I’m starting to write more of my own recipes again, but this is one that caught my eye a few months ago when I was religiously working my way through a mound of cookbooks. It is from the fabulous Honey & Co book, a lovely book filled with delicious Middle Eastern treats from their Central London restaurant.
This recipe attracted me as it sounds like nothing I have ever tried before. It is very simple to follow and quick too (perfect midweek dinner). In the intro the authors describe it as a lighter version of a shepherd’s pie, to which I wholeheartedly agree. It isn’t stodgy, and goes wonderfully with salad and pickles. Definitely a recipe I will be making again and again.
As much as I would have loved to have shown you inside this dreamboat of a recipe ain’t a looker. It’s aaaaaall about the flavour.
LAMB SINIYA (from the Honey & Co cookbook)
I made two alterations when I made this the second time. One being that I added chopped baby spinach to the base, as I like to get greens into our diet whenever possible, and it is a very beige recipe (works a treat). The second being instead of pine nuts on top I sprinkled crushed sesame and coriander seeds. Purely because my husband has a nut allergy, and also I love the flavour.
Serves 4 – 6 (very easily halve-able)
- 1 small cauliflower, broken in to florets
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 500g minced lamb
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground
- 2 tablespoons baharat spice mix (or Lebanese seven spice mix)
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 5 balls of frozen spinach or 150g chopped baby spinach (my added extra)
- 200g natural yoghurt
- 200g tahini
- 2 large eggs, free range or organic
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts (or sesame and coriander seeds)
- 1 tablespoons chopped parsley, to serve
Place the cauliflower in a saucepan with a litre of water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 – 6 minutes until the florets are soft. Drain and place in a shallow casserole dish (about 22cm in diameter).
Fry the onions on a medium heat in a frying pan with the oil and half a teaspoon of salt until the onions start to go golden. Add the minced lamb and another half teaspoon of salt, increase the heat to high and use a spoon to break the meat into small pieces. When the lamb starts to brown, sprinkle on the ground fennel and baharat spice mix and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and spinach (if using) and continue to cook and stir for around 3- 5 minute or until the spinach has cooked down. (If using frozen spinach it may take a little longer). Spread the lamb mixture around the cauliflower. You can prepare this stage up to a day in advance – just cool, cover and store in the fridge until needed.
Preheat the oven to 180/ gas mark 4.
Mix together the yoghurt, tahini, eggs and lemon juice. If the mixture is very thick, stir in rough water to loosen slightly, a couple of tablespoons perhaps – the consistency should resemble thick yoghurt. Spread the topping over the lamb in the dish. Sprinkle the pine nuts (or seeds) all over and bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes or until the tahini looks set and slightly golden. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
NB: if you can’t find baharat spice mix, have a go at making your own.