This morning Simon’s dishes were heavily inspired by the Middle East, with lots of fragrant spices and deep, earthy flavours. Delicious.
This aubergine dish is a delicious Middle Eastern-inspired recipe, which would be perfect as a light meal or starter. Simon is stuffing the aubergine discs with a hearty combination of minced lamb, bulgur wheat, tomatoes and aromatic spices. For a vegetarian alternative, Simon recommends replacing the lamb with cubes of roasted squash.
- Serves 4
- Preparation time: 25 mins
- Cooking time: 5 mins
For the lamb and bulgur wheat stuffing
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed
- 450g/1lb minced lamb
- 50g/2oz raisins
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 200g/7oz coked bulgur wheat
- 6 tomatoes, chopped
For the aubergines
- 4 aubergines
- 100ml/3½fl oz olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Greek-style yoghurt
- Fresh mint leaves
- Pomegranate seeds
- For the lamb and bulgur wheat stuffing, heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the lamb and fry for a further 4-5 minutes, or until browned, then add the raisins, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, mint, bulgur wheat and tomatoes. Mix well, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/355˚F/Gas 4.
- For the aubergines, top and tail them and slice each one in half widthways to create two cylinder shapes per aubergine. Stand each aubergine piece on one end on a baking tray, and cut criss-cross patterns across the tops. Brush with the olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and cook for 12-15 minutes in the oven, or until softened.
- Remove the aubergines from the oven. Using a rolling pin or a small glass slightly smaller than the circumference of the aubergines, press down into each one to create a hollow. Don’t press all the way through – the aubergine flesh should be packed down towards the bottom end.
- Spoon the lamb and bulgur wheat mixture into the aubergines, packing the mixture in tightly. Place back into the oven for 4-5 minutes, to heat through.
- To serve, place a piece of stuffed aubergine on each serving plate, and spoon some Greek-style yoghurt alongside. Sprinkle over the mint leaves and pomegranate seeds.
Baklava is a traditional Ottoman dessert popular across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. It is made from many layers of filo pastry usually filled with chopped nuts and syrup or honey. Here Simon is adding crispy bacon shards for a sweet and savoury twist on the dish.
- Serves 12
- Preparation time: 30 mins
- Cooking time: 1 hr
- 200g pistachios
- 100g walnuts
- 12 slices crispy grilled smoked bacon, crumbled
- Zest of 3 limes
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 75g sugar
- Pinch ground cardamom
- 400g filo pastry
- 225g melted butter
- 175g honey
- 125g sugar
- Juice of 3 limes
- 50ml orange blossom water
- 250ml water
- Put the nuts, zest, sugar and cardamom into a processor and pulse to form rough crumbs.
- Grease and line a 22cm square baking dish.
- Cut the filo to the size of the dish. Brush a piece of filo with melted butter, then lay into the dish. Repeat with a further five pieces.
- Add a third of the nut mix, then a third of the bacon. Repeat with 6 more pieces of filo, then another third of the bacon and nuts. Repeat with more filo, another layer of bacon and nuts, and finish with a layer of pastry. Press down each layer as you go.
- Score a diamond pattern into the layers, not quite cutting through to the bottom.
- Bake the baklava at 180˚C for an hour.
- Make the syrup by boiling all the ingredients together for 5 minutes.
- As soon as the baklava comes out of the oven, pour the hot syrup over it.
- Cool again then serve in diamond shaped pieces.
Don’t forget to look up all the Daily Brunch recipes so far at ocado.com
Naomi, PR and Social Media Executive