aubergine parcels of halloumi and rocket with roast garlic and shallot raita

so, sticking with the purple love theme, onto aubergines!

i loved this dennis cotter recipe for aubergine parcels of halloumi and rocket with roast garlic and shallot raita. the raita, which also contained lime, chives and mustard seeds, was my favourite part of the dish and i was glad i made extra as i’ve been using it as a dip all week.

this is the first thing i’ve cooked from wild garlic, gooseberries ...and me. all recipes are vegetarian andi think it’s going to be great for thinking about certain ingredients in different ways - adding mustard seeds to the raita really makes it special and there is no way i could have come up with that on my own.

this is the kind of cookery book i really love – the unusual aspects of a recipe mean i often can’t quite imagine what the result will taste like so i have to cook it!

dennis cotter’s aubergine parcels of halloumi and rocket with roast garlic and shallot raita (serves 4)

for the raita:

4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

a small shallot, unpeeled

olive oil

250ml plain yoghurt

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

zest of a lime

1 tablespoon chopped chives


for the parcels:

3 medium aubergines

olive oil

300g halloumi

juice of a lime

100g rocket

2 tablespoons sundried tomato pesto

preheat the oven to 150c.

to make the raita, snip the ends off the garlic and shallots, toss them lightly in olive oil and roast in the oven for 15 minutes or so until soft. squeeze the flesh out of the skins and blend in a food processor. add the yoghurt and pulse a few times to incorporate the garlic and shallot. toast the mustard seeds in a heavy pan over a low heat for 5 minutes, then stir them into the yoghurt with the lime zest, chives and a pinch of salt.

increase the oven temperature to 180c.

cut a slice from two sides of each aubergine then cut the remaining flesh into long slices about 0.5cm thick. brush these lightly with olive oil and roast them on a baking tray in the oven for 8-10 minutes until fully cooked and lightly coloured.* you will need 12 slices altogether but make a few extra in case any parcels break as you assemble them.

cut the halloumi into 12 slices. heat a wide frying pan over a medium heat and brush the slices with olive oil. fry the halloumi for 5 minutes on each side until lightly coloured, transferring the cooked pieces onto a plate. squeeze the lime juice over the cooked halloumi. chop the rocket coarsely.

place the aubergines on a work surface with the best-looking sides down. spread a thin layer of tomato pesto** on each. place a slice of halloumi across the centre of each aubergine slice, cover it with some rocket and fold over the top and bottom of the aubergine to form a tight parcel. place the aubergine parcels, folded side down, on an oven tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 5 minutes, just long enough to heat through. serve with raita.

* i did this but then used a griddle pan to create the scorch stripes and add a bit of extra flavour as a result. the combination of roasting and griddling is really effective and i’ll use this again in the future, rather than just griddling which doesn’t always cook aubergine slices fully.

** dennis suggests adding capers to the pesto (and then blitzing it to a smooth paste) which i think would have worked really well and cut through some of the richness of the dish.