Lamb, ginger and broccoli stir-fry

Last night I fancied a quick stir fry before heading off to Abigail’s for The Rescue, so I pottered around on the BBC website and found this tasty little recipe. The chilli, sweet chilli and ginger give the dish some lovely flavours and combine well with the taste of the lamb. My only problem with the recipe is that the cooking time doesn’t really allow the broccoli to cook all the way through, unless the stems are very thin, and so they end up being a bit al dente. Next time I might try steaming them for five minutes first.

A tasty recipe, quick and easy to do. I’ll definitely be cooking this one again.

Serves 2

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
600g of lamb leg steaks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 inch piece of root ginger, peeled and finely sliced into very thin strips
6 spring onions, shredded
3 level tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce
1 level tablespoon of tomato ketchup
3 tablespoon of light soy sauce
A pinch of dried red chilli flakes
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into very thin strips
200g tenderstem broccoli
100ml of water

Place the vegetable oil in a wok and place over a high heat.

Add the lamb and stir-fry for 3 minutes. (you might need to do this in batches if there’s a lot of lamb.)

Remove the lamb with a slotted spoon, set aside and keep warm.

Add the garlic, ginger and spring onions and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Then add the sweet chilli sauce, tomato ketchup, soy sauce, chilli flakes and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

Add the red pepper and broccoli to the sauce and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Then return the lamb to the wok and cook for a further 2-3 minutes to heat through before serving.

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Harissa and Preserved Lemon Roasted Poussins

Last night I had the lovely Phil Dukes over for dinner and Doctor Who (first the latest episode of the current series, then the 4 part Peter Davison story Frontios.) and so I decided to cook this from the cookbook Persiana. The poussins were only £3 each in Sainsbury’s so it was a fairy reasonably priced dinner. And, as it took 45 minutes to cook the poussins I could put them in the oven just as Doctor Who started and they were ready just as it finished! Good timing!

Serves 4

8 preserved lemons
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 teaspoons of sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
90g of rose harissa
4 poussins

Using a food processor of hand blender, blitz the preserved lemons, olive oil, salt, pepper and rose harissa together until you achieve a smooth mixture.

Pour this over the poussins and rub the mixture in with your hands.

Ppre-heat the oven to 220.

Place the poussins in a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until cooked through and nicely browned on top.

I served this with Golden potatoes:

and a tomato pomegranate and sumac salad:


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Turkish Adana Köfte Kebabs, served with a Chicken Liver, Potato and Chilli Salad

I cooked these two lovely recipes for myself on Thursday evening. The Kebab recipe is from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour, whilst the Chicken Liver Salad recipe is from Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume by Silvena Rowe. Both are great books full of tasty Middle Eastern recipes.

I love a tasty kebab, and the salad seemed like a suitable side dish, with flavours that complimented the main dish.

For the Kebabs:

(Serves 4)

500g of lamb mince
1 large onion, minced or very finely chopped
3 teaspoons of dried chilli flakes
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsely leaves, finely chopped
½ a red pepper, deseeded and very finely chopped
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

Flour tortilla wraps
Sliced red onion
Chopped parsley
Greek yoghurt (I mixed the Greek Yoghurt with some rose harissa, for a bit more punch.)

Put all of the kebab ingredients into a large bowl and mix together well. You need to really work the ingredients together with your hands, squeezing and pummelling the ingredients until the texture has broken down and the herbs and other ingredients are even distributed throughout the mixture.

Oonce mixed, divide the meat evenly and shape into kebabs. There are loads of different options – sausage shapes, meatball style, or, as I opted for, long, flat patties.

I made the kebabs in a long, flat, patty shapes and then threaded them on to bamboo skewers.

Once the kebabs are formed you can either fry them, or, with the shape I opted for, grill them, under a medium/high grill, for 6-8 minutes each side, until browned and cooked through.

Serve with the tortillas, sliced red onion Greek yoghurt and chopped parsely. (I also added a handful of rocket leaves)

For the Salad:

Serves 4

2 large potatoes, peeled (or 4 new potatoes)
4 tablespoons of lolive oil
400g of chicken livers
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
8 spring onions, finely sliced
½ a bunch of parsley leaves
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Boil the potatoes until just cooked, then drain and leave to cool Once cool cut into cubes.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the chicken livers until cooked through and golden brown. Season, allow to cool and then roughly chop.

Place the diced potatoes, chicken livers, lemon zest, lemon juice, spring onions and parsley in a large bowl and toss gently to combine. Drizzle with olive oil and spinkle over the chilli flakes.

