Chargrilled Eggplant Soup

Well what a day! Today marks Isaac and mine's 8th anniversary together. We met in high school, year 7 to be exact when I had changed schools and ended up in Isaac's class. I made a great bunch of friends, a lot of whom I still call great friends today but Isaac wasn't one of them right away. His locker was above mine but we never spoke to each because you know - high school. So the silence continued for term after term until one day we had a 'battleships' competition in maths class. By some fluke I made it to the grand final and so did Isaac. Isaac teamed up with his best friend Taylor in the final and I went it alone. I somehow got the idea that if I won the final, I would become cool enough for Isaac to talk to me..pretty warped sense of logic if you ask me now - it's high school and no one was becoming cool by winning maths competitions haha! At the last move, Isaac and Taylor both looked away to whisper strategy and I could see straight over onto their battleship board. The next move was mine..should I cheat to become cool enough for Isaac to talk to me? or should I pretend I never saw that board and possibly risk losing my chance at becoming his friend? Well, you betcha I 100% cheated! Haha I only actually told Isaac I had cheated on the game about a year ago! He complained that our relationship was a farce and based on lies - being dramatic of course. Whether I lied or not, we would have ended up together because over the rest of our high school years we became really close friends. Our whole friendship group did everything together really. And I had the hugest crush on him anyway. The rest is history now and I couldn't imagine not having him around!

To celebrate our anniversary we never buy gifts or anything, we just make time to have a nice dinner together and tonight's dinner is this easy and smoky chargrilled eggplant soup. It's healthy, satisfying and really unique from any soup I've ever had!

eggplant soup (2 of 2)
eggplant soup (1 of 2)

Chargrilled Eggplant Soup

3 eggplants
1/2 cup canned tomatoes
1 tbs cumin 1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs lemon juice
1 litre vegetable stock
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbs salt and pepper to taste
100g quinoa, cooked as per packet instructions

Start by burning two of the eggplants on the stove gas hob, turning every few minutes for 15 or so minutes (they won't catch fire or anything!) and then cool them until you can handle them
Cut in half and scoop out the soft flesh, set aside for later and discard the skins
Dice the remaining eggplant and fry in 1/3 cup olive oil until tender, place into a colander, season with some salt and set aside for later
Saute onion in 1 tbs olive oil for 5 minutes until translucent
Add cumin and saute for another 2-3 minutes
Add tomato paste and saute for a further minute then add the crushed tomatoes, stock, garlic, lemon juice and a generous sprinkle of seasoning
Simmer for 10 minutes
Add the eggplant flesh and blend the soup until very smooth with a stick blender
Serve in a bowl with a few spoonfuls of quinoa and fried eggplant on top

This recipe was inspired by the Aubergine and Mograbieh soup in 'Jerusalem' by Yotam Ottolenghi.