If you’re not interested in a quick side of politics with your panzanella, scroll down now. If you are, though, let’s take just the briefest of moments to celebrate the solidarity, where around the world millions of women stood up against racism and hate-mongering, stood up for the rights of the marginalised. Critique and reservations notwithstanding, it warms the cockles. Some amazing pics of the marches here, and some good reading here and here and here.
And for those of you in Australia, record numbers turned up to various Invasion Day marches across the country last week! I wasn’t able to attend, but I support #ChangeTheDate. The Aboriginal people are the traditional custodians of this land, the oldest living culture on earth. To hold celebrations on what is rightly a day of mourning for Indigenous Australians is inconsiderate at best, racist at worst.
Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.
On a completely different note, we celebrated our own milestone of sorts this week past. T turned two years old! It doesn’t feel long ago that I was crouching in the hallway of our blue house in Brisbane, the late afternoon sun streaming through the front door as I gave birth to T right there and then. Within the hour we were in bed, a brand new family of four. In those two years he’s gone from a small squishy baby to a little kid, a bull in a china shop, quick to both tears and laughter, so accomplished at being sweet that it is almost impossible to stay frustrated with him.
The day of his birthday was one of simple pleasures. We baked together, gave presents amidst excited squeals, the kids shared a punnet of raspberries that their Grandma brought down. We had homemade pizza for dinner, accompanied by this simple and most delicious Eggplant Panzanella, followed with a classic chocolate cake accompanied by cream and fresh mulberries. The kind of birthday anyone would love.
A simple twist on the classic panzanella. Lovely as a side summer salad, or top it with a poached egg to turn it into a meal all on its own. And there’s no hiding in such a simple salad, so using the freshest, best quality vegetables and herbs that you can get your hands on will make all the difference.
6 small (or 3 large) eggplant
4 thick slices of day-old bread
1 cup basil leaves
12 cherry tomatoes
1 small red onion
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to cook
Sea salt & cracked pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200°c/400°f.
Cut the eggplant into cubes and toss them in a bowl together with a generous amount of salt and olive oil. Lay in a single layer on a baking tray and roast for 25 minutes or until nicely browned, turning halfway through.
While the eggplant is roasting, thinly slice the onion. In a small bowl combine the onion and the red wine vinegar and leave to sit for approx. 30 minutes.
Halve the cherry tomatoes and set aside.
Either cut or rip the bread into chunks approx. the same size as the eggplant. Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a shallow pan over a medium-high heat. Add the bread to the pan and cook until it starts to get brown and crunchy (approx. 6 minutes). Toss continually to avoid burning.
In a large bowl combine the roasted eggplant, tomatoes, toasted bread, onion along with the vinegar, the tablespoon of olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste.
Serves: 4 – 6