Aubergine salad… all we need is sun on Hackney


EVERY WEEK I take £5 to Ridley Road Market in Dalston, Hackney, London E8 2LH, to spend on seasonal food, obviously not including items likely to be already in a kitchen, such as sauces, oil, herbs and spices. On Friday I tell you what I have chosen and publish a seasonal recipe. As usual, expenditure on any extra ingredients, eg, flour, will be recouped by usage over subsequent weeks. 

This week’s £5 basket

Bowl green peppers (10) £1

Bowl aubergines (3) £1

Bowl small plum tomatoes. Too many to count (TMC) £1

Bowl red peppers (5) £1

Bowl mushrooms TMC £1

Total £5


Alphonso mangoes were for sale on one stall this week at £7.50 a box. They may drop to £5 a box week. Another stall offered cherries at £1 a pound. To every thing, there is a season… even in street markets.

Recipe: Aubergine salad. Serves 2

Equipment: kitchen knife, roasting pan, tablespoon, small frying pan, bowl, mixing spoon.

Wash all vegetables.

Preparation: aubergines and tomatoes 10 minutes; cooking 30 minutes, oven  200C

Ingredients: 1 aubergine cut into bite-size pieces, 12 mini plum tomatoes cut in half, 1 tablespoon oil and balsamic vinegar, a few sultanas, seasoning, a teaspoon of oil for the dressing.

Method: Place the aubergine chunks into the roasting pan and cover with the oil. Stir the pieces around so that all the aubergine is coated in the oil and bake for 30 minutes or until soft and slightly browned. Halfway through the baking take the aubergines from the oven and turn them over to ensure an even bake. Return the pan to the oven to continue cooking.

Meanwhile, lightly fry the tomatoes in the frying pan until soft but retaining their shape. When ready, tip the aubergines into a bowl, add the other ingredients and mix well. Serve with a green salad and or a pasta dish. You will enjoy subtle and beguiling flavours. 

Still astonishing: such richness for so little
Still astonishing: such richness for as little as a fiver down the market in Dalston, Hackney

With the remaining food in my basket I shall make mainly salads and Mediterranean dishes, using lots of herbs, garlic and olive oil to pretend when I serve it that I am basking in sunshine.


* Two websites have written about the column this year. Hackney Post has published an interview with Shooey, as has the Food Bankers. Hackney council journalist Marcel Reinard has made a jolly video about markets, including Ridley Road. — Ed.

Previous articles hyperlinked: Asparagus with hollandaise 17 May 2013; Stuffed beef tomatoes with guacamole 10 May 2013Hackney snackney 3 May 2013Bell pepper salad 26 April 2013Gnocchi and tomato sauce with zucchini salad  19 April 2013Tomato soup with soda bread 12 April 2013;Broccoli mornay 5 April 2013Easter redemption song 29 March 2013

Ridley Road Market (excerpt) by Hilary Rosen
Ridley Road Market (excerpt) by Hilary Rosen

Less  is enough 22 March 2013A tart in the mart 15 March 2013; Polenta verde and sauté mushrooms 8 March 2013; Caribeasy 29 February 2013; Feeling fruity 22February 2013; Kashmir delight 15 February 2013Samphire surprise 8 February 2013Two dishes from £5 1 February 2013Ae fond neep 25 January 2013Cauliflower cheese 18 January 2013Hackney frittata 11 January 2013;  Tasty and easy Christmas snack 21 December 2012Shops behind the market stalls 9 November 2012Chutney 2 November 2012;  Piccalilli 26 October 2012Golden soup 19 October 2012Roasted, stuffed squash 12 October 2012Vegetable curry 5 October 2012Carrot and coriander soup 28 September 2012Ratatouille Gypsy stew 21 September 2012Bubble and squeak Shooey styleBakewell pudding 14 September 2012Coleslaw and radishes 7 September 2012Turkish spinach pie 31 August 2012Tomato tart, marinated aubergines, fresh mango chutney 24 August 2012Roasted butternut squash soup and beetroot salad 17 August 17 2012The column sets itself a challenge 15 August 2012

* Emboldened, coloured words may indicate a hyperlink, a special service for Loving Dalston readers who may want to research a topic more deeply. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

This site welcomes fair comments, including the critical. Letters may be edited for grammatical, legal or taste reasons, for shortening or for substitution of Wikipedia citations by reliable sources. RSS feed link is at top right. Twitter: @lovingdalston Publicists, amateur and professional, should read Also relevant may be the note at the end of