Week 15 – Iran
This is a strange yet flavoursome dish. Lamb cooked over three hours is pulled and mashed in with potatoes, beans, chick peas and more to create a stocky, full on stew complete with broth and a variety of toppings. Flavour wise, Persian dried limes (two of them) are called for in this recipe traditionally. Unfortunately, I was unable to source any nearby, so I opted to use three thick slices of lime instead. These cooked down completely over the allocated time and added a wonderful lime subtlety to the dish. I have no doubt that the dried limes would be wildly greater.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lamb shanks
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 onion, thickly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 3 thick (1.5 cm) slices of lime)
- 6 coriander roots, washed, finely chopped
- 2 potatoes, peeled, roughly chopped
- 4 tomatoes, peeled, chopped
- 400 gr can of chickpeas, drained
- 400 gr can of cannellini beans, drained
- Fried shallots, pickles and yogurt for serving
- Heat oil in heavy based saucepan over medium-high heat. Season lamb shanks and cook until browned on all sides (5 minutes). Add 2 litres of water, tomato paste, onion, garlic, turmeric, lime and coriander roots. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, cook for 2 hours.
- Add potatoes and tomatoes. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Then add beans and chick peas. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Strain stew through a sieve to separate broth from solids. Pull the meat from the shanks and discard bones. Coarsely mash together lamb with other solids.
- Serve a portion of the solid into each bowl, then ladle broth over the top. Finish by topping with fried shallots, pickles and yogurt.
Rosewater, saffron and nutty caramels
- 1 good pinch of saffron
- 2-3 tablespoons rose water
- 1/2 cup cornflour
- 1 1/2 cup of sugar
- 30 gr butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1teaspoon cardamom
- ½ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- Extra crushed pistachios, to garnish
- Combine saffron with rosewater and 1 tablespoon boiling water and set aside.
- Combine cornflour with 2 cups water until smooth and set aside.
- Place sugar in dry saucepan over medium heat and cook until sugar has melted. When sugar has liquefied and completely dissolved, carefully add water and stir constantly for 15 minutes.
- Combine melted butter and rosewater/saffron and add to the sugar mix. Slowly stir in the cornflour mix and add cinnamon, cardamom and nuts.
- Stir continuously for 20 minutes. Using oiled spoons, transfer dollops of caramel to trays lined with baking paper to make small disks. Alternatively, pour the mixture into a tray so it can be sliced later. Let it cool down, then leave it in the fridge for an hour to completely firm up.
Week 16 – Iraq
- 500 gr lamb mince
- ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons ras el hanout
- 8 rosemary sprigs (to use as skewers)
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped in 2-3cm pieces
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons ras el hanout
- ¼ cup sultanas
- ¼ cup roasted almonds, roughly crushed
- 1 cup rocket, chopped
- ½ cup coriander leaves and stalks, chopped
- ½ cup mint leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Lemon wedges and yogurt, to serve
- To form the kofta, combine lamb mince, parsley, mint and ras el hanout. Press the mixture firmly, divide into eight pieces and form small logs. Skewer each with a rosemary sprig and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 150C. Place chopped tomato on baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Season and roast for 25 minutes.
- Place couscous in baking dish lined with baking paper and pour over 1 cup boiling water, along with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Cover and stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork, then place butter in small pieces over the top. Cover and place in oven for 15 minutes.
- Combine onion, honey and ras el hanout in a pan and cook over medium heat for 6 minutes.
- Combine roasted tomatoes, onion mix, sultanas, almonds, rocket, coriander, mint and lemon juice and mix through couscous.
- Heat a grill on high. Cook kofta for 6-8 minutes, turning to brown each side well. Top couscous with grilled kofta and serve with lemon wedges and yogurt.
This treatie is ridiculously easy to make, but so so good!
- Sesame seeds
- Blend dates to a course paste (you should be able to mould it with your hands, but it’s very sticky so wet hands are recommended).
- Grind some sesame seeds to a powder. Take a portion of date, mould into a disc and sprinkle with sesame powder. Place two walnut halves in the centre and fold the date mix around the outside, forming a ball. Roll ball in sesame seeds.
Week 17 – Georgia
It’s hard to pronounce but not hard to make. I feel like this could have easily been a contender in October’s Festival of the Pizza, as it’s a nice variant of the old “dough and topping” style. There are really three key pieces to this dish: bread, cheese and egg. It’s simple and great for a snack, a side dish or the whole dinner if you so desire.
Ingredients (makes 1 “loaf”)
- 2 cups flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk, warmed
- 3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
- 1 cup mozzarella, grated
- 1 cup ricotta, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
- Combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Combine milk, 1 egg (lightly beaten) and oil and add to flour mix. Mix well to combine then knead on floured surface for 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes (the dough should double in size).
- To make the filling, combine cheeses, parsley, chives and 1 egg together in a bowl. Season.
- Preheat oven to 250C and line a tray with baking paper. Knead dough again for 5 minutes then roll into a 30 cm oval and transfer to tray. Rest for 15 minutes.
- Scatter the cheese mixture on the dough, leaving a 5cm border. Fold the edges over and pinch the ends to create a boat shape. The centre should be exposed.
- Reduce oven to 180C. Bake loaf for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush bread with egg yolk. Crack the final egg into the centre of the loaf and return it to the oven for a further 7 minutes or until egg is cooked.
Week 18 – Turkey
Harissa is quickly becoming one of my favourite ingredients. It packs a mighty punch and can be used in a huge variety of dishes, from a simple baste to a complex sauce. Here, it works in two ways: as a punchy marinade with citrus and spice on salmon, and as a swirly zinger in yogurt. It all brings together some lovely Turkish flavours, going beautifully with some pearl couscous.
Harissa salmon with pearl couscous
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 6 cardamom pods, seeds removed
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ cup harissa
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 skinless salmon fillets
- 250 gr pearl couscous
- ¼ cup mint, chopped
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped
- 1 cup yogurt
- Extra mint leaves, to garnish
- Place coriander and cardamom seeds in a frypan over medium heat for 1 minute. Cool, then grind to a powder. Combine with cinnamon, ginger, 2 tablespoons harissa, half the lemon zest and 2 tablespoons oil.
- Cover the salmon fillets with marinade and refrigerate for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 170C. Bring salmon to room temperature. Roast for 10 minutes.
- Cook pearl couscous as per packet instructions. Combine with herbs, lemon juice, remaining zest and oil. Season.
- Swirl the remaining harissa through the yogurt, then spoon it onto plates. Top with couscous and salmon. Garnish with mint leaves.