Monday, November 27, 2006

Decluttering and spicy food

I came across a blog recently called The Seven Things Project . The idea being that each week Earthchick is finding seven things to get rid of, without simply throwing everything away. It's interesting and a good incentive to me to try to do the same. After cleaning my room I have a neat stack of things which I've been meaning to get onto Freecycle for a couple of months now. Next week a friend is coming over with her digital camera to take photos and I'll hopefully get rid of them fairly quickly. I'm going to leave them on freecycle for a week and if they're not taken will find a local school who's having a sale of work before Christmas and donate them.

I also have a few books which I've read and know I do not want to read again. Two went to my brother yesterday and I'm waiting to see if my housemate wants any of the others before bringing them to a second-hand shop at lunchtime tomorrow. I think one may also belong to my ex-housemate, who's off in Australia for a year so need to wait to hear back from her before getting rid of it. My other task for this week and next is to take three things out of a bag of bits and bobs and either find a home for them or get rid of them. In January then I want to organise my book shelves properly and see if there's anything else I won't read again. I know I have quite a lot of books I bought at jumble sales purely because they were so cheap and I need to go through all of those especially and decide if I will actually read them.

Yesterday I cooked spicy lamb burgers based on a recipe for spicy lamb chops in Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries- . I had mince from Terryglass organics in the freezer, two red chilis I bought a few weeks ago and didn't know what to do with and all of the spices needed (leftover from some other time last year when I thought I'd get adventurous with food but never did). The only thing missing was a lime and some fresh tomatoes. I planned on using a tin of tomatoes but when I called to the market in Ranelagh to pick up a lime I gave in and bought seven lovely Italian organic vine tomatoes. I also bought some eggs while there and am glad now as my brother came over for dinner yesterday evening and ate more than I thought so I only had enough leftovers for one lunch - the eggs will give me two or three meals this week instead.The recipe as I adapted it is as follows:

Fry one teaspoon each of the following seeds (all whole) in a little oil (I used olive, which is what I had on hand) - mustard, coriander, fennel, cumin. After a minute or two add a chopped onion, one de-seeded and chopped chili and fresh grated ginger (from a piece about as big as a walnut in its shell). Allow to soften but not colour and then add six chopped tomatoes and some rock salt. In the original recipe he uses this as the basis for a marinade but I used it as a sauce instead. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile I mixed one egg in with the lamb mince and made small burgers which I fried for a minute on each side so they would keep their shape. I placed the burgers in an overproof dish. When the sauce was finished cooking it came off the heat and the juice of the lime was stirred in and then the sauce poured over the burgers. I left it to marinade for about an hour and once my brother had arrived for dinner, put it into the oven for 20 minutes at about 200c. I served it with some basmati rice.

The smell in the house was beautiful and the dinner tasted lovely. It was very mild though and I was surprised as I'd been expecting to need to add some yoghurt to mine to cool it down a bit. I did only use one chili instead of two though and apparently not enough salt (but my brother always says that!). It was a departure for me to use these kinds of spices and I was pleased with the result. I will definitely do something similar again. I'm not a big fan of coriander or fennel but in this mixture neither flavour came out on its own, rather it was a taste greater than the sum of its parts, if you know what I mean.

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