Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Middle Eastern Mix-Up




You know, when I started this blog, I wondered how I would find something new to write about each day. Particularly when many of our meals are repetitive -the same old favourites over and over again.

But I've discovered that I do cook a wider range of dishes than I'd suspected and anyway, there are always my favourite ingredients to rave on about.

Today - it's Malouf's Baharat Turkish Spice and Pomengranate Molasses. I was hungry and wandered into the kitchen looking for some inspiration. And I found a packet of lamb chops. I felt that I'd like something a little sweet, so I decided on a drizzle of pomegranate molasses at the end of cooking (bad things happen to pans when molasses goes in too early, BAD THINGS I TELL YOU!). The lamb cried out for a wider flavour, so I surveyed my spices and grabbed Malouf's Baharat Turkish Spice. It's a wonderful mix of flavours - cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, star anise, caraway seeds, cloves and ginger. The label recommends its use with lamb and I heartily agree. Greg Malouf is a very respected chef, with his roots in Middle Eastern cooking. I have a copy of Arabesque, his first book with wife Lucy Malouf, on my bookshelf, but I have to admit I have not done much more than browse so far.

So back to the lamb. I browned four chops and cooked them for seven minutes a side. I sprinkled over a half teaspon or so of spice during the fry. I yanked them out of the pan and left them on a plate while I sauteed the sliced red cabbage in the lamb fat and juices (ok I may have just nibbled a chop or two!). Added more spice and a dash of water to the cabbage and then served it up, with a teaspoon of pomegranate molasses.

The flavours work wonderfully together, which is not a surprise given their origins. The astringency of the cabbage and the pomegranate partner the sweetness and spiciness of the lamb just perfectly! Mmmmn, I know it's a good dinner when as I put the dishes away, I'm already looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Can I wait that long??

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