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Oct 3, 2011

Ajvar






Aaaarrrjjvvaaarrr ... I love that word. It rolls around the tongue so growly-like. Grrr ...
(Oh gosh! Embarrassing moment .... so I was told it's not pronounced aaarrjjvvvarrr but aiiiyyeevvarrr ... or an easier read: "eye-var".)

Ajvar is a Serbian relish. Its main ingredients consists of red bell peppers, eggplant and garlic. Other optional ingredients are vinegar and chilli peppers which produce versions from a lightly piquant to blow-your-pants-off hot.

This oh-so-versatile relish was introduced to me by Three Cookies having smeared some on his potato pancake and chorizo lunch and blogging about it. Go check Mr Three Cookies out (That's right, Mr Three Cookies ...... first name "Three", last name "Cookies"). Say hi.

It (the ajvar) had looked better than any ketchup I've seen and I was curious enough to look up the recipe on multiple sites and one that he (Mr T) suggested to me and was quite happy with what I saw. I've always loved roasted red peppers and eggplant. What could be better than to mush them all together and put it in a jar for when and if I need some kind of condiment for anything that requires a condiment. And now ... I'm hooked! I doubt I can go back to regular ketchup or relishes anymore. I had this with a regular hotdog the other day and it was mmm nom nom good! I'd even used it as a salad dressing! And today, I just wanted something light (another way of saying I was too lazy and can't decide what I wanted for lunch) and was digging into my ever crowded freezer and found some frozen pizza dough and decided I'd do a bruschetta-ish type snack.

This is ever so simple!

Here are the instructions ....

Thaw dough.
Roll out dough.
Bake.
Smear with Ajvar.
Eat.

How simple is that?

Oh ... yeah ... the Ajvar recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1 eggplant (abt 200g)
3 large sweet red peppers ( totalling abt 600g)
1 garlic clove
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 cup good grapeseed oil (or a good quality olive oil) (I used 1/4 cup as I didn't want it too runny)
a little oil to coat veges / cooking spray (optional)

optional ingredients: vinegar, chilli peppers, cayenne, chilli flakes.

METHOD

Heat oven to 200˚C.
Wash and dry eggplant and peppers. Cut eggplant into large chunks and quarter the peppers. Discard core and seeds of red peppers. Spray veges with a little oil (or not, but I did) and place in a single layer onto a parchment or aluminum foil lined baking tray. Roast for about 40 - 50 minutes or until it's wilted and the skin turns black.
Place roasted veges into a heatproof baggy and seal or, into a heatproof bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to sweat for about 15 - 20 mins.
Peel and discard the skins of both veges. Place into a food processor together with the garlic clove, lemon juice, sugar (if using) and salt. Buzz a couple of times to a chunky puree and then slowly drizzle in the oil while the blade is still running, until well incorporated.
At this point, it's up to you whether you want the ajvar to be chunky or a fine puree. As you can see, I like mine somewhere in between.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve or put it into a clean jar and store in the fridge.
Use to your heart's content.








24 comments:

  1. Oooh ajvar! I've had that recently with a fusion-type meal in Sigtuna (Sweden) - they served it with a burger, as a side, along some chopped red onions and creme fraiche, and it was heavenly!

    Best of all, I could probably eat it guilt-free if I have it with some olive-oil fried chorizo rounds, to dip into... *drools*

    Lately I feel that I need to start keeping a to-cook idea list of some sort, to not forget what I wanted to make. This could be the first item to get stuck on it. :D

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  2. I have never heard of this, but if it's got eggplant in it then it has to be good! :D Reminds me a bit of a more "bulked out" version of a harissa. Perfect for the top of potato pancakes... yum!

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  3. Great job, now I feel motivated to make some:) Great idea to use as a pizza type snack, I am guessing it would make a great pizza sauce. I was also wondering whether this could be incorporated into a macaroon:) Any thoughts on that:)

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  4. Looks delish. My hubs would love this one.Your pics are great.

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  5. BTW, small technical detail, perhaps you know already, its pronounced aevar (j becomes y)

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  6. eattheroses: Whoa, you're quick. I'm glad you like this too. You're right, maybe I too should start a to-cook list. Great idea.

    Charles: This was new to me too but now I'm a great fan!

    3Cookies: Thanks! I used this today for a calzone replacing the pizza sauce. It was super! A macaron? Hmm ... kinda weird. I was thinking of your beetroot jam in a mac tho.

    Kim Bee: Thanks! Hope he likes it :D

    3Cookies: Really? Oh gosh, how embarrassing and after I aarrjjjvvaarr-ed right at the top. Will edit that immediately. Thanks!

