1 large eggplant
500g minced lamb (or you could use beef)
1 large can tomatoes (approximately 800g)
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
200ml red wine
1 tsp chilli sauce
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp allspice
1 Tbsp chicken or veal stock
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 Tbsp cornflour
500ml reduced fat milk
100g low-fat mozzarella cheese, grated
1 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 large eggplant
MethodA Consuming Passions version of this Greek - or it could be Turkish - classic.
Layers of eggplant are cooked with a tomato and lamb sauce topped with a light bechamel sauce. It's a much lighter dish than the Moussaka that's customarily served in restaurants.
Slice eggplant into 1 cm thick slices. Dust with salt and allow to stand for at least 30 minutes to remove bitter juices. Wash, drain and dry on paper towel.
Brush each slice both sides with olive oil. Put on baking tray(s) and bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until softened. This technique allows less oil to be absorbed than the traditional method of frying the eggplant.
Cook minced lamb in a little more olive oil to change its colour to a light pink. It doesn't need to be thoroughly cooked at this stage.
Add chopped onion, wine, allspice, tomatoes, stock, chilli sauce, garlic and rosemary.
Crush the tomatoes and allow mixture to cook slowly until a thick sauce is achieved (about 40 minutes).
Make a roux by melting butter (or margarine) over medium heat, stirring in cornflour and allowing to cook for a couple of minutes. Don't allow it to brown.
Slowly add milk stirring constantly and keep simmering until a smooth sauce is produced.
Stir in both cheeses and nutmeg. Season to taste.
Once both sauces and the eggplant slices are ready, assemble the dish by putting alternate layers of eggplant and tomato and lamb sauce in a baking dish, starting with a little sauce. Finally top with the cheesy bechamel sauce and bake 30-40 minutes in a 190C oven or until top is nicely browned.
The dish may be made in advance up to the cooking stage and refrigerated. Allow 15 minutes longer cooking time if it's going straight from the fridge to the oven.
Massaman Curry of Beef
750g lean beef, cut into small cubes
500g potatoes, washed and cut into small cubes
2 tsp tamarind paste (optional)
150ml coconut milk
2 bay leaves
Oil for frying
1 tsp peppercorns
2 tsp coriander seeds
Seeds from 6 or so cardamom pods
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 or 4 cloves
6 or 7 cloves garlic
4 or 5 shallots
1 Tbsp dried shrimps (or 2 tsp shrimp paste) (optional)
1 tsp chopped peeled lemon grass stalk (optional)
1 tsp grated lime or lemon rind
MethodAn adaptation of a Muslim classic. Beef has been used here, however other meats may be substituted.
Mix together peppercorns, coriander seeds, cardamom, cumin, and cloves and toast in a dry frying pan over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes, making sure they do not burn.
In a mortar or blender, grind the spices along with remaining paste ingredients.
Brown beef in a little oil, remove. Brown potatoes in a little oil. Remove.
Gently fry up curry paste in a little oil, stirring constantly.
If using, dissolve tamarind paste in a little water and strain on top of curry paste. Bring mixture to the boil and allow to reduce a little. Stir in coconut milk.
Add beef, potatoes and bay leaves and allow to simmer gently until beef is cooked. Depending on size of cubes, this could take an hour or so. Don't cover the pan or the mixture is likely to curdle.
Stir occasionally, making sure you don't break up the potatoes towards end of cooking time.
Serve with vast quantities of steamed or boiled rice.
Rapid Roast Pork
1 pork fillet (about 250g)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp reduced salt soya sauce
1 large apple, sliced
3 crush juniper berries
Sprig fresh thyme
2 tsp honey
2 rashers lean bacon
MethodRoasting, it's one of the oldest methods of cooking meat and was done on open fires long before ovens were invented. One of the challenges today is to roast the meat cuts which are now leaner than they used to be. We don't want the meat to dry out. One of the quickest and easiest roast meat dishes is fillet of pork, which cooks in about 20 minutes, and which I accompany with an apple chutney-style sauce, which cooks in about the same time.
Smear the fillet with soya sauce and sesame oil.
Sear in a very hot pan, preferably non-stick, for 30 seconds each side.
Lightly oil a baking tray, arrange apple slices in single row to form a bed for the fillet. Add juniper berries and thyme.
Baste fillet with pan juice and honey, and place on apples.
Cover with bacon rashers.
Cook in 200C oven for 15 minutes.
Remove and allow to stand in warm place for 5 minutes to settle.
Serve pork cut into medallions, with apple from under the fillet and the chutney-like sauce (if using).
Note: This dish is also delicious served cold.
Leftover potential: Best eaten same day, but may be eaten cold the following day.
Roast Lamb with Caramelised Onion
Serves 6 to 8
1 leg of lamb (approximately 2 kgs)
Half a dozen peeled cloves garlic
2 or 3 sprigs rosemary
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 kgs of onions
150ml extra virgin olive oil
tsp white pepper
MethodA lamb recipe as prepared by Jim Fisher, an English chef, who has a cookery school in Dordogne, France.
The lamb is roasted briefly in a very hot oven, then allowed to rest for 90 minutes before being served! It's truly delicious. The secret is to wrap the lamb after cooking in aluminium foil and then lots of towels to keep the heat in. It could also be rested wrapped and put in an esky. Try it with the caramelised onion (see below).
Pre-heat oven to 250C.
Make several incisions in the lamb and insert a clove of garlic, a few leaves of rosemary, and a strip of orange peel (no pith) in each one.
Splash over the olive oil.
Roast in a large pan for 25 minutes.
Double wrap meat in aluminium foil, then lots of towels, and leave in a warm place for 90 minutes to rest. Yes, really. You could also place it in an esky. Just before serving, pour off juices from the aluminium foil and use to make gravy.
Peel and cut the onions into slices.
In a heavy pan, heat the olive oil and butter and cook the onions very, very slowly. They should gently brown during the cooking. This could take half an hour or more depending on how much water is in the onions. Stir occasionally.
The final mixture should be jam-like in texture.
Steak and Kidney Pie
1 large onion
750g braising steak
1 heaped Tbsp plain flour
1 cup (300ml) beer
Sprig of Thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
2 bay leaves
3-4 juniper berries, crushed
3 or 4 dried mushrooms, quartered
150g lamb kidneys (optional), cleaned and diced
3 pieces rolled, rich puff pastry (bought readymade)
500ml chicken stock
2 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, gently beaten, for glaze
MethodA pie so simple that it's hardly a pie at all. Use dried mushrooms for their texture, but fresh ones could be used.
Cut onion in quarters then eighths and saute in a pan with the oil until softened.
Dice the steak, discard any fat, then stir in with the onion over a good heat. Sprinkle over the plain flour. Toss with the meat and onion.
Add the beer, stock, bay leaves, thyme and crushed juniper berries. Allow to reduce by a third over medium heat.
Add the mushrooms and the pieces of kidney and allow mixture to simmer until meat is tender (around an hour and a half). Once cooked, season to taste and allow to stand over very low heat.
Cut large pieces of readymade puff pastry into four. Sandwich one piece on top of another and repeat until you have six doubled-up pieces. Place on a non-stick baking tray (or non-stick paper on baking tray).
Brush with beaten egg and cook for about 10min at 190C, until puffy and golden brown.
Cut open the pie crust, and fill with mixture. Serve with good mashed potatoes and peas.