Another corker of a contribution by local foodie and all round top chap Gareth Colwell! Let me know when the next hot tub session is homie…
“Well, Happy Birthday SFS. On seeing Charlie announce that the venerable Southsea Food Social was a year old, I thought it was about time I got my guest post on to celebrate.
One of the great things about Christmas and Birthdays is getting a new cookbook or two. I’ve been steadily working my way through Hugh’s River Cottage Veg since Christmas which has meant that Rick Stein’s Spain has been a bit neglected. Big mistake. The book is crammed full of great recipes which demonstrate that Spanish cuisine can more than hold its own against more renowned French and Italian dishes.
Also, the recipes themselves are much more accessible than the ones in his previous book, Far Eastern Odyssey. Don’t get me wrong, Far Eastern Odyssey it is also a great read but the complexity of some the recipes can put you off, especially when all you just want to knock a quick Thai curry up for dinner!
The following recipe immediately caught my eye, given that I love aubergines, lamb, paprika and cheese….and I wasn’t disappointed. It may look like a lot of ingredients- but in reality it doesn’t take that long, around 45 -50 mins from start to finish.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 decent sized aubergines (about 275g each)
a small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a reasonable sized red pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
A smidgen of nutmeg
1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika (Pimenton Dulce if you are being flash)
Pinch of dried crushed chillis
250g minced lamb
50g manchego cheese (all nicely grated)
Salt n’ p
Some splashes olive oil (or other low saturate oil like rapeseed)
1) Preheat the oven to 200 C/Gas. Cut each aubergine lengthways, then score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern (be careful not to go through and cut the skin). Put them on a baking tray, drizzle lightly with oil and bake for about 30 minutes. The flesh should be soft but not brown.
2) Whilst the aubergines are baking, put a splash of oil in a pan and fry the spices, onion and garlic gently for about 10 minutes before adding the minced lamb. Once browned, add the passata and simmer for 5 minutes before removing from the heat.
3) Get the aubergines out and whack the oven up to 220. Scoop out the flesh tenderly using a spoon, leaving a shell about 1 cm thick. Take the scooped out aubergine, mix it with the lamb and then spoon the spicy lamby auberginey mix into to your aubergine shells. Don’t be afraid to pile it up a bit!
4) Sprinkle the cheese on top, bake until golden brown (probs about 8-10 minutes).
This is a proper fill you right up dish – the only accompaniment it needs is a gutsy Rioja. Enjoy…. and raise a toast to many more years of SFS!”