Surrey Street treats: glorious baba ghanoush

By - Wednesday 15th October, 2014

As autumn comes and the nights draw in, Jess Bashford visits Croydon’s historic Surrey Street market seeking a last taste of summer

It’s been a while since my last forage round the market. But now the weather’s starting to get chillier, I thought it was about time to see what the market has to offer. And I’ve gone for another dip, but this time I’m showing off Surrey Street’s aubergines. It’s definitely a more autumnal dip than my summery guacamole, but it’s fresh enough to remind you that summer wasn’t too long ago.

Glorious baba ghanoush (aubergine dip): ingredients:

From Surrey Street market: 4 small aubergines.

From the kitchen: half a red onion, a tablespoon of garlic paste, a handful of parsley, half a lemon, salt and pepper.


1) Get your griddle really hot over the hob (you can always just use a frying pan if you don’t have a griddle). Then rub your aubergines in a little bit of oil and lay them on the griddle. Leave them on there until they start looking black in places – make sure you roll them over a few times so they’re scorched in more than one place. Hopefully it’ll leave a smoky-ish background to your dip.

2) Once they’re black in enough places for you, stick them on a baking tray and whack them in a hot oven. It’ll probably take around half an hour, but just make sure you leave them in there until you can poke them with a knife and they feel soft. (You’re going to need to scoop the insides out.)

3) While your aubergines are cooking, chop up enough red onion to fill a tablespoon. I did mine pretty finely. But it’s up to you. If you want more onion, chop up more and if you want more bite from your onion, don’t chop it so finely.

4) When it comes to your garlic, I used a tablespoon of garlic paste. But if you don’t have garlic paste, just finely chop up as many garlic cloves as you want.

Baba ghanoush takes its sumptuous autumnal hue from aubergines.
Photo author’s own.

5) Chop up a little bit of parsley for the top too.

6) Once your aubergines feel soft, take them out the oven. Now it’s going to get a little bit messy. It’s up to you how you do it, but you need to get all the insides of your aubergines out of their skins. I peeled the skins off half of each aubergine, then just used a spoon to scoop the flesh into a bowl.

7) When you’ve got it in a bowl (however you manage to do it) take a knife and chop at it a bit. You don’t want the aubergines to be smooth, but you do want to get rid of any big chunks.

8) Now for the easy bit: adding everything together so you like the taste. I pop in a load of salt and pepper, all my garlic, the juice of half a lemon and most of the onion. (But I save a little bit to scatter over the top.) Then stir everything up together.

9) Spoon it out into the bowl you’re going to serve it from and sprinkle your parsley and leftover onion on the top. I like to serve mine with lots of pitta bread to scoop it up with.

10) All that’s left is to eat your Surrey Street treat.

I hope that everyone who has a stab at this treat enjoys it. I think I’ll be heading to the market to get hold of some ingredients to whip a warmer autumnal treat very soon.

Jess Bashford

Jess Bashford

Jess Bashford is a writer at a brand language consultancy and an English literature and creative writing graduate. She’s passionate about showing that Croydon is a great place to live and excited to delve into Croydon’s cultural side. She loves all things wordy and foody.

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  • Joanna Steele

    This is such a good idea! I’m never quite sure what to cook up from the market..hopefully we’ll see more :)

  • Abhi T

    Will give it a try Jess!Thanks for the recipe.