I can never pin down my favourite cuisine when asked. However….one which I always seem to default to if I feel like a speedy, tasty meal which requires enough attention and time to satisfy my creative kitchen energy but not enough to have me slaving after a long day at work is Moroccan. I love this style of food. I nearly ventured to Marrakesh for a long weekend last year but sadly without success I cannot say this is totally authentic based on experience but the flavours are along the lines of those used.
I created these dishes as a (candidly) selfish means of using some of my favourite ingredients together in one final meal of 2013. This is all about assembly really….get all your components chopped or toasted or diced or chilled as per the ingredients list before you start and its a doddle. Simply a case of chucking everything together in a Jamie style approach at the last minute will guarantee to keep everything as fresh and crisp as possible!
- 4 lamb leg steaks
- 2 tbsp spice mix (toast 1tsp of each fennel, cumin, coriander and fenugreek seed, mustard seed with 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cardamon pods and 1 star anise in a dry frying pan until hot, fragrant and beginning to pop, remove and grind in a pestle and mortar until fine) If you don’t want to make one then use a good tbsp of Ras el Hanout which will also be delicious
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Large handful pistachio nuts (crushed finely in a pestle and mortar)
- 60g feta, crumbled
- ½ pomegranate- seeds picked
- 100g plain yoghurt
- 1 lime, juice and zest
Jeweled Rice Salad
- 6 oz wild or brown rice
- Handful of flaked almonds
- Handful of dried cranberries
- 1 orange, juice only
- Bunch coriander, chopped
- 3 spring onions, sliced
- 2 x red chicory
- 2 baby gems lettuces
- ½ cucumber, sliced thinly
- Start with the lamb. Massage with the oil, a little seasoning and the spice mix and leave to marinate at room temperature for about an hour.
- Next, start the rice salad. Cook your rice according to the instructions. Meanwhile, soak the dried cranberries in the juice from the orange for at least 20 minutes until they have plumped up a little (do this while the rice cooks and the lamb marinates). Chop your spring onions into slithers and toast your flaked almonds in a dry hot frying pan if you haven’t done so already.
- Once the rice has cooked, drain and tip back into the warm saucepan. Tip over the soaked cranberries and the remaining orange juice and keep warm with the lid on while you finish the rest of the components.
- Assemble the salad by tossing together the chicory leaves, lettuce leaves and the cucumber.
- Heat a frying pan until hot. Cook the lamb steaks for about 2 minutes on each side based on a thickness of about 2cm for medium. Once cooked, transfer to a sheet of foil, wrap tightly and leave to rest while you finish the salads.
- Mix the yoghurt with the lime juice and zest and place in a bowl on a serving platter.
- Mix the warm rice with the chopped coriander and spring onions in a serving dish and scatter over the toasted flaked almonds.
- When you are nearly ready to serve, dress the salad leaves lightly with a little fresh lemon juice and some olive oil and season lightly.
- Finally, once ready to serve, slice the lamb into finger width strips. Scatter the crushed pistachios on plate and coat the lamb strips in the nut crumbs. Arrange the lamb on a serving platter and drizzle over any resting juices. Scatter over the crumbed feta, the pomegranate seeds a few flecks of coriander and serve alongside the yoghurt.
Serve the salad, lamb and rice all together at room temperature straight away and devour immediately with a warm cup of peppermint tea if you like!