Serve with the slices of egg arranged on top.

I also served it with a tomato and pomegranate salad and some sliced of fried halloumi.

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Yiahni (slow cooked lamb) with a saffron and nut pilaf

Last night I had the lovely Abigail over for dinner and Doctor Who (The first three episodes of The Dalek Invasion of Earth.) and so I had a flick through my cookbooks to find something tasty to eat. This recipe comes from Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume by Silvena Rowe and it looked lovely, so I though I’d give it a go. (Actually, I thought I’d blogged it before, but I can’t find it anywhere on my blog, so I obviously haven’t!) It’s a light Turkish stew and the combination of the lamb and the lemon flavours work really well.

It takes about an hour and a half, but it’s worth the wait and the flavours, although simple, are delicious. The recipe says to accompany it with ‘a simple pilaf’, so I had a look around on the BBC Website and found the pilaf recipe that I’ve done here, which complimented the flavours of the stew rather well.

Serves 4

For the Yiahni:

4 tablespoons of olive oil
800g of lamb shoulder, diced
24 spring onions, finely sliced
Zest and juice of two lemons
300ml of lamb stock
3 tablespoons of dry cherries
½ a large bunch of parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts for garnish (I left these out as I’d included toasted pine nuts in the pilaf.)

For the pilaf:

250g of basmati rice
½ a teaspoon of saffron strands
2 tablespoon of orange flower water
25g of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
4 small shallots, trimmed and finely sliced
1 cinnamon stick
6 green cardamom pods
6 cloves
4 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon of pine nuts
1 tablespoon of unsalted pistachios
1 tablespoon of unsalted cashews, halved
salt, to taste
1 litre of water

To make the Yiahni:

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Brown the lamb for 3-5 minutes, turning regularly to ensure even cooking.

Then add the spring onions and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the lemon juice, zest and stock. Stir well to combine and then cover and simmer, on a very low heat, until the meat is tender.

Finally add the dry cherries and stir in the parsley.

Serve, topped with toasted pine nuts.

To make the pilaf:

Wash the rice in several changes of water to remove the excess starch until the water runs clear. Cover with fresh water and set aside to soak.

Lightly crush the saffron in a pestle and mortar, then pour over the orange flower water and set aside to soak.

Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan and fry the shallots over a high heat until dark brown and crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Lower the heat and fry the spices and nuts in the remaining fat for a few minutes until they begin to change colour.

Drain the rice and add to the pan along with the salt, saffron and orange flower water. Cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes.

Pour in the water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Allow to cool slightly.

To serve, fluff up the grains of rice with a fork and sprinkle over the shallots. Remove the whole spices before eating.


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Safavid-style beef pastries

Sorry it has taken me so long to update this blog – it has been a busy month!

This recipe is something that I cooked for this year’s annual Eurovision party on the 15th. Most of the stuff I made I’ve made before, but this was a new one. The recipe is from the book Persiana, typically for that book, is full of spices and flavours. They came out well, although a little mis-shapen, and were tasty. I’d certainly make them again.

Makes 10-12

Vegetable oil
200g of minced beef
½ a teaspoon of ground turmeric
½ a teaspoon of ground cumin
½ a teaspoon of paprika
¼ of a teaspoon of cinnamon
A couple of pinches of ground nutmeg
¼ of a teaspoon of chilli powder
1 tablespoon of edible dried rose petals
1 small red onion, very finely chopped
A handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
40g of melted butter
1 sheet of puff pastry, approximately 14” x 10”

Pre-heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add a little oil and, fry the minced beef, keeping it moving, until it is browned all over. Once browned, add the spices and the rose petals and mix them well into the beef.

Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until the micture becomes dry and there is no moisture still in the pan.

Remove the beef mixture from the pan and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200.

Once the spiced mince mixture has cooled, stir in the chopped red onion and parsley and mix in well.

Cut the puff pastry sheet into 12 squares.

Take a generous tablespoon of the beef mixture and place in the centre of each pastry square, then fold the square into a triangle, pressing the edges together tightly to seal.

Repeat until all the meat mixture is used up. Place the triangles of filled pastry onto a paper0lined baking sheet, spacing them about 2cm apart.

Brush the tops with melted butter and then bake for 20 minutes until golden and puffed up.


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Spring chicken & citrus stew

On Tuesday evening I had the lovely Fig over for our usual bout of zombieness and so was flicking around on the internet looking for something to cook. I fancied something stewish as Tuesday was sunny but cold but also something springish and light. I found this recipe online and decided to give it a go. It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe and I do find the ‘a handful of this’ and ‘a handful of that’ approach to be rather annoying, however, it’s all I’ve got to go with so I shall replicate it here.

