Aubergine and Minced Lamb with Cinnamon, with Cucumber and Dill Salad

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After a week of racing boats in Suffolk and an intensely brilliant weekend in London I was exhausted and sorted myself out by making this. It is an inexpensive way of cooking meat and was breeze to make. Henry and Fez, who ate it with me, cleaned the pan with bread despite having just eaten a great volume of chips, initially assuring me they would not need food – so I felt it was worth recording.

Ingredients:

250g lamb mince

1 aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes

1 courgette, cut into 2cm cubes

4 tomatoes, blanched and peeled (if you can be bothered) and chopped roughly

150g tinned tomato (around ½ can)

1 onion, finely sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

300ml water

1 teaspoon, sugar

2 teaspoons, ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon, cumin seeds

a hefty pinch of chilli flakes (your heat preference)

½ lemon

Garnish ( if you want)

½ lemon

tablespoon  of chopped parsley

a bowl of natural yogurt

How to make:

In 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and over quite a high heat in a large, deep frying pan, seal the mince until browned then remove and set aside.

Add the onion to the same pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and cook for two minutes over a medium heat while stirring. Add the garlic and the spices and cook for a further 5 minutes until caramelisation is happening – the garlic and onions are browning, but not burning.

Add the aubergine and courgette and fry for 5 minutes, adding a little more oil if needed. Add the tomatoes, the tinned tomatoes, the sugar, a good pinch of salt and the mince. Cook for 1 hr 30minutes, uncovered on a low heat and just bubbling and add some more water if it gets too dry. It is done when the aubergine is very soft and the mixture is moist but not swimming in liquid. Taste and season well with salt and a bit of pepper. Squeeze some lemon in at the end for a touch of acidity.

Serve with more lemon, and some natural yogurt and parsley if you wish.

Cucumber Salad

½ cucumber, peeled and sliced finely

2 teaspoons of chopped dill

½ tablespoon of vinegar

½ tablespoon of olive oil

pinch of sugar

good punch of salt

How to make:

Mix everything together and arrange on a plate. Check it has your preferred seasoning and acidity and adjust if wished.

Eaten with:

Chopped gem lettuce salad, extra lemon and bread.

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