Lamb Tagine

Lamb Tagine
A perfect dish for autumn winter… rich in warming spices and fresh herbs

Easy to prepare, cooked in a slow cooker and then satisfyingly quick to serve with little washing-up.

I have experimented with different recipes to find a balance of herbs and spices that I love.

Lean lamb steaks work well. Alternatively, use a whole joint, bones and all, for extra flavour and easy preparation.

Tip- Prepare on Saturday morning for a perfect Saturday night dish.

 

Ingredients

British lamb leg steaks, one perperson (approximately 600g for 4 people), chunked into large cubes

Or 1.2kg whole lamb shoulder(check it will fit into your slow cooker)

1 large Onion, chopped or approx. 12 shallots, halved (roughly 3 whole shallots per person)

Coarsly grated Fresh ginger root, a 2cm cubed piece is adequate  

3 fat Garlic cloves, grated, as per the ginger root

500ml Good chicken stock

2 teaspoons plain flour mixed with a little water to form a runny paste

¼ teaspoon cinnamon or a whole cinnamon stick

large pinch Saffron

¼ teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

2 teaspoons Ground Cumin

2 teaspoons Ground Coriander

150g (approx.) dried, soft, Apricots, 3 per person

175g dried, soft, Prunes,3 per person

a sprig of fresh thyme

1 Bay leaf

2-4 teaspoons Cornflour

large pinch Sea salt

Fresh Parsley

 

To serve-Couscous or rice, a green salad and bread

 

Method

1) Preheat the slow cooker on High heat for 20 minutes. Trim any obvious large pieces of fat from the meat.

2) Heat a frying pan until it is nice and hot then seal the meat quickly on all sides and place in the crock pot.

3) Add the onion, ginger and garlic to the frying pan and turn down the heat a little to soften without burning for a couple of minutes.

4) Add the spices and pepper to the pan with the onion mix and cook the spices gently for 1 minute.

5) Add a little of the hot stock to the pan and stir well, scrape any residue from the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil. Then add the rest of the stock and return to the boil.

6) Add the plain flour and quickly stir in to thicken the sauce slightly, cook for 2 minutes

7) Carefully pour the sauce into the crock pot over the meat.

8) Stir in the whole prunes and apricots

9) The meat must be covered by liquid so, if necessary, boil a kettle of water and top up the liquid level in the crock pot with the boiling water.

10) Replace the lid on the crock pot and cook for about 6 hours on high for the first half hour then reduce to low for 5-6 hours.

If using the large lamb joint: leave the crock pot on high for the full cooking time. At least 6 hours.

11) After this time check that the lamb is cooked and nicely tender. Remove the meat and vegetables from the crock pot, using a slotted spoon, and set aside for a moment. keep warm.

If using a large lamb joint: place on a meat dish. The meat should fall off the bone easily. Discard any bones, gristle, fat and skin. Retain the luscious chunks of meat and chop into smaller pieces if necessary.

12) Place a metal sieve over a large saucepan and sieve the sauce from the crock pot into the saucepan. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and cinnamon stick. Tip the onions and prunes etc back into the crock pot with the chunks of lamb meat and replace the lid to keep warm.

13) If using a large lamb joint instead of lean lamb pieces: Give the sauce 5 minutes to settle and then, using a large metal spoon, skim off as much of the fat layer from the surface as you can, and discard.

14) Poor the sauce into a pan and bring to the boil. Remove the lid and simmer the sauce for approximately 20 minutes to reduce the sauce by about 1/3.

15) At the end of the 20 minutes mix the cornflour with a little water in a teacup and then add in one go to the boiling sauce and stir well to prevent any lumps from forming. If you need a thicker sauce repeat the process. Cook for a few minutes. Taste the sauce to check the seasoning. You may wish to add a large pinch of sea salt.

16) Add the sauce to the crockpot.

17) Give the Tagine a gentle stir to mix everything together and replace the lid. It is now ready to serve.

18) Serve with cooked, plain couscous or rice and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Enjoy X

 

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Homemade Sauerkraut

Homemade Sauerkraut
A tasty way to invite some beneficial microbes into your digestive system!

A homemade sauerkraut will help to provide your digestive system with beneficial gut microbes and is also a good source of vitamin B12.

 

You will need clean pickle jars (this recipe makes approximately 1 litre of sauerkraut) and a food processor is useful to finely chop the cabbage, but is not essential.

