Ras el Hanout Lamb Tagine

As the days grow shorter and the nights chillier, I am reminded that the time for cardigans and closed shoes is on its way. So too is the time for snuggling down in comfort zones and for melt-in-the-mouth dishes cooked low and slow.

Lamb has to be my number one choice for any low and slow stew. It stays moist and marries well with practically any herb or spice. But it’s a hand-down winner in a tagine heady with the perfume of Ras el Hanout.

This Moroccan spice blend contains all the usual suspects I would normally use in a tagine – cumin, coriander, chilli, ginger and cinnamon. It’s the addition of all spice, spearmint, cloves and rose petals that elevate it to a fragrant gem that transforms this dish.

I used a porcelain tagine dish to cook this in, but if you don’t have one, any large ovenproof cast iron roaster with a lid will do. At a push, you can even cook it on the stove-top.

– YOU WILL NEED –

700g lamb knuckle

4 tbs flour

olive oil

1½ cups finely diced onion

2 fat cloves garlic, minced

2 tbs eat.art Ras el Hanout

1 lamb stock cube

8 prunes

10 dried soft Turkish apricots

2 cups water

salt to taste

pomegranate, mint leaves and toasted almond flakes to garnish

– METHOD –

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Roll the lamb knuckle in the flour to coat and dust off gently. Fry the lamb knuckles in a few tablespoons of olive oil until brown and nicely caramelised. Place the knuckle in the bottom of a tagine dish or an ovenproof roaster.

Fry the onion in the same pan as the knuckle, stirring to lift all those lovely brown bits from the bottom. Once it starts to soften, add the garlic and eat.art Ras el Hanout and fry for a few seconds.

Deglaze the pan with two cups of water and crumble in the lamb stock cube. Boil for a few minutes then taste for salt. It will need salt, but the amount will depend on the saltiness of the stock cube brand used. Gently pour the sauce over the lamb knuckle, leaving as much of the onion on top of the knuckle as possible – it really flavours the knuckle during a low and slow cook. Add the prunes, put on the tagine or roaster lid and in the oven it goes for an hour.

Take it out after an hour, check to see if it needs a touch more liquid and add the apricots. Back in the oven for another 1-1½ hours it goes until it is fall-off-the-bone soft.

Garnish it with pomegranate rubies, toasted almonds and mint leaves and serve it with cous cous, bulghur wheat or brown rice. If you are sensitive to spice, also serve a dollop of full cream plain yoghurt on the side to cool the palate.

Written by: Lizet Hartley

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at http://www.melkkos-merlot.co.za

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Caprese Panzanella Salad

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Exceptional ingredients treated simply – for me this is the essence of what makes Italian one of the world’s greatest cuisines. They just get it.

Take caprese salad. In its simplest form, it’s just ripe red tomatoes bursting with the flavours of the sun, creamy fresh mozzarella, pungent basil and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. On a trip to Italy some years ago, I feasted on it at every opportunity. Another great favourite was their tiny crostinis topped with diced tomatoes – sit down for a meal in any halfway decent ristorante, and these bite-sized morsels of pure pleasure invariably appear on the table along with the first glass of wine.

It was thinking of these two treats that inspired this recipe. It gets all the ingredients of a traditional caprese salad plus some elements from panzanella, a traditional Tuscan salad which incroporates cubes of ciabatta.

Unlike with a normal panzanella, I toasted the bread to be crostini-crisp, then rubbed it with some eat.art Italian caprese spice mix. They’re divine on their own as a nibble with a glass of wine. Added to a salad, they’re a lovely crunchy counterfoil to juicy tomatoes and soft mozzarella.

INGREDIENTS
ciabatta
extra virgin olive oil
eat.art Italian caprese spice mix
ripe tomatoes
fresh mozzarella (the one in water)
cucumber
red onion
baby gem lettuce
balsamic vinegar

METHOD
Slice the ciabatta any way you like – traditionally the bread in panzanella is cubed, but I prefer the elegance of slices. Place the bread on an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil. (TIP: The best way to get an even oil coating, is to dab it on with a pastry brush instead of pouring it.) Bake the bread at 150 degrees Celsius until it is golden and crisp. The thicker you cut it, the longer this will take. Add spice mix and rub in lightly. Plate up the salad and bread on a large platter, sprinkle very lightly with more eat.art caprese mix, drizzle with olive oil and a touch of balsamic and tuck in.

Written by: Lizet Hartley

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at http://www.melkkos-merlot.co.za

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Mexican Fiesta Mealies

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Christmas may be over, but the party’s not because we have a good few months of summer left before the mellow, intimate days of autumn arrive. Months when I make the most of our weather and light a braai fire (BBQ) as often as possible.

Mealies (aka corn on the cob) are one of my all-time favourites for the braai.  Plump and juicy is how they should be, which is why my trick is to boil them briefly before they go on the braai for just a wee while to get their smokiness. I turn what is a very simple dish into a knock-your-socks-off feast by serving it up not with a pat of plain butter, but with an eat.art Mexican Fiesta butter. This lovely spice mix is packed with aromatic gems like Chipotle chillies, smoked paprika and roasted garlic. I ramp it up even more with fresh coriander and lime. I’m not easily given to superlatives, but this one is utterly moreish and so easy to make.

