Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Tantalising Tagine

Our beauoootiful neighbour, many years ago,  kindly brought me a Tagine from Morocco. An amazing gift of any standard but an amazing gift of endurance & generosity too . . considering she brought the base too for the charcoals. I didnt like to ask how she managed to carry the whole ceramic caboodle home!! I just heaped the heartfelt praise & gratitude into our conversation. Wow, what a lovely kind neighbour!! I'm sooooo very lucky!
Over the years I've practised many recipes, many delicious succulent shanks of lamb, whole chicken, chicken portions, fish almost anything can be cooked slowly in our tagine.  However, all this said & done - I don't use it quite as much as I should. But at the weekend , there wasn't anything else could come close to the much needed ease & practicality of the tagine.  We had some building work done at the weekend, lots of physical chores needed attention, lots of heavy manual work hijacked the day. Luckily I had the foresight to utilise my lovely tagine - before the builders kidnapped me for the day - after all I had lamb shanks in the freezer which could be defrosted easily in the microwave. I had lots of veggies & potatoes so I could chuck the whole load into the tagine , add some spices & tomatoes etc then forget about it till evening :) Amazingly easy way to serve a tasty tantalising lamb shank - juicy, tasty & soooo succulent.

Spiced Lamb Tagine

Lamb shanks
(could use anything you have in fridge courgettes, aubergine, mange tout, sweetcorn, petit pois etc)
Spices & herbs

  • Rinse the lamb shanks in cold water. (Sadly I haven't any photo's of this process as the builders were needing so much done & I didn't have time, only time to chuck everything together whilst hubby lit the charcoals:)
  • Remove, with a sharp knife or scissors, a lot of the surplus fat 
  • Heat a drizzle of oil in a large frying pan, when hot add the shanks to brown
  • Rinse all vegetables in cold water
  • Peel the onions & carrots, cut into quarter size portions
  • Remove the stork & de seed the chillies & peppers
  • Top & tail the celery, removing any strong strings, half lengthways then cut into large thin portions
  • Peel & roughly crush the cloves of garlic
  • Place tinned tomatoes & some puree into the base of the tagine
  • Add lots of preferred spices into a jug, add honey & stir into tomatoes
  • Once the lamb shanks are browned add to the tomato mixture & coat the shanks
  • Saute all of the vegetables in the remaining hot, flavoursome meat juices
  • Add the vegetables to the tomato mixture, placing all beneath the shanks
  • Add couple of cups full of water into the tagine
  • Place the lid & place onto the coals
  • Leave cooking all day
  • Remembering to add new coals to the burning charcoals to maintain constant heat supply.
  • Re oil the inside of the tagine (its always seasoned (oiled) after every use
  • Add the charcoals to the base & ignite, I use fire lighters to assist with lighting the charcoal
  • When the charcoals are almost grey, as opposed to black, the heat is perfect to commence cooking
  • Did manage to grab a few photies during the day but not as many as I would like, but enough to give you a flavour of all which can be created when you think you have little time to be creative :)
  • Keep the tagine lid sealed throughout the cooking duration, stirring only when replacing the charocals
  • About a couple of hours before serving, add peeled potatoes into the tagine. reseal lid & return to charcoals
  • Eventually the lamb falls off the bone, yet manages to remain soo flavoursome & succulent
  • If you can get your hands on a tagine, mine is unglazed, do treat yourself to one they're absolutely FAB
  • Enjoy ..  we enjoyed ours outside, sitting around a bonfire :) delicious!!!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Classy chilli con carne

We absolutely love spices, adore strong flavours. Chilli con carne is a gorgeous meal, usually made with minced beef served with rice, in tacos,on jacket potatoes. so many different ways to serve this tasty dish. To make an  occasion of the delightful combination of meat, spices, peppers & pulses diced sirloin steak can be used instead of the minced beef. In fact chilli con carne made with steak is gorgeous, a most worthy contender to always substitute the mince. A classy version every now and then totally justifying the difference in price, taste & deliciousness :)

