Stuffed Eggplants

Yummy hey? Now this is a little fiddly, but oh my goodness they’re delicious and worth it. I am deliriously happy as this was my second attempt at these tasty little morsels, this time with meat & hubby loved them! They’re great because you can make them and then stick it in the fridge and leave it there for a day or so, or even freeze them and then take them out in the morning and stick in the oven when you get home from work etc.

You will need:

8 Lebanese eggplants (they’re the long skinny ones)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

500g lamb mince

2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed.

1 Litre of tomato passata or 3 tins of crushed tomatoes

1 heaped tsp smokey paprika + 1/2 tsp extra

1 heaped tsp ground cumin  + 1/2 tsp extra

small handful of finely chopped parsley

200g danish feta

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 brown onion diced.

Cut the eggplants in half & scoop out the flesh leaving the skins intact. Set the flesh aside. Place the skins in a large pot of boiling salted water and ensure that they remain submerged under the water. (a smaller saucepan lid on top of them works)

Dice the remaining eggplant flesh and pan fry in extra virgin olive oil with the garlic & onion until golden and tender, add the mince and ensure that you break up any lumps, continue to saute until golden brown. Add the spices & salt & pepper, then 500ml of the tomato passata and stir to combine.

Drain the eggplant skins and set aside to cool slightly.

In another saucepan add some garlic, olive oil 1/2 tsp paprika & cumin with salt & pepper to taste, and the remaining tomato passata, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 mins, check taste for seasoning.

Take a large oven proof dish and pour the tomato sauce onto the base of the dish, fill the skins with the stuffing and place in the tomato sauce – nestle in close together but don’t over fill them too much. Once they’re all done, sprinkle with any remaining meat sauce, parsley and top with crumbled feta.

Cook in the oven for 30 -40 mins at 180 degrees celsius or 350 farenheit. Serve with crusty bread & a green salad.

You can easily omit the mince meat if you’re vegetarian and add some finely diced celery & or mushrooms at the same time as you pan fry the eggplant.

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Lamb & Vegetable Tajine

You can use any vegetables you like for this one from fennel & Peas, Carrots & Cauliflower or Peas & Artichokes, as a guide the recipe below would serve 4 people depending on how hungry everyone is.

2 onions diced
6 forequater lamb chops
4 large potatoes, peeled & cut into rounds
8 carrots, peeled and cut in half length ways if they’re very thick
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley & coriander chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp paprika
Pepper to taste
1 tomato
1 preserved lemon

Take a large cast iron saucepan and saute the onions with spices, herbs, garlic & olive oil for 3 minutes, add the chops and seal, take the chops out, put the carrots on top of the onions, put the chops back in a single layer where possible. Put the slices of potato on top of the chops, season with a little pepper, slice the tomato in half and place in the middle of the stack with the preserved lemon, pour in 150mls of water, cover and allow to gently simmer for at least an hour, longer if possible.
You want to end up with lightly caramillised carrots and a thickish sauce, don’t add salt until the end as the preserved lemons will add salt to the dish, also you can always add more water if required but the tomato will release it’s juices and you therefore shouldn’t need much more. Serve with crusty bread and a salad if required.

Nasi Goreng

We’ve been talking at work about new recipes and what we can try that will encourage our kidlets to try new dishes and I remember my dear friend Danielle gave me this recipe for Nasi Goreng. It’s great because it can use up all your leftovers, in particular meat, you can add any vegies you have in the fridge and make it your own. We have used left over roast beef, roast chicken, you could even add some chorizo sausage or something similar. Grated Carrots, Zucchini, corn, peas etc all work too, we haven’t made it with the bananas, but the egg is wonderful on it and 9 times out of 10 everyone scrapes their plate or asks for more so it’s a winner in my eyes. Thanks Dani!

Here is the recipe I use for Nasi Goreng a la mama Saaf (my mother-in-law).  You’re a great cook so you will know how to adjust taste to suit.  All herb and spice measurements are approximates as I just adjust to taste.  This is a great dish to use up left over rice and meat.
Ingredients
Olive oil 1 tablespoon
Butter for baking bananas
Boiled rice 2-3 cups
Ground coriander seed 3 teaspoons
Cumin 2 teaspoons
Ginger powder 1 teaspoon
Ketjap Manis 1 tablespoon
Sambal Badjak 1 teaspoon
1 onion finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic crushed
1 leek chopped (if you don’t have any leeks on hand this dish still tastes good without them.  Maybe just add more onion)
Grated zucchini (optional…I find that this dish doesn’t have enough veg in it otherwise)
250-300 grams cooked meat (we use pork or beef but you could use any type of left over meat you like), mirrepoix(?) in other words, finely diced
1 cup prawns (optional)
Bananas 1 per person
Eggs 1 per person

Instructions
Fry onion and leek in olive oil over medium heat until soft.
Add meat
Add rice and stir to mix well
Add all herbs and spices including ketjap manis and sambal
Add grated zucchini
Add prawns
Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes

In the meantime preheat oven to about 160 degrees celsius.  Melt butter in an oven proof dish and cook bananas until soft (about 15 minutes).

When nasi goreng and bananas are done, fry one egg per person sunny side up. Yolk should be a bit runny.

Serve nasi goreng with a banana on the side and top with the fried egg.

Good accompanying items to this dish are white cocktail onions, mango chutney and of course, more sambal badjak.

Eet smakelijk!  (bon apetit in Dutch)

Summer Salads

So firstly I have to apologise for the lack of posts over the last 2 months, if you’re following me on facebook then you will have had a few updates with ideas, but I haven’t really had time to sit down and write out the recipes I’ve trialed & developed as I have gone back to work and while technically it’s part time, the co ordination has taken some negotiating as anyone with small children will know.

Anyway, I am back and I will be making time for at least 1 post a week, I figure I can definitely handle that and hopefully more. So given we in Melbourne have been having some warmish weather – although as I am typing a cool change is coming through with large rain droplets & that gorgeous smell that comes with rain on a summer day and blowing away the heat.

Hubby has had a 4 day weekend this week so we’ve been having salads for lunch. Zachie wanted to try some snow peas and I have been thinking of a way I can include these in a meal as we aren’t really a stir fry family, here is my version of Salad Nicoise.

You will need

1 Large tin of Tuna, drained.
handful of Snow Peas trimmed
1-2 diced tomatoes
8 baby Cos lettuce leaves
1 small green or red capsicum
4 hard boiled eggs

For the Dressing you will need

1/4 cup extra virgin Olive Oil
1 small clove of garlic
3 anchovies
1-2 Tbsp vinegar

Slice the snow peas into small pieces & blanched in lightly salted boiling water, leave them in for a minute and then drain and refresh in iced water to stop the cooking process. Put the eggs on to boil – approx 7 mins depending on whether you prefer them hard or soft.
In a morter & pestle crush the garlic, add salt & pepper to taste & the anchovies, mash it all together and add the olive oil with enough vinegar to taste, adjust the seasoning as required & set aside.

In another bowl mix break up the tuna, add the sliced capsicum, tomatoes & lettuce & snow peas pour over the dressing and mix well & place onto or into your serving bowl or platter. Peel the eggs and cut into halves or quarters, arrange over the salad and season lightly.

Serve with Crusty bread if desired.

Yesterday we also made a tuna salad, but had avocado & cucumber in it, it was equally delicious!