You know that friend you have that every time another close friend dies you think, damn I miss Mr/Ms X so much, they went too soon … only to Google them to be reminded of their death information and discover they aren’t actually dead?
Yep, that is my dear friend and ex-lover Gene Hackman … making him the perfect candidate for phase four of the Meggstravaganza … and a welfare check.
I first connected with Gene Genie in the 40s through our (well his brother and mine) mutual friend, Dick Van Dyke. While I had a falling out with Dick after using his name during my brief stint in porn in the 60s, Gene and I have enjoyed a close, continuing friendship for the past 70-odd years.
Gene’s passion for my porn career probably helped.
Gene and I enjoyed a brief open relationship in the late 60s, probably due to the social climate at the time, and as such, he was lucky to avoid having me as a scorned ex. This helped in him securing his Oscars, as I am one of the top award season smear-campaigners working in Hollywood.
Gene was so thrilled to see me and I him – mainly out of relief that he isn’t dead. Gene was very excited to be able to share a meal and help his former co-star return to fame (he thinks French Kiss and The French Connection franchise are the same thing). I do get the feeling he was more excited to have a nice homecooked Tagene Hackman though?
But who wouldn’t be?
I mean, a big kick of spice, the majesty of lamb, the trashiness addition of frozen peas and a rich, spicy tomato sauce to delicately cook eggs – what more could you want?
That’s right, nada – enjoy!
500g lamb mince
2 onions, very finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chilli flakes
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp honey
200g frozen peas
Chopped parsley, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
In a large bowl combine the lamb, half the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, chilli powder, paprika, coriander, parsley and an egg. Season and mix well, before rolling out into balls just smaller than golf balls. Cover with cling and leave to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.
When you’re ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a tagine over medium heat and sweat the onions with the chilli flakes until sweet and translucent.
Scrape the onion to one side of the tagine and add the meatballs, cooking until lightly browned. Add the can of tomatoes, paste and honey, stirring carefully to combine. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for ten minutes.
Remove from the heat, uncover, sprinkle the peas over the top and stir. Crack the eggs onto the top of the stew. Return the lid and place into the oven for up to ten minutes, until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
Remove from the lid, garnish with feta, parsley and serve, generously, with couscous.