This is the first recipe from my new kitchen… in Dubai! Yes, the ‘quiet year’ we had planned after the craziness of last year all went to pot when we moved half way around the world. Our possessions from the UK arrive today, hurrah! We have been rattling around in a rather empty apartment until now. As I have shared with you previously a kitchen with limited resources makes for some creative cooking… as does a frequently breaking fridge-freezer it turns out. grrr. I am never buying a second hand fridge-freezer again!
There is nothing quite like a broken fridge-freezer to inspire a new use-it-up recipe. Sometimes these dishes are a bit ‘interesting’, however this one I will definitely make again. Past successes have included ‘disaster jam’ (can’t waste frozen fruit). I wasn’t sure what to call this one, ‘disaster vegetable moussaka bread and butter pudding’ – doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!
Dry bread, buttered
Two aubergine (Eggplant), sliced
One red pepper
Stuffed peppers preserved in oil
Salt, pepper and chilli flakes
Pre-heat the oven to about 180oC.
Fry the pepper and tomatoes in some oil from the preserved peppers (the deliciously flavoured oil is too good to waste).
Place the bread butter-side down in an oven dish.
When the pepper and tomatoes have started to cook down add half to the dish as a layer over the bread. Add some of the preserved peppers, focusing on putting them in any gaps between the bread.
Add a layer of aubergine followed by the rest of the pepper and tomato mixture and the remaining preserved peppers.
Top with the last of the aubergine. Add a spoon of the flavoured oil onto each aubergine slice and season generously with salt pepper and a spice mix of your choice – I used BBQ chilli flakes.
This recipe has been sitting in draft since January – so we haven’t ‘recently’ returned from Australia. In fact, we are now in a different part of the world altogether (we have a very well travelled baby, more on that another time). Although this post lacks the ‘immediacy’ of my usual writing, which means that I am not completely happy with it, I have decided to share it with you anyway – both because the meal was delicious, and because it was made in one of my favourite places. If you ever find yourself travelling in the Australian State of Victoria make sure that you spend some time staying at Lochinver Farm; it is idyllic, and Alison will be able to point you in the direction of some fabulous places which serve local food and wine.
We have recently returned from spending nearly a month in Australia. Are we mad to fly around the world with a 6 month old baby? Maybe, but actually the most difficult part is now -dealing with a jet-lagged baby who wants to go to bed at 3.00 in the afternoon and wake up at 3.00 in the morning.
We spent our first week in Australia with our good friends the Williamsons who run a farm in country Victoria – the beautiful Lochinver Homestead. At Lochinver they raise sheep for both merino wool and meat, as well as offering accomodation in the old homestead and workmen’s cottages (well, ‘old’ by Australian standards at least!). On New Year’s Eve Mark cooked us roast lamb from the farm, and the following evening I took it upon myself to create something with the leftovers. What we ended up with was a middle eastern inspired dish, which also used up some fresh fruit and bits I found in the wonderful old-fashioned larder in the farmhouse kitchen.
Three handfuls of cooked lamb
A handful of raisins
A couple of teaspoons of Zaatar
Half a tin of chickpeas
A handful of flaked almonds
Chop the lamb into bite-sized pieces and put in a microwave-proof bowl with the raisins, zaatar and a splash of water. Microwave for about 3 minutes. Chop the nectarines into small pieces and fry them in olive oil, together with the lamb hot from the microwave, the almonds and the chickpeas. Fry for about five minutes, stirring frequently.
I served this with salad, couscous and an impromptu ‘tzatziki’, which I made by stirring mint sauce and chopped cucumber into Greek yogurt- when in a strange kitchen you have to improvise!
This was a delicious and very simple dish, made even better by the satisfaction of using up leftovers and of eating lamb at the farm where it had been raised. Please let me know if you give this recipe a go -I would love to know how you get on!