The moussaka can be made in a single 1.2-litre dish instead of ramekins. Note that cooking time will vary from between 25 to 30 minutes if using a single dish.
Serve the moussaka with rocket leaves dressed with extra virgin olive oil and good-quality balsamic vinegar.
2 large eggplants cut in 5mm slices
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
olive oil, for shallow frying
2 small brown onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
500g minced lamb
400g tin chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
50g unsalted butter
4 tbsp plain flour
2 cups milk, warmed
4 tbsp grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Salt eggplant slices on both sides for one hour. Rinse the eggplants under cold water and pat the slices dry. Brush the eggplants with a little olive oil and pan fry over high heat until lightly browned. Set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick fry pan and sauté onions over low heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes or until onion is soft. Add the mince and cook, stirring to break up lumps, over a high heat until meat is browned. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon, parsley and sugar and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste.
For the béchamel sauce, heat butter in a saucepan, add flour and cook, stirring over low heat for about 2-3 minutes or until mixture is bubbling and grainy. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly, and cook until the mixture starts to boil and thicken. Stir in the parmesan and season to taste. Set aside.
To assemble, place 3-4 slices of eggplant in each of four 300ml ramekin dishes. Top with lamb mixture and repeat layering once more, finishing with the eggplant. Top final layer with béchamel sauce and sprinkle each ramekin with about 1/2 tbsp of grated parmesan.
Place ramekins on an oven tray and cook for 10-15 minutes or until golden on top and cooked through. Serve with a green leaf salad.
8 quinces, stems removed, washed well
good quality honey
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup blanched almond halves
3-4 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Remove quince stems and wipe away external debris.
In a baking pan, bake whole quinces at 180°C for about 2 hours until soft (test with a fork). When cool enough to handle, remove and discard peel, seeds and any other tough fibrous material. Purée pulp in food processor and weigh. Measure out a quantity of honey equal in weight to the puréed pulp.
In a wide shallow pot, combine quince pulp, honey and nutmeg and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring continuously to prevent foam forming, until the jelly pulls away cleanly from the sides of the pan and colour darkens to an orange-red. Stir through almonds and turn off heat.
Moisten a large, clean, metal baking pan with iced water and pour jelly mixture into the pan, spreading out evenly. Place in fridge and allow to cool completely before cutting into small cubes.
Store in an airtight container using baking paper between layers. Add a few bay leaves to each layer. Jellies will keep unrefrigerated for a few months if kept in a dry area.
• With the jellies, the better the quality of the honey, the better the result. Serve them with cognac or espresso coffee.
SOMETHING TO DRINK
Also known as mataró or monastrell, mourvèdre is a dark-skinned, heat-loving grape variety. Turkey Flat's 2010 Mourvèdre ($32) hails from the Barossa Valley and has earthy aromas, leading to a robust and rich palate - perfect with the moussaka.
Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Kirsten Jenkins.