1 cup Quinoa, 1 aubergine, 1 bell pepper, 4 baby plum tomatoes, paprika, kamalata olives, salt, rapeseed oil
I love aubergines, simply love them. They soak up flavour like majestic sponges and when cooked well, just melt in your mouth. This salad can be served hot or cold and is simply fabulous.
1) Remove the top and core from a bell pepper and shake out the seeds. Slice finely, drizzle with a little rapeseed oil and roast in the oven along with the baby plum tomatoes for 20 minutes.
2) Slice your aubergines and lay the slices in a colander. Sprinkle salt on the aubergines and set aside.
3) Soak the quinoa for 5 minutes and rinse well in a sieve. Depending on where you buy it, it naturally has an acrid coating called saponin which you don't want flavouring your food!
4) Cover the quinoa in salted water and bring to the boil for about 15 minutes, stir continually as it soaks up the water and fluffs up, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool
5) The salt will have drawn the bitter liquid from the aubergines, rinse the liquid, pat the aubergines dry and brush with rapeseed oil. Dry fry in a very hot pan for about 5 minutes per slice, turning frequently. When the aubergines are ready the skin will have turned violet and the flesh will have darkened in colour and become meltingly soft.
6) Stir the tomatoes and peppers into the quinoa, seasoning well with salt, black pepper and paprika. I also like to add some finely diced black kamalata olives but this is entirely to taste.
7) Layer the aubergine and quinoa mixture using a circle mould, pressing each layer firmly. Serve hot or cold.