A rather boring title for my first proper blog post for 2012 I know, but here are a couple of tasty dinners we have enjoyed lately. I am not too much of a meat snob, and provided it is decent mince I quite enjoy cooking with it. A recent visit to Nikau inspired this dinner above - crispy Moroccan-style lamb on hummus. The trick to getting it crispy is having a hot hot pan (cast iron would be best) and not cooking too much mince at once as it cools the pan down and ends up stewing. So tempting I know to chuck it all in, but don't. My rendition was more heavily spiced than Nikau's, so suit yourself in that regard, but it was still delicious. We ate it with warm pita and a salad of roasted eggplant and red pepper.
To make a quick hummus in the food processor I blend a tin of drained, rinsed chickpeas with the juice of a lemon, salt, a clove of garlic and a spoonful of tahini if I have it. Then I add little pour of olive oil and a good dollop of yoghurt to loosen it; I like my hummus to be fairly sloppy in texture and sharp in taste.
crispy spiced lamb with hummus and herbs
rice bran oil
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
400g lamb mince
chopped fresh mint and Italian parsley to serve
roasted almonds/pistachios/pinenuts or dukkah to serve
Slowly cook the onion until golden and tender, add the spices and fry gently for a few minutes. Put aside.
Just heat oil in a pan until smoking hot, add the lamb, breaking it into little bits with your spoon and fry until dark brown, stir through the onion mix and continue cooking.
Tip onto a plate spread generously with hummus, scatter with the herbs and nuts and serve with pita bread.
Pork mince is another favourite starting point for a quick dinner. The pork spring rolls below Mum made; don't let the fact that the recipe comes from Food in a Minute put you off, they are very tasty. I think homemade spring rolls are the only way to go - comfortingly you can rely on the filling being identifiable, and ensure a good ratio of filling to pastry. This version is brushed with oil and baked in a hot oven, so they are pleasantly free of excess grease. You can find the recipe here.