Gary and I are in London for a month enjoying the international restaurants, food,stalls, street markets, and famed eating spots, but what we really like (some of the time) is coming home to our apartment rental and cooking dinner.
The stores and supermarkets here don't have some of the range of produce I'm used to but they have a lot, usually impeccably fresh and beautiful. The markets are also full of intriguing local and international groceries and the dairy, oh, my goodness, the dairy, it's wonderful. There is one whole refrigerator filled with varieties of clotted cream, marscopone and creme friache (full or low fat, French or English style).
Pictured above is a whole eggplant (aubergine), cut in half and scooped out. The eggplant boats (shells) were partially baked then filled with a sautéed mixture of ground beef (mince) and chopped onions, garlic, bell pepper (capsicums) and eggplant innards. The mix was seasoned with cinnamon, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and sautéed in olive oil. The eggplant was baked until the top was browned and the eggplant shells cooked through. It was topped with hummus and chopped cilantro (coriander). I served it with couscous, a vacation standby since it is so versatile and quick cooking and can be made without a pot.
Cooking at a vacation rental can be tricky from lack of ingriendents and or equipment, but I like to treat it as my personal reality show and see how creative I can get with minimal effort. This dinner was a winner on both counts.