While I know my cooking has little to do with soul food, I enjoy cooking on many levels, from the simple pleasure of eating the results, to the process as a flow experience, where each step is its own reward in a process of scents, colours and textures as much as taste. And so when a group of game researchers from the Norwegian network JoinGame gathered in Volda, I had a chance to prepare by cooking. The result was a three course dinner: Grilled fennel, baked eggplant and chocolate mousse.
The fennel was good, but not stunning, so I'll just skip that, but I was asked for the recipe for the eggplant, so here it is, for 4 persons:
4 large eggplants
2 tbs olive oil + extra for the eggplants
1 small onion
800 g chopped tinned tomatoes
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
50-75 g freshly grated parmesan
200 g mozarella, thinly sliced
seasalt and freshly grated black pepper
Cut the eggplant in 1 1/4 cm thick strips. Leave them in salted water for 30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a frying pan, and fry the onion until it's soft. Put in tomatoes and basil, and let this bubble slowly for about 30 minutes.
Let the eggplant drain, clean them in fresh water and pat them dry. Deep fry them or brush with oil and bake them at about 180 degrees Celcius for 20 minutes.
Put a layer of eggplants in the bottom of a oven-proof pot. Then a layer of grated parmesan, mozarella and then the tomato sauce. Repeat this, to end with a layer of tomatoes if you want a soft top, or cheese if you want a more dry, crisp top layer.
Bake this at 180 degrees Celcius for 30-35 minutes, until it bubbles and is golden on top. Take out and put aside for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or room tempered.
For the dessert, loads of dark chocolate, here for 2 persons:
100 g 70% (at least) chocolate
juice and zest of one orange
2 eggs, seperated
Melt the chocolate gently in a fireproof bowl over a pot of hot water. Don't let the bowl touch the boiling water. Cool the chocolate and then stir in orange juice, zest and egg yolks. Beat the egg whites firmly, then gently cut one spoon of whites into the chocolate mixture, before you put everything in. Put the mousse in two high glasses and cool until it's set. decorate with orange peels before serving.
This mousse is so intense that I prefer to serve it with a dash of cream. It is not particularly sweet, so it does not demand coffee to go with it, but it is very rich, so you don't need a large portion.
Later on the poor, overfed gamers were served warm apple cake and tea.