Respecting Your Wishes
Harem Hash: serves 4
"We Western girls use left-over lamb for Shepherd's Pie, but Eastern ladies prefer to turn it into something more tantalising. Sultanas are probably the nearest I'll ever get to a Sultan but I can still hope!"
4 tblsp sunflower oil
8 oz (225g) long-grain rice
3 pints (1.75lts) boiling water
1 onion, chopped
8 oz (225g) cooked lamb, diced
1 red (bell) pepper, de-seeded and diced
2 oz (25g) sultanas
1 oz (25g) toasted flaked almonds
salt and pepper
Put half the oil in a deep frying pan and when warm, add the rice. Stir for a few moments until the rice has turned transparent. Pour over half the boiling water until all the water has been absorbed, then add more boiling water, a little at a time, until the rice is very nearly cooked (al dente). Drain, put in a sieve, cover and keep warm over simmering water.
Meanwhile put the rest of the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion until soft. Add the meat, pepper, sultanas and almonds, adding seasoning to taste. Fry gently for 5 minutes, then stir in the rice. Toss together for a couple of minutes before piling into a hot dish. Serve with a a cucumber and yogurt salad (Raita).
For those of us who need to be frugal, we could serve this Danish version of Christmas Pudding. This is a cold dish in which the 'mandelgave' (the almond 'prize') is hidden. Whoever finds the almond gets the prize.
As long as a dish is traditional - thus having a good reason to be where it is when it is - then we should take opportunities like this to save those pennies.
Ris a l'amande:
1 pint (600ml) milk
4 tblsp pudding rice
half tsp vanilla extract
2 oz (50g) chopped almonds
1 tblsp caster sugar
5 fl oz (150ml) whipping cream
1 tsp sherry
1 whole blanched almond
Put the milk into a pan and bring to the boil. Stir in the rice and vanilla extract. Simmer gently for five minutes, stirring constantly, then cover the pan and cook gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan.
When the rice is cooked, remove from heat and leave to cool. Stir in the chopped almonds and the sugar. Whip the cream with the sherry and fold this into the cold rice. Tip into a pretty glass serving dish and finally push in the whole almond, slightly to one side rather than in the centre, so that it arrives in the dish of one lucky person.