In the previous blog post celebrity chef Jo Pratt reviewed our new Vintage Basmati rice, here is how she used the rice as part of her dinner party menu.
You have the chance to win a lunch with Jo Pratt by taking part in our Special Occasion Recipe Competition here.
Griddled, spiced Halloumi with tomato, cucumber and mint salad.
This starter is very simple as you can get everything ready, except for the cooking part well in advance of your guests arriving.
To make this I cut Halloumi cheese into slices and marinated it for a couple of hours in a good drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, ground coriander and dried chilli flakes. For the salad, I roughly chopped super ripe tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and mixed with loads of fresh chopped mint and a handful of pitted black Kalamata olives.
Just before serving I tossed them in lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil. I cooked the Halloumi on an oiled griddle until golden, scattered over some toasted sesame seeds and served with the salad and warm flatbread. Everyone was happy and I was feeling relaxed (probably due to the cocktail I’d had when everyone arrived).
Baked Persian lamb and sweet-spiced Vintage Basmati.
Now for our main course – this is where I really wanted to make the most of the Tilda Vintage Basmati Rice, something that would benefit from the richer, more separate grain. I thought I’d prepare a dish that I could leave to cook while my friends arrived, leaving the serving up as the only thing left to do. I decided upon making a Baked Persian lamb and sweet-spiced Basmati dish.
The nutty flavour and sweetness of the rice would tie in beautifully with the lamb and all the aromatic flavours I intended to use with it. The one problem you can come across when baking/braising rice is that it can become heavy and starchy – but using the vintage rice and soaking it in cold water for 30 minutes before cooking gave impressive results. Everyone tucked in, really enjoying all of the flavours in the dish and luckily for me, there was plenty for seconds. (See recipe at the end of the blog).
The final hurdle –
When I have a dinner party this is one thing I like to know is ready prepared with just last minute finishing off just before serving. This is because by the time it’s dessert time (usually about ten o clock!) I’ve had a bit of wine and don’t trust myself with a blow torch for example, or anything sharp.
I decided upon making a flourless almond based chocolate torte, which is big enough to serve at least 8 people, so plenty for seconds. To add a Middle Eastern touch I topped it with some whipped cream flavoured with a rose liqueur that I’ve recently discovered (a splash of rose water and some icing sugar will also do the trick).
The cloud-like cream was spooned on top of the torte. I scattered over a handful of edible rose petals and some chopped pretty green pistachio nuts. A scattering of pomegranate seeds would also have been nice but I’d used them up on the main course.
All in all it was a perfect dinner party – games started and before we knew it everyone had to leave, leaving us with the washing, which we left until the next morning (naughty us!).
Baked Persian lamb and sweet-spiced Vintage Basmati
• 350g Tilda Vintage Basmati Rice
• 900g diced lamb leg
• 2 tbsp vegetable oil
• 2 onions, finely sliced
• 2cm piece peeled root ginger, grated
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• ½ tsp turmeric
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground allspice
• 1 litre hot lamb stock
• 75g dried cherries
• 50ml pomegranate molasses, plus extra to serve
• 100g toasted pinenuts
• 100g fresh pomegranate seeds
• 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Soak the rice in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse in a sieve with cold water until the water runs clear.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C fan ovens/gas 6.
3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole and cook the onion for 10 minutes until softened and golden. Increase the heat and add the garlic, ginger and lamb.
4. Fry until the lamb is browned all over. Stir in the spices and cook for about 1 minute before adding the drained rice.
5. Stir until coated in the spices then add the stock, dried cherries and pomegranate molasses. Bring to the simmer and cover with a lid.
6. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the stock is absorbed into the rice, and the lamb is meltingly tender.
7. Run a fork through the rice to separate the grains, which will be lovely and fluffy and season with salt and pepper. Stir through the toasted pinenuts and serve onto plates.
8. To finish off, scatter over pomegranate seeds, chopped fresh parsley and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.