Cheats Lamb Moussaka

Lamb, just using it instead of beef gives you such a rich flavour. Soft aubergines and a mouthwatering creme fresh and Parmesan topping will have you wishing you made enough for thirds.

When I think of Moussaka I think of Greece. It does however, like most dishes, have many variations. Across the Balkans for instance it is more likely to see potatoes instead of aubergine, and to use pork mince over lamb. In Turkey the dish is not layered instead the eggplant, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat are sauteed together and served with pilaf and tzatziki. Across the Eastern Mediterranean the dish varies so much it can become unrecognisable. The Greek version has three layers cooked separately then assembled and baked together.

Cook the onion in some oil for a few minutes before adding the carrot and grated garlic. Before the garlic browns add the lamb mince and cinnamon stick. Cook the Lamb until it has browned, then add your chopped tomatoes. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes adding a little seasoning and a little sugar if you are feeling a bit naughty. While it is cooking, drizzle some olive oil over your aubergine slices and season Grill them for around 10 minutes on either side. 

This is where we assemble the moussaka, Remove the cinnamon stick from the lamb mixture and pour into an oven proof dish. Spread your grilled aubergine slices over the top. Then spoon on the Creme fraiche and spread it evenly over the top. Grate over the parmasan and grill it until you get that amazing brown crispy top. Remove it from the grill and then cut the last garlic clove in half and rub it over your sliced ciabatta. Grill it till nice and crisp. While it is grilling toss the rocket in some Extra Virgin Olive oil and salt and pepper. Serve together and enjoy these amazingly simple flavours.

This meal was from our HelloFresh box www.hellofresh.co.uk

Mexican Broth with Spicy Beef and Beans

I wasn’t expecting much here. The thought of a bowl of broth doesn’t really set my taste buds tingling. It is hard to think you can be satisfied by what really amounts to a lumpy drink. Once again me and my thoughts have been proven wrong. 

Not only did this meal satisfy, it had more flavour in it than the previous weeks meals put together. There are a number of ingredients that made this dish. The smoked paprika not only imparted that deep red colour but also as it’s name states a rich smokiness that adds a whole new dimension. The Mexican spice adds a lot of heat that builds progressively, thankfully the soured cream does enough to cool it before it gets too much. 

Cook your onion and garlic in a pan before adding the beef mince, mexican spice and smoked paprika. Once the beef has browned add the pepper and potato. After five minutes pop in the mixed beans and the passata. Once its all mixed together thoroughlyadd the stock and water. Bring everything to a simmer and let it cook for ten to fifteen minutes.

While its cooking rub your tortillas in olive oil, cut them into thin strips, season with some salt and pepper and put them into a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for around five minutes. They will come out lovely and crisp. Stir through the coriander before serving the broth. Top it off with a nice dollop of soured cream and some of the tortillas.

Lamb and Chickpea Curry

In previous posts when I said you only need a few ingredients to make a great meal you know, keep it simple.. scrap that, because this little beauty took my opinion, chewed it up and spat it back in my face.

I will go as far to say this is in my top three meals I’ve cooked since starting this journey. I had to check the recipe card and make sure it wasn’t called “Miracle Lamb and chickpea curry” as it kept my wife silent the whole time she was eating it (I’ve made a big batch to have for breakfast lunch and dinner for the next week). There’s a supermarkets worth of ingredients in it and there is a fair bit of prep to do, believe me when I say it’s worth it. You can taste every ingredient and every one you wouldn’t be without.

For the perfect rice cook it in double the amount of ml in water to the amount of rice in grams. So in this case 175g of rice to 350ml of water. Add the star anise to the water to infuse the rice with that fantastic aromatic flavour. Get it to boiling then turn it down to a simmer. Pop a lid on and cook for 10 minutes, then take it off the heat and leave it with the lid on for another 10 minutes. When your ready for it just use a fork to fluff it up a bit. Season it now to your liking.

So once your lamb mince has browned in the pan add your mustard seeds, onion and pepper and cook for five minutes to soften. Then add the Sri Lanken curry powder, ginger and garlic. Cook for another minute until your kitchen smells amazing then add the passata, cook for a minute and add the water and stock. Let this marvellous medley of flavours simmer for ten to fifteen minutes. When it has thickened add the chickpeas and baby spinach until the former are hot and the latter is wilted. Take off the heat and stir through the coriander. Serve with your rice and let the miracle begin.

Beef Ragout with Rigatoni and Black Olive Salsa

A deep rich ragout, coating a soft yet firm rigatoni pasta, sweet yellow peppers and a simple salsa that seems out of place but actually combines so well you wont want to eat ragu again without it.

So lets start with the basics. I have mentioned before my love of Rigatoni pasta, it’s size and shape are perfect for sauces like this ragu. It grabs the sauce and holds onto it, and this is a sauce you want it to hold onto. It’s hearty, warming, smooth and rich. This, like most pasta and sauce dishes is where you really notice the quality of your ingredients. From the tomato purée to the beef stock the better the quality the richer the flavour. A note on the stock, I am not against the stock cubes you get I have used them all my life and will continue to use them day to day. However, If you are making something a bit more special then i’d recommeng using what i call jelly stocks. I find the flavour richer and deeper.

Before I talk about the salsa I just want to mention that for these photo’s I used my Panasonic Lumix G10. The sharpness and the quality of the photo is much better but I am struggling to get enough light. I will keep playing with it and hopefully crack it soon.

The salsa was literally tomatoes, black olives, basil and olive oil. It felt wrong adding a cold salsa to a hot soul warming ragu. The first mouthful however showed just how right it was. The cold crisp taste of the tomatoes cut through the deep flavour of the beef and sauce. The black olives added a bitterness to it that worked in ways I don’t even know how to describe. In my head they shouldn’t work in this meal but they do. They really do.

This meal was from our HelloFresh box Www.hellofresh.co.uk