I came home last week craving meatballs; in particular, I wanted meatballs with toasted pinenuts and the sweetness of raisins – just like in the recipe by Molly from Orangette, whose recipes have always been dependable. Instead of turkey, I used pork and I also substituted flat leaf parsley for the coriander; they’re very customisable. I highly recommend making them – they’re juicy and meaty and yet have the nuts and raisins to keep them interesting.

Meatballs with Pinenuts and Raisins

But what was I going to pair with the meatballs? I was already going to buy yogurt and lemons for the accompanying sauce and so thought of the seemingly recent pairings of grilled aubergines with yogurt – the first time I had this was at Ottolenghi a number of years back. I’ve still not got his eponymous cookbook but with that dish in mind, I threw this together based on what I had in my cupboards. And I got to christen my new grill pan with the aubergine slices! (If you don’t have one, just stick them under the grill.)

Grilled Aubergine with Lemon and Yogurt

The result? A great vegetable side dish – the tang of the yogurt and lemon goes so well with the neutral aubergines and gosh, I love pinenuts. I do wish I had doubled the recipe though but for normal people who expect normal portion sizes, this recipe will do!

Grilled Aubergines with Lemon and Yogurt
serves 2 as a side dish.

2 small/medium aubergines
olive oil
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic
juice from half a lemon
ground cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsps pine nuts, toasted
a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley
Piment d’Espelette or pimentón

Slice each aubergine lengthwise into 4 slices (each slice will be between 1-2cm thick). Brush one side of each slice liberally with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and slap onto a hot grill pan. Cook each side for about 5 minutes, brush liberally with oil again and flip and continue cooking. They should be soft when fully cooked – at this point, remove them onto a plate and continue cooking the rest of the slices.

Crush the garlic clove into the yogurt and stir in the lemon juice too. Add a good pinch or two of ground cumin and season well with salt and pepper. Stir again and adjust the seasonings if desired.

Dollop the yogurt on the aubergine slices – you may not use all the sauce and it’s great on the meatballs (should you decide to make them!). Chop the parsley and sprinkle that and the toasted pinenuts on top. Sprinkle with Piment d’Espelette or pimentón and serve.