Food, scents and music are irrevocably linked and leave romantic etchings in our soul. One of my personal etchings, comes from a long time ago, from a café in the Russell St Melbourne called Café Baloo. I have such deep and very fond memories of ducking in there to eat the most astounding food I had ever tried. Thinking back, this Café had a remarkable impact on me. It was food like I had never had before and it had a sound that has stayed with me ever since.
The very second you stepped in the café, the smell, the sound and the spicy hum of the room, provocatively pulled you in. There was a glass cabinet filled with freshly cooked vegetables, grains and pulses. From the roof hung braids of garlic, chili and other flotsam and jetsam. Foreign movies were projected on to a small wall space with the sound turned down so that you could hear the jazz falling from the small speakers like smooth honey.
One evening, a good friend of mine, Judy, asked the wait staff what music was playing. And after another delicious dinner, we left to find the albums in the local music store. Even today, when I listen to Ronny Jordan, I am instantly transported to a belle epoch with a rousing hunger for their food once more. Sadly, those days have moved to the dusty but comforting halls of memory, but I still remember one of the vegetables served. It was a grilled eggplant served with the grated Parmesan cheese, the dried variety that is sprinkled from glass shakers.
100g dried grated Parmesan Cheese
Slice the aubergine into thin slices approximately half a centimeter wide. Lay each of the slices out on a board or plate and sprinkle them with sea salt. Leave them for about half an hour.
With some kitchen paper towel, pat the surface dry to remove any excess fluid drawn out by the salt. Brush each side with some vegetable oil.
Heat a grill until it is white hot. Cook each side of the aubergine until it is well caramelised and soft.
Remove them from the heat and place them on a serving plate. Sprinkle with generous amounts of Parmesan Cheese and serve. Perfect with other anti-pesto food