Pulled Lamb Méchoui
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons ras el hanout (see note on page 180)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons olive oil
1.5 kg shoulder of lamb, skinless (weight includes bone)
A handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
A handful of roughly chopped mint leaves
50g feta cheese
80g pomegranate seeds
1. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the garlic to a paste with a little salt. Add the butter, followed by the spices, olive oil and a little more salt, mixing until smooth. Prick the lamb all over with the tip of a sharp knife and place in a large mixing bowl. Rub the spice paste all over the lamb. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7 and take the lamb out of the fridge to come to room temperature. Place in a roasting tray and pour 100ml of water around the sides. Cover with foil and put into the hot oven. Reduce the heat to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6 and cook for 3 hours or until the meat is tender and can be pulled apart with a fork. Remove from the oven, cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
3. Using two forks shred the lamb. Transfer to a serving plate, season with salt and mix together. Scatter over the herbs and crumble over the feta. Finally add the pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.
Zaalouk with Crispy Halloumi
3 large aubergines
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato purée
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 bay leaf
A pinch of sugar
Juice of ¼ lemon
A handful of finely chopped coriander leaves
300g halloumi, cut into 0.5cm slices
Warm pitta, to serve
1. Prick the aubergines all over with a skewer. Carefully place each one over a medium gas flame and cook for 3–4 minutes each side, turning four times, or until tender. You should be able to poke a skewer into the charred skin and straight through the flesh when they are cooked. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Once cool to the touch, remove and discard the burnt skin. Cut off the top and finely chop the flesh. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Tip in the tomatoes, tomato purée, cumin, paprika, chilli flakes, bay leaf and sugar. Season with a good pinch of salt. Add 100ml of water, mix well and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the tomatoes have broken down.
3. Transfer the aubergines to the tomato sauce. Mix well and check the seasoning. Cover and cook for a further 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce is lovely and thick. Add the lemon juice and coriander and mix together.
4. While the aubergines cook in the sauce, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Carefully place the halloumi slices into the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes each side until golden and crispy.
5. To serve, spread the zaalouk in a serving dish and top with halloumi. Give a final drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately with pitta.
Pomegranate & Rosewater Mille-feuille
320g puff pastry
600ml double cream
200g mascarpone cheese
165g icing sugar
2 teaspoons rosewater
80g pomegranate seeds
1½ tablespoons dried rose petals, to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6 and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Roll out the pastry into a large rectangle about 30 x 35cm in size. Place on the lined baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Cover the pastry with more baking paper and top with another baking sheet – this will stop the pastry rising. Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the cream into soft peaks. Add the mascarpone, 65g of the icing sugar, and the rosewater. Fold together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate.
3. Divide the remaining icing sugar between two bowls. Mix one with 1 tablespoon of water and stir into a thick, white paste. Now muddle 2 ½ tablespoons of the pomegranate seeds and drain off the juice. There should be just over a tablespoon. Mix this into the second bowl of icing sugar to form a slightly thinner pink icing.
4. Cut the cooled pastry into three even rectangles. Place one of them onto a serving board and spread half of the cream mixture over the top. Flatten and even out with a knife. Top with another piece of pastry and smooth over the remaining cream mixture. You can run a knife around the sides and smooth out the cream, so that you have lovely sharp edges if you like.
5. Spread the white icing over the top of the third piece of pastry. Place on the mille-feuille. Using a teaspoon, drizzle the pink icing over the top. Run a cocktail stick around to swirl it and mess it up so you have your very own Jackson Pollock.
6. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds and rose petals. Leave to set for a few minutes, then serve immediately.