Lamb, Date and Almond Lentil Tagine

I adore Moroccan food. Absolutely, totally love it. Thankfully Fuz does too ūüėČ This was an easy and quick meal to use up some of the left over lamb from our Sunday roast. It would work well with leftover beef too.

For 2 portions you need
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp each turmeric, ground cumin, chilli flakes and ground coriander
1 tsp each of ground cinnamon and ground ginger
salt and pepper
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp dates, roughly chopped
1 cup diced cooked lamb or beef
300ml lamb stock
1/2 cup red lentils
2 tbsp whole skinned almonds, toasted

Begin by frying the onion in the oil in the base of a tagine or other heavy based pan. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and cook for another 5 mins or so. Add everything else apart from the almonds and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30-45 mins.

Add the toasted almonds 15 mins before you want to serve, and remove the lid to thicken the sauce. Delicious with the orange, onion and almond salad.

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Orange, Onion and Toasted Almond Salad (v)

A lovely light fragrant salad which cuts through the richness of a tagine brilliantly or is fabulous on its own on a hot day. So not like the weather today then…!

For 2 people you need
1 orange, segmented
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1 tsp dried mint
2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds
1 tbsp argan oil (or use olive oil)

Arrange the ingredients on a plate and leave to infuse for 30 mins or so before serving. Serve at room temperature, don’t chill.

Easter / Ishtar Chocolate Egg Nests (v)

Easter isn’t Ishtar without these nests. I prefer to use a base of butter, golden syrup and drinking chocolate/cocoa for the chocolate rather than melting chocolate as they remain softer and nicer to eat that way. This is a great recipe to get the kids to do, or to make to bring back memories of the last day of school!

For 10-12 nests you need
6 shredded wheat, crushed
100g butter or vegan spread
4 tbsp golden syrup
4 tbsp drinking chocolate or cocoa powder
Chocolate eggs to decorate
Paper muffin cases

Melt the butter, golden syrup and drinking chocolate in a pan gently. Mix into the crushed shredded wheat and then spoon into cases. Leave an indentation in the middle for the eggs to nestle in to. Top with eggs and leave for an hour or so to set. Yummy!

Cadbury’s Creme Egg Brownies



A brownie adorned with a cadbury’s creme egg showed up in my newsfeed on Facebook earlier in the week, so I decided to treat us to some for Easter. I’ve used mini creme eggs as the large ones would have made them too sickly (imho!). The brownie recipe I have used is my tried and tested adaptation of the Hummingbird Bakery’s plain chocolate brownie which is chewy and moist and delicious. Enjoy!

For 12 portions you need
200g good quality plain chocolate
125g butter
150g plain flour
325g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

6 mini cadbury’s creme eggs

Melt the chocolate and butter. Once melted and cooled slightly, mix in the other ingredients. Pour the batter into a lined swiss roll tin and bake at 160 degrees for about 15 mins. 


Carefully cut the eggs in half, but don’t worry too much if they break a bit. After 15 mins, take the brownies out of the oven and push the halves of eggs into the semi cooked batter. Place them back in the oven for a further 15 mins to finish cooking.¬†

Leave to cool for 10 min before removing from the baking tin and slicing into generous squares. Happy Ishtar!


Dark Sweet and Sour Vegetables with Sesame Cashews and Noodles (v)

This is very quick and easy to prepare and tastes lovely. A brilliant healthy mid week supper for all the family. The recipe is based on a Lorraine Pascale one in Fast, Fresh and Easy Food.

For 3-4 people you need
2 onions, chopped into big chunks
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 head broccoli cut into florets
425g tin pineapple in juice
5 tbsp tomato ketchup
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp soya sauce
1-2 tsp agarve nectar (according to your taste)
2 tbsp raw cashew nuts
2 tsp sesame oil
3 nests of noodles
fresh coriander for garnish

Beging by placing everything apart from the cashews, sesame oil, noodles and coriander into a pan. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook on a low heat for 5 mins until the veggies are al dente. Remove the lid and increase the heat to reduce the sauce slightly.

Toast the cashews in a pan until lightly toasted. Toss through the sesame oil.

Boil the noodles for 1-2 mins until cooked. Serve garnished with the coriander. Yummy.

Tofu Hoisin Pancakes (v)

I made a different version of these a few months ago, but we all fancied them again so I simplified the method and they were pronounced even more delicious than before! They’re quick to cook, but the tofu really benefits from being pressed to make it firmer and then left to marinade for up to 24 hours.

For three people you need
1 pack firm tofu
1/2 jar hoisin sauce (I like Win Yip)
1/4 cucumber, finely sliced
2-3 spring onions, shredded
9 oriental pancakes
a little oil for frying

Begin by draining the tofu and placing it between two folded tea towels. Place a heavy weight on top (I use a le crueset pan!) and leave to drain. After 30 mins, replace the tea towels (which by this stage will be saturated with liquid) and leave pressed for at least another 30 mins, or overnight if you can (place the tofu in the fridge if you’re going to leave it over night).

