Someone recently asked me what sort of cuisine I cooked and I could not answer. I felt a little embarrassed as I responded saying didn’t cook cuisines per se, but rather picked flavours I liked and used them as inspiration. At my table, you might end up with an Asian duck ravioli, a confit Japanese-style salmon, or even more vague: an interpretation of ‘something’… Luckily, my official Taste Tester – Ms TT – has a very open mind when it comes to my cooking. But to go back to the initial question – aside from wondering at the motives of the asker as this was out of context – it had me wondering whether many people (who aren’t professional chefs that is) cook only one cuisine? When asked the same question my date replied by saying he cooked Korean food and bolognese…hmmm… I decided it wasn’t worth pursuing this any further with him but I put it to you my dear reader – what sort of cuisine do you cook and why?
The recipe below is one of my somewhat odd nameless fusion creations. It started with the initial concept of a Lebanese lady finger, but in an effort to reduce calories I decided to ditch the pastry for spinach leaves. The result was a dolmades-type parcel (hence a little bit of Turkey) and since I have a current obsession with pomegranate molasses, well that went into the mix (just to throw in a little bit of Persia). Thankfully, Ms TT gave this multi-cuisine wonder two enthusiastic thumbs up…
Pomegranate Lamb Dolmades
500g lamb mince
1 tbsp chinese chicken marinade (Lee Kum Kee brand)
1 tbsp +1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp sumac
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1.5 tsp sugar
30g pine nuts
1 tsp nutmeg
100g feta, crumbled
1 bunch English spinach
1. Combine lamb, marinade, 1 tbsp cumin, sumac, molasses and sugar.
2. Toast pine nuts (pan or oven, whichever suits your fancy)
3. Cook meat mix in a sauté pan. Once cooked, drain off fat by first poring off the excess liquid and then pouring the mince onto paper towel.
4. Put meat mix into a large bowl. Mix in remaining cumin, nutmeg and feta.
5. Remove spinach leaves from stems. Quickly blanch. Overlap leaves to created a larger sheet.
6. Wrap meat into the spinach wrappers (so that they look like dolmades).
7. Place spinach stems and roots in the bottom of a sauté pan. Place the spinach and lamb parcels onto the stems/ roots. Add water to the pan (should not touch the parcels) cover with a lid. Bring to a boil and steam the parcels for 5 minutes.