With a young baby in the house, early evenings are now very busy times. At 6pm our house is go-go-go! Bath time is happening and bedtime is approaching. So… dinner preparation has had to become super-slick. The less time required in the kitchen, the less multi-tasking for this tired mama!
I wanted to create a dish that would eliminate the crazy from our evenings. Something that involves minimal effort to put together. Something that I can whack into the oven and forget about until my husband and I are ready to eat. Our ‘dinner time’ varies from one night to the next and it is nice to be able to sit down to eat together as soon as bub is asleep.
I LOVE cauliflower. It is seriously one of my favourite vegetables. My all-time favourite dish growing up was a luscious cauliflower cheese to accompany a roast lamb. This, sadly, is one of the few ways I know how to cook this delightful vegetable. Given cauliflower is in season at the moment in Melbourne, I decided to try cooking it a different way. I have also been loving almonds in savoury dishes and thought that they would provide an interesting crunch. The overall effect is one of major scrumptiousness. I love this recipe – not only are we set up for a yummy dinner, but also a peaceful evening, and who can complain about that?
Spiced Chicken Bake with Cauliflower and Almonds
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Juice of half a lemon
- Salt & pepper
- ½ cup almonds, crushed
- ½ tsp of chilli flakes
- 6 chicken drumsticks
- 1 red onion, cut into wedges
- ½ cauliflower, cut into florets
- 6 black olives, pitted and sliced
- ½ bunch coriander, coarsely chopped
- Couscous, to serve
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- Preheat oven to 220° Celsius.
- Combine olive oil, garlic, ground coriander, cumin, lemon juice, salt, pepper, almonds and chilli flakes in a large bowl.
- Add the chicken drumsticks to the marinade and toss to ensure an even coating.
- Place the chicken in a roasting tray with the red onion and cauliflower.
- Bake in oven for 20 mins.
- Reduce heat to 180° C and baste with juices. Bake for a further 40 mins.
- Add olives to the roasting tray 10 mins prior to the end of the cooking time.
- Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with couscous and lemon wedges.
Growing up, my mother’s specialty dish was a hearty roast lamb. It was by far the family favourite, preferred over pork, beef and chicken. I think my mum started cooking it because my father had grown up eating roast lamb every Sunday, cooked by my grandmother. When my grandmother passed away, my mum, her daughter-in-law, kept up the tradition. And of course, it was served with all the great British trimmings – mint sauce, gravy, potatoes, carrots, peas…
I have for you here a reinvention, if you will. I called on my memories of roast lamb and the flavours that it entailed. My pie has potatoes, carrots, mint and peas! Reminiscent of old fashioned family Sunday dinners. A meal for a winter Sunday lunch, for family gathered around. To share a good bottle of red wine, and to spend the afternoon debating answers to the Sunday quiz.
- 1.5 kg lamb shoulder, bone on
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 red onion, cut into chunks
- 4 rashers bacon, diced
- 1 tbs plain flour
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- ½ tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 2 carrots, cut into thick rounds
- 500g potatoes, washed, peeled and diced into 2 cm chunks
- 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
- Salt, pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 handful of fresh mint, coarsely chopped
- 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Heat oil in slow cooker set to ‘sear’ mode (or use heavy bottomed saucepan on stove). Sear lamb until browned all over. Add red onion and bacon and stir.
- Add flour and stir for 1-2 minutes until juices are thickened.
- Add red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Cook until liquid reduces by half. Transfer lamb to slow cooker.
- Add beef stock, garlic, herbs, tomato paste, carrots, potatoes and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
- Set slow cooker to ‘slow cook’ mode and cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
- Once ready, set slow cooker to ‘sear’ mode again and bubble until liquid thickens. Stir through peas and mint.
- Spray a pie dish with oil and preheat the oven to 180° Celsius.
- Spoon the pie filling into the dish and top with the pastry sheet, using a little oil to seal the edges. Prick several holes in the pastry with a fork and brush with beaten egg.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until pastry is golden and puffed. Serve with fresh mint.