Middle Eastern Lamb & Apricot Meatballs with Tzatziki

22 Jun

While the British Isles are saturated with an unseasonal amount of rain, I ring out my jumper and look East towards the lands of eternal sun, sand and spices…..Here’s one I invented for low fuss suppers. The meatballs can be made earlier in the day or the night before as can the tzatziki, meaning prep time is kept to about 20mins.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients  

500g minced lamb
1 tsp mixed herbs
Seasoned flour, for coating
1 large onion, sliced
2 leeks
75g dried apricots, small chunks
50g almonds, finely chopped
1 aubergine, diced
425g can tomatoes
3 tsp mixed spice
cumin seeds
4tbsp water
200ml white wine
1 chilli, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chopped corriander
chives
Thick noodles to serve

Mix the lamb with the seasoning and mixed herbs in a bowl. Add the chopped apricots and almonds. Form into balls and coat with seasoned flour.
 Saute the onion, garlic and leek very gently over a low heat in a knob of butter. Then move to a saucepan and pour in the canned tomatoes. Mix together with the aubergine, cumin, coriander, chilli and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Leave to cook for 20 minutes on a low heat.

While the sauce is cooking fry the meatballs until browned and cooked through.

For the Tzatziki

250ml plain Greek yoghurt
3/4 whole cucumber
3 cloves of garlice, crushed
handful of fresh mint, chopped

Grate the cucumber and then squeeze out the water. Mix this with the youghurt, chopped mint and crushed garlic. Add some all purpose seasoning such as Aromat and a small splash of Worcestershire sauce.

To Serve:
Cook the noodles and mix them into the sauce to give them colour. Then place the meatballs on top and chop some chives over.

Enjoy. x

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Muesli, Raisin and Spiced Wholemeal, Banana Muffins

13 May

Its yummy, its wholesome, its healthy(ish) and its an all day breakfast….why wouldn’t you want to make this? It takes 10 seconds to prepare and a seriously versatile little number. Have one for an ‘on-the-go’ breakfast, as a tea time treat, or pudding with some vanilla ice-cream. The choice is yours….

Makes 10

200g wholemeal self-raising flour
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g light brown soft sugar
25g muesli
2 banana’s
3 eggs
100g butter
75ml natural yoghurt

To your own taste: (I go for more the merrier!)
seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, linseed)
raisins
cinnamon, nutmeg and a dash of all spice

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1. Preheat oven to 190C
2. Sieve the flour and bicarb into a bowl. Add the sugar and muesli.
3. Mash the banana in a separate bowl with a folk.
4.Lightly beat together the eggs, melted butter, yoghurt in a jug. Add into the for and muesli mixture with the mashed banana until combined.
5. Fill the muffin cases 3/4 with the mixture.
6. Sprinkle on oats and seeds – bake in the oven for 18-20mins. Cool on a wire rack.

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Rabbit with Mustard and Tarragon

23 Apr

Now I’m not trying to kill off the Easter Bunny, but what happened to the rabbit? Instead of searching for Easter eggs under your hedges I vote going native, you won’t regret it…this recipe is my edited version of the Sunday Times Recipe.

SERVES 8

Ingredients:

4 tbsp plain flour
Salt and Pepper
2 x large rabbit cut into 6. (or 12 rabbit thighs)
6 tbsp olive oil
3 medium leeks (finely chopped)
2 medium carrots (finely chopped)
6 cloves of garlic crushed
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of rosemary
4 bushy sprigs of thyme
400ml of dry white wine
600ml chicken stock
150ml double cream
4tbsp dijon mustard
2 large handfuls of tarragon leaves
secret ingredient: lots of dry sherry and nutmeg

1. Heat the over to 180C

2. Put the flour in a large bow, season well and toss the rabbit pieces in it. Heat 2tbsp of the olive oil in a casserole or large, deep frying pan. Add half the rabbit pieces and brown for about 2 minutes on each side. Move to a plate, then add another 2 tbsp oil and repeat with the remaining batch. Add them to the other pieces.

3. Pour the remaining 2tbsp of oil into the pan, throw in the leek, carrot, garlic, bay, thyme and rosemary. Cook over a gentle heat for 4-5 minutes until the leek is soft. Tip in the wine and sherry, turn up the heat. Let things bubble away for 5-6 mins and the liquid is syrupy.

4. Put the rabbit pieces back in the pan, add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot with a sheet of foil, then with a lid, and place in the oven. Cook for 1hr 15mins to 2 hrs, or until the rabbit is tender to the bone.

5. Remove the rabbit, then place the pot on the hob and bubble the juices to thicken them a little if necessary I added double cream and creme fraiche to make it creamy. Taste and season. I also added some nutmeg at this stage for some warmth. Once seasoned add the cream and mustard, splash of Worcestershire sauce and bubble again until thick. Stir in 2/3 of the tarragon, then the rabbit and bubble for a minute more.

I served it last night with Rosmary Potatoes Boulangeres. Yummy.

Danish Lunch ‘Frokost’

18 Apr

Not much is known about Danish lunches outside Scandinavia, but my Mother doesn’t let anyone home for the weekend without one. I’ve come to believe that its these magic lunches which keeps our house full on public holidays. Above is a photo of our leaving lunch after Easter.

Its really quite simple and always cold, but washed down with a few cold beers and Danish Schnapps. Its built around having lots of different cured meats, salted fish, hard boiled eggs, vegetables and cheese. It originates from the peasant farmers before the Industrial Revolution. A variety of bread and crackers is also put out but usually rye.

It is the perfect meal to bring family and friends together over a long and sometimes boozy lunch.

Here is a rough list of things to include:

– Hard boiled eggs

– ‘Spanish Salad’ – (mixed cold peas and carrot chunks, cooked, cooled and then mixed with mayonaise)

– Cheese board

– Farmhouse pate

– Cold vegetables (such as carrots, cucumber, celery and radishes)

– Cold, cooked new potatoes

– Herring, smoked salmon or other salted fish

– Cured meats (such as ham and pastrami.)

– Aalborg Aquavit (Danish Schnapps)

– Cold beers.

Served with a bread basket of various rye breads. Typical to Danish lunches is the open sandwich known as ‘smørrebrød’ which consists of a large variety of sandwich toppings on the dark rye bread discussed. Below are a few examples:

There are so many options but the list of commonly used ingredients above help you to build an idea of the likely things that find there way on to open Danish sandwiches.

Enjoy. x