Lamb, Fig, Date Pizza w/ Minted Yoghurt + Buttery Pomegranate Couscous + Roasted Spiced Chickpeas

Welcome friends to my Middle Eastern and completely photo-heavy extravaganza of a post! The very nice people at Essential Cuisine were kind enough to send me a wonderful basket of goodies last week to participate in a little friendly cooking competition to put their new range of gourmet stocks to good use. Although I completely and utterly dig making stock from scratch when I have the time the reality is sometimes we’ve all just got too much on and unfortunately a lot of supermarket substitutes just won’t suffice. I think these guys have tapped into a much desired and appreciated niche of the home cooking world.

My food genre of choice for this challenge is Middle Eastern since 50% of my genes hail from Egypt. Obviously these dishes aren’t strictly Egyptian but our general mentality has something to do with a lot of spice, sweetness and FLAVOUR. How awesome is flavour?! Prettyyyyy, pretty good.

The original plan was to have four recipes up for you all to try however, most unfortunately, this crazy week involving too much work and a computer crash (!!!) has contributed to the demise of a few folders of images, mystery dish included. It’s a massive shame because it’s mighty fine! I promise to re-shoot and get it up as soon as possible because I’m sure you’re going to love it. And if you don’t… come at me bro. So in lieu of my disasterously hectic week I’ve come up with three publishable dishes! Firstly is a Lamb, Fig and Date Pizza. Oh my gosh. Since this challenge was about being creative I thought “why not throw a tagine on a pizza?!” Genius. You don’t even need to make, or add, pizza sauce. When I made it for my family the other night their faces literlly melted off… really truly. I had some for lunch and dinner and my brother polished off the leftovers for breakfast the following day. It’s seriously good. I also have a couple of sides; Buttery Pomegranate Couscous and Spiced, Roasted Chickpeas, they’re like ethnic wasabi peas! The couscous would have made a little more sense with the other dish I was going to post, but, yeah. Massive apologies again. :(

And, as always, I am always photographing for my book project so without further adieu, here’s a whole lot of photos!

Lamb + Fig + Date Pizza with Minted Yoghurt (makes 3 pizzas)
Lamb Tagine
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp crushed corriander seeds
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp saffron powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 tsp cardamon pods, seeds removed
2 tsp peppercorns
1 cinnamon quill
2 onion
3 cloves garlic
30g fresh ginger, grated
1 kg diced lamb (I used leg)
250ml lamb stock
50g dried dates, chopped
80g dried figs, chopped
2 tbs (heaped) honey
Olive oil

Pizza Dough
14g (2 sachets) dry yest
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups flour
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
60ml olive oil

Truss of fresh cherry tomatoes
1 cup natural yoghurt
Handful of finely chopped mint
Handful of pinenuts

For the lamb tagine
1. In a mortar and pestle crush the fennel seeds, cardamon and peppercorns. Combine with the rest of the spices. Dice onion, finely slice the garlic and mince the fresh ginger.
2. Drizzle olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook through, continually stirring, until beginning to soften (around 5 minutes). Add the spices and cinnamon quill and, once fragrant, add the diced lamb. Once it is nicely browned pour in the lamb stock and add the dried dates and figs. Turn the heat down, cover and allow to simmer for an hour.
3. Remove the lid and add the honey. Bring heat up to a vigorous boil for a few minutes to reduce the liquid. It needs to be of a thick, stewy consistency as this will also double as the pizza sauce. Once ready, decant to a shallow bowl and break up the lamb pieces with two forks, roughly shredding.

For the pizza dough
1. Combine warm water with yeast, sugar and salt. Cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes in a warm area. If the mixture does not become frothy discard and start again.
2. Add yeast mixture to flour and knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes. Roll into a ball, cover with a damp towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. The dough should double in size.
3. Punch the dough to remove air and knead for a couple of minutes. Divide into thirds and roll out as pizza bases.

For the assembly
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place truss tomatoes on a baking try and roast for 20 minutes. Remove and turn up oven to 250°C.
2. Place pizza bases on a baking tray and divide the lamb tagine between them, leaving a border of a few centimetres. Sprinkle with pine nuts and dot with cherry tomatoes once removed from the truss. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until dough is browned and cooked through.
3. Combine yoghurt with mint and dollop in the centre of the pizzas.

Buttery Pomegranate Couscous
1 cup couscous
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground corriander seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tbs butter
1 pomegranate, deseeded
Chopped coriander (optional)

1. Heat chicken stock in a saucepan until just beginning to boil. Place couscous, spices and salt in a heatproof bowl and pour over the warmed stock. Cover immediately with plastic wrap for 5 minutes. Gently fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the butter. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped coriander.

Roasted + Spiced Chickpeas
375g dried chickpeas
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground corriander seeds
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp sumac
2 tsp chili flakes (optional)
2 tsp salt
50ml olive oil

1. Pour dried chickpeas in a bowl and cover with double the amount of water. Leave to soak overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Drain chickpeas into a large saucepan. Cover with water and boil for an hour or until beginning to tender.
3. Decant into a bowl and toss through spices, salt and olive oil. Move to a baking tray and bake for 1 hour, stirring the chickpeas occasionally to ensure they’re cooked consistently. Serve with a sprinkling of paprika.

Phew! I hope your monitors have survived this epic lamb pizza post. I promise to post up that mystery recipe soon as well with another Middle Eastern inspired dessert I prepared very soon. Thanks again to Essential Cuisine for allowing me to try their stock! You guys are just too cool for pushing me to create such tasty things for my family.

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  1. jessica’s avatar

    wowwww, your photography just makes your look astronomically tastier! that sucks about your computer crash and missing photos though. :( but i am eagerly anticipating the drooling that will surely follow once you post the mystery recipe.


  2. yummychunklet’s avatar

    What an amazing combination of flavors! And so colorful, too!


  3. Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake’s avatar

    Oh my, I’m in love with your photos!! Teach meeee!! :D So rustic…and your pizza looks amazing!


  4. Purabi Naha’s avatar

    HOLY COW! What a wonderful blog and I am loving your recipe collection. Loved this pizza. Yum!!


  5. love2dine’s avatar

    wow! that is fantastic.


  6. Juliana’s avatar

    SO interesting the flavors in this pizza…like the sweetness of the fig and date combined with the tartness pomegranate…I sure would like a slice of it.
    Hope you are having a fantastic week Alana :)


  7. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen’s avatar

    Your photographs are wonderful. You added yoghurt right at the end, which combines the Fig, date and lambs. I can’t imagine how good it must have tasted. Chickpeas have been in my I-would-like-to-try-for-once-in-my-life list. Roller Coaster might have been in it. As well as egyptian cous cous.


  8. Zoe’s avatar

    Your pizza combination looks very special and beautiful in flavours. I have not tried cooking with such combination before.

    Love your picture of the spiced chickpeas… They look so real and 3D to me :D


  9. JasmyneTea’s avatar

    Hot DAMMMMMNNN, these recipes are all stellar! And your photos, wow! I’ll have to try this pizza, I’ve never had a pizza without red sauce. Yum!


  10. lahealthyliving’s avatar

    This looks great! i love trying new things. Will definitely make it this week!



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