Ingredients

Day 1-

1 organic white cabbage, chopped finely using a food processor

(I used the variety ‘sweetheart’ because it was locally grown)

Optional extra- I added a thinly slice fennel bulb but this is not in the standard recipe

3 organic carrots, peeled and grated

2 large white onions, sliced thinly

2 tablespoons of sea salt

125ml warm water (previously boiled)

Day 2-

1 tablespoon fresh root ginger, peeled and grated

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated

2 teaspoons dill seeds

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

 

 Method

1) Place the prepared cabbage, carrots, onions (and fennel bulb if using) in a large mixing bowl

2) Measure out the warm water and stir in the sea salt, ensuring that it is completely dissolved

3) Pour the salt solution over the vegetables. (Top up with extra boiled and cooled water if the veg isn’t quite covered).

4) Wash your hands well (and scrub your nails if necessary!!) and then massage the vegetables for a few minutes to ensure that everything in the bowl has made contact with the salt.

5) Cover with a plate and set aside at room temperature. Leave overnight.

Next day-

6) Make sure all your utensils and pickle jars are scrupulously clean because any nasty bugs that are present will destroy your sauerkraut during the fermentation process. (Pickle jars should either be sterilized with a Milton type solution and rinsed well or washed in very hot soapy water and placed in a 100oC oven to dry).

7) Drain the vegetables, reserving the liquid.

8) Stir through the prepared garlic, ginger, dill and fennel seeds and mix well.

9) Tightly pack the vegetable mixture into your clean and cooled pickle jars

10) Pour over the reserved liquid

11) Press the cabbage down firmly into the jars and top up with liquid, ensuring that there are no air pockets within the jar (although a small space at the top of the jar is OK)

12) Ensure that the pickle jar is closed tightly (It is important that the fermenting process is not disturbed by extra oxygen leaking into the jar)

13) Leave the jars in a dark, cool (but not cold) place. Perhaps a garage?

14) To avoid the potential for a histamine reaction I allow the fermentation process to work for 1 month before sampling the sauerkraut. However, a study by Palani et al (2016) reports that maximum health benefits may be at 9 days fermentation

Consume within approximately 2 months of making.

(Note- when you open the lid it should smell sweet and fruity with a hint of cabbage. If it smells bad then the fermentation process has failed and the contents should be discarded).

15) Store open jars in the fridge and consume within a couple of weeks.

 

This is probably not the traditional way to enjoy fermented cabbage… but I have found it to be very versatile and add it to sandwiches, as a side with ham and other cooked meats or with a cheesy jacket potato.

 

*Adapted from: The Functional Nutrition Cookbook, (2013), by Lorraine Nicolle and Christine Bailey, printed by ‘Singing Dragon’, London.

Reference

Palani, K. Harbaum-piayda, B. Meske, D. Keppler, J.K. Bockelmann, W. Heller, K.J. Schwarz, K. (2016), ‘Influence of fermentation on glucosinolates and glucobrassicin degradation products in sauerkraut’, Food Chemistry, Vol. 190, pp. 755-762 [online]. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.06.012

 

 

A Summer Salad with Edamame Bean & Rice Noodles

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Dairy Free. Gluten free. Healthy.

A source of Calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc.

Approximate values per portion (without chilli and lime prawns)- 380Kcal, fat 6.7g, carbs 62g, Protein 15g, Glycemic load 6.4 (Nutritics.com)

Ingredients for the salad

Egg or rice noodles, 1 nest per person, (check for gluten free if necessary)

Frozen Edamame Beans, 80g per person.

White onion, half finely chopped or sliced (this quantity is enough for 3 servings)

Carrot, 1 large, coarsely grated (this quantity is enough for 3 servings)

 

Ingredients for the dressing (serves 3).

Fresh ginger root, approximately 2cm3 , coarsely grated

Garlic clove, 1, crushed

Dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon, (check for gluten free if necessary)

Sesame seed oil, 2 teaspoons

Honey, 1 teaspoon (optional)

Chinese 5 spice, 1 teaspoon

Japanese rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon

Garnish with: fresh leaf mint, coriander or basil, sweet chilli sauce… sunshine and a smile 🙂 

 

Method

  1. Cook the frozen edamame beans in a pan of boiling water according to the packet instructions. This usually takes 7 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander. Cool down the beans quickly by running water from the cold tap over them. Put to one side on the drainer to drain the excess water.
  2. Cook the noodles in a pan of boiling water for approximately 2-3 minutes and then refresh them with cold water (as you did with the edamame beans)
  3. Combine the dressing ingredients.
  4. Combine the cooked edamame, noodles, chopped onion, grated carrot and dressing in a large bowl. Transfer to the fridge until required.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of your choice of fresh herb: chopped fresh mint/coriander/basil leaf and extra soy sauce/sesame oil/sweet chilli sauce.

