December: festive pomegranates

I was reading a blog or a cook book recently whose author said that they thought pomegranates looked ‘festive’. I was surprised, because I thought they looked sort of summery, but then I discovered they’re in season in winter. Easily persuaded, my metaphor-inclined mind likened their red jewels to Christmas-tree lights, stained glass windows, and holly berries. So it’s official: pomegranates are festive.

As are cocktails, so my first foray into purposing my pomegranates took the form of a ‘cosmo-pometan’. It was loosely (very loosely) based on an idea I got from Jamie Oliver for a gin/pomegranate shooter combo. But I didn’t fancy doing shots on a Monday night, so I lengthened the drink with some cranberry juice and lime (my buzz phrase in America: ‘more lime please!’) and served it in a martini glass.

The other half of my pomegranate I used with aubergine two ways (mainly because I loved the first way so much, I couldn’t resist a second aubergine-pomegranate coupling). In the picture below, I roasted aubergine halves with thyme and served them with a buttermilk sauce, ruby pomegranate gems, and a dusting of sumac.

In the second version, I scraped out the innards of blackened aubergine and mixed them with Greek yoghurt, pomegranate seeds, mint and lemon juice, and served it as a sauce with roasted baby pumpkin wedges and cumin-seared lamb.

For the first time this year, I’m celebrating Christmas in my own apartment in Amsterdam with friends rather than family (more about that nearer the time). I somehow suspect that pomegranates might be featuring on my festive menu…

you might also like these seasonal cooking...

Four years of monthly seasonal ingredients

August beans: is it broad? is it fava? is it tuin?