Friday 30 December 2011

Dukkah-Crusted Lamb with Pearl Couscous Salad

I was invited to spend Christmas with friends this year and it was wonderful. I enjoyed taking a break from cooking and it was nice to be away from home for a few days. It was also terrific to spend time with my friends. However there was a bit of indulgence involved, especially with a trip to Bourke Street Bakery, along with all the other associated Christmas goodies. So I feel the need to have a few lighter meals for a while. This does not include the feast that I am making tomorrow for New Year's Eve, although I am mainly doing that for the leftovers that I can have for lunches. 

I started my lighter meals last night with this lamb recipe over on Taste but I didn't really follow the recipe so will post what I did instead. It was very good, although I think that my dukkah is starting to get some age on it and therefore lose a bit of its flavour so I think I will probably toss it and make up a new lot. The couscous was very good although I think I could have made it a bit healthier if I had used quinoa instead of the pearl couscous. You really could add any salad veg that you wanted to.

Dukkah-Crusted Lamb with Pearl Couscous Salad 

Serves 2


4 Lamb loin chops
Olive oil 
Pistachio dukkah (made with pistachios instead of almonds)
1/3 c pearl couscous
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1/4 continental cucumber, pealed, quartered and sliced 
1/4 red onion sliced 
1/2 avocado diced 
2 slices of feta cheese, diced 
Handful mint leaves, chopped
Raspberry vinegar (I bought this ages ago, it is so good and well worth it)
salad leaves to serve


Drizzle lamb with oil and sprinkle with dukkah giving it a good rub. Set aside while making salad. 
Cook pearl couscous in some vegetable stock following packet directions, rinse in cool water and drain well. Combine couscous, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, avocado, feta and mint, drizzle with a small amount of raspberry vinegar and mix to combine. Refrigerate until serving. 
Heat pan over medium-high heat and add a small about of grapeseed oil to pan. Cook chops for a few minutes each side or until cooked to your liking. Remove and drain on paper towel and trim fat from lamb. 
Serve with salad leaves and couscous salad with an extra drizzle of vinegar. 

Sunday 18 December 2011

December 2011 - Couscous salad with Honey & Saffron Dressing

So, I have had a bit of a crazy weekend. Have done a lot of stuff over the past couple of days and now I am really tired. There is still some stuff I want to get done but it is not going to happen this evening. Hopefully I will get it done tomorrow after work. 

I am going to be honest and tell you that I really haven't looked at this issue that closely. I have flicked through it and saw some lovely food. While flicking through I marked two recipes to make. Both were part of a Moroccan menu by David Morgan. 

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a full lamb along with some pork and beef to fill up my freezer and because meat is so much cheaper if you can buy it in bulk. I picked it up last Wednesday and invited by grandparents up for a meal. I decided to do the Moroccan menu for them and it was a big hit. I made the Chermoula Lamb with yoghurt dressing. I made some changes. I marinated it and but used a on the bone roast instead of boned & butterflied. I also slow roasted instead of doing it on the barbecue. I also didn't have any preserved lemon for the yoghurt dressing (at least I couldn't find the jar I am sure that I have)  so I used some fresh lemon zest in it instead. 

To go with it I made the Couscous salad with Honey & Saffron Dressing. This was so good. My grandmother was really impressed with it. I did make some changes. I added in some capsicum when roasting the other vegetables.  I used craisins in place of the sultanas and omitted the green olives. I didn't have enough oranges so I used grapefruit juice in the dressing instead. I will definitely make this one again. 

Couscous salad with honey and saffron dressing

Serves 8 (actually I think it would feed an 

1 kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and chopped
2 red onions, cut in wedges
1 red capsicum, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups couscous
200 grams of chopped apricots
100 g craisins
1 3/4 to 2 cups vegetable stock, hot
2 oranges, peeled and segmented

For the dressing
100 ml grapefruit juice
1 tbsp honey
a pinch of saffron threads
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees°C. Mix the pumpkin, onion and capsicum with the olive oil and roast this for 25- 30 minutes or until cooked. Let cool slightly and then peel capsicum and slice into strips.

Combine couscous, apricots, craisins and stock in a bowl and cover with glad wrap or a tight fitting lid until all liquid is absorbed.

Mix the pumpkin and onion with the couscous, apricots, sultanas and orange segments

For the dressing,

Heat the juice, honey and saffron in a small pan until it comes to a boil, then set aside to cool. Whisk in the oil and season to taste. Stir the dressing into the salad and serve.

The photograph here is from the following night when I served some of the left over salad with some lamb cutlets that had be marinated in olive oil and sumac. 

Sunday 4 December 2011

Cake Decorating

A couple of new cakes that I have done recently...just my standard chocolate cake. I really should break out one of these days and work out a recipe for a different type of cake. Although I am not keen on all the testing that comes with it...what to you do with all the okay but not quite perfect cakes? 

A puppy dog cake for a friend's 3 year old, the paw prints were all individually cut out of fondant with 2 different sized piping nozzles. It was very hard to get them in place! 

A Christmas present cake for a recent Christmas party. I was pleased with how the bow turned out, although it could have been a bit thinner. Plus I didn't make it with enough time for it to dry properly so it deflated after a while, but not until after the party thankfully.