Enjoy on its own as a light lunch or snack.

Delicious served with chilli and lime prawns.

Enjoy X

 

Chocolate Cup cakes

IMG_3361
Chocolate cup cakes. Delicious. Dairy Free and Gluten Free.

This recipe makes 14 large chocolate cup cakes

Dairy free & Gluten free.

Health warning: Only intended as a treat!!

You will need: weighing scales, Large muffin cases, a muffin baking tin, sieve, a set of bowels (large, medium, small), fork, spoons, electric mixer (optional),

Cake Ingredients

200g Sunflower spread (eg. Vitalite)

200g Golden caster sugar

4 Eggs, free range, large, beaten.

unsweetended soya milk, 4 tablespoons (60ml)

150g White flour, self raising, gluten free (eg freee by Doves farm a blend of rice, potato, tapioca, maize and buckwheat)

50g Cocoa powder

 

Icing Ingredients

50g Sunflower spread, or vegan butter

100g Icing sugar

1 tablespoons sieved Cocoa

A few twists of the sea salt mill.

 

Method

  1. Set the oven to Fan 180oC/200oC conventional/ Gas 6.
  2. Put the large muffin cases in a muffin tin.
  3. Gently combine the flour and the cocoa.
  4. In a separate bowl beat together the butter and sugar until lighter in colour and no longer ‘grainy’.
  5. Add half the beaten eggs and 1 tablespoon of the flour + cocoa mix to the butter and sugar mixture. Combine well using a low speed on the electric mixer or with a spoon.
  6. Repeat step 5) with the rest of the egg.
  7. Using a fine sieve add the remainder of the flour + cocoa to the cake mixture and gently combine using the low setting on the electric mixer.
  8. Add the soya milk and gently mix until combined.
  9. Half fill the waiting muffin cases. Approximately 60ml (¼ cup) to each muffin case.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (The cakes should be ‘springy’ on top when gently pressed with your index finger, if not they will need longer a few more minutes in the oven)
  11. Leave to completely cool (about 1 hour) before adding the icing to the top of the cakes.

 

To make the Icing (optional)

  • Measure the spread or butter into a bowl.
  • Gently combine the cocoa into the icing sugar with a spoon.
  • Sieve the icing sugar + Cocoa mixture into the butter add a few twists of the seasalt mill and then combine well with an electric mixer or by hand.
  • Transfer to the fridge to ‘firm up’ while the cakes cool.
  • Add a generous dollop to each cake and enjoy or cover and Keep in the fridge for a few days.

 

Enjoy! X

Adams tomato Dahl

Quick and nutritious. Dairy free. Meat free. Gluten free.

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Serves 4.

Approximate Nutritional info (Nutritics.com) per 343g portion:- 230Kcal. 30g carbohydrate. 4.6g fat (saturates 0.4g). Protein 15g. Fibre 4.7g. Salt 1.3g. Omega 3 0.31g (14% RI). Omega 6 0.64g. Glycemic Load = 6.2 Glycemic index (estimated) 21.5 

Ingredients

Rapeseed oil, 1 tablespoon

Garlic, 2 cloves, thinly grated

Ginger root, fresh, 2cm chunk, thinly grated

Bay leaf, 1 large

Turmeric, ground, 2 teaspoons

Coriander, ground, 2 teaspoons

Mustard seeds, half teaspoon

Cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon

Cloves, 4 whole

Salt, 1 teaspoon

Chilli (optional), 1 hot green, chopped finely

Tomatoes, chopped, 1 X 400g tin

Lentils, red, 200g (rinsed well)

800ml boiling water

Mushrooms (optional), 300g, sliced (Nutrition note- If you have the time…leave in natural light for 1 hour to boost vitamin D content)

 

method

1) Warm the oil in a large frying pan or saucepan.

