Green salad with prosciutto and roasted pine nuts

This salad was gorgeous (yes, you read correctly – a salad which was downright lovely), when a friend made this as a starter for a dinner party which I went to last year. I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, and now (actually January 2011) seems like the wrong time, so through the power of WordPress I have scheduled this to be posted when the weather is somewhat warmer.

Method as follows:

The dressing is made with olive oil and balsamic vinegar heated in a pan. You add blueberries (I added one little punnet for a salad for four) to the pan and heat gently until the liquid just reaches the boil. You then pour the dressing over the salad and add grated parmesan.



Recipe: Slow cooker rice pudding

This smells great!

125g pudding rice
125g sugar
Grated nutmeg
Enough milk to cover the rice and have a further 1″ of milk.

Put all ingredients in slow cooker. Turn to high. Takes about 2 – 3 hours. Do check the rice towards the end and add more milk if need be. We had to do this a couple of times – prob a couple of pints in total.

Recipe: Ras el-hanout

For the fruity lamb tagine, I made this spice mix (and will do so again).

I based it closely on the mix set out at

3 tsp black pepper corns
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili flakes
1/4 tsp cloves
2 tsp coarse sea salt

The only change that I made was that I used 2 tsp of ground cumin.

It made the kitchen smell wonderful, and stopped me wanting chocolate or something sweet/fatty – spicy food is great!

Recipe: fruity lamb tagine

Superhealthy, supereasy, supertasty. Yum!

Mr E. and I have just enjoyed a very nice lamb tagine. It was based on a recipe on the BBC Good Food website here, with a few tweaks made along the way, namely:

  • forgetting the carrots;
  • adding 100g of dried prunes which had been sat at the back of the cupboard;
  • adding an aubergine and a couple of courgettes; and
  • omitting the pomegranate seeds and coriander as we couldn’t find any in the shops.

So, as follows:


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g lean diced lamb
  • 1 large onion , roughly chopped (I used 3 small red onions)
  • 2 large carrots , quartered lengthways and cut into chunks(I forgot these)
  • 2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ras-el-hanout spice mix (see tip, below)(I made this earlier – so nice – had me smiling every time that I walked into the kitchen today)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can chickpeas , rinsed and drained
  • 200g dried apricots
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • ADDED: 100g dried prunes
  • ADDED: 1 medium aubergine, diced
  • ADDED: 2 medium courgettes, diced


Again, I didn’t follow the original directions (which involved, to borrow the words of Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman, ‘a lot of faffing about’).


  • browned off the lamb in a pan on the hob
  • added the onion and chopped garlic, and cooked until softened
  • added the spice mix, and cooked a little further
  • added the chopped tomatoes
  • then the chickpeas and aubergines
  • then the courgettes
  • then the chicken stock (which turned out to be the exact amount I had frozen in the freezer, which was pleasing).

then popped it in the oven with the lid on the pan at 200C for an hour (fan oven), and then turned it down to 180C (I had meant to set the oven at 180C originally) for another 20 mins or so.

Lovely! Works out at about 14 ProPoints on Weightwatchers’ new scheme. I’ve not worked out how much it cost yet, but will try to remember to update this post when I do work it out.

The lamb wasn’t quite as tender as I would prefer it to be (it was a bag of frozen casserole lamb) – which might be a factor of the quality of the lamb, or might be due to the slightly high heat. I am considering cooking the lamb with the onion, garlic and spices and stock and tomatoes in the slow cooker next time, and then adding the veg and chickpeas an hour or so before we want to eat.

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Heat the oil in a casserole and brown the lamb on all sides. Scoop the lamb out onto a plate, then add the onion and carrots and cook for 2-3 mins until golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min more. Stir in the spices and tomatoes, and season. Tip the lamb back in with the chickpeas and apricots. Pour over the stock, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover the dish and place in the oven for 1 hr.
  2. If the lamb is still a little tough, give it 20 mins more until tender. When ready, leave it to rest so it’s not piping hot, then serve scattered with pomegranate and herbs, with couscous or rice alongside.
TrySpice mix Ras el hanout, a North African spice mix, contains cardamom, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, turmeric and black pepper. Find it in larger supermarkets, or use a mix of the spices above.

Recipe: Mango chutney (Hot!)

Mango Chutney (Hot!)

Makes: about 1.3kg (3 lb)

Prep: 30 mins

Cooking time: about 20 minutes


1 tablespoon raisins

8 dried chillies, ground or crumbled

2.5cm (1 inch) piece of fresh root ginger, shredded

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon black peppercorns, lightly crushed

115ml (4 fl oz) vinegar

225g (8oz) sugar

3 teaspoons salt

Half a bulb of garlic, crushed

6 mangoes, peeled and sliced, stones discarded (I sometimes use tinned mangoes, as it saves on the prep)

  1. Soak the raisins in just enough water to cover them for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Mix together the chillies, ginger, chilli powder and peppercorns.
  3. Boil together the vinegar, sugar and salt. Add the chilli-paste mixture, with the garlic and 115ml (4 fl oz) of water. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the prepared mangoes and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until chutney is appropriately thickened.
  5. Add the drained raisins.
  6. Spoon into cooled, sterilised jars, seal and label.

Like most of my regularly-made chutneys this is taken (and lightly adapted) from

“Best Kept Secrets of the Women’s Institute – Jams, Pickles and Chutneys”.

Recipe: South Seas chutney

South Seas Chutney

Makes: about 1.5kg (3 lb 5oz)

Prep: 30 mins

Cooking time: about 2 hours


450g (1lb) onions, chopped

300ml (½ pint) raspberry vinegar

300ml (½ pint) white-wine vinegar

3 mangoes peeled and chopped (or use tinned mangoes as saves on peeling and chopping…)

432g can of crushed pineapple in juice

1 tablespoon graded fresh root ginger

3 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground clovers

½ teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons lime juice

50g (2oz) sultanas

450g (1lb) golden granulated sugar

25g (1oz) flaked almonds

  1. Over a low-medium heat, in a jam preserving pan (or the biggest saucepan you have – this recipe will ‘spit’ when cooking) cook the onion in the vinegars for 5 minutes. Add the mangoes, pineapple with juice, ginger, spices and lime juice and cool until soft – about 40 mintes to 1 hour.
  2. Add the sultanas and salt and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar and cook until reduced and there is no free vinegar. (You should be able to draw a wooden spoon across the base of the pan and the mixture should not rush back to cover it).
  4. Add the almonds.
  5. Spoon into cooled, sterilised jars, seal and label.
  6. Store for 6-8 weeks before using.

Like most of my regularly-made chutneys this is taken (and lightly adapted) from

“Best Kept Secrets of the Women’s Institute – Jams, Pickles and Chutneys”.