Ajvar and baked vegetable tart with polenta crust

This article appeared in SALIFE March 2017.

Serves 6
The ajvar can be made up to a week in advance.

250g instant polenta
1 large eggplant
2 large red capsicums
Garlic, finely mashed 
Parsley, very finely chopped 
Salt and pepper to taste
½ lemon, juiced 
Dried chilli, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Smooth labneh or natural yoghurt 
Zest and juice of 1 orange

Make polenta according to packet directions then spread on the bottom and sides of a loose-bottomed flan tin about 18x24cm. Allow to cool and set. 
Heat oven to 210C. Place eggplant and capsicums on a baking tray with a lip to catch any juices, and roast until their skins blister and turn black, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and discard blackened skins, stems and seeds. In a large bowl, mash or chop eggplant, capsicums and garlic, keeping it quite chunky. Add parsley; season to taste. Add lemon juice and chilli and drizzle in oil, stirring constantly. This ajvar can be covered and refrigerated for up to one week.
To serve: Spread ajvar over polenta base, then pile on roasted vegetables. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature with the labneh mixed with orange juice and zest.


1 bunch baby orange carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
1 bunch baby purple carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
1 bunch baby yellow carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
12 cocktail plum tomatoes
6 shallots, peeled and halved
1 head garlic, broken into cloves
1 capsicum, sliced into long strips
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
60g raisins, soaked in water
60g pine nuts
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

Preheat oven to 180C. Toss together carrots, tomatoes, shallots, garlic cloves and capsicum. Combine with a little oil, salt and pepper, and the smoked paprika. Mix well. 
Line a tray with baking paper and cook vegetables at 180C for 20 minutes, turning occasionally until they start to colour. Add drained raisins, pine nuts and asparagus to tray and return to oven; bake until vegetables are tender and cooked through.


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