IMG_0803

Maroccan Lamb Tajine

We bought a beautiful Tajine! And it such good quality, and it was so cheap. Yeah thriftstore! I don’t think anybody ever used it. I guess they former owner did not get as excited as we did after scoring this Tajine. I sat straight to work. Must eat Lamb!

I am sure there are many options but my mind went straight to Lamb. I got some lambshoulder with bone, the butcher recommended that very strongly. He actually spend about ten minutes explaining what to do for my Tajine dish, not leaving out a single detail. After going on and on he almost shamefully admitted that he liked to cook. We noticed ;-). We did exactly what the nice men told us to do, alright, there were some adjustments,  and now I share this recipe with you!

Again it’s a wonderful dish to make: Tasty, healthy, not too complicated, fresh, international, exciting, colourful… I could go on…

This is also for you sis! Enjoy your new tajine as well :-).
IMG_0802

Here we go:

  • Lambshanks about 1 kilo
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground peper, salt
  • about a third of a small pumpkin, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  •  1 chili, seeds removed, very finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes / half a can of tomatoes, diced
  • handful of apricots, roughly chopped
  • teaspoon of kurkuma
  • teaspoon of cumin
  • teaspoon of dried coriander
  • half a teaspoon of ginger
  • teaspoon of ras el hanout
  • teaspoon of curry powder
  • fresh coriander for garnishIMG_0876
  • juice of 1 lemon, optional.

Allright! Make sure you have all your vegies prepared. This stew is perfect to use leftover veggies, such as paprika, eggplant or potatoes as well. Put the tajine on the stove, heat two tablespoons of olive oil and brown of the meat.Remove meat from the tajine once browned and add the onions. Give it a stir and add the garlic and chili. You can use more or less then one chili, depending on your preference or tolerance for spicyness. Stir in the pumpkin and sweet potato. Once caramelized a little, add all the spices.

IMG_0800How does your kitchen smell now? Good I hope! Add the tomatoes and abricots. Do not forget to season with salt and pepper. Then you add the lamb again, make sure it is covered by the sauce. Put on the lid and let it simmer for 30 minutes – 1 hour.

The best way to check if it’s done is just to have a feel and taste. The meat should be soft and tender and also taste soft. I once left this stew for 2 hours and the meat just became softer!

We ate it with a simple couscous salad and some bread. Sprinkle over the fresh coriander. You can also sprinkle over some lemon juice for some freshness.

 

>> You can make this in a normal pot as well

>> This dish is perfect for freezing!

>> There are several health claims saying kurkuma can be beneficial when suffering from Parkinsons disease or Alzheimers

>> You can use the ras el hanout to spice your couscous as well. Just mix the couscous with a large tablespoon before you pore over the boiling water.
IMG_0806

IMG_0439

Lamb köftas with pita bread

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! Mine was packed with yummie things and culinary experiments. I tried an australian fruit cake, and added way too many nutmeg and cinnamon ánd baking soda… I also made a fruity cake topped with a homemade crunch. The crunch was really the best bit, because the bottom was so soggy…

Anyways, let’s not dwell on that. On to the good stuff! We had a great tapas board with some of my favourite things: strong blue cheese and jamon iberico, cured ham, originally  from Spain. This cured ham just melts in you mouth! It is definitly not the cheapest jamon, but if you have it just once in a while it feels like such a treat. It is smooth, rich, soft, savoury and salty.

This Spanish cured jamon is made from black Iberian pigs who roam the Spanish country side and feed on acorns, grass and herbs. The acorns are important for the flavour of the jamon. The curing process  that follows can take up to 48 weeks which really makes for spectacular flavours. But I didn’t start this post wanting to write about jamon…

IMG_0300

 

We went out to try a new café, where they served decent wine and a very decent lamb burger. Look at the size of that one! I was barely able to finish it but I hung in there… I love it when pub food is not too complicated yet fingerlicking good. This lamb burger is the perfect example. The meat was so soft and tender.

 

IMG_0546

 

IMG_0544

 

Lamb! More of that please!

For this recipe I was both inspired by the good quality minced lamb my mother brought me, and dried oregano another friend gave me. This is Greek oregano we are talking about, so sundried over there and brought back here to liven up our Dutch dishes. Wow does that taste different! So much more flavour then dried oregano from the supermarket. So if you or any of your friends is planning to go to Greece, get them to bring you some oregano! And good quality olive oil, some olives …

 

 

IMG_0361      

 

 

Lamb köftes

4 persons

Ingredients

  • 500 grams minced lamb
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 75 grams crumbled feta cheese
  • pepper, salt
  • 1,5 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1,5 tbsp chopped  fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh or sundried oregano
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground paprika
  • pinch of allspice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

> If you do not have fresh herbs, you can use dried herbs.

 

1. Chop up the onion and carrot. Put it in a big bowl and mix with all the herbs, lamb, pepper and salt.

IMG_0378

2. Add the crumbled feta cheese. Feta is a white cheese from Greece, and considered one of the oldest in the world. I like mine as matured and tasty as I can get. I also prefer feta made from sheepsmilk (as opposed to cow or goats milk).

3. I am not using any eggs or breadcrumbs for this recipe, but I found it hardly needed it. Instead of forming a meatball and frying them off in a pan, I squeezed a shape out of the meat with my hands and put them in a lightly oiled oven dish. In a pan the might have fallen apart, but as an ovendish this is not an issue.

IMG_0377

4. Put them in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until they are sizzling and golden brown.
I served them with a quick greek salad, some homemade pita’s, yoghurt dip and an aubergine dip.

IMG_0438

 

 

 

 

I will give you the recipe for the pita bread as well!

 

Pita Bread

Ingredients

  • 300 grams of wholemeal flour
  • 200 grams of plain flour
  • 10 grams of dried yeast
  • 10 grams of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of carroway seeds
  • 350 ml tepid water
  • 30 ml olive oil plus some extra

 

 

IMG_0382

IMG_0383

IMG_0384

 

IMG_0440

 

  1. Sift the wholemeal and normal flour together.
  2. Add the yeast, salt and olive oil. Put the yeast on one side of the bowl, and the salt on the other. Don’t let it interact until you start mixing the dough.
  3. Start combining with one hand while you slowly add the water with the oter. You may need more water, just keep adding a little water and keep mixing with your hand.
  4. The dough should be a little sticky, but definitly not too wet. After a minute or so it should stop sticking to your hands.
  5. Take the dough out of the bowl and rub some olive oil on your kitchen counter. Start kneading the dough for a full five minutes.
  6. When the dough becomes soft, elastic and smooth put it into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfoil and a clean tea towel.
  7. It is proving time. Give the dough at least 90 minutes, it should double in size.
  8. Once the dough has doubled in size, knock it back for a minute and incorporate the cumin and carraway seeds. Divide the doughinto six portions. If you want smaller or bigger pita’s you are ofcourse free to adjust the quantity and size.
  9. Start rolling out the dough with a rolling pin. Sprinkle some flour on your workbench. Once you have rolled out the dough into a flat cirkle, leave it to prove for another 30  minutes. I think they should be about half a centimeter thick. I just sprinkled flour over each pita and put them together on a oventray. If you do not sprinkle flour over it, they might stick together.
  10. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry off the pita’s, a few minutes on both sides should do it. The pan should be really hot. I put my oven to a 100 degrees celcius were I kept the pita’s warm until they were all ready.

 

IMG_0562   IMG_0444