Yesterday we had a work 'away day', a bizarre term for a bi-annual event that takes us away from our desks and individual offices with the main aim of making us talk to each other with no means of escape. For years, this event was held in a wildlife area just outside the city, inconveniently distanced from most forms of public transport to ensure we didn't plan a getaway at any point; recently it has been held in different city venues, which are more accessible but also seem to specialize in deep-fried chicken dippers for lunch. Anyway after a day trapped in a hotel with all of my colleagues, I needed to get into the kitchen when I got home and cook off its effects. I had already decided to make a diced lamb recipe from Rachel Allen to go with Jamie's spicy cauliflower recipe; I just had to work out some side dishes. I settled on couscous, wholemeal pitta, and yoghurt to go with the lamb and cauliflower, so that the meal had a sort of Moroccan vibe, although to be honest the cauliflower was more Indian.
To make the spicy roast cauliflower, I cut it into florets and steamed it briefly, before leaving it to steam-dry. Meanwhile I bashed up cumin and coriander seeds plus dried red chilli in my pestle and mortar, adding salt and blanched almonds, and toasting the mixture lightly, adding the cauliflower and, once it has coloured a little, some lemon juice and zest. I transferred the pan to the oven (preheated to 200C) for 15 minutes.
I have roasted cauliflower before, dusted with cumin, and liked it, but this tasted more complex and had more depth. It tasted good and it was easy enough to make.
I also as I said above made lamb with raisins and pine nuts from Rachel Allen - heat some oil in a pan, fry some diced lamb, add cumin and coriander (both ground), fry for 5 minutes, then add pine nuts, home made hummus, raisins and chopped coriander. Serve with couscous and pitta.
The whole meal worked pretty well - a nice different midweek supper with a bit of spice.
As a mid-week treat, I made gateaux choco-granola from Ma petite robe noire by Trish Deseine - a chocolate biscuit base with chocolate and creme fraiche set on top using a silicone muffin tin. I reduced amounts and used a silicone heart-shaped bun tin, making one for each of us. Mmm...