INGREDIENTS
5 tbs soft room-temperature salted butter
3 tsp eat.art Mexican Fiesta spice mix
1 cup of coriander leaves, finely chopped
zest of 2 limes
juice of 2 limes
1 deseeded green chilli, finely chopped (optional)

METHOD
Mix all the ingredients for the flavoured butter together. Spoon a 7cm-long strip of it in the middle of a sheet of wax paper. Fold it closed like you would a Christmas cracker and roll the ends tight to help shape the butter in a perfect roll. Place it in the fridge to firm up. Slice rounds of the flavoured butter to top warm mealies hot off the braai.

Written by: Lizet Hartley

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at http://www.melkkos-merlot.co.za

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Jerk Gammon with Thyme and Honey Roasted Nectarines

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Jerk is an exotic spice blend that is smoky and hot with a balancing sweet note. It’s Jamaica on a plate. Use it as a dry rub or make a wet marinade. Either way, it transforms ordinary chicken or pork into a spicy delight.

With the festive season firmly on the brain, I opted for pork in the form of a boneless smoked gammon. Some honey, some lime, and plenty of eat.art Caribbean jerk and I was happy I’d discovered a sunny climes approach to the traditional Christmas gammon.

FOR THE CARIBBEAN JERK GAMMON
1 boneless smoked gammon
4 tbs runny honey
2-3 tbs eat.art Caribbean jerk spice (the hotter you like it, the more you should use)
juice of half a lime

FOR THE ROASTED NECTARINES
6 nectarines, halved and pips removed
3 tbs runny honey
1 tbs thyme leaves, roughly chopped

Place gammon in a large saucepan and add 6cm of water. Cover and boil over medium heat for 50 minutes per kilogram. Remove the gammon and cut off the covering netting while it is still warm. (If you wait until it gets cold, it’s going to stick to the skin and be tricky to remove.)

Now with an unsmoked gammon, I’d remove the skin and score the fat before it gets roasted. But with a smoked gammon, you do not need to go this route. Simply pop it onto a baking sheet. Mix the honey, jerk spice and lime juice and paint the gammon. Then roast it at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Once done, remove the gammon and allow it to rest.

Turn your grill on. Heat 3 tbs honey in your microwave and add the thyme leaves. Allow it to stand for a few minutes so it can infuse. Drizzle over the nectarines and pop them under the hot grill for a few minutes until they start to caramelize.

This gammon can be served warm, but is also brilliant cold.

Written by: Lizet Hartley

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at http://www.melkkos-merlot.co.za

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North African Harissa Spiced Lamb Chops with Honey & Egyptian Dukkah Roasted Carrots

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When my nose got a whiff of eat.art’s North African Harissa spice mix, I literally started to drool. It is so fragrant, spicy and pleasantly hot. I had lamb loin chops and beautiful baby rainbow carrots in my kitchen and to marry the two, I spiced the lamb with the harissa spice mix and to keep to a similar theme for the carrots, I roasted them in orange juice, honey and eat.art’s Egyptian Dukkah spice mix. The combination of juicy spiced lamb chops and roasted carrots (adorned with toasted hazelnuts, thyme and extra dukkah) was a North African inspired delight! The best part is, this all goes into the oven at the same time for +- 25 minutes. Dinner within 30 minutes, what a treat! A feast for the eyes and bellies!

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Ingredients
6 lamb loin chops
Olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
30 ml eat.art’s North African Harissa spice mix

500 g baby rainbow carrots (use simply cut plain carrots chunky on the diagonal), washed and scrubbed
Olive oil for drizzling
Juice of half an orange
30 ml honey
45 ml eat.art’s Egyptian Dukkah spice mix
A few sprigs of thyme
A handful of hazelnuts, pan toasted and roughly chopped
Salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Place the lamb chops spaced out into a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season generously with eat.art’s North African Harissa spice.
Place the carrots in a medium baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and add the orange juice, honey, eat.art’s Egyptian Dukkah spice and some sprigs of thyme. Shake & toss around to make sure the carrots are well coated. Season with salt to taste.
Place the lamb and carrots into the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes (depending on size of your chops and carrots).
Sprinkle the carrots with toasted hazelnuts, thyme leaves and more dukkah (an extra drizzle of honey wouldn’t hurt too).
Serve immediately!

Variations:
Add some crumbled feta or goats cheese to the carrots.
Serve with a garlic and herb yoghurt sauce.

