Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Garlic is as good as 10 mothers

This beautiful image was taken at the Louisiana County Fair in 2008. We don't have county fairs in Australia, although we do have farmers markets and agricultural fairs. To me, a US county fair resonates with images of pumpkin pie, prize pigs, checked shirts and haybales. I am sure this is quite an inaccurate picture but there you go.


There is a Chinese proverb which says garlic is as good as 10 mothers. No doubt this derives from garlic's well known health giving properties. And what is not to like about garlic? It adds depth and tang to food, it gives you lovely breath and can be roasted, baked, sauteed, deepfried and eaten raw. Each different method gives a different flavour.

Whilst on Chinese proverbs check out Chinese-Sayings. If this website is to be believed the Chinese invented every single wisdom in hindsight proverb known to man. I think they are right about garlic however. It is restorative, especially when roasted.

My mothers roasted garlic salad dressing

This is more of an idea than a recipe. On the wekend I visited my mother at her farm in north east Victoria and enjoyed a salad with butter lettuce and tomatoes from the garden, along with gently boiled asparagus stems. The dressing was sublime. This is how she makes it:
  • wrap about 4 nice fat cloves of garlic in some foil, make sure to sprinkle some olive oil and sea salt on. Roast in an oven at 180 for about an hour.

  • let the garlic cool then mash with a fork.

  • add about 75 mls of olive oil and 25 mls of red wine vinegar (the amounts don't matter as much as the ratio of 3 to 1).

  • mix in a small teaspoon of Keen's mustard powder, salt and pepper, any oily juices from the roast garlic and a sprinke of sugar.

Eggplant garlic and roasted tomato dip

This recipe comes from a Crabtree and Evelyn cookbook I have had since the early 1990s when I was just a wee lass. It is from memory now. An excellent piquant lemony dip which can be served with pita crisps, which I usually loathe, or toasted ciabatta. Don't worry about the double-dipping hygiene issue. I recently saw an episode of Mythbusters which comprehensively refuted any concern.


One medium size boy eggplant (aubergine) (it's true, they come in girl and boy. The girl ones have an oversupply of seeds and not enough flesh).

One head of garlic

About 12 semi dried tomatoes (home dried or from a delicattessen)

Half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper

2 tbs of chopped flat leaf parsley

Juice of one lemon

Salt and pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Stab (kindly) the eggplant in a couple of places, and place on a roasting dish in the oven. Slice the top half off the head of garlic and wrap in foil with a sprinkle of olive oil. Roast for about 45 minutes or until the eggplant is looking soft and a bit leaky and the garlic is soft.

Leave eggplant and garlic to cool then scoop out eggplant flesh and mash, and squeeze garlic from their enclosures and mash or chop.

Finely chop the tomotoes and mix these along with remaining ingredients with the eggplant and garlic into a bowl. Eat fresh and warmish. (This goes a bit yuck if refrigerated.)

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