With the gay bearded vegans coming for supper I had to put on my thinking cap and came up with these warmed Bejewelled Gems. It was loosely based on a variation of these Sweet chilli chicken in little Gem lettuce leaf that I created many years ago; also a non-meat version that contained goats cheese, dates, honey and caramelised onions amongst other things.
Wanting it to look rather splendid as well as being a taste explosion I looked to a fusion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern provenance. With some apricots left over from Christmas and the vague memory of the goats cheese version I made once upon a time (I will try to remember and put the recipe up here one day) I started to
wing it plot…
My original plan was to use a dribble of fresh orange juice and a chocolate chilli oil to delicately spot the finished gems but I grabbed the wrong bottle of oils and dotted the dish with sesame oil instead. Oh well in for a penny in for a pound so I sprinkled sesame seeds on as well instead of the mixed seed sprinkles that I had in the cupboard – maybe one fusion too far but even so the end end result was a dish that I will be making again.
Bejewelled Gems Ingredients
serves about 8 ppl (3 leafs each)
4-6 baby gem lettuces (select 3 leafs per person, wash and dry)
1 1/2 onions finely diced
3 carrots finely diced
2 green chillies finely sliced
Spices: cinnamon, cumin and coriander powder
12 soft dried apricots roughly chopped
small handful raisins roughly chopped
bunch of spring onions finely sliced
bunch of fresh coriander roughly chopped
sweetcorn (fresh or tinned)
pomegranate – opened and seeds extracted
a little olive oil for cooking
2-3 oranges sliced and segmented
Chilli oil and mixed seeds to garnish (or sesame seeds and oil)
There is a lot to chop and prep for this dish and this can/should be all done in advanced before you start to cook. You can even lightly fry the onion, carrot and sliced chilli in a glug of olive oil and spices until softened.
When ready arrange the gem leafs on your plates, reheat the the onion, chilli and carrot mix up and then toss in the apricots and raisins, the sweetcorn, pomegranate, chopped coriander and the spring onions stir once, turn the heat off and add a splash of orange juice – stir again.
Spoon into the little gem leafs and then dress with the seeds, oil, orange juice and slice of orange on top and a final sprinkle of fresh coriander.
Serve still warm and enjoy these bejewelled gems.