When I think of the warm aromas that spices bring to my kitchen, I feel happy. Very, very happy. There is just nothing like it. I actually cannot imagine my life without the smell of spices wafting through my kitchen. Whether it is cinnamon with it’s intense comforting properties or smoked paprika with it’s sweet and smoky flavour, spices really make my world go round.
You will often find my recipes include a teaspoon of cumin or a tablespoon of coriander and although it would be fine for you to leave the spices out of those recipes, it just won’t be the same. I am often asked what I add to my mashed potato that makes it so incredibly morish, the answer, apart from a knob of butter and some warmed milk, is nutmeg. Freshly grated Nutmeg does incredible things to a bowl of warm mashed potatoes. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.
People often complain that they buy big bottles of spices and then only use them for one recipe and I am always left sad when I hear that. It is because of spices and herbs that I am a good cook today. When I was a young girl we didn’t have very extravagant ingredients in our freezer or pantry but we always had a lot of spices and dried herbs. So I always tasted the spice and thought “why not?” and I would add a pinch here and there. Through a lot of trials I developed a very good palate and I realised what works and what doesn’t. For instance, that same Nutmeg (probably my favourite spice) works incredibly well with sauteed spinach and I wouldn’t dream of omitting it when I’m making Pancakes with cinnamon sugar. Just half a teaspoon makes the world’s difference.
So it should come as no surprise that today’s recipe includes a whole lot of spice. I had Lamb chops in the fridge last night and had no idea what to do with them, until I remembered seeing a recipe for Lamb chops in the new Nigella book. I can’t remember exactly what she did to her lamb chops but I just remember it being somewhere along the lines of Indian-spiced, so I knew I would be going that route as well. And as I didn’t want to serve the usual side-salad with this, I tried to think of what goes best with warm, earthy spices. The first thing that popped into my mind was something tart and sweet. Now I might be the only one who likes curry flavours with sweet and tart flavours but believe me, it works. And don’t tell me the beautiful green and purple doesn’t just remind you of a Bollywood movie, oh so apt for my Bollywood Lamb Chops.
8 lamb chops
5tbsn olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2tbsn ground coriander
2tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp each nutmeg and ground cloves
1-2tsp chilli powder
- Combine all the spices in a small bowl and set aside.
- Drizzle the half of the olive oil over the lamb chops and sprinkle over half of the spice mixture. Rub into the lamb chops and repeat on the over side.
- I chose to pan-fry my lamb chops but you can grill them in a griddle pan or in the oven or even braai them.
- Cook your lamb chops for 3-4 minutes per side and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
For the Cucumber Salad :
1 large cucumber, peeled and seeds removed
1 large red onion, peeled
5 tbsn white Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
- Slice the cucumber and onion thinly and add to a medium bowl.
- Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and add the salt and pepper. Pour over the cucumber and onion and allow to marinate for 10-15 minutes before serving.