There is a little revolution happening in the food business.
Over the years many companies have tried and failed to supply people with ready made meals. Have you ever bought a ready made meal? Meals for two or meals for a family in cryvaced portions bought from a fridge and re-heated at home. A good time saving idea and so much better than takeaway or premade supermarket style food, but what is in them and how much are they? Who made them and what ingredients are they using? It’s also a way to loose the art of cooking, don’t you think? What if I told you the ingredients for this dish came in a bag supplied by a food company.
The bags are delivered on a specified day. They contain all of the food you need for several days along with recipes. That means no shopping and whoever gets home first cooks dinner! It’s very simple and it works. I got to try food bags from several companies last week and I will do a post with pictures of the food and recipes this week so you can see what you get and what you pay.
In the meantime I was thrown a bit of a challenge to create a dish with the contents of a food bag given to me at the launch of a cookbook by New Zealand’s Season 2 Master Chef winner, Nadia Lim. She’s the consulting chef at “My Food Bag” and together they have created a bright colourful book filled with straightforward fresh ideas and achievable recipes. My Food Bag’s mantra is organic and sustainable where possible, and local produce is checked carefully for seasonality and flavour.
You can make this yourself even without being given a food bag. Here’s some of the ingredients I had to use eggplant, organic Mirrool Creek Lamb rumps, artisan cherry vine tomatoes, Sami’s Kitchen Spices – shawarma and ras el hanout, McKenzie’s French Style lentils, almonds, herbs (mint, thyme, sage, rosemary and parsley). What would you create with these ingredients?
- 2 Mirool Creek lamb Rumps
- 1 Table spoon Sharwarma spice Mix
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 packet (375 gm or 1½ cups of french style lentils)
- 5 cups water
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 100 gm of baby spinach
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 tablespoon Sami's Kitchen sharwarma spice
- Juice of 2 lemons or about 6 tablespoons
- ½ bunch picked mint leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large eggplant (around 200gm)
- 3 tablespoon Tahini paste
- Juice of 1 lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
- ½ cup of chopped raw almonds to serve
- ½ cup of pomegranate seeds
- Put the lentils into a medium pot and bring to a bowl. Boil till tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside while you are preparing the other things. You will use the pot to make the warm salad. so set aside as well.
- Mix the ingredients for the lamb marinade in a bowl and mix well. Pat the lamb dry with a paper towel add the lamb fat side upwards. Keep the marinade on the meat only. Set aside
- Put the whole eggplant onto the burners on the stove and blister till black and dark turning so that it gets blistered on all sides. When the eggplant starts to leak a little juice, put it onto the tray and pop into the oven (180/350) for 15 minutes or until soft and pulpy. (You can also do this under a grill / broiler if you don't have gas.). Cool slightly and then peel off the blackened skin and stalk then put the whole lot juice and all into a blender (or use a stick blender and bowl) with tahini and salt. Blitz and add the lemon juice, scraping down the sides. Purée till smooth and white and creamy adding a little oil if it is not coming together.
- Put a fry pan or skillet onto the stove and heat till smoking. Add a Tablespoon of oil and put the rumps into the pan fat side down. Sear till dark and crispy and the fat has started to render. Turn and cook for another 5 minutes before flipping back onto the fat side . Put into the oven setting the timer for 15 minutes for a large rump or 8 minutes for a leaner cut like a fillet. Take out of the oven and put onto a plate leaving them some where warm.
- Meantime finish off the warm lentil salad. Once the lentils are cooked and drained put the pot back onto the stove and heat, adding a tablespoon of the oil reserved for the salad. Add the chopped onion and sauté on medium till starting to soften. Add the cumin and shawarma spices and stir till fragrant. Add the lentils the spinach, tomatoes and half the mint leaves then the rest of the olive oil and lemon juice. Stir very well to toss and combine. Add a grind of salt and pepper and stir. Set aside to wilt a little.
- Serve on individual plates or on a platter. Slice the Lamb and put on top of the lentils. Sprinkle with mint leaves, pomegranate seeds, and almonds and dot with smoked eggplant cream.