The recipe as listed serves ‘4-6’, so I scaled it down for just the three of us. Rather than using one chicken and jointing it, as suggested, I opted for 2 bone-in chicken thighs per person, and that seemed to have worked well.

1 large chicken (or two chicken thighs per person)
olive oil
6 cloves of garlic
1 large onion, chopped
1 bulb of fennel, finely chopped
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 handful of asparagus spears (I used about 10 spears) (snap the woody ends off)
1 handful of fresh peas (I used about 200g)
1 handful of broad beans (Sainsbury’s had no broad beans so I opened for trimmed French beans)
½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ a bunch of fresh dill
A few sprigs of fresh tarragon
600ml of chicken stock
1 large handful of stoned green olives (I used 12 large green olives)
1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans
2 lemons
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
Parmesan cheese
Joint the chicken into legs, thighs, breasts and wings.

Put a large saucepan over a medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Season the chicken portions and place in the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, until browned on all sides, turning regularly, then remove and set aside.

Once you have browned the chicken there should be a bit of fat left in the pan. Add the garlic, onion, leek, fennel and half of the herbs and cook until softened, stirring occasionally.

Place the chicken back in the pan, pour in the stock and season with black pepper. Cover with a lid, then cook over medium-low for around 45 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone.

Bring the mixture back up to a boil, and stir in the olives, peas, broad beans and cannellini beans. When the vegetables are done, add most of the herb leaves, reserving some for garnish.

Remove the chicken from the stew and use 2 forks to pull the meat off the bones. Discard the bones, return the meat to the pan, then season and remove from the heat.

Beat the juice of 2 lemons and the eggs together well, then pour slowly into the stew – don’t let it boil or the egg mixture with scramble.

Stir in the yoghurt before ladling the stew into bowls. (I mis-read this instruction and just dolloped the yoghurt on top. Still, it worked ok.)

Grate over a little Parmesan and serve sprinkled with the reserved herbs.

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Tagine of lamb

My new flatmate, the lovely Neil, moved in on Wednesday, and so I cooked us dinner. I decided to go for this recipe from the book The Beer and Food Companion that Alberto got me for my birthday. The recipe contains pale ale and also recommended a beer to go with it, although we opted for wine instead. I love a bit of Moroccan cooking and I’ve cooked, and blogged loads of different tagines, but none of the others have had ale in them, so I thought it was worth giving it a try. And a lamb tagine is always welcome. I left out the flaked almonds as I don’t like them, other than that I followed the recipe, simply scaling it down from feeding 6 to 2.

I served it with a fluffy, buttery cous-cous.

Serves 6

Olive oil
1.6kg of boneless lamb shoulder, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
500ml of tomato juice
1 x 400 tin of chopped tomatoes
120g of dried apricots (I cut each in half)
10 stoned dates, chopped
2 tablespoons of sultanas
40g of flaked almonds
600ml of pale ale
1 teaspoon of saffron threads
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1½ tablespoons of sweet paprika
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1½ tablespoons of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of turmeric
2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped

Combine the pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon in a bowl. Use half the mixture to coat them lamb, then cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for as long as possible, preferably overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 150.

In a large saucepan heat one tablespoon of olive oil over a medium heat, and add the onion and cook until softened and slightly golden.

In a separate frying pan heat 2 more tablespoons of oil and cook the lamb pieces, browning on all sides. Once browned remove from the heat.

Add the remaing spice mix to the onions and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds more.

Add the lamb to the onions and mix well. Add 250ml of the tomato juice to the pan that you cooked the lamb in and bring to a simmer, scraping up any stuck pieces of lamb. Add this tomato juice to the lamb and onions in the pan.

Add the remaining tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, apricots, dates, sultanas, almond flakes, saffron and beer.

Bring to a simmer, then transfer to a tagine, pop the lid on and bake in the oven for 2 – 2½ hours.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

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Salmon and mozzarella puff pastry plat

I saw this recipe on Facebook and decided to give it a go this evening. It’s easy and tasty, so why not give it a go!

Serves 1

1 salmon fillet
A couple of thick slices of mozzarella
1 sheet of pre-rolled puff pastry
A sprinkling of cress
Freshly ground black pepper
Melted butter for brushing

Pre-heat the oven to 200

Lay the sheet of pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Place the salmon fillet in the centre of the sheet.

Sprinkle the cress over the salmon and season with black pepper. Lay the two slices of mozzarella on top of the salmon.

