April 30, 2012
Lamb and Plum Stew
The other day,
BigJ bought me home a present.
Most wives get maybe a bunch of flowers, box of chocolates, even some perfume.... I got a bag of prunes.
A big bag.
He assures me he didn't just see a bag of prunes and think of me, or that he thought I may need some intestinal toning, but that he purposely went looking for a treat that would make me happy.
I guess that makes it better.
He's right actually. If he had bought me chocolates I would have been a bit frustrated as I'm trying to lose weight, if he bought flowers I would have been touched but I'd rather he got me a punnet of seedlings, if he bought me perfume.... well, he learnt the hard way about me and my itching, sneezing, puffing, perfume InTolerances. And I do love prunes. So sweet and soft, perfect with yoghurt, cereals, cheese, hard fruits, on their own for a snack, or cooked up with savoury ingredients for a tagine, casserole or stew. What's not to love?
Littlej has been reading the Hunger Games Trilogy. She is a rather reluctant reader, preferring little bites of reading than sitting down and devouring a whole novel at once. She had heard lots about the books from her school mates, and the movie had rave reviews too, so we made a deal- if she read the whole book, I would take her to the movie. I knew that may not win out over her dyslexia reading reluctance, but she did it! And then begged me for the rest of the series too! I bought them the next day, and of course we went to the movie as well.
As further encouragement, I decided to use some of my stash of prunes in a Lamb and Plum Stew as mentioned in the Hunger Games. The heroine loved it, and I figured as the book had already influenced littlej in reading and hairstyle (we are now braiding it like Katniss) maybe it would help with eating the prunes as well, as littlej has never been a fan of any dried fruit either.
Lamb and Plum Stew
1kg lamb, cubed
1/2 cup Honey
1 tab ground Coriander seeds
1 tab ground Cumin
1/2 cup toasted Pinenuts
Cut the lamb into nice big cubes. I used lamb leg as its nice and chunky and works out much cheaper to do it yourself than buying it pre chopped
Cut the stems off the bunch of coriander, and roughly chop the lemon, one of the onions and as many cloves of garlic as you prefer- I used four
Throw them all into a blender with a pinch of salt and about 1 tablespoon of oil
Blend to a nice smooth paste
Mix the lamb and paste together and let it marinate for a couple of hours to let the flavours develop
Scrape most of the paste off the meat- but save it, then brown the lamb in batches in a bit of oil
Sweat off the onion in a splash of oil, and when it starts to go translucent add in the other veggies and the cumin and coriander. I had these gorgeous little carrots from the garden, and some home grown pumpkin to use up as well- lucky me!
Coat them nicely in the oil and spices, then put back in the lamb and reserved marinade paste
Pop in the prunes and honey, and season with salt and pepper, stir well and add in a small amount of water- I used about 1/2 a cup
Put the lid on your pot, bring to the boil, then simmer for about an hour and a half or until the meat is meltingly tender and soft. Don't forget to stir now and then so it doesn't stick
Check your stew for seasoning and honey sweetness, adding a bit more if you need too. Thicken up with some arrowroot if a bit runny, but it should have cooked down nicely
Sprinkle your meal with toasted pine nuts and coriander leaves for an extra burst of flavour and freshness and to make it look pretty.
I served our stew on some cooked quinoa to match in with the grain it was served with in the book. And the verdict? littlej loved it too, and has dibbsed the leftover for tonights dinner as well. What more could I ask for!
So Dear Readers, are you a fan of the humble Prune, and did any novels influence you when you were younger?