Roasted aubergine, sweet potato and spinach curry

This is a recipe for a simple, light, and healthy vegan curry, which comes from Chloe Coker and Jane Montgomery’s book The Vegetarian Pantry. I cooked it for a potluck supper and was noted as everyone’s favourite dish of the night.

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines/eggplants, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • Large handful of fresh spinach, washed and dried
  • A pinch or 2 of sugar, to taste.
  • A squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A handful of fresh coriander/cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) Gas mark 4.

2. Put the aubergine/eggplant and sweet potato on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.

3. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roast in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, until cooked and golden.

4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cover with a lid. Cook for 2 minutes or until they pop.

5. Turn down the heat, uncover, and add the shallot, ginger, garlic, and chilli. Fry for 3 minutes until they start to soften.

6. Add to the pan the garam masala and sugar and fry for 5 minutes.

7. Finally, to the pan add the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.

8. Stir the roasted vegetables through the sauce and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, and stir in the spinach until wilted.

9. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more sugar, lime or salt and pepper, to taste.

Spoon onto serving plates and serve hot with rice and a spoonful of plain yoghurt, if liked.

Be the change

Be the change you want to see in the world” is perhaps one of the greatest faux quotes of them all, yes you heard me faux, there is no reliable documentary evidence for Gandhi ever saying it at all. The closest verifiable remark we have from him is this:
If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”

So what does it actually mean? To me it means that if we do not agree with the way something is, and feel the need to do something about it, do not sit back and wait for another to do so…if we’re that passionate about it, that should be our driver for change. Despite the celebrity culture now enriched in our world, it is doing it because it is what we want to change it. The money that may come with fame can act as an incentive for many to act on making a change rather for the change.

Not everyone will gain fame and/or see change in their lifetime, Ghandi, Henry Salt, Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall or Emmeline Pankhurst did/have and why we thank them now. Think of the actions of others such as Thich Quang Duc who set himself on fire in protest in Vietnam or “Tank Man” (Wang Weilin?) at the protest at Tiananmen Square. Even now I know people from Kenya, Cameroon, DR Congo, India and Pakistan working for change as it’s what they believe in.

I am passionate about humanity’s connection with the environment, to think individually not as a herd of sheep, and losing the stigma on mental health. Using my actions, words and art to speak for me and inspire others that is what I love. To that end, I now use my writing and photography as my way to be the change in the world I want to see. Do I want to be the next JK Rowling? No I do not, I only want to be remembered by friends as someone who tried and gave their all.

© Fi S. J. Brown