By Carey Erasmus

michelleparkinphotography_careyerasmus-1885Carey is a freelance development chef and food stylist with a ND: Food Science and Nutrition. With over 12 years of experience in the food industry she has established an impressive portfolio and creates recipe or foodie content for various clients. She also has a popular food blog called Bits of Carey where she shares fuss free recipes and collaborates with like-minded brands and campaigns.  www.bitsofcarey.co.za

Braaied (BBQ) Tandoori Chicken Flattie with Raita

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A flattie on the braai is as proudly South African as it gets. If you don’t know what that is, a flattie refers to a chicken that is spatchcocked – i.e. cut open down the middle and pressed flat. It’s a great way to braai a whole chicken because a flattie is suitable for both the indirect braai method on a kettle braai, or the direct method on a more traditional grid braai.

Chicken is one of those marvelously ‘neutral’ meats that responds well to almost any flavour you may wish to add. But I think it has a particular affinity for spice. So I grabbed some of eat.art’s Indian tandoori spice and mixed it with yoghurt and a few other bits and bobs. The result is roast chicken packed not with spicy burn, but gently pleasing spicy depth. Try it poolside this summer.

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FOR THE CHICKEN
1 cup plain yoghurt
3 tbs eat.art Indian tandoori spice
1 fat garlic bulb, finely minced
handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 spatchcock chicken

FOR THE RAITA
1 cup plain yoghurt
¼ cup roughly chopped coriander leaves
¼ cup grated cucumber (squeeze out the liquid so it does not make the raita runny)

Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Pour over the chicken, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least two hours. If you are braaiing using the indirect method, place the chicken in the middle of the grid, cover with the lid and braai for an hour. If you are using the direct method, it’s really important that your coals are not too hot. If they are, the chicken will burn on the outside and still be raw inside. If you are using this method, you do also need to flip the chicken over.
Mix the raita ingredients together and serve with the chicken garnished with coriander leaves and limes griddled on the braai.

Written by: Lizet Hartley

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at http://www.melkkos-merlot.co.za

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BAHARAT ROASTED BEETROOT SALAD

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Literally translated, baharat means ‘spiced’ in Arabic. Apt indeed, because spice is what it contains, loads of it. Cumin and coriander (always a match made in heaven) star, along with the likes of cloves, cardamom, black pepper and mint. It’s a heady perfumed mix with a certain earthiness that’s somehow deeply comforting. A perfect foil, I thought, for the earthy quality of beetroot.

I happened upon baby beetroot with their pointy roots and leaves still on (I have no idea why shops insist on removing them) and got terribly excited. They were too pretty to resist so into my basket went two bunches. Back home I roasted them with olive oil, a touch of honey and a generous sprinkling of baharat. Onto peppery leaves they went along with cooling mint and feta. It called for something more I thought, so I added some salted caramel walnuts too.

This is a marvelous lunch or light supper and the perfect addition to a buffet table for festive season entertaining.

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FOR THE ROASTED BEETROOT
10 baby beetroot
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
eat.art pink Himalayan salt
2 tbs eat.art Middle Eastern Baharat spice
1 tbs runny honey
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

FOR THE CARAMELIZED NUTS
¼ cup sugar
½ cup walnuts
eat.art Cyprus flake salt

FOR THE SALAD
packet of watercress
packet of wild rocket
large handful of mint leaves
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1-2 rounds of feta
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs red wine vinegar
pinch of eat.art pink Himalayan salt

To make the beetroot:
Wash the baby beetroot very well, especially the bit where the stem meets the root – that’s where the beastly grit hides. Trim off the leaves and most of the stem, leaving just 4cm of it on. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the beetroot. Toss beetroot lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with eat.art’s pink Himalayan salt. Place beetroot on a baking tray, cover tray with tinfoil and roast in a 180 degree Celsius oven (on normal setting, not thermo fan) until beetroot are soft when pierced with a skewer. If the beetroot are very small, this will take about 30 minutes, longer if they are bigger.
Once the beetroot are cooked, remove from the oven. Turn the temperature up to 220 degrees Celsius. Mix the 2tbs olive oil and honey and coat the beetroot, then sprinkle with eat.art‘s baharat spice. Return to the oven, uncovered, for another ten minutes. Remove beetroot and set aside to cool to room temperature. (I leave the stems on as they’re all chewy, which I love. You can simply cut them off at this stage if you prefer.)

To make the caramelised nuts:
Line a baking tray with a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Place the sugar in a small deep saucepan over medium heat. Do not stir it! Just leave it alone to do its thing. Once the sugar has melted, allow it to cook until it is amber in colour, then toss in the nuts and cook for a minute. Remove saucepan from the heat and use two forks to lift individual walnuts out of the caramel. Place walnuts on the lined baking tray and crush a teeny-tiny bit of eat.art Cyprus flake salt over each walnut before it cools down and the caramel hardens.

Assembling the salad:
Make a simple vinaigrette by whisking the olive oil and red wine vinegar with a pinch of salt. Pour it over the watercress and rocket and toss through lightly. Tumble the leaves onto a lovely large platter. Spoon over the beetroot and crumble over the feta. Scatter over the mint leaves, pumpkin seeds and salted caramel walnuts.

Written by: Lizet Hartley

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at http://www.melkkos-merlot.co.za

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