To Heaven & Back: Eggplant in Purgatory

Eggplant in Purgatory

Eggs in purgatory are a delicious breakfast also known as Shakshuka but have you ever tried eggplant in purgatory? It's a similar concept-tomatoes simmered until thick and sweet with melting soft eggplant pieces in it to make it even better for you. Plus of course with soft yolked eggs on top!

The first time I made this I realised that one serve wasn't enough of this. In fact you can easily double this and you'll be ever so glad that you did because this is one of those healthy dishes that doesn't really taste healthy because it is packed full of flavour. It's one that makes you feel good while you're eating it and doesn't make you want to nap afterwards to recover.

Oh god listen to me, I sound like a health food blogger. Please don't think I have given up the good things in life, I just think that this might one of those tricky dishes that makes you feel like you've eaten something naughty but you haven't.

Eggplant in Purgatory

While we're on the subject of tricky situations, I've realised that one test of a relationship is putting together flat pack furniture. I mentioned that we have been renovating our balcony. Well with that need came the need for new furniture. I'll be honest here Dear Reader. I usually go to sites where people are selling as new second hand furniture because they've done all the putting together effort already. Because I know the fights that can ensue when assembling furniture.

"You put it in the wrong way."

"You're not even reading the instructions!"

"I'm positive there's a piece missing!"

"We did it backwards..."

"Just leave it backwards! It looks fine!"

But there was one piece of furniture that I had to put together myself because Mr NQN was getting a bit huffy about putting together furniture while he was on holiday. "I'll just do it!" I said and grabbed the instructions for the storage chest. It seemed like a good idea when I first started but when I finished I realised where callouses come from and I lay there by the newly assembled storage chest in the searing heat not able to move. I felt like fiery purgatory was the closest way to describe the state I was in.

So tell me Dear Reader, are you one of those people that ace flat pack furniture? How does your relationship fare with putting together furniture? Do you assemble it or do you get your other half to do it?

Eggplant in Purgatory

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Serves 2-3 people

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • 450g/16ozs. Japanese eggplant (slender eggplant)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 2-3 large chillies (depending on how hot you want it)
  • 50g/1.7ozs. pitted olives
  • 700ml/24.7ozs. tomato passata (or chopped tinned tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons sun dried tomato pesto
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Eggplant in Purgatory

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with parchment. Trim the tops from the eggplant and slice in half lengthways. Brush with oil and bake for 15 minutes. Slice into inch long pieces. Honestly I think you could even skip this step and put the inch long raw eggplant pieces into the tomato too.

Eggplant in Purgatory

Step 2 - Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a pot on medium heat and add the onion, garlic cloves and capers and fry until translucent. Add the chillies, olives, passata and pesto and then the eggplant pieces and simmer for 25 minutes or so without the lid. The eggplant will absorb some of the water from the passata. Taste for seasoning now and add salt or pepper if necessary (or if the tomatoes are sour, add a little sugar).

Eggplant in Purgatory

Step 3 - Crack three eggs in the pot and cover with a lid and cook for a few minutes until the whites are cooked through. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with crusty bread or flatbread.

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