Add the onions, garlic, and harissa, and cook for a few minutes, until the onions start to soften.  Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and delicious.

Remove from heat, stir through the feta and the coriander.  A squeeze of lemon wouldn’t go astray here.

Crepes

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk (I used soy)

Mix the chilli powder through the flour.  Make a well in the centre.  Crack the egg into the well and use a fork to combine with the flour.  Add the milk a little at a time to make a smooth paste, then gradually add until you have a thin batter, but not too runny (you may need to use more or less milk).

Heat a large pan and add a little olive oil.  Pour about a third of a cup (depending on the size of your pan) of the batter into the pan and swirl to spread a thing, even layer.  When the crepe is cooked through, flip over to brown the other side.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Repeat until all batter has been used.

Serving

Place crepe on a plate (keep warm or reheat by returning to the pan for a few seconds each side).  Fill the middle third with eggplant mixture, leaving a little room at one end.  Fold up the end, then fold in the sides.

Delicious with a simple salad (I just had mixed leaves, pomegranate molasses, and a little olive oil).

Eat with gusto!

All the elements can be made up ahead and re-heated.  An assembled crepe does fine in the fridge over night, but if you were going to leave it any longer, I’d keep the parts separate then re-heat and assemble just before serving.

Birthday Dinner – MoVida

Yesterday was my birthday.  I am now 32 years old, and so far I like it a lot.  To celebrate, I went out for a fancy dinner!  Basically, it was an excuse to finally go to MoVida, which I’ve been wanting to do for, oh, a couple of years now.

I invited The Socialist, Awesome Housemate, my ‘wife’ Kt, and her girl B.  Because there were five of us, we had to have the Chef’s selection, which is 10 dishes for $65 per person (not including desert or drinks), and they’re happy to cater to dietary requirements: out of the five of us, there was one vego and one no seafood, and we were very well looked after.  There was some initial confusion about the no seafood, but that was because a minor communication thing and they sorted it out straight away.

The light was too dim for my poor camera to cope with so there’s no photos, which is a shame because the presentation was beautiful, but I’ll do my best to describe the vegetarian tapas:

1. A vegetarian version of MoVida’s signature tapa (anchoa), with lettuce, palm heart, and smoked tomato sorbet. The sorbet was amazing – smokey and light and cool and savoury!  Yum!

2. A savoury cheese custard (manchego? I’m not sure…), served in an eggshell, with a wafer-thin potato crisp. The crisp was delightful, with a clear flavour of olive oil and good salt.  The custard was intense and completely amazing – full-bodied and creamy and dense and utterly delicious.

3. Croquettes with leek and mahon cheese.  This was one of the vegetarian dishes that the whole table got to try, and they were really yummy!  Salty with a hint of paprika, and a rich, gooey centre.

4. Asadillo – “marinated roast capsicum and tomato salad in Moorish spices”.  This was pretty tasty but not as amazing as the other dishes.  I do love roast capsicum, though.

5. Salad of palm hearts with romesco sauce.  I’d never had palm hearts until last night, and they are quite delicious – a very mild flavour and a firm texture.  They make me think of bland artichokes, but that’s not quite it.  Anyway, this salad was lovely and light, and the romesco sauce was full of flavour.

6. Setas asado con jerez  – “oven roasted portabello mushrooms finished with sherry vinegar”.  These were AMAZING!  A really substantial dish with loads of ‘roasted’ flavour.  OM NOM NOM!

7. Roasted cauliflower with almonds.  Man, roasted cauliflower is the best!  Almonds are the best!  This was really tasty.  Although I was getting quite full by this stage, and also the saltiness of the dishes was building up in my mouth.  I think this was about the time we’d finished off the wine, too, and since the cheapest bottle was $55, none of us was feeling particularly inclined to get another one.

8.  Another salad with Warrigal greens, croutons and red grapes.  Delicate and beautiful – the sweetness of the fruit was lovely, and nice balance to the saltiness of some of the dishes.

9. Espinacas con garbanzos – “sauteed spinach with chickpeas & spices”.  This was the second vego dish that the whole table shared.  It was nice, but a bit too salty for me.  Not the most amazing espinacas con garbanzos I’ve ever had (in fact, I like my home made ones better), but tasty nonetheless.

10. Tortilla – “traditional tortilla with confit potato and onion”.  I was so full by the time this came out, it’s good it was just a small serve.  It was lovely, though – more delicate and melty than the version I make at home.

Aside from the slight over-saltiness, the food was absolutely wonderful.  The omnis got mostly seafood dishes, and Awesome Housemate, who doesn’t eat seafood, got a really good range of things.  Everyone really enjoyed their food, and we were all absolutely stuffed by the end – we’d been eyeing off the churros, but no one could manage another bite when the time came.  I’m not thrilled that we had to have the set menu because we were a group, though I understand it from a logistics point of view. I would have liked the option of a smaller set of dishes, or one that included desert.

We were all a bit tired because I’d also had a cocktail party the night before (I love birthdays!  And parties!  And cocktails! And indulging with my friends!), so it was a sedate kind of affair, but it would be a fabulous place to go for a really fun night.  The wait staff were great – gorgeous and fun and attentive and the service was absolutely superb.  At one point The Socialist dropped his knife, and within seconds someone appeared with a fresh knife and fork saying “I heard something drop – what do you need replaced?”  The space is also lovely – warm and intimate without being crowded, and that magical level of noise where there’s a great happy buzz to the place but you can still carry on a conversation without raising your voices.  We got to linger for a bit over two hours, and would have gladly stayed longer if we’d had bellies big enough for desert, and, well, unlimited funds for more wine.  I’ll definitely be back!

MoVida
1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne
Ph: 9663 3038
http://movida.com.au/

Set menu: $65 for 10 courses
Wine: from $55/bottle or $11/glass