Nigella’s Beef and Eggplant Fatteh

Serves: 4

Hats off Nigella, as simple – and predictable – as this recipe seems, when everything comes together; especially cooking everything as slow as you can, it is a wonderful weekend meal.

And it is quite literally is about it al coming together: the toasted pita chips, the mince and dollops of the warm yoghurt/tahini mixture.

Throw on top toasted pine nuts, shredded mint and pomegranate seeds* and you really couldn’t ask for more except for a second glass of wine as you watch Masterchef** on Monday night.

Hats off again. A cracker.

Ingredients

Base

4 pita breads, slit open and cut into nacho-sized triangles.

Topping

500gm Greek yoghurt
75gm tahini
45ml lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 – 2 tsp salt, to taste

Eggplant-beef layer

3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 eggplant, cut into small cubes
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground paprika
1 – 2 tsp salt, to taste
500gm minced beef

Garnish

125g pomegranate seeds
50gm pine nuts, toasted
1 – 2 tbsp finely shredded mint leaves

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180c.
  2. Spread the pita triangles on a large baking tray and toast in the oven until toasted, moving them around regularly to ensure even toasting. Set aside until needed.
  3. Bat the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice and 1 tsp of salt together in a heat proof bowl which will later be used to sit over a saucepan. Check the salt levels and adjust as needed.
  4. Warm the oil over a low heat in a wide, heavy frypan. Add the onion and sauté for 10 – 15 minutes until softened and caramel.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium, add the eggplant cubes and stir well to mix with the onion. Cook for 10 minutes or until the eggplant is golden, stirring frequently.
  6. Stir in the cumin, coriander and teaspoon of the paprika and a teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to high and add the beef mince, breaking it up. Cook until browned. Reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes. Check the seasoning.
  7. Heat a saucepan of water and bring to a slow simmer. Place the bowl of tahini-yoghurt mixture on top, ensuring the bowl does not touch the water. Beat until the yoghurt is slightly above water temperature and has the consistency of lightly whipped cream.
  8. To assemble, arrange the crisp pita triangle on a large plate. Top with the eggplant-beef mixture, followed by the tahini-yoghurt sauce. Sprinkle with paprika to give a light dusting. Scatter over pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts and then finish with the shredded mint leaves.

* In a rush, I grabbed a Fuji fruit rather than a pomegranate. Laughs all round.

** Where we saw this recipe.

Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken

Serves: 4 – 6

Ok, so Nat got this Monday-night recipe wrong – originally from the NY Times – and it was so much better for it.

Like, amazingly better.

The yoghurt marinade – especially after grilling – made it creamy and soft: the fresh herbs and garlic added depth and flavour.

Grilled, boring, chicken it was not.

The opposite.

As far as a simple BBQ dinner goes, this could not have met the brief better. Seal and sear the chicken, have a handy salad ready and maybe some potatoes and boom, this is a weekday night super-success with possibly enough left for lunch.

Best mistake ever. And one I am happily typing up.

Ingredients

9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of two lemons
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley, more for serving
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 1/2 salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, more for garnish
3/4 tsp sumac, more for garnish
2/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Roll the chicken thighs flat.
  2. Combine the remainder of the ingredients and add to the chicken. Marinate for 8 – 24 hours.
  3. Heat a grill over a high-heat and cook the chicken for 4 – 7 minutes each side until charred and cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Slice the chicken, sprinkling sumac, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lemon top.
  5. Serve with the yoghurt.

Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken

Serves: 4 – 6

Ok, so Nat got this Monday-night recipe wrong – originally from the NY Times – and it was so much better for it.

Like, amazingly better.

The yoghurt marinade – especially after grilling – made it creamy and soft: the fresh herbs and garlic added depth and flavour.

Grilled, boring, chicken it was not.

The opposite.

As far as a simple BBQ dinner goes, this could not have met the brief better. Seal and sear the chicken, have a handy salad ready and maybe some potatoes and boom, this is a weekday night super-success with possibly enough left for lunch.

Best mistake ever. And one I am happily typing up.

Ingredients

9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of two lemons
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley, more for serving
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 1/2 salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, more for garnish
3/4 tsp sumac, more for garnish
2/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Roll the chicken thighs flat.
  2. Combine the remainder of the ingredients and add to the chicken. Marinate for 8 – 24 hours.
  3. Heat a grill over a high-heat and cook the chicken for 4 – 7 minutes each side until charred and cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Slice the chicken, sprinkling sumac, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lemon top.

Roast Lamb with Whipped Feta and Mustard Dressing

Serves: 4 – 6

You can’t really go wrong with roast lamb.

As soon as you carve it it, fingers appear to grab pieces and why not? Picking at food is never decorum though roast (or BBQ) lamb is an exception.

It is what roast lamb exists for.

This wonderfully simple dish puts the emphasis on the dressing rather than the roast lamb; no sticks of rosemary and garlic or anchovies here.

And that is just fine.

Accompany with an equally simple parsley and red onion salad and you have the basis of a wonderful dinner on the table.

If you’re lucky, lunch the next day too.

Ingredients

1 boned leg of lamb (around 1.5kg)
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
100gm feta
250gm plain yoghurt
1 heaped tbsp Dijon mustard
2 lemons
4 tsp sumac
½ bunch parsley, leaves torn
1 small red onion, finely sliced

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. Season the lamb and roast for 55 minutes; set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, process the feta, yoghurt, mustard, juice of 1 lemon and 2 tsp sumac until smooth.
  4. For the salad: peel, segment and dice the remaining lemon. In a bowl, combine diced lemon, parsley, onion and remaining sumac.
  5. Carve the lamb and serve drizzled with the feta and mustard dressing and the salad at the side.

