Spicy Lamb Kofta Tagine

I’ve been cooking Lamb Koftas for years, usually serving it with tomato and onion salad so we tend to eat it in spring and summer. Recently I’ve seem a lot of recipes for Kofta tagines and thought I’d try one.  When I looked in the cupboard for apricots I only had cherries and cranberries so I used them instead. Not very North African but tasted great in the end. I think we’ll be having Koftas all year round now!


Spicy Lamb Kofta Tagine
(serves 4)



1 tbsp.  olive oil
1 chopped onion
½ tsp. cumin seeds
1/tsp. pepper corns
1 piece cassia bark
1 or 2 chopped garlic cloves
2 tsp. chopped root ginger
1 or 2  chopped fresh chilli
1 tsp.  turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp.  coriander
1 lemon, rind and juice
400g  tinned tomatoes
2 tbsp. runny honey
150g  dried cranberries & cherries


400g lean lamb mince
1 large onion – chopped
1 tbsp mango chutney
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp corriander
1 tbsp mint


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan.
  2. Add the whole spices.
  3. When they begin to crackle ad the garlic and onion.
  4. Reduce heat and cook until onion is soft but not brown.
  5. Add the chilli and the dried spices.
  6. Add tinned tomatoes, lemon and honey.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Add the dried fruit.
  9. Put a lid on the pan and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  10. While the sauce is simmering make the Kofta.
  11. Don’t put the Kofta balls in the oven; put them into the simmering sauce.
  12. Replace the lid and continue to simmer for about ½ an hour.
  13. Don’t forget to check the seasoning!

kofta and rice

Hope you enjoy it too!


Delicious Leek and Potato Soup

It was a busy  day at work yesterday  including a stressful presentation so when I got home I just wanted to relax and  ended up rummaging in the fridge and used some left overs to make this soup for lunch today.

Leek and Potato Soup
(serves 4)



2  leeks, thinly sliced
1 onion, diced
3 or 4  potato, halved and sliced
3 rashers of bacon, diced
½ l  chicken stock
Knob of butter


  1. Sauté  the onions in the butter until transparent.
  2. Add bacon and leeks.
  3. Add potatoes. Coat in mixture.
  4. Add stock.
  5. Season.
  6. Bring to the boil.
  7. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Zap with hand blender.

lee and potato soup

If I’m feeling indulgent I top  soup with swirl of  crème fraiche, but if  I’m being good I use yoghurt and when  I’m feeling virtuous then there’s no topping at all!




Stuffed Romano Peppers

Life is getting back to normal this week after spending all of June so far writing reports and having my Knight in Shining Armour at home  sick.   I’ve been enjoying pottering in the kitchen again not just heating ready meals.   This is one of my favourite quick supper recipes – the peppers just melt in your mouth – and as an added bonus it’s gluten free.

Stuffed  Romano Peppers

Stuffed peppers

Romano pepper

1 portion Bolognese sauce (my recipe is below)

Grated cheese

Olive oil

  1. Cut the pepper in half and de-seed.
  2. Lightly coat with olive oil
  3. Put in a hot oven 190o for about 5 minutes.
  4. Spoon the Bolognese sauce  into the pepper.
  5. Return to the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  7. Return to the oven to melt the cheese.

Delicious on their own or with salad and pasta.

This is my cheat’s recipe for healthy, thrifty Bolognese sauce.

Quick Bolognese  Saucebolognese

400 g      lean minced beef

1 jar        Dolmino Light Bolognese sauce

100 g      dried red lentils

½ jar      water

  1. Brown the mince  – no need to add extra  oil.
  2. Stir in the Bolognese sauce.
  3. ½ fill the jar with water and add to pan.
  4. Stir in the lentils.
  5. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add extra water if required.

When cool, I usually divide the sauce into 4 portions for freezing.


Gluten Free Pizza Experiment

Gluten free pizza

(Makes 4 x 8″pizza)

I’ve always made home-made pizza and until she developed a severe gluten allergy, pizza was one of my DD’s favourites. Even now as a special treat she will indulge herself and plan for the consequences the next day 😦  As you can imagine I’ve been looking for a gluten free alternative.  I’ve combed recipe books, the web, and learned about a variety of alternative flours and xanthum gum.  This is my first experiment:


90 g    tapioca flour

230 g   brown  rice flour

1 tbsp  golden cater sugar

1 tsp    xanthan gum

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp ground sea salt

2½ tsp quick  yeast

2 large organic eggs

2 tbsp  olive oil

100ml very warm water

Tomato sauce

1 small onion

1 clove garlic (I used the last of my foodie penpal smoked garlic)

1 tsp    olive oil

250ml tomato passata


1         portabellini mushroom (or 2 small)

6         baby plum tomatoes, halved

½        large mozzarella  ball – I used Sainsbury’s Be Good to Yourself

             Herbs/black pepper to taste.

