Saturday, 28 November 2009

Side Dish Superstars!

Side Dish Superstars, the supporting cast on the plate that manage to outshine the main. Once again I turned to more Middle Eastern flavours for their bold spices and pleasing textures. The bulgar wheat salad is unlike the regular lemony one I am used to, and has a smoky finish with the addition of cinnamon and allspice. It is balanced nicely with the salty and spicy aubergine rolls. And the main? Oh, that's just a pork chop in the back. The real stars are the sides!

I livened up the plate with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro, two ingredients I used in my sides. Sort of looks like Christmas!

These rolls would also be great on a meze platter.

Herbed and Bulgur Wheat and Nut Salad
Nigella Lawson

150gr bulgar wheat
25gr dried barberries (I omitted these)
750ml boiling water
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp Maldon salt or 1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
50gr shelled pistachios
50gr natural (unblanched) almonds
2 tbsp chopped parsley (I used cilantro)

Put the bulgar wheat and barberries into a bowl and pout over the boiling water. Cover with clingfilm and leave for 20 minutes, then drain in a sieve and squeeze out any excess water. Put the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, olive oil, allspice, cumin seeds, salt and cinnamon in to a bowl and whisk together to make a dressing. Roughly chop the pistachios and almonds and add them to the drained bulgar wheat with the dressing and chopped parsley. Fork everything through to mix well and turn into a bowl, sprinkling with a little more chopped parsley if you'd like.
*I tossed in a big handful of pomegranate seeds and used more for garnish
Griddled Aubergines with Feta, Mint Cilantro and Chilli
Forever Summer, and Nigella's website
Nigella Lawson

2 large aubergines, each cut thinly, lengthwise, into about 10 slices
4 tablespoons olive oil
250g feta cheese
1 large red chilli, finely chopped, deseeded or not, depending on how much heat you want
large bunch fresh mint (I used cilantro), finely chopped, with some saved for sprinkling over at the end
juice of 1 lemon
black pepper
Serving Size : Makes 20 rolls.

1. Preheat the barbecue or griddle to a high heat.
2. Brush both sides of the aubergine slices with the oil, and cook them for about 2 minutes each side until golden and tender.
3. Crumble the feta into a bowl and stir in the chilli, mint and lemon juice and grind in some black pepper. You don’t need salt, as the feta is salty enough. Pile the end third of each warm aubergine slice with a heaped teaspoon of the feta mixture and roll each slice up as you go to form a soft, stuffed bundle.
4. Place join side down on a plate, and sprinkle with a little more mint.