Uganda is roughly the size of Oregon. One would expect that moving around a country the size of Oregon would be easy. It’s not. If I wanted to go to Kampala (eastern-central) from the far south (say Kisoro) it might take over 10 hours. 10 hours! Forget about going from Kisoro (in the far south, remember?) to Gulu (Northern Uganda). That’s a two-day trip with a layover in Kampala.
And don’t expect to be comfortable during your travels. It’s not going to happen. Taxi drivers don’t care about your comfort. They only care about your money. And how it’s soon to be their money. They pack as many people, animals and packages as they possibly can into one vehicle. The circus has nothing on Ugandan taxi drivers. It’s especially brutal when you use “special hire” taxies, usually four-door sedans. My friend Amber told me about a time when she was in a four-door special hire with around 14 other people. I’ve yet to be that packed in yet – although I did get stuffed into an 8-person hatchback with 15 other people. I’ve been required to hold stranger’s sleeping children on my lap, sat on laps, had others sit on my lap, been pecked by an angry chicken and been entirely too close to one very smelly man.
When I arrive home the last thing I want to do is cook. But since Arby’s has yet to arrive in my town, I’m forced to light my gas cooker and whip out that cutting board.
After one particularly frustrating private hire encounter (30-minute drive on the “scenic view” through the Ugandan bush with 3 other people in the front seat with me so the driver can avoid a police roadblock because his insurance is expired…? good times), I arrived home with absolutely no desire to cook anything. A one-day-from-bad loaf of bread, almost soft tomatoes and one purple eggplant sealed the deal: bruschetta.
Tomato and Eggplant Bruschetta
4 medium tomatoes
1 medium purple eggplant*
3 cloves garlic
3 small onions (shallots)
4 slices white bread
1/3 t. Mustard powder
Mince the garlic and onions and sauté in olive oil in a saucepan until the garlic has just begun to turn golden and the onions are translucent. Do not let them burn!
Chop eggplant into ¾ inch pieces and add to the onions and garlic mixture. Chop the tomatoes into 1 inch pieces and add to the pan.
Mix well until the eggplant has begun to soften and the tomatoes are beginning to get slightly mushy but still retain their shape. Stir in the mustard powder, salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, while the tomato/eggplant mixture is cooking cut the bread slices in half and place in a lightly oiled pan to toast. Flip when bottom side is golden brown.
When both the toast and topping have finished, arrange the toast on the serving dish and top with the tomato/eggplant mixture and enjoy!
*I specify here that I used purple eggplants because in Uganda there are two types: the purple ones we see in America and smaller, rugby ball shaped ones that are green with yellow stripes. The former is delicious. The later is….less so. At least to me.