Cut two short tabs in the pastry at the top and bottom of the salmon fillet. Then cut five strips, each about a centimetre wide, on each side of the salmon fillet.

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Tuck the top and bottom pastry tabs over the ends of the salmon. Then plat the strips over the salmon and mozzarella, with alternating strips covering each other, on a slight diagonal, until the whole fillet is covered.

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Pinch the pastry slightly to seal any gaps and then brush all over with melted butter.

Place on a baking tray and then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is golden and slightly risen and the salmon is cooked through.

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Slow-cooked lamb with chickpeas

I had Abigail over last night for The Sensorites episodes 3-6 and so I flicked through several cookbooks and found this in my Islands of Greece cookbook, by Rebecca Seal, that I got from Alberto a couple of years ago. It’s tasty and easy to do, although it does take a while – at least three hours – but as I had the day off that was no problem. It’s also surprisingly tasty, given that the only spice in it is a little allspice. Once again, it’s another reddish-brown dish though – I really must try and blog something that’s a different colour!

I accompanied it with some spinach, wilted in butter, which worked well with the main dish.

Serves 4

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
800g of stewing lamb in large pieces (the pieces I got from Sainsbury’s were stil on the bone, but that works well as the long cooking time means that it falls easily off the bone.)
2 onions, chopped
400g can of cooked chickpeas
1 tablespoon of tomato purée
120ml of red wine
2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
½ a teaspoon of allspice
500ml of lamb stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 140.

In a large, flameproof casserole heat two tablespoons of the olive oil and brown the meat thoroughly, in batches if necessary. (I don’t have a flameproof casserole dish so I started it off in a large saucepan and then transferred to a lidded cassserole dish for the oven.)

Remove the meat from the pan, add a little more oil if required, reduce the heat, add the onions and cook for 10 minutes or so, until softened and lightly golden.

Whilst the onions are cooking, rub the chickpeas between your fingers to remove the skins.

Add the tomato purée to the pan and cook, stirring regularly, for two minutes. Then add the wine, bubbling it and using it to deglaze the pan.

After two minutes add the tomatoes, chickpeas, allspice, stock and browned meat to the pan and season well.

Pop the lid on and place in the oven. Cook for 2 – 2½ hours with the lid on, then remove the lid and cook for a further hour. This should reduce the liquid a bit and thicken the sauce.

Serve with seasonal greens (in this instance, wilted spinach) and either boiled new potatoes or crusty bread.

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Soutzoukakia – meatballs in tomato sauce with cinnamon and cumin

It’s another one from my new Rick Stein cookbook – I seem to be on a bit of a roll with that book at the moment. I love a meatball (no sniggering at the back there!) and so when I had Neil over for dinner, and some Victoria Wood goodness, on Saturday evening, it seemed like a good opportunity to give this recipe a go. I paired it with the same pilaf rice recipe that I had cooked on Friday, as the recipe said to serve it with rice, and that worked rather well.

I may have made the balls a bit bigger than the recipe intended as it said that the amount listed would make 20-24 balls, whereas I only managed 16, but that was fine – they all cooked through ok anyway. The recipe, apparently originally comes from Thessaloniki and the cinnamon and cumin do give the dish a different flavour from other meatball recipes I’ve tried.

Serves 4

For the meatballs:

500g of minced beef
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
½ a teaspoon of ground cumin
½ a teaspoon of dried oregano
½ a teaspoon of salt
2 slices of stale white bread, soaked in red wine and squeezed dry
12 turns of black pepper
3 tablespoons of olive oil

For the tomato sauce:

1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
150ml of red wine
1 tablespoon of tomato purée
500ml of passata
½ a teaspoon of salt
12 turns of black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients for the meatballs, except for the olive oil, together in a large bowl. Mix well until thoroughly combined and then shape into 20-24 rugby ball shaped meatballs.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, over a medium-high heat, and fry the meatballs in batches if necessary, until golden all over. (you will need to turn them regularly to avoid sticking.)

Once cooked set the meatballs aside whilst you make the sauce.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heaty. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, sugar and cinnamon stick, and sweat the onions for 10 minutes or so, until soft.

Add the red wine, increase the heat to bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to medium again.

Add the tomato purée an passata, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 20 minutes or so, until thickened. (I find it helpful to pop a lid on as the passata does tend to splash a bit – you don’t want to be constantly wiping the hob and walls…)

Add the fried meatballs, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until cooked through. Keep an eye on the sauce and add a little extra water or red wine if it starts to thicken too much.

Remove the cinnamon stick and serve!

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