Friday 28 June 2013

Lamb and Spinach Pastilla/Bastilla

It’s no secret I love Moroccan food, but I wanted to try something I’ve gotten in a restaurant that I really enjoyed. This is called a Bastilla or Pastilla the words are used interchangeably in different cultures but mean the same packet of meat wrapped in filo dough. I don’t expect this is one of the most sought after dishes I make but it was really easy and really delicious! I’m only a bit bummed that I didn’t get a great photograph of the sliced product, but if you’re like me and you like the sweet and salty element in food then you’ll love this dish! It’s got lots of earthy notes to it. And the crunch of the filo pastry is so delicious. Try it for your family and see. I made a slightly more complex one where I added spinach and beans as a layer but you could easily just use the meat. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Pastilla:

500g Lamb mince
1 onion
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. nutmeg
¼ c. dates
¼ c. sultanas
¼ c. pistachio
1 tbsp honey
Fresh coriander
Fresh mint
1 270g package filo dough (fresh or frozen make sure it’s thawed)
1 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 egg yolk
Powdered sugar and cinnamon to finish

Spinach Layer:
400g washed spinach
250g beans (I used tinned beans in sauce, but cannellini would be perfect)
½ onion diced
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. tomato paste
Juice of half a lemon
½ onion
Ras el hanout
1 tbsp. oil

To start:
Chop onion, dates, sultanas, pistachios to about the same size.
Chop mint and coriander.
Chop onion for spinach, and set aside.

To Cook:
In a large sauté pan, start to brown your lamb, when brown add in the onions, dates, sultanas, pistachios, and spices, and cook down for a further 10-15 minutes.
Once cooked add the honey and herbs, mix thoroughly and turn off heat and set aside.

For the Spinach:
Saute the onion in hot oil for a few minutes then add the washed spinach and sauté until wilted, add the garlic clove and can of beans and stir to cook down.
Next add the tomato paste, lemon juice and spices.
Combine and set aside.

To Combine:
You will want to work very quickly with this dough and also be very careful as it’s fragile, so make sure you have your egg yolk and melted butter handy.
In a pie dish, fold each piece of filo dough in half and lay down around the bottom of the pie dish and also to cover sides, about 3-4 pieces.
Brush the entire area with melted butter.
Next lay down the spinach layer, try to make sure there’s no juice.
Cover with another piece of filo dough, and brush with butter.
Next add the lamb mixture and cover again with a folded piece of filo dough, brush with butter.
Next add all of the remaining filo dough on top and pull in all of the sides and tuck them under to make a packet.
Brush the top with butter and egg yolk.
Bake in a 175C oven for 20-30 minutes or until browned nicely.
When you remove from the oven sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Slice just like a pie and serve!

Monday 24 June 2013

Incredi'blue' Cheese Coleslaw

This weekend, I decided to do a BBQ dinner inside to compensate for the lack of sunshine! Needless to say it came out pretty good. I made a few dishes that I’ll be blogging about periodically so keep an eye out. I can’t say that I’ve ever eaten this before, but I absolutely love cheese coleslaw sold here in the UK, so I decided that it would be nice to bring it up a notch and add some proper blue cheese and give it some love. Whether you’re interested in blue cheese or not, you can always try this with less blue cheese, or none at all. The recipe for the slaw is great with or without the cheese. Enjoy!

For the dressing:
½ c. mayo
¼ c. non-fat Greek yogurt
¼ c. milk
½ tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. grated onion (about ½ onion pulp)

For the Slaw:
½ head white cabbage
½ head (or more) purple cabbage
3 carrots
½ small onion
100g blue cheese (I used Colston Basett)

To Start:
Shred by either knife or food processor, cabbage, carrot. You can do this step far in advance and mix the dressing before you serve.

For the dressing:
I find a jar works perfectly for this recipe, but if you don’t have one, use a wisk in a bowl.
Combine all ingredients (except cheese) until well mixed, and set aside in the fridge until mixing.

To finish, mix slaw and dressing, pouring a little dressing at a time. When you're at the consistancy you like crumble in the cheese. Enjoy!

Thursday 20 June 2013

Moroccan Rice Pilaf

Wow, I have really been on a Moroccan kick lately! I’ve made some really tasty things, and I’m happy to share with you. As promised, the side dish to my Moroccan chicken! It's really easy and simple. It doesn’t even have to go with Moroccan food, as it’s just a lovely side dish for any type of meat or vegetarian dish. Try it out!

¼ red onions
½ red peppers
½ c frozen broad beans
1 clove garlic
Small handful of pistachios
4 dried whole apricots
3-4 dates
1 c. rice
Pinch of saffron
1 tsp. ras el hanout
1 c. rice
2-3 tbsp. olive oil

To start:
Cook the rice.
When cooking rice a good ratio to remember is 2:1 liquid to dry.  Follow this and you’ll have perfect rice every time.
Put the water and rice on a high heat and let come to a boil, add the ras el hanout and saffron.
When at a vigorous boil, cover and turn down to the lowest setting for about 10-15 minutes.

For the vegetables, fruit and nuts:
Dice the onion, pepper, nuts and dried fruit.
In a sauté pan, heat half the oil and fry until veggies including frozen broad beans, until soft, turn off heat and set aside.

To Finish:
When the rice is cooked thoroughly, add to a large bowl and mix the sautéed vegetables and fruits together adding the rest of the oil to moisten and get it all mixed together.
Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Note: I realize I use a lot of ras el hanout, but I think it's such a fabulous ingredient(s) and shouldn't be missed. Try to find some or make your own. I will post a recipe for it in the future if I find a good one myself.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Steamed Sea Bass and Pak Choi with a Spicy Asian Ginger Kick

I love fish! I know that some people are turned off by fish and that's OK, but they need to get out there and try it! The most effective way to cook fish I've found is to steam it in a foil packet. It’s really easy, not to mention it makes it really hard to overcook the fish. Sea bass is one of my favourite fish and this is a lovely way to try it especially since pak choi is full on in season. I used whole sea bass (which served two) in this recipe but you could easily use skinned and boneless fish but I do however recommend a nice white fish. But use what you have, the flavours speak for themselves. Enjoy!

1 whole sea bass
1 large bunch pak choi (may use 4 smaller ones)
½ red onion
1 knob ginger peeled
1 chili (red)
1 clove garlic
½ lime (juice only)
¼ c. coriander chopped
1 tsp. honey
2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Dash sesame oil

To start:
Preheat oven to 200C or 400F
Lay 1 sheet of foil down on a shallow baking tray, just long enough to extend past the edges.
Drizzle a little oil o the bottom.
Cut the pak choi in 4 quarters and lay down on the bottom.
Slice the ginger, red onion, chillies and sprinkle half of each of these on top of the pak choi.
Next rinse the fish and lay it across the pak choi.
Sprinkle the remaining chili, ginger, and onion on top of the fish. You can scor the fish before you do this and shove the ginger inside for more flavour.

For the dressing:
Crush the garlic.
Combine garlic, lime juice, honey, olive oil and sesame oil in a jar or small cup.
Whisk up and pour over the fish.
Top with sea salt and coriander.

To Bake:
Take a long piece of foil the same length as the bottom piece, and carefully fold each of those pieces together making a packet where no air/steam can get out.
Place in a preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Be careful when removing as it will be extremely hot. My recommendation is poking a hole and letting some steam out before opening completely.
Flake the fish off the bone and serve.