Saturday, August 17, 2013

{Spice} Mulled wine, spiced lamb, and more

A small group of Orange Feast-ers met up this Friday to chase away the winter chills with some spiced culinary delights.

We started the evening with Mel's delicious mulled wine, and tested our tastebuds Masterchef-style by trying to guess all the ingredients.  While sampling the wine, some za'atar flatbreads went into the oven, and we started to discuss the different 'taste groups' of spices, as outlined by Ian 'Herbie' Hemphill in several of his comprehensive 'Spice' reference/recipe books, and how to combine them in a successful blend.

We pulled out the contents of the spice cupboard, and started choosing some blends (some ground fresh by us on the night, some commercial) in which to roll our lamb loins and backstraps.  Having decided on homemade baharat & indian blend, and Herbie's smoky BBQ blend and Slice of Orange's spicy chicken blend, the lamb went into the pan and oven, until pink and juicy.

We all sampled a small portion of each spice-rubbed loin, served up with some roasted beetroot, feta, & rocket salad, and some caramelised onion couscous, and decided on which blend we each preferred.

Next up, Shara made churros, which we rolled in cinnamon and sugar, and served with chocolate sauce, and we sampled Kasia's delicious sticky cardamon semolina cake.

We all went away feeling like we knew a little bit more about spices than we did before.  We were so busy cooking and eating, that the photos were left until the end (whoops) - so you can see how delicious our lamb and salad was, by the small amount of leftovers!

Mulled wine (recipe to come)

Za'atar Flatbread (from Australian Gourmet Traveller)
1 tsp dried yeast
150g (1 cup) wholemeal flour
675g (4 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 tbsp salt
To drizzle: olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp dried thyme leaves
2 tsp sumac
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt

  • Combine yeast with 600ml warm water.  Add wholemeal flour and 1 cup plain flour, and mix well.  Cover with tea towel and stand for at least 1 hour
  • Sprinkle yeast mixture with salt then add in remaining flour and stir to combine. Turn out onto lightly floured bench and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth.  Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover with gladwrap and stand for 2-3 hours until doubled in size.
  •  For za'atar, place thyme in mortar, and lightly crush with pestle. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Preheat oven to 220C and place pizza stone or heavy tray on middle shelf.  Knock down dough, turn onto lightly floured surface. Divide into 8, shape into 12cm ovals and cover and stand to rise for 30 mins.
  • Drizzle each bread with olive oil, press fingertips into surface to dimple.  Sprinkle generously with za'atar. Place each dough onto pizza stone or tray and bake for 12 minutes until golden.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Best served warm on day of making.

Spiced lamb backstraps

Roll lamb loin/backstrap in spice mix of your choice before barbecueing or pan frying. We used:

Baharat spice mix

2 teaspoons mild paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cassia
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds

Indian spice mix
4 tsp coriander seed, 3tsp turmeric, 2tsp cumin, 2 tspcinnamon, ½ tsp fenugreek, ½tsp ginger, ½tsp pepper, ¼tsp chilli, ¼tsp cloves, ¼tsp cardamom

Churros are a delicious Spanish doughnut that are rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with a rich chocolate sauce.
This is the recipe I used to make the churros however it turned out very runny and couldn't be piped. I don't think I added the flour to the milk mixture when it was still hot so this might have been the problem, maybe it is supposed to be like a choux pastry whereas mine was like pancake batter. I added an extra cup of flour to thicken the batter which worked but the churros were a little stodgy.
Next time I might try this recipe.

250ml milk
1 teaspoon caster sugar
100g unsalted butter chopped
1-2 vanilla beans, split, seeds scraped out
115g plain flour (plus up to 1 C if required)
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 egg yolks
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
To Dust
1/2 C caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Chocolate Sauce
150ml cream
100g dark eating chocolate
splash of rum (optional)

For the chocolate sauce melt the chocolate, rum and a little cream. Cool a little then stir in remaining cream. Serve in a small but deep bowl for good dip-ability!
Bring milk, sugar, butter and vanilla beans and seeds to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Discard vanilla beans. Remove from heat.
Sift in flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined and dough comes away from side of pan. Remove from heat. Stand, covered with plastic wrap, for 10 minutes.
Beat in egg yolks with wooden spoon, one at a time.
Spoon dough into a piping bag fitted with a 2cm star nozzle.
Heat oil to 180°C (350°F) (when a cube of bread turns golden brown, oil is hot enough). Pipe 5cm lengths into oil, cutting off the dough with a sharp knife.
Place caster sugar and cinnamon in a flat bowl.
Deep fry churros until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Immediately roll churros in cinnamon sugar. Serve with chocolate sauce

Sticky cardamom semolina cake (recipe to come) 

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