I've admitted before that I am lazy. Lazy, lazy, lazy. I procrastinate a lot. I have all the materials and information I need to finish off my post, but somehow it takes me like a week to do, when I am sure if I just sit down and bang it out I can do it in an hour. And this is what I am doing on my sick day, while I sit on the couch wrapped in my blanket watching Anna Olson make butter tarts and pumpkin pie on the food network, and as much as I want to stuff my face with what she's making, moving seems so effortful right now.
So instead, from the comfort of my couch, I'm going to post something delicious I made when I had the energy to move. One of my friends told me that I don't post enough main meals, so here is one of my favourites that I've made recently. It's so good that its the only dish that I've made twice in the past few months. Don't be fooled by its unphotogenic-ness, the aubergine was perfectly soft, topped with the flavourful lamb mixture and served with plain white rice. And maybe I loved it so much because it's a little similar to my other favourite dish, in a less complicated and fewer ingredients sort of way.
Sorry there's not much talking today, tiredness is getting the best of me. But trust me, make this dish. Although it takes 2 hours to cook, preparation is simple and it's mainly the oven that does all the hard work.
And hopefully soon, when I can get over procrastonation and I don't feel unwell anymore maybe I'll post about the other things I meant to post about, like creamy dreamy scones, a summery berry cheesecake, broccoli-slaw and other things. I'm trying to make you come back. Is it working?
Stuffed Aubergine with Lamb and Pine Nuts
Adapted from Jerusalem
(serves 2 as a filling dinner, or (I think) 4 as a light lunch)
2 medium aubergines, halved lengthways
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot paprika (I used hot and it didn't make it spicy, but feel free to use whichever paprika you like)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 medium onion, finely chopped
250 grams minced lamb
25 grams pine nuts
10 grams flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon tomato puree
1 1/2 teaspoons caster sugar
200 ml water
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon pomegranate syrup
2 small cinnamon sticks
salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C Fan/ Gas Mark 7.
Place the aubergine halves, skin side down, in a roasting tin large enough to accommodate them snugly. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on the aubergine flesh and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
While the aubergines are cooking, you can start making the stuffing by heating up the remaining olive oil in a frying pan. Mix together the cumin, paprika and ground cinnamon and add half of this spice mix to the pan, and fry for 10 seconds before adding the onion. Cook on medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, stirring often, before adding the lamb, pine nuts, parsley, tomato puree, 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Cook and continue to stir for another 8 minutes until the meat is cooked.
Place the remaining spice mix in a bowl (or a measuring jug) and add the water, lemon juice, tamarind paste, pomegranate syrup, remaining sugar, cinnamon sticks and 1/4 teaspoon of salt; mix well. The lemon may be a bit strong, but don't worry, once cooked it won't be as strong.
Reduce the oven temperature to 195°C/ 175°C Fan/ Gas Mark 5 1/2. Pour the spice mix into the bottom of the pan of the aubergine roasting tin. Spoon the lamb mixture on top of each aubergine. Cover the tin tightly with foil, return to the oven and roast for 1 hour 30 minutes, by which point the aubergines should be completely soft and the sauce thick. Twice through the cooking, remove the foil and baste the aubergine with the sauce, adding some water if the sauce dries out. Serve warm, not hot, or at room temperature, and serve with some bread or simple white rice.