1.  Mix together the tapioca flour, rice flour, caster sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder,  ground sea    salt and quick  yeast.

2. Whisk the eggs, water and olive oil, pour into the dry ingredients and mix together.

3. Kneed on floured board until smooth.

4. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise at room temperature for an hour.

5. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and garlic.

6. Sweat the onions and garlic in the olive oil, over a low heat.

7. Add the passata and slowly reduce .

8. Kneed the dough and roll out on a floured board.

9. Cut out 4 x 8″ circles.

10. Brush with olive oil.

11. Bake in oven at 220oC for about 15 minutes.

12. Cover with reduced tomato sauce.

13. Add your toppings and cheese.

14. Return to the oven for 5/10 minutes depending on topping.

I can’t pretend the base was light and fluffy but it was crisp, gluten-free and definitely tasted like pizza which is a big plus.  Hope you enjoy them.


Blueberry Muffins

I’m still experimenting with the rice flour.  These muffins were light and fluffy inside with a hint of a crispy top  and not too sweet. The tasted great and didn’t last long.

blueberry muffins

Blueberry Muffins

(makes 12)

150g       self-raising flour

150 g      brown rice flour

2tsp       baking powder

3              eggs

150ml    butter milk

1tsp       vanilla extract

80g         melted, unsalted butter

160g       fresh blueberries


  1. Heat oven to 200oC and line muffin tray.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together (except blueberries).
  3. Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and  melted butter together.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients lightly.
  5. Fold in blueberries.
  6. Spoon into cases and cook for 18 minutes.





Kofta with Tomato & Chilli Salad

We had an old favourite for supper tonight. I’ve been making Koftas for as long as I can remember.  The recipe is slightly different every time depending on what I have in the store cupboards, fridge and how much time I have.  The quantities I’ve given are only a rough guide – I don’t usually weigh anything for this, which really annoyed my Knight in Shining Armour when he decided he wanted to learn how to make them.


(serves 2/3 as a main meal  4 as a starter)



400g lean lamb mince

1 large onion – chopped

1 tbsp mango chutney

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp corriander

1 tbsp mint

Tomato & Chilli Salad

4 large tomatoes

1 large onion

1 or 2 large green chillies

squeeze of lemon or lime

drizzle of olive oil

1. Put all the ingredients for the Koftas in a bowl. Be flexible – if I have no fresh mint I use mint sauce, if I have  a fresh mango I use that and increase the spices. Depending on who is eating it I sometimes add chopped chilli.

2. Mix all the ingredients together with your fingers. If I’m in a hurry I zap it all in the food processor.

3. Shape into balls with wet fingers.

4. Put into a hot oven about 180°C for about 20 minutes.  I usually check after 15.

5. If I have time I skin and de-seed the tomatoes.

6. Chop tomatoes, onions and chillies very finely. I take as much time as I can doing this because I don’t like eating large chunks of raw chilli. If I have fresh coriander I add a handful.

7. Mix the lemon/lime juice with the olive oil and drizzle over salad.

8. I served this with Pershwari Naan bread or rice.


Mad Month

It has been a mad month at work. Apart from the upheaval snow brings, the chaos of a classroom full of wet hats, gloves and boots, the celebrity launch for our Olympic legacy program,  parents evenings and the Ofsted inspection, we’ve also had a bit of a  crisis  which has shaken everyone.

I had some over ripe bananas and some left over Christmas fudge to use up which I used to make these muffins – my variation of a Nigella recipe.  I’ve recently  been experimenting with rice flour because my DD is wheat intolerant and my Knight ISA  also has an allergy to processed grain though as yet we haven’t identified exactly which element.


Banana & Chocolate Fudge Muffins.

(makes 12)

3              very ripe banana

125ml    lemon olive oil

2              eggs

125g       plain flour

125g       brown rice flour

1tsp       bicarbonate of soda

1tsp       baking powder

150g       chocolate/fudge/butterscotch  – I chopped up some chocolate covered Thornton’s fudge

  1. Heat the oven 200oC and line muffin tray.
  2. Mash the bananas.
  3. Beat the oil and eggs together.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients together (except the fudge).
  5. Add the egg mix to the dry ingredients and mix. Then add the banana.
  6. Fold in the fudge or whatever you are using.
  7. Bake for 20 mins.

They tasted delicious and best of all  – no sneezing.