Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Spiced Lamb with Aubergines & Plums

Befriending the butcher/fishmonger: check.  Befriending the greengrocer: check.  Befriending the dry cleaner's people: check.  This is me settling into my new neighborhood.

My neighborhood is perfect.  I live literally one minute away from an excellent butchers/fishmongers and perhaps 10 minutes away to the best greengrocers in London.  Furthermore, I'm surrounded by supermarkets, there's a farmer's market right outside my house every week, there's a gym 5 minutes away, there's a park, there's a hardware store, pound store, health store, beauty store...

Ok, let's go back to the butcher, Harry.  I went to his store yesterday, chatted to him, bought my lamb and he gave me a sausage for free as a welcome gift to the neighborhood.  Oze the greengrocer's also fantastic.  Best greengrocer in London?  Well that's what I thought as soon as I stepped in.  Then I discovered that it's also Ottolenghi's favorite greengrocer in London.  Yea, same wavelength, that man and I.  Apparently he goes there three times a week...I've been going there everyday and I still haven't bumped into him.. Maybe it's best.  You know, I never thought I could be a groupie until I met celebrity chefs.  God, I become like a stuttering school girl.   

This dish was made using products from Harry and Oze (I really don't think I'm spelling his name right, anybody speak Turkish?). I'm still on holiday so I have all the time in the world to be making 2 hour lunches.  I wish I took the lamb out of the oven a bit earlier as it was well-done, but just.  So it was still beautifully tender but I would've liked it pinker.

Serves 2
For the lamb marinade (recipe from Williams-Sonoma)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil

2 x 150g lamb fillet

2 medium aubergines
4 baby aubergines

2 purple plums
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar

Mint Pesto
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
5 toasted almonds
extra virgin olive oil

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a shallow bowl and coat the lamb fillets in it.  Leave in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to marinade for at least 3 hours or overnight.

For the medium aubergines, prick them all over and put them in a 200C oven to roast for 40 minutes or until tender.  Take out flesh and leave to cool.

Lower oven temperature to 170C. 

Chop one plum into chunks, remove the peel and put into a pot with the cinnamon and sugar.  Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes and then mash with a fork. 

For the mint pesto put everything in a mortar and pestle or in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a sauce -- be liberal with the olive oil.

Heat a heavy based oven-proof pan up over high heat.  Take the lamb out of the marinade, reserve the marinade, and sprinkle salt generously on all sides of the lamb fillets.  When the pan becomes smoking hot, put the lamb fillets in to sear on all sides.  Put it in the oven to roast for about 10-12 minutes for medium. 

Cut the baby aubergines in half, make sure the stalk is still in tact and only use the 4 halves with the stalk.  Score the cut side of the flesh in a tight criss-cross pattern.   Rub with the remaining marinade of the lamb and put in the oven alongside the lamb for about 10 minutes.

When the lamb is ready, remove from oven and place on a chopping board and cover with tin foil.  Let it rest for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, put the pan back onto the stove, turn the heat up high and add a few tbsp of water to deglaze the pan and get all the delicious juices.  Then add the roasted aubergine flesh and mix through.  Remove from pan and season to taste.

Chop the other plum into thin slices and fry in some butter and a pinch of sugar.  Just a bit so they warm up, you don't want them to disintegrate. 

Take the baby aubergines and remove excess marinade on top, season with salt.

To plate:  put the aubergine puree in the center of the plate and place a few plum slices on top.  Cut each lamb fillets into two and place on top of the plums along with the baby aubergine halves.  Drizzle the mint pesto around the plate and put a tbsp of the plum sauce on three corners.  Drizzle with more olive oil and serve. 


  1. Oh pleeease run into Ottolenghi and say hi from me :D And this looks amazing - beautiful pictures of beautiful food! The plating is gorgeous!

    1. *sigh* haven't bumped into him yet. I really have been going pretty much everyday! It's okay, one of these days! And thank you :)


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