food for thought

by michelle

lamb meatballs with eggplant and tomato + couscous with cauliflower

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Here’s a hearty meal with North African and Middle Eastern influences.


To make the meatballs combine lamb mince with finely chopped parsley, ground cumin and ground cinnamon to taste and season well with salt and pepper. Form into small meatballs and set aside in the fridge. Dice a large eggplant (aubergine) and fry gently in some olive oil until it begins to soften. Add a large diced onion, 2-3 cloves of finely diced garlic and a diced red pepper and continue to cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Next add 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 2-3 teaspoons of cumin powder and a cinnamon quill. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a fry-pan and brown the meatballs a little to seal them. Add them to the sauce and continue to cook until the meatballs are cooked through and the flavours are well combined.


For this couscous you will need to cut ¼ of a cauliflower very finely until it resembles couscous – this is most easily done by pulsing pieces in a food processor. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Put the cauliflower together with 1½ cups of couscous into a shallow oven dish, season with salt and drizzle with olive oil and melted butter. Stir to coat everything with oil and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes until a little toasted. Add 2½ cups of boiling water and return to the oven until all the water is absorbed and the couscous feels quite dry and separate. This should only take 10 minutes or so. To make the sauce combine ⅓ of a cup of tahini paste with ½ a cup of greek yoghurt, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, a little lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Add ½ – ¾ of a cup of water, enough to make the consistency like thin honey, and mix well. I garnished my cauliflower couscous with steamed green beans and fried shallots.


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