Oman is an incredibly wealthy and opulent place. Nestled close to the entrance of The Persian Gulf, it was the first place I stopped after leaving Bomaby (now Mumbai). Muscat was the first town that we arrived at, where we visited the most opulent hotel with a lobby, that was a huge elaborately decorated dome. The beach was peaceful with just a few pampered German drinking cocktails, with umbrellas in them on loungers. (You can drink in a hotel). It was a different atmosphere to outside, as when we stepped off the yacht at the port, it was prayer time during Ramadan and it was strange walking past hundreds of men kneeling on their prayer mats. Oman was a soft introduction to a trip through the Middle East during Ramadan, as once we arrived at the hotel, we were able to eat and drink. This was not so in other countries. The Sultan of Oman’s yacht was docked next to ours and we were told under no circumstances should we take photos of it, but as we left port, we all got some sneaky pictures!
We also visited Salalah, famous for its frankincense trade.
This dish is as opulent as Muscat, with dates and cinnamon giving it a beautifully rich flavor. Served with rosewater and pistachio rice that appears to be adorned with jewels, you wouldn’t believe it is so easy to create! It’s gorgeous for a cozy supper, but fabulous enough to serve at a dinner party!
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WINE NOTE: A Chilean Merlot with plums and a decadent chocolate finish is a perfect wine for this decadent dish
Slow Cooked Lamb, Eggplant and Dates
4tbsp vegetable oil
450g/1lb diced lamb
3 red onions sliced
1 small eggplant/aubergine diced into ½ inch cubes
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground allspice
1 cup / 250 ml lamb stock
¾ cup dates
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp rosewater
Salt to season
Heat some oil in a skillet and brown the lamb in batches and place in the crockpot /slow cooker.
Heat some more oil and saute the onions until soft. Add the eggplant / aubergine to the skillet and continue to saute until browned. Stir the spices into the vegetables and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the stock, season with salt then pour the mixture into the crockpot. Cook for 6-8 hours on low.
Just before you are ready to serve, blend the dates and lemon and rose water, then add enough water and blend again to make a creamy paste. Stir into the lamb mixture then serve.
Rosewater and pistachio rice.
2 tbsp butter or butter spray
½ cup pistachios
1 cup almonds
⅔ cup raisins
¼ cup dried apricots chopped
2 cups long grain rice
½ tsp ground cardamom
4 tsp rosewater
Over medium heat, melt the butter in a non stick skillet or spray with butter spray. Fry the nuts until brown, then add the dried fruit. Keep in a warm place.
Cook the rice according to pack instructions then after draining, sprinkle with cardamom. Add the fruit and nuts then sprinkle with rosewater.
Seve the lamb with the rice.