|The first batch: tomato paste underneath and plain lamb mince on top|
|Roasted red pepper sauce - delicious and sweet|
|The second version - delicious and sweet.|
Holidays have been kind of lame since having children. They are not holidays as I remember them, often they are an exercise in trying to entertain tired children in an unfamiliar locale with less resources than usual. A 'holiday' in Rotorua earlier in the year while my husband attended a conference ended with tearfully trying to find an open chemist on a Sunday morning for nits shampoo on four hours of broken sleep. Turns out the baby was coming down with campylobacter while my oldest had her first case of nits since starting school. My husband left the conference early, I napped wearing earplugs for two hours then, with greatly restored humour, we went luging.
So I wasn't thrilled with the idea of going up to Auckland recently for a few days while my husband participated in a marathon.
It was actually quite a decent break.
I felt no more or less rested than usual, but I did a lot less cooking and no driving whatsoever. This left me feeling more relaxed at least and I came back with a more enthusiastic approach to family dinners.
Our last meal in Auckland was at a Turkish restaurant. It was a bit chaotic as the baby was grumpy and I was in pain due to an ill-timed ear infection (blocked ears and flying, bleurgh). The meal, Lahmucan, was delicious and one I felt that I could easily replicate at home. We have pizza once a week and although it is an easy meal I find myself a little bored with it. Lahmucan, Turkish-style pizza, is based on lamb mince and a red pepper sauce. The version I ate was dairy free, but I have seen other versions online with feta.
The mince mixture made enough for two batches of pizza. Because I was experimenting we had two versions over two different nights. I like both versions for different reasons. The first version was pizza dough spread with tomato paste and the lamb mixture very thickly covering the dough. The second version I added all of the red pepper sauce to the remaining lamb mixture, with a tablespoon of added tomato paste. I spread this a little more thinly across the dough. Your choice! My internet research indicates the second version is more authentic, the first version is closer to the one I tasted at the restaurant in Auckland.
Roasted red pepper sauce
Two red capsicums
Three cloves of garlic
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Cut the capsicums in half and place, cut side up, in a roasting dish. Add the garlic and then drizzle with a little olive oil. Add a little sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast at 200C for about 40mins. Remove from the oven and, when cool, blend the capsicum in a food processor or blender until smooth.
This sauce is sweet and delicious. I'm thinking of roasting and puréeing capsicums most weeks through summer to add to meals.
400g lamb mince
2 TBSP pine nuts
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
Sweat the onion and garlic in a little oil until clear and soft. Add the lamb mince and cook until well browned and broken into small grains. Sprinkle with the spices and pine nuts and cook for five more minutes. Set aside.
A very generous handful of fresh Italian parsley
Half a cup of tomato paste.
One batch of pizza dough (One batch makes three large pizzas)
Version one: Lamb mince only
Preheat the oven to 220C for at least half an hour. Put an oven tray or pizza stone in the oven to heat. Roll half of the dough out as thinly as you can on a sheet of baking paper and spread with tomato paste. Thickly cover with the lamb mince then transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the dough is crispy. When the pizza is out of the oven squeeze a generous amount of juice from half a lemon over the top, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Version two: Roasted red pepper and lamb mince
Preheat the oven to 220C for at least half an hour. Put an oven tray or pizza stone in the oven to heat. Roll half of the dough out as thinly as you can. Mix all of the red pepper sauce with the lamb mince mixture and a tablespoon of tomato paste. Thickly cover the dough with the lamb and pepper mixture and then bake until the dough is crispy. When the pizza is out of the oven squeeze a generous amount of juice from half a lemon over the top, sprinkle with parsley and serve.