Lamb with Sumac, Green Tahini Sauce and Aubergine

Everyone’s got a thing, or at least needs a thing. You may be a gym-bunny or a runner, in which case exercise can be your thing. Humor, sarcasm, or having a brain like a calculator may be your thing. You may be a movie buff, you may be as specific as an 80’s pop geek.

A passion, a love, something of profound interest that it defines who you are.  In your elevator pitch what do you say? My name is x, I’m from x and?
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Cooking is my thing, surprise surprise. I could read cookbooks and think about recipes all day long, I went to cooking school, I wanted to be a chef. I’m known for this thing in my social group, and I love that. I’ve never been the genius in school, I’ve never excelled in sports, the only thing I’ve been above average at in my peer group is cooking. The most difficult thing when I was in culinary school was that I was surrounded by people whose cooking was also their thing, and suddenly I was no longer the best. And I was miserable.

How petty. Yes. Beware of the green-eyed monster, said Iago. It’s not just self-loathing but also jealousy that emerges from this, and jealousy’s a dark, all-consuming force. This gets worse now that I’m out of culinary school because sometimes I even get a sense of entitlement. Sure, cooking can be your thing too but I went to the best culinary school in the world. And when this thought surfaces I just hate myself a little bit more.
Anyway. Here’s a nice and easy lamb dish that I love, with bold Middle Eastern flavors. That tahini sauce, use it on EVERYTHING. Make a large batch and it’ll be the go-to option when your chips need a dip, when your vegetables need some character, or when your bread needs some company.

Serves 2
Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Recipe
1 loin of lamb, about 300g
2 tbsp sumac

30g tahini paste
20g parsley
1 small garlic clove
olive oil, to taste
lemon juice, to taste

1 aubergine
1/2 tsp dried mint
1/2 tsp cumin
olive oil


Heat the oven to 200C.

Cut the aubergine in half and score criss-cross pattern on the aubergine. Brush generously with olive oil and sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until soft.

To make the sauce, put everything in a food processor and season at the end.  I like the consistency to be quite thick, but if you’d like it thinner just add more olive oil and some water.

Rub the lamb loin with oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  Heat an oven-proof pan up over medium-high heat, then add the loin – it should sizzle.  Brown the lamb on all sides, even the ends, this should take about 5 minutes.  Place it in the oven for about 5 minutes for pink or 8 for medium.

Sprinkle the sumac on a plate, then once the lamb is ready, roll it in the sumac so it is completely covered. Cover wit tin foil to keep warm and leave to rest for five minutes.

When the aubergines are ready, sprinkle on dried mint. Serve with sauce and sliced lamb.



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