Tuesday, August 14, 2012

a cozy weekend + buckwheat noodles with eggplant & mango

it was a splendid weekend, more special than most.

it started out strong with a stretchy car outfit and my favorite pillow, a playlist, and a stash of soba noodles and watermelon.

the soba noodles were filled with soft crisped eggplant and slices of mango. the watermelon was filled with water.

feeling free on the road. it was beach fog. it was a house on a hill. it was family love.

it was early mornings in a cozy bottomed bunk bed.

it was family dinner time in an old family dinner room.

it was bees eating peaches. it was humans eating plain marshmallows and jam.

it was tequila shot toasts. (ayiiiyiii!)

it was wishing that all seagulls would lose their ability to squawk.

it was puzzle and wine time. all the time.

tangly ponytails, and chilling on cliffs.

i never want to be away from baby belly laughs or cheesy biscuits.

twas such a precious weekend, surrounded by people who love each other so much.

and then there was the long, immediately nostalgic ride home.
bumpy nap included.

and a lapful of big sur bakery raspberry strudel flakes. .

and to close out the journey, just a few nonchalant zebras chilling on the side of the coastal highway.

because, as i always say, every great weekend ends with wild zebras.

(oh right, the soba noodles. easy, slurpable, and oh so delish. perfect to eat cold out of a tupperware, perhaps in the car or in a field. or just wherever you normally eat. ottolenghi can do no wrong!)

Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango
from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 fresh red chile, finely chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 cup sunflower oil
2 eggplants, cut into 3/4 inch dice
8-9 ounces soba noodles
1 large ripe mango, cut into small chunks or thin strips
1 2/3 cup basil leaves, chopped
2 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced

In a small saucepan gently warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for up to 1 minute, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, chile and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.
Heat up the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow-fry the eggplant in three or four batches. Once golden brown remove to a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave there to drain.
Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. They should take 5 to 8 minutes to become tender but still al dente. Drain and rise well under running cold water. Shake off as much of the excess water as possible, then leave to dry on a dish towel.
In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion. You can now leave this aside for 1 to 2 hours. When ready to serve add the rest of the herbs and mix well, then pile on a plate or in a bowl.


  1. Well sweet pea,
    We are sharing some strange synchronicity in a weird kind of time warp. I bought that blue paisley tablecloth in India a yr ago, ate those mango eggplant noodles a week ago, drove south DOWN the coast while you were driving north, went to the castle for the first time in 15 years....but did not see those stripey zebras.....and would have felt cheated had the weather, the beach, the moon and the food not been so perfect. Oh, and instead of Big Sur bakery we did Nepenthe and bloody marys while trancing out over the gorgeousness. Keep on trucking!