Lamb, pumpkin and eggplant curry

We’re already into our last month of winter but I’ve been warned that Melbourne doesn’t actually get warm until November. So that means more curries, soups and stews for me. Which isn’t a bad idea as I haven’t been well … Continue reading

Roasted pumpkin stuffed with moroccan spiced lamb

Pumpkin is one of my favourite roasted vegetables, the sweet yet nutty taste gets me every time. Instead of enjoying it as a side dish, I wanted to make it the main focus for a change.

The flavours in the moroccan spiced lamb really complemented the earthiness of the roasted pumpkin and I just know this is going to be a favourite dish of mine during winter – actually, make that, during all seasons!

One butternut pumpkin half

I used butternut pumpkin/squash as its shape acts as a ‘boat’ that can hold the moroccan lamb mixture without if falling over the sides.

Moroccan spices

The spices in this dish include cumin, paprika and cinnamon – you could definitely add fresh chilli or chilli flakes if you’d like some heat. When cooked, the spices become aromatic and fill the room with a beautiful earthy fragrance.

Adding the red lentils

I always associate red lentils with moroccan food; maybe it’s due to their rustic red colour. The lentils add extra bulk to the dish in the way of flavour and texture.

Moroccan lamb mixture

This dish is vegetable friendly, virtually any variety in your fridge could be used. This is great for those nights when you have a few vegetables to use up or need some extra nutrients!

Flesh scooped out

Once the pumpkin is cooked, scoop enough flesh out to create a ‘boat’. I kept about 1cm from the edges and made sure there was still enough pumpkin flesh on the bottom so the moroccan lamb mixture didn’t seep through.

Ready to fill the pumpkin

As I don’t like waste, I added the scooped pumpkin flesh and seeds to the lamb mixture along with the coriander for extra moroccan flavour.

Nearly ready to be enjoyed

As you can see, the pumpkin has now been filled and is piled quite high. I love the colours in this dish – it really goes to show just how beautiful healthy food can be.

Mint yoghurt dressing

This mint yoghurt really sets off the moroccan spices as it brings an element of freshness to the earthiness.

Decorated and ready to be enjoyed!

This dish will keep for two days in a sealed container in the fridge. Store the mint yoghurt separately and serve on top once reheated in the oven.   

Roasted pumpkin stuffed with moroccan spiced lamb

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 butternut pumpkin halves, washed
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 3 tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, washed and diced
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, washed
  • 1/2 cup coriander stalks and leaves, washed and roughly chopped – extra leaves for decoration
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt or natural greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup mint, washed and finely sliced
  • 2 TBSP pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place butternut pumpkin halves on baking paper and roast for 45 minutes.
  3. Add coconut oil to a large frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Cook onion, garlic and ginger for 2 minutes.
  5. Add cumin, paprika and cinnamon then stir for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  6. Add lamb mince and cook for 5 minutes or until brown then stir through lentils for a further 1 minute.
  7. Add beef stock, tomatoes, celery, spinach leaves, salt and pepper then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Remove pumpkin from oven and spoon flesh from inside the pumpkin.
  9. Roughly chop the flesh and add to lamb mixture, along with coriander.
  10. Fill pumpkin with lamb mixture then return pumpkin to the oven for 20 minutes.
  11. Mix yoghurt and mint together and set aside.
  12. Remove pumpkin from oven, transfer to a plate, top with mint yoghurt and sprinkle with coriander leaves, pistachios and pine nuts. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If there is leftover lamb mixture it would be delicious over some cooked quinoa or brown rice!
  • Also, to make it vegan/vegetarian – omit the lamb and use chickpeas instead, and use vegetable stock instead of beef stock.
  • You can use any vegetables you like – grated carrot, mushrooms, zucchini, capsicum and corn would all work really well in this dish.
  • You can definitely eat the pumpkin seeds and skin!

Although it seems as though there are a lot of ingredients, once broken down into spices and vegetables, there really isn’t much to it. It’s definitely worth making and I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did!