Once the tofu has been pressed, slice in half through the middle of the block, then in half again before slicing thinly. Layer up the tofu strips in a pyrex bowl with a thin covering of hoisin sauce. Cover and leave to marinate for at least an hour, and up to 24.

When you’re ready to cook the tofu, heat the oil in a wok and fry the tofu in batches. Heat the pancakes according to the pack (usually about 45 secs in a microwave) and serve layered with hoisin sauce, cucumber, spring onions and the tofu. Yum yum yum!

Cardamon Rasmalai with Saffron; Vanilla and Nutmeg

I cheated for this, and used a packet. But frankly most of the Asian cooks I know do the same. You can buy the Shan ones from Asda for under £1. This was the perfect sweet note to follow our curry night, and calmed my tingling taste buds down after the fiery madras.

For 6-8 portions you need
1 packet Shan Ras Malai mix
5 tsp vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 litre of milk
500ml water
200g caster sugar
pinch saffron fronds
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1/4 nutmeg, freshly grated

Place the milk, water, sugar and saffron in a large pan and slowly bring to the boil. Stir every now and then to ensure the sugar melts evenly.

Make the ras malai following the packet instructions (tip powder into a bowl, add the oil and enough beaten egg to make a stiff paste).

Once the milk mixture has come to the boil, keep on a full flame and drop in small teaspoons of the ras malai mix (you can be pretentious and make them into quenelles if you want, or roll into balls). Cook for 5 mins until the ras malai has puffed up to 3-4 times its original size. Remove and leave to cool in a bowl. Reduce the milk mixture by half and then flavour with the nutmeg and vanilla. Pour the milk over the ras malai and leave to chill thoroughly before serving.

Black and White Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Snadwiches

This pic got rather a lot of likes on instagr.am the other day, proper food porn! And utterly delicious to eat too, if a tad messy! Making the cookies with vitalite not only makes them easier as you don’t need to remember to leave the butter out or faff about softening it if you forget; but it also gives them a better texture. Contrasting the dark bitter chocolate with the white sweet chocolate works really well. I prefer the two flavours to adding in milk chocolate too for triple chocolate cookies. This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s totally chocolate chocolate chip cookies from Nigella Express.

For about 20 cookies, depending on size, you need

125g dark chocolate
150g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
1tsp bicarb
¬Ĺ¬†tsp¬†salt
125g vitalite
75g soft light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
350g white chocolate chunks or chocolate cut into chunks

Ice cream of your choice to serve.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie and leave to cool slightly.

Beat the sugars and vitalite in a free standing mixer until light and fluffy. Then add everything else, mixing thoroughly.

Place teaspoon sized blobs onto a lined baking tray. You should be able to get 9-12 cookies on a normal sized tray and they don’t spread that much whilst cooking.¬†

Cook in a moderate (170 degree) oven for 10 mins until cooked but not browned. Leave to cool on the tray for a few mins. If you try and move them too soon they will break but they will harden upon cooling. 

Sandwich your favourite ice cream in the middle and scoff. Nomtastic!

Chickpea Dhal (v)

Fuz and I had beef madras last night, but Lex is still veggie so I made him a quick and tasty chickpea dhal to have for his tea whilst we tucked into the rich beefy goodness. The dhal was a lovely side dish to our meal and Lex thoroughly enjoyed it too.

For 2-3 portions you need
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp rogan josh curry paste
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup red lentils
250ml water

Fry the paste in the oil for 2-3 mins until the oil separates and the aromas are released. Add everything else and bring to the boil. Simmer slowly for 20 mins or so until the lentils are cooked. Serve with rice and whatever else you fancy (in Lex’s case this is cucumber slices topped with mango chutney!).

Beef Madras

It’s soooooooo cold out, but this curry will keep you warm from the inside. Spicy and aromatic, it doesn’t take long to throw together but does need at least an hour of gently bubbling. If you have time, make in advance and then reheat to allow the flavours to really develop and mingle into the tender beef. This recipe is taken from the BBC Good Food site.

For 2-3 portions you need

Curry
1 kg braising steak cut into bite sized cubes
2tbsp tomato puree
300ml Beef Stock
2tbsp veg or sunflower oil
1 large onion, diced
Curry Paste
1/2tsp ground black pepper
1/2tsp chilli flakes
2 fresh birds eye chillies, slit up the length of the chilli, stalk left on
2tbsp ground coriander
2tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp turmeric
2tbsp of grated ginger
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
Begin by softening the onions in a large heavy based pan over a medium heat in the oil till cooked and golden. Stir often so they don’t burn. Once they are cooked, remove with a slotted spoon to a plate whilst you seal the beef.

Place the beef in the hot pan (you may need to do this in more than one batch to avoid over crowding the pan). Seal it and remove from the pan and place with the onions.
Place all the curry paste ingredients in the pan and cook for a few mins. Add everything else to the pan, including the tomato puree and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a slow simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for an hour, stirring every so often. Remove the lid for the last 10 mins to allow the sauce to thicken. Serve with rice and a nice cold beer or tall glass of sweet lassi. We also had some chickpea dhal alongside it as my son doesn’t eat meat.