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  7. I think you could make little fast food packages of ketchup look fancy and beautiful! I have never heard of ajvar before but it really looks like something I could sink my teeth into.

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  8. hmm... great recipe you share here Ping! bookmarked this one ! ^,^

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  9. Oh, yeah! So much better than ketchup!

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  10. Kita: Haha! I doubt that. You really must try Ajvar if you like roasted red peppers. It would go so well with all those wonderful sandwiches and burgers you'd made.

    My Home Diary in Turkey: Hi Citra! Thanks!

    Lizzy: Yup! Definitely!

    Amanda: Thank you.

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  11. I like the growly version of the pronunciation better ;)
    I have never heard of nor tasted ajvar. I would certainly like to try making this.

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  12. I must make your ajvar recipe! It looks so fantastic!
    Now that I see you both with Mr. Three-Cookies enjoying ajvar regularly, I simply have to do something about it. (It's not that ajvar is new to me. There are lots of Serbian immigrants in Switzerland and ajvar is available everywhere, unfortunately the ones I have bought were not really good... very, very chemical taste).
    Thank you for spreading the love for ajvar!

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  13. Kiddothings: Haha! You and me both! I haven't tasted this before either so I'm not sure if it's authentic or not but whatever it is, it sure tastes good! :D

    Sissi: Thank you! Hmm ... the chemical taste could probably be due to the commercial process of cooking and de-peeling of the peppers rather than the traditional roasting method and peeling the blackened skinned by hand. Who knows what chemical is used to dissolve the skins ... eeww. And maybe some preservatives as well. But don't take my word for it. You just have to make some and tell me if the chemical taste could probably be the peppers themselves ... who knows.

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  14. Ping, I'm sure it's the preserving agents... And probably the peppers are not roasted in a traditional way. I will definitely try your recipe!

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  15. Ping-these are absolutely delicious. Never would have thought about making a roasted pepper spread for a traditional pizza dough. Love the color, the consistency, and mostly the yummy flavor!
    I will visit Mr. Three cookies! Thanks for sharing:DDD

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  16. Sissi: Yeah, that's a big possibility. Do let me know after you've tried it and if it still actually tastes the same way.

    Elisabeth: Thanks! This is such an interesting relish. I'm so very hooked. And I found out that capsicums are good for health too ... aaahhhh, no guilt food.

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  17. nice, must bookmark this recipe. Thanks Ping

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  18. Ping, I tried for a few minutes to tell my Quay Lo about this Aaaarrrjjvvaaarrr until he said, Lucy, why are you slurring, I don't know what you are talking about! I shouldn't try to pronounce it properly and got my tongue all twisted. I should have just said "eye-var" in the first place. Anyway, I am going to try making this relish for it will compliment lots of other dishes. From the ingredients used, I can imagine how flavorful it is. I am sure both Quay Lo and I will enjoy this as long as we don't try to pronounce the word Aaaarrrjjvvaaarrr. HUGS

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  19. QPC: ROFL!!!! You are sooo cute and funny! I was aaarrjjvaarr -ing all over the place until some one pointed out to me the correct pronunciation ... sooo malu! I had to post the malu-ness so that nobody else makes the same mistake. Haha! But as Kiddothings said ... the wrong one sounds nicer! Hope you enjoy this. Let me know if and when you do make it and if you like it. Enjoy! Hug back.

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  20. OH MY GOODNESS! So, my first boyfriend was Serbian and we ate Ajvar at Christmas! His family was so nervous that I wouldn't like it, but I couldn't stop eating it! YUM! Thanks for sharing this dish! PS... the beginning of this post had me cracking up!

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  21. Tiffany: Lucky you!! Glad I could bring a smile to your day :D.

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  22. Hi Ping! This is a mouthfull for me. I tried saying out loud just now and got a wierd look from my parents. The next thing they told me was "girl aren't you working tomorrow? Time for bed." Hahahah.. I really could imagine me slathering this over ciabatta. Got to try it out.. Thanks for buzzing me too over at my blog. It's been a while we chat. Till then.. btw we ought to meet up don't you think?? Take care now.. Am going to hit the bed now. Cheers, Jo

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  23. Hi Jo. Aww ... still their little girl, eh? Ciabatta and ajvar sounds great! In fact haven't had anything with it that isn't so far, unless I go out of the way and try it with something radical. Aren't you due to the foodbuzz fest soon? Maybe we'll catch up when you get back and you can fill me in on what I missed.

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