Lamb, pumpkin and date tagine

When entertaining guests I love choosing a theme for the food as it forces me to try new dishes. Last Saturday night I decided on a Moroccan food theme as the flavours are earthy and warming which were perfect for a rainy winter night.

Traditionally, tagines are cooked in the oven however I was more than satisfied with cooking it on the stove. I still kept the term tagine as it refers to the blend of sweet and savoury flavours, which this dish has.

Browned lamb

It’s important to brown the lamb in batches before slow cooking as it lends the dish a great depth of flavour.

Slow cooking

Slow cooking lamb is well worth the time as it tenderises the meat resulting in it falling apart and melting in your mouth.

Added vegetables

To me, pumpkin and parsnip signify winter as they are earthy vegetables and are the perfect addition to this tagine.

Decorated to serve

The tagine will keep in the fridge for one day in a sealed container.

Lamb, pumpkin and date tagine

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg lamb, diced
  • 1 TBSP macadamia oil
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 500g pumpkin, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup dates, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • Serve with turmeric quinoa

Method:

  1. Heat oil in large casserole dish and cook lamb in batches, until brown. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add onion to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until brown. Add garlic, cumin, ginger and paprika, cooking until fragrant.
  3. Stir in beef stock and add lamb to the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add pumpkin, parsnip and dates, and cook for a further 1 hour.
  5. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with quinoa. Enjoy!

If you follow me on Instagram (@emmalaurenfood) or Facebook then you have probably already seen the spread I made for dinner.

Moroccan feast!

Here is a snapshot of the main meal and all the recipes are on their way!

Chopped salad with spiced mint lamb

As mentioned in my last post, here is the dinner I made for guests Friday evening.

When entertaining I like my guests to feel relaxed. By allowing guests to serve themselves this creates an informal, casual atmosphere and also enables them to serve their own portion size.

Fresh herbs

Make sure you wash your fresh herbs as they can be quite sandy. By adding a dash of apple cider vinegar to the water it will remove most pesticides from the outside of the herbs.

Light salad dressing

This salad dressing is really light and fresh. The lemon provides a tanginess and mellows the pungent flavour of the garlic.

All dressed!

I love the bright reds and greens in the salad. The coriander and parsley really bring out the flavours of the salad ingredients.

Seasoned lamb

I seasoned the lamb with cumin and paprika just before cooking to ensure each piece was coated with the spices.

Cooked lamb topped with fresh mint

Lamb and mint go hand-in-hand, especially in this case as the lamb was seasoned.

Complementary condiments

These condiments improve the flavours of the main dish. By adding the spices to the coconut yoghurt and the pine nuts to the hummus, it really dresses up what could be quite plain condiments.

Dinner is served!

The salad and lamb will both keep in separate sealed containers in the fridge for up to two days.

Chopped salad with lamb

Serves 6 generously

Ingredients:

  • 6 tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 1 cucumber, washed and diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, washed and diced
  • 1 green capsicum, washed and diced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, washed and chopped
Dressing
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Lamb
  • 2kg grass fed lamb, cubed
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 1 TBSP macadamia oil, for frying
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, washed and chopped
To serve
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Homemade spelt pita crisps or gluten free pita bread
  • Olives
  • Goat cheese
  • Hummus
  • Pine nuts, cumin and olive oil for topping hummus

Method:

  1. Place tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, capsicum, coriander and parsley in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and taste for seasoning.
  3. Add dressing to salad and toss well.
  4. Season lamb with cumin and paprika.
  5. Heat large frying pan over medium heat and cook seasoned lamb in macadamia oil for 7-10 minutes.
  6. Serve on a large dish and garnish with fresh mint.
  7. Sprinkle coconut yoghurt with chili flakes and sumac.
  8. Add pine nuts, cumin and olive oil to hummus.
  9. Serve salad and lamb with spelt pita bread, spiced coconut yoghurt, olives, goat cheese and hummus. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • When entertaining, you can cook the lamb just before your guests arrive and leave on a simmer covered whilst you wait till it’s time to serve.
  • Here’s the spelt pita crisp recipe will be posted tomorrow!

What do you like to make when entertaining guests?