2) Add all the ingredients minus the lentils, tomatoes, water and mushrooms

3) Stir well to combine and fry gently for a few minutes over a low heat without burning.

4) Add the tomatoes and turn up the heat. Combine well and bring to a brisk simmer, stirring to prevent the mixture burning. Gently simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.

5) Add the washed lentils and combine well

6) Add the sliced mushrooms and stir well to combine.

7) Add 800ml boiling water and mix well. Bring back to a rapid simmer and reduce heat. Cook gently, uncovered for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

8) Serve with boiled rice, quinoa, pittas or chappattis. It is also great served on its own. Keep leftovers in the fridge for a few days. Eat cold straight from the fridge, or  in a wrap, or reheat thoroughly if preferred hot.

Mixed Bean Chilli

vegan chilli
Healthy mixed Bean chilli

Serves 4-5 people.         Dairy-free. Vegan. Vegetarian.

Rich in vitamins and minerals. Cheap to make. Leftovers are fab warmed through and served on granary toast or wrapped in a soft tortilla. The flavours improve if made the day before and chilled in the refrigerator before reheating thoroughly.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Rapeseed oil

2 brown onions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

300g chopped selection of colourful bell peppers

300g chopped mushrooms (leave on sunlit window sill for 1 hour before chopping to  increase Vitamin D content)

2 X 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato puree

400g tin pre-cooked pinto beans

400g tin pre-cooked green lentils

200ml organic vegetable stock

optional – 1 tablespoon of powdered pea protein (for protein boost, flavour and thickening- available from health food shops)

Spices-

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 Bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon hot chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

 

To finish the dish-

2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

To serve-

60g of wholegrain basmati rice per person.

 

 Method

1) Heat the oil gently in a large saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook gently for approximately 15 minutes.

 2) Whilst the onions are cooking prepare the rest of the vegetables. Then, turn up the heat and add the peppers and mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes.

 3) Add the cumin, cinnamon, bay, chilli powder/flakes and oregano to the vegetables and mix well to combine and cook the spices for a few minutes without burning.

 4) Add the tomatoes, drained beans/lentils, tomato puree, stock and pepper. Stir well and bring to the boil. Sprinkle in the pea protein, if using, and stir well to combine. Turn the heat down and simmer for at least 45 minutes.

 5) 30 minutes before the end of cooking time put the brown rice into rapidly boiling water, stir once to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan and then return to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes.

 6) At the end of the cooking time strain the rice and turn off the heat underneath the chilli. 

 7)  Serve the chilli on a bed of the rice and scatter with the chopped coriander leaves.

Summer Pickled Vegetables

Pickled Vegetables
Summer Pickled Vegetables

When the green- grocer store is full of fresh, seasonal and organic local produce, try this method of preserving them. The veg keep fresh for up to 3 months in sterilised and sealed glass jars , and once opened they keep for about a week.

A great time saver when planning a family BBQ or summer meal, picnics or for just snacking on when the fancy takes you!

A recipe from Ainsley Harriots ‘Barbecue Bible’, 1997

Ingredients

Serves 8-10 (but I always make double to keep for a few weeks)

100g cauliflower

100g celery

100g carrots

100g cucumber

100g red pepper

50g French beans

50g mangetout

50g baby sweetcorn

50g button onions

50g cherry tomatoes

 

300ml white wine vinegar

3 allspice berries ( or ¼ teaspoon ground allspice from a jar)

3 black peppercorns

4 fresh bayleaves

pinch of ground saffron or turmeric

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tablespoons soft brown sugar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

 1) Break the cauliflower in to small florets

2) Trim the celery and peel the carrots and cut them both diagonally into thickish slices

3) Halve the cucumber length-ways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Slice the cucumber halves across ways into half moons.

4) Halve the peppers, remove the seeds and the pith and cut the flesh in to 1 cm pieces

5) Top and tail the beans, mangetout and sweetcorn and peel the button onions.

6) Put all the vegetables except the cherry tomatoes into a large saucepan with the vinegar, spices, garlic and sugar. Season with some salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for just 5 minutes, carefully turning them over every now and then.

7) Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl, stir in the whole cherry tomatoes, olive oil and dill, cover and leave the mixture somewhere cool to marinate overnight.

8) The next day, spoon the vegetables into sterilized jars and seal. Store in a cool, dark place and in the fridge after opening and once opened eat within 1 week.

Enjoy!