Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mad about millet?

Never in my life did I think I would become a fan of millet. As a fairly adventurous eater, every time I've tried it, I've realised where exactly the line needs to be drawn. That's at bland, flavourless grain that's bleaker than England's chances of winning the world cup this year.

Until Tuesday when Kristina of Conscious Food whipped up a batch of gorgeous dishes in which millet played one of the starring roles. Just thinking about that meal makes my stomach rumble. We started with a range of millet crackers (believe me when I say that these are actually very very good) and a lentil dip, along with a healthier version of Masala Mix.

It's always good to meet other food bloggers and put some names to faces and the blogs that continually distract me from working throughout the day (in this case Catalan Cooking, Tasty Diaries, Huma Qureshi and Slow Food Kitchen) so the conversation was pretty lively. But for such talkative ladies, I can tell you that there wasn't much chat for the first few minutes after the mains were served up. There was a spicy lentil daal,a millet tabbouleh, raita and a meltingly tender spiced shoulder of lamb.

I'll happily eat my words if it means I can eat more of that tabbouleh. Apparently the secret is to toast the mustard seeds, cumin and cardamom, add some butter then add millet and cinnamon powder, coat in the spicy butter then add the water, cook, steam and fluff. After that, just mix it with some freshly chopped coriander, tomatoes and grilled aubergine. It sounds so simple but tasted so delicious...

Dessert was one of the strangest but yummy dishes.

I know in the pictures it might not look like much, but it was a spiced sweet millett pudding. On first taste I wasn't too sure but about two bites in, I decided that it was a real winner. If I can lure the recipe out of Kris I will. But for now, here's the lamb shoulder recipe - enjoy!

Slow roasted spiced lamb shoulder
1tsp mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek, black pepper, coriander seeds,
5 green cardamom and 2 black cardamom,
a piece of cinnammon bark,
5 cloves
5 cloves garlic
2 or 3 red chillis
organic greek yoghurt
lamb shoulder

First make garam masala - toast the following seeds/spices in a frying pan a teaspoon each of mustard, fennel, cumin, fenugreek, black pepper and coriander seeds
5 green cardamom and 2 black cardomoms, a piece cinnamon bark and 5 cloves
Then grind in pestle n mortar or use a coffee grinder
Make paste of good knob of ginger, 5 cloves garlic and 2 or 3 red chillis (depending on how hot you like it)
Add all of garam masala and chilli, garlic, ginger paste to a tub of organic greek yoghurt.
Take a 3 kg shoulder of lamb and make some piercings with a knife. Smother marinade all over and leave overnight (or min 5 hours).
Set oven on to 160c and bake for 2 hours then reduce to 150 for next 3 hours.


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