Classy chilli con carne

Sirloin steak
2 Red Peppers (or green)
2 Onions
4 Garlic cloves
2 Red Chilli (deseeded)
1 Green Chilli (deseeded)
Tinned Tomatoes
Tomato Puree
Kidney Beans
Salt & Pepper
Beef Stock
Spices (cumin, coriander, chilli etc)
Natural Yogurt


  • Rinse the brown rice in cold water, add salt & boiling water - cook for 30 mins
  • Peel & slice the onions, sweat in oil
  • Rinse the steak, add pieces of steak between a carrier bag & bash with steak hammer to tenderise (put between carrier bag prevents blood from splashing)
  • Once the steak is tenderised, slice into ribbons, then dice into small chunks
  • Peel, top & tail the peppers, seat with the onions
  • Rinse the mushrooms in cold water. remove tip of stalks. halve the mushrooms then add to pepper , onions & garlic. Sweat veggies until tender.
  • Deseed chillies , slice & dice into small pieces - add to pan & saute
  • Remove the skin from the garlic, crush with the blade of a knife then slice & dice
  • Add garlic to the onions, mushrooms & pepper
  • Add tomato puree & spices 
  • Into a different frying pan, add splash of oil, heat until smoke rises then add chinks of steak & sizzle until brown on the outside (only takes a few moments) 

  • In veggie frying pan, add dash of boiling water 
  • Add kidney beans then add the sizzling steak into the chilli con carne
  • Drain the boiling water from the brown rice
  • Rinse the kidney beans & add to the steak mix, stir in ensuring all is piping hot then serve immediately  with rice, tacos, jacket potato etc
  • On this occasion we had brown rice... the chillied steak rose to the occasion & was absolutely delicious!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Speedy Boeuf Stroganoff

Or should I say strog-faux-anuff . Its always on an evening when we can't be bothered to cook, but always want something very tasty. Boeuf Strog (with variant flavours which change every time i make it:)always fills that flavoursome quest. Mainly because its fast, tasty, easy & filling. Without further ramblings here we have the pleasing quickie. I adore long french green beans with mine, our daughter loves chips with hers & hubby enjoys rice which proves its such a versatile dish.

Sirloin Steaks

Smoked Paprika
Mustard Powder
Fresh Cream (or natural yogurt or milk)

Green beans

  • Rinse, slice & saute the mushrooms in melted butter
  • Top, tail & peel the onion, cut into small wedges, add to melted butter
  • Saute with the mushrooms
  • Rinse the steaks in cold water
  • Place on a board, (if preffered to stop blood splashes wrap totally a few times in a carrier bag, so all steaks are concealed 
  • Bask steaks with a steak hammer to tenderise.
  • Once bashed, add oil (or butter)  into a frying pan
  • With a sharp knife, slice the steak into ribbons
  • Heat oil until blue smoke rises
  • Add a few of the ribbons of steak, sizzle, (no more than a handful) turn & remove. 
  • Place the sizzled rare steak onto a warmed plate
  • Continue this method until all of the ribbons of steak are cooked.
  • When sizzling, the steak turns brown on the outside whilst staying juicy & red in the middle
  • Make sure each time you add the new batches, keep the oil sizzling hot
  • If you cut open a ribbon it should be deliciously juicy & rare inside
  • When all steak is done return all of the ribbons back into the pan
  • Add a large glug of brandy ( I only had Greek Mettaxa but it served the sauce well)
  • Hold a flame to the alcohol & set alight (flambĂ©)
  • Once the flames subside, remove from hear
  • Grate some nutmeg, add some smoked paprika, add large pinch Colmons English mustard powder
  • Coat the meat in the powder & brandy liquid
  • Once all mixed, add the onions & mushrooms
  • Add some cream & stir in
  • If you haven't any cream or prefer less fattening sauce, milk serves the sauce equally as well.
  • I ran out of cream so added milk when needed, still made a delicious sauce
  • Mix all together & return to heat
  • Reduce simmering gently whilst the rice cooks or the green beans or chips :)
  • This was for our teen, so its served with chips!!
  • Once all heated, serve & devour immediately
  • Hmm well I have photo of the students junky studying comfort food, beef strog sauce with the favourite chips!!
  • Our battery ran out so the green beans & rice were never captured on camera.
  • Enjoy . .