Simple Open Moussaka with Yoghurt Dressing

Simple Open Moussaka with Yoghurt Dressing

Serves: 4

We’ve been using a food service – Marley Spoon – for the past few months.

It came recommended and at its best, it is really pretty good; I certainly referred it onto a few friends.

You select your meals for the week and a few days later, a box is delivered containing individual paper bags for each meal and very clear recipe cards. The ingredients – especially the meat, poultry and seafood – are fresh, very high-quality and in their own chill-bags for the period they sit on your doorstep.

Each dish is relatively easy to prepare and except for one outlier where we were still hungry, a week where we seemed to eat Soba noodles every night, and one or two other meals that just didn’t quite make the taste grade, Marley Spoon has been great.

I say ‘has’ been great because this week, we stopped.

The convenience factor and the quality of packaging and instructions factor no longer trumped the value factor… and the meals just stopped feeling unique and the formula behind Marley Spoon seemed exposed to us.

When baby #3 arrives in June, I’d imagine we’ll start again, though for now, we just want to start cooking our own recipes again.

And having enough for lunches the next day.

And being rich again.

After tonight’s second last Marley Spoon dinner however, it turns out that Marley Spoon gifted us one better than just another week of their high-gloss recipe cards and crisp paper bags.

They gifted us this healthy Moussaka and it was really, very good.

Especially considering how easy it was to prepare.

Nothing beats a 3-hour Moussaka production on a Sunday afternoon, though equally, nothing beats a 30-minute Mousakka on a Thursday evening.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

Olive oil
2 eggplants
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500gm lamb mince (we had lean beef mince and it was just fine)
2 cups, chicken stock (hot)
2 cans, 400gm chopped tomatoes
1 lemon
200gm low-fat Greek-style yoghurt
60gm tahini
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
100gm baby rocket to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220c. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Trim the ends from the eggplants and slice lengthways; you’ll need 12 – 16 slices about 5mm thick: 3 – 4 per person.
  2. Place the slices on the prepared tray and lightly brush with oil. Season and roast until softened and golden: around 15 – 20 minutes.
  3. Heat 1tbsp oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until softened. Increase the heat to high, add the mince and cook, stirring over a high-heat for 5 minutes or until the mince is browned.
  4. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered over a medium heat for 15 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Squeeze 2 tbsp lemon juice into a bowl. Stir in the yoghurt, tahini, combine well and season.
  6. Arrange an eggplant slice on each plate and spoon over some of the lamb mixture. Top with another slice of eggplant and repeat until all used. Top with a few dollops of the yoghurt dressing and serve with rocket leaves and a cold vino.

Turmeric fish skewers and garlic greens

Turmeric fish skewers and garlic greens

Serves: 4

My respect for Adam Liaw grows with every recipe of his I have cooked.

He is grounded and his recipes have always been excellent including that they are more than achievable on any given, adventurous weekday night.

I have a bunch lined up to cook and I really can’t wait.

This recipe is no different.

It is super healthy, really easy to prepare and really quite exciting for a Monday night when we had it.

Double it and you have a great Tuesday lunch on your hands and a great start to the week.

Ingredients

½ cup (fat-free) Greek yoghurt
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
600g ling fillets, cut into 5cm cubes (or another firm white fish)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
1 bunch broccolini, cut into 5cm lengths
½ bunch spinach, cut into 5cm lengths
1 small bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
Lemon wedges, to serve

Method

  1. Heat a grill/griddle to very high, or a barbecue until it’s very hot.
  2. Combine the yoghurt, turmeric, coriander, chilli powder, salt and pepper and coat the ling fillets in the mixture. Set aside for 10 minutes then thread the fish onto soaked skewers and cook, turning occasionally, until the fish is cooked through, about five minutes.
  3. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat, add the olive oil, garlic and spring onions, and fry until fragrant.
  4. Add the broccolini and fry for about three minutes, then add the spinach and kale, season with lots of salt and pepper and fry for a further two minutes, stirring well.
  5. Arrange the greens on a platter and top with the fish skewers. Serve with lemon wedges.

Indian Beef Short Rib Curry

Serves: 4 – 6

This is a wonderful, western take on an Indian curry.

From the book – and restaurant – The Blue Ducks, it isn’t just the beef short rib that makes it so rich and special, though that is a pretty good start.

It’s that everything just works, right down to the late inclusion of the chickpeas, yogurt and coriander.

It really is wonderful.

I’ve written in the past about various curries that have changed the dial.

This is undoubtedly one of them and one that you should definitely try as a Sunday night treat.

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
1.5kg – 2kg beef short ribs
2 onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 star anise
½ tsp chilli powder
1 cinnamon stick
5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
400gm can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp honey
500ml chicken stock
400gm can chickpeas, drained
100gm natural yoghurt
½ bunch of coriander, leaves picked

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over a medium-high heat; season the ribs and brown on all sides. Remove the ribs and reduce the heat the medium. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add the spices and ginger and cook for a few more minutes, stirring.
  3. Return the ribs to the dish, add the tomatoes, honey, stock and 400ml of water. Cover the pan and place in the oven for 3 hours; until the meat completely comes away from the bone.
  4. Remove the ribs from the dish and remove all bones, sinew and fat, discarding all but the meat; reduce the consistency of the remaining liquid on the stove until thickened. Once reduced, add the chickpeas to heat through and then the beef, half the yoghurt and half the coriander.
  5. Serve on rice with a dollop of the remaining yoghurt and coriander.