Baba ghanoush

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Last night we had a little party for Ross’s work colleagues in Basel. As his boss is vegan I want to make ‘bitings’, as they are called in Kenya, that we could all eat and enjoy. These smoky aubergine canapés on pumpernickel were quite yummy and very easy to make. I also made a beetroot, chickpea and tahini dip, as well as a guacamole with crudités and some smoked salmon with horseradish cream on sunflower seed rye breed. You can also serve this as a dip with pitta breads.

Makes about 36 canapés

2 large aubergines (about 650g)
Juice of 1 lemon, plus a little extra to taste
2 tbsp tahini
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp chopped mint or flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp pomegranate seeds (optional)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Blacken the aubergines over a gas hob or barbecue,  turning regularly with tongs, until completely charred and collapsed (you may wish to surround the rings with foil, as it can be messy). If you don’t have gas then you can bake them in the oven, making sure to prick them first. Allow to cool.

Slit the aubergines lengthways and scoop out the flesh in long strands, discarding the skins. Put in a sieve and leave to drain for 30 minutes, or squeeze out if you’re in a hurry. Season.

In a serving bowl, stir the lemon juice into the tahini until it loosens up. Add the garlic and two-thirds of the chopped herbs, and season again to taste. Add a squeeze more lemon juice if necessary.

Mash the aubergines gently with a fork, and then stir into the tahini mixture. Add the olive oil. Top with the remaining herbs and the pomegranate seeds, if using.

Scoop out and dollop on the squares of pumpernickel. Decorate with pomegranate seeds and herbs – dill is nice.

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