Oh how the time flies… I can’t believe it has been two months since our little boy was born! We brought him home from hospital on the second day of Spring, a wonderful feeling after five weeks in neonatal care. I’d be perpetuating one of the biggest myths around if I didn’t say it has been hard – in ways I’d never imagined – and at times I have been swamped by despair as some things went the shape of pears. I am learning though that this motherhood gig is never easy for anyone, no matter how it seems from the outside. Luckily I have a truly amazing partner whose support I would be lost without, and who reminds me constantly that the best response to most things is to relax, be positive and remain open to possibility. I’m reminded of that saying that we need darkness to see the stars. So true. Though light, we have much, and we are loving life as a little family! A huge thank you to everyone for your totally lovely comments and congratulations!
Other than learning to be a mum, and acquiring the kind of stuff you need for a baby (we did not own a baby-related thing when he arrived), I have been busy packing and moving house – across the bay, no less! – to Moreton Island. More on that soon. We did not plan to be moving house at the same time as having a new baby – but I will studiously plan to avoid it in future! I think I have a huge appetite for work, but life has been all kinds of pandemonium. It’s a good thing we do ‘on the fly’ so well. We are now halfway through the move, having transported ourselves and essentials to the island, but still have the little house at the Hill to pack up.
But not to harp on the hardships… we are on an incredibly unique journey, the stuff of dreams. We have bucketloads of love, and these are magic times. Times like our first beach trip with babe, sunset by a coastal lagoon…
And the help we’ve had from family and friends. K’s mum made us this meal – twice, the second time on my request. There’s something so reassuring about having food bestowed in times of upheaval. It tells you you’re connected. And that as your world turns asunder, someone is thinking of you and wishing you comfort and smooth passage. Recognition. And love.
Will I ever tire of different ways with eggplant? This dish makes me think not. Similar to the eggplant with polenta dish I made about this time last year, this spin, the eggplant gets a crisp eggy coating and is bathed in a simple tomato sauce and baked with lashings of mozzarella. This, friends, is comfort. Though we have moved tentatively into a new season, this makes fabulous winter fare. The recipe makes eggplant the star, however I was ravenous so served this with pasta. I also crumbled some ricotta I had over the top, before baking.
A caveat: I have not made this myself (yet), so have transcribed the recipe directly from K’s mum. Leave a comment if you make it and have any tips.
With any luck, I will find time to play in our new kitchen soon. And share with you as we begin our new life as island dwellers. Life is grand, let the good times roll…
2 large eggplant (aubergines)
2 tbspn olive oil
1 egg, beaten
100g mozzarella, sliced
100g fresh ricotta
2 cloves garlic, crushed
450g tomatoes, peeled and chopped or 2 x227g cans tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
pinch raw sugar
salt and pepper
Wash, trim and slice the eggplant, then lay the slices on a plate and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with water and pat dry.
For the sauce, warm the oil in a saucepan and add garlic. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Heat more oil in a frying pan. Dip eggplant slices in the egg and fry until lightly coloured on each side.
Layer eggplant slices, tomato sauce and mozzarella in a small greased oven-proof dish. Top with ricotta and bake for 20 minutes or until browned on top.
Serve with pasta for a more robust meal.