supper club #2 jerusalem – lemony roasted baby aubergines & pearl couscous tabouleh

the second supper club ‘jerusalem’ is already a few weeks back and i still owe you some impressions. and the menue, not to forget! i’m always a bit sad when the pictures don’t turn out the way i hoped. but i think it’s okay because honestly, it was hard work and many hours on our legs (my mom helped me, luckily) got the best of me. i want everything to be perfect for the guests, so that the pictures are for once second priority.
we served ten courses. alas, it was a lot to eat. we served tiny portions, of course. and people said they weren’t actually that (unconveniently) full, in the end, which seemed to surprise them. i think it’s just because basically, this cuisine is rather healthy, with good oils and lots of herbs and vegetables. 
sadly, i won’t have any (other) pictures of the lamb chops course; this is the only one. but rest assured: it was a lot of meat to prepare for 14! all other courses and dishes will be (or have already been; like the matzo ball ‘knaidlach’ soup) posted here, asap.
for the lemony roasted baby aubergines, we adapted a recipe from yotam ottolenghi’s ‘jerusalem’, yet again. we obviously used baby aubergines (which worked just as fine as the normal, big ones), because half an aubergine would be a dinner in itself, possibly. and we left out the feta crumbs on top, as there were enough other dishes in the menu which featured feta, and not everyone likes it. so we simply skipped it. they were still as marvelous as the last time around (on christmas). 
now on to the recipes… enjoy!

lemony roasted baby aubergines
adapted from yotam ottolenghi’s ‘jerusalem’

6 baby aubergines or 2 large ones, with stem on
150ml olive oil
salt and black pepper
4 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sumac
1½ green chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 medium lemon, juice
1 preserved lemon, skin and flesh
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

heat the oven to 200c/400f. halv the aubergines and brush generously with 100ml of oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. place cut side up on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes (for the small ones) or 45 (for the large ones), until golden-brown.

meanwhile, pour the remaining oil into a frying pan over high heat, add the onions and half a teaspoon of salt, and cook for eight minutes, stirring, until parts of the onion go dark and crisp. add the cumin, sumac and one chilli, cook for a few minutes, then turn off the heat.

with the fresh lemon, make juice. chop the flesh and skin of the preserved lemon, discarding the seeds, and put in a bowl with any juices, the remaining chilli and the garlic.

the moment the aubergines are done, spoon the lemony sauce over the flesh side. spoon the onions on top and serve warm or at room temperature.

pearl couscous tabouleh
2 cups pearl / israeli couscous (more like pasta), or normal couscous
1 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup mint, finely chopped
1/2 cilantro, finely chopped
1 tomato
2 drops harissa or sriracha (chili sauce)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fleur de sel
1 lemon, juice
cook the couscous according to directions (in the case of the israeli pearl couscous, the preparation is the same as with pasta). shortly before draining the remaining water, put the tomato in the boiling water for a minute. cool and remove the skin, deseed and dice finely. put cooled down couscous and tomato in a bowl. add the herbs (mint, parsley, cilantro), harissa, olive oil and lemon juice, and season with salt. you might find that you need to add a bit more salt than expected. serve at room temperature. some hours of marinating won’t hurt, so you can well prepare it ahead.
oh, and the flowers were a mix between pink peonies, pale pink ranunculus, bleeding heart (no kidding) and some others that i don’t remember…. anyway, a joyful, colorful and vibrant mix of exotic looking flowers, i thought that’s what a jerusalem supper needs, to add a little glamour.
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