This is one of those dishes that has developed over time and is now one of my weeknight favourites. I remember trying the lamb with dukkah for the first time after buying some dukkah in Margaret River several years ago and wanting to find other ways of using it rather than just as something to dip your bread into. Though I love eating it like that too – cut up some crusty bread or Turkish bread, dip a piece of bread into a small bowl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and then into some dukkah…yum. The couscous and ratatouille were added later after I met Jerome and he asked me to cook couscous. The couscous needed something with some liquid to go with it, so I decided to try a ratatouille. Like usual, I looked up a few recipes then proceeded to go off and make my own version. My ratatouille is quite fresh and light, and only needs around 25 minutes total cooking time, making it good for a weeknight meal and one of my favourites.
The last week has been a very busy one, with lunch and dinner out for my birthday, a cooking class (Yule log), two cake decorating classes (which I will post about when I get back from my holiday) and all day Sunday baking for work morning tea (cupcake recipes to come soon). And now I am in the middle of packing for a few nights away. As a result, there hasn’t been a lot of extra time for actual home cooking or writing about it.
However, I did manage to try two new recipes this week. Jerome asked for Tomates farcies (stuffed tomatoes), but with rice in the filling. Normally when trying a new recipe for something specific (rather than a recipe that I see and want to cook), I do some research and look at a number of recipes before I cook, using what I like from each or taking the general “rules” and making up my own. Not having much time, I used the first recipe that I found which was in Manu Feildel’s Manu’s French Kitchen. I was lucky enough to have the book signed by Manu last year. Also in the book was a recipe for baked witlof, so I decided to try both for dinner. I couldn’t get hold of any minced pork at my local shop, so I used the filling of some pork sausages instead. And instead of breadcrumbs and egg I used a cup of rice (as this was what Jerome asked for). I also replaced half of the tomatoes with mushroom cups for a bit of variety. The filling ended up a bit heavier/denser than I would have liked but they still tasted nice – I’m not sure if that is because of the sausage, lack of breadcrumbs/eggs or just me packing it in too tight.
My witlof was very bitter and I really needed to keep tasting the sauce as I went to adjust the seasoning and sugar. Don’t put extra in though until after you have reduced the cooking liquid, or it will end up too sweet. The end result was quite nice and Jerome liked it. It didn’t look very pretty in its baking dish though and I’m afraid I don’t have a photo, however I will try it again and update the post with a photo when I have one… After my upcoming trip that is.