Anna’s aubergine, sundried tomato & mint bites
I concocted these delicious salty, minty, meaty bites recently. Great for providing some soakage with a glass of wine before a nice dinner (helps you avoid the sugar rush from the wine). The combination of mint and grilled aubergine gives a Middle Eastern feel, I think. do try to get true feta (made from goat or sheep milk, not cow). It has a better flavour and is easier to digest.
Makes about 20
1 very large or 2 medium aubergines, sliced lengthways into 1cm thick slices
1 tsp ground coriander
A few sprigs fresh mint
Half a block of goat or sheep feta cheese
5 sun dried (or semi sun dried) tomatoes marinated in oil, each cut in quarters or sixths
Freshly ground black pepper
To secure: cocktail sticks or around 20 long chives
1. Arrange the aubergine slices on a grill and sprinkle with ground coriander. Grill under a medium heat until golden, turn and continue cooking until softened. These will keep for several days in the fridge or until you are ready to assemble the bites.
2. Slice the long aubergine pieces crossways into 4cm wide strips. Onto each piece of aubergine put a piece of sun-dried tomato and a piece of torn mint leaf.
3. Give everything a good grind of black pepper. Roll the aubergine up with the mint and tomato inside. Secure with a cocktail stick or if you are feeling super-fancy, tie with a chive, knotted to hold everything together.
Why these are better for you
Did you know that goat and sheep cheese are easier for many of us to digest than cow cheese? This is because they contain less of the hard-to-digest casein protein than cow milk products do. Any cheese with a tangy taste has also undergone some fermentation, converting the lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid. This means that they are not a problem for people who can’t digest lactose. If you have taken antibiotics, have an inflammatory bowel condition or have digestive or skin issues you could be low in beneficial bacteria like lactobacillus. This impairs your ability to digest lactose. Mint and peppermint can help reduce levels of bad bacteria (that’s why they are in toothpaste!) but support growth of good bugs. This can be really helpful for making your digestive system more comfortable after a meal. Coriander is anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing as well as being delicious. Caution: don’t cram in tons of sundried tomatoes or feta every day because these are very high in table salt. Table salt is an industrial product with added aluminium to keep it from clumping – this makes it not very good for us. For adding to food, Atlantic sea salt or Himalayan salt is a better choice as it contains other minerals besides sodium. Eating protein with your glass of wine instead of high carb snacks like crisps or bread sticks means you don’t get a sugar rush (very damaging to all your body tissues, including a leading cause of wrinkles!!).