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Spiced harissa Lamb pasties

These little beauties are one of my favourite ways to use up leftovers, they’re just perfect to have for a Monday tea with some fresh leaves and some Greek yoghurt, theyre great for next day in the lunchbox – or make mini ones and snaffle them as you potter round the house! The lamb amount needed isn’t exact as obviously you don’t know exactly how much you will have leftover – if you have more or less just adapt the recipe accordingly. As I often cook lamb low and slow the leftovers are packed with flavour (check out my previous post for my delicious Easter roast lamb) the leftovers are versatile and keep well overnight in the fridge. Little pops of sweetness from the apricots, some earthy flavours from the pine nuts all nestled into the sweet, slightly smokey harissa lamb. Plus, ready rolled shortcrust or puff pastry makes them low effort too! Makes 4-6 pasties 150g – 200g leftover shredded and chopped lamb 1/2 onion chopped 1 carrot chopped 1 potato chopped 2 tsp rose harissa paste 2 tsp dried mint ½ tsp ground cinnamon Handful of pine nuts 1 packet ready rolled shortcrust pastry (you can use puff if you prefer) 1. In a large pan fry the onions, carrots and potato for 2 minutes, add in the mint, cinnamon, harissa paste and 200ml water and stir everything well, cover and leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes till the potato cooks through. 2. Stir in the lamb and pine nuts and leave to cool with the lid on 3. Oven at 200*c 4. Unroll the pastry and cut into 4 large squares, place 2-3 tablespoons of the filling in one half corner of the pastry square, and brush the edges with a little water, fold over so the 2 corners meet and then seal down each edge with the end of a fork. Make a slight cut in the top with a knife. 5. Brush with some milk and sprinkle on some sesame seeds (optional) and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp, leave to cool slightly then enjoy!

Slow cooked Easter lamb with pomegranate and spiced rice

A we hurtle through 2021, I can’t quite believe Easter is fast approaching! Spring is one of my favourite times of year, I start seeing life growing everywhere I walk, those first daffodils of the year are a thing of beauty, and I just know that my favourite foods will soon be back in season Easter – Of course, calls for lamb, it’s a timeless classic for Easter dinner, but in our house, we don’t often have a traditional roast lamb dinner (much to my partners chagrin sometimes, It’s one of his favourites) instead I normally slow cook it, much less room for error with it being almost impossible to overcook, and it gives a tender fall apart texture that is absolutely perfect for leftover cooking the next day! A beautifully simple dish to make, enjoyed by Greeks, Cypriots and the wider Middle East in some form or another, It's a great one to leave cooking on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, just check on it every hour or so as the meat becomes tender and takes on all those beautiful flavours. I serve it with spiced rice (recipe below) but its yummy with some tender greens, roasted root veg such as squash and pumpkin, or simply chuck a few waxy Cyprus potatoes or new season potatoes (such as Jersey Royals) in with the onion, garlic and tomatoes at the start and let them do their thing! Recipe feeds 4 with leftovers 1 Lamb shoulder – approx. 1.8-2kg Bone in 250ml boiling water with 1 chicken/vegetable stock cube dissolved in 3 tbsp olive oil Juice of 1 lemon 3 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses 2 tbs balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoon oregano 1 tsp ground Cinnamon 1 tsp paprika (optional) 3 tsp dried mint 2 bay leaves 3 brown onion cut into ¼ 4 large tomatoes - halved 5 cloves garlic – peeled and kept whole Pomegranate seeds and pine nuts 1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. 2. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, balsamic, oregano, cinnamon, paprika, mint and bay leaves to a large bowl and mix together. Season well with salt and pepper. 3. in the bottom of a large dish or roasting tray put the onions, garlic and tomatoes, pour over a tablespoon of the olive oil mixture and toss everything to coat. 4. Place the lamb shoulder on top and pour over the remainder of the mixture, rubbing into the lamb, season again and pour in the boiling water and stock, finally add in the bay leaves. 5. Cover with foil tightly, place the lid on the dish if it has one and place in the oven. 6. Lower temperature to 160°C and cook for 6 hours + , checking every hour to baste. If the juices and water are reducing too much top it up with a cup or so of water 9. As soon as its falling off the bone youll know its ready but this can cook for longer if needs be. 10. serve part shredded with pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top. For my spiced rice for 4 1 chopped onion, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 chicken stock cube 1 mug long grain rice handful chopped dried apricots pine nuts. 1. Fry the onion in a little butter then stir through the cinnamon, and add the rice to coat. 2. Stir in 2 mugs of boiling water with the stock cube dissolved and once bubbling, cover with a lid. 3. Simmer for 5 minutes, stir and turn off the heat and leave uncovered for 10 minutes till all the water has been absorbed, stir in the apricots and pine nuts and enjoy! Enjoy!

Portokalopita - The Greek orange syrup cake

Im going to start off by saying that I utterly adore this cake. Light, full of fresh and zingy orange, blossom water and honey flavours. Topped with a homemade syrup of honey and orange blossom, drizzled on when the cake is hot out the oven so the syrup seeps and sighs into all the little nooks of the cake. This cake tastes beautiful and with some fresh whipped up cream or vanilla ice cream it is perfect, and I think a brilliant example of the island it comes from. Fresh, inviting, homely, fragrant and above all stunningly beautiful. Once you eat this you'll always want more. Just like the island itself. I made mine as the sheet cake pictured (because it always has people requesting slices as a cake drop off) but the recipe below makes a standard 8" round cake. If you'd like to make a larger sheet cake as i have then simply double the recipe Recipe makes 1 8" cake 6oz Butter (softened) 6oz Caster sugar 3 Eggs 7oz Self raising flour 1 Tablespoon milk 1 Teaspoon baking powder 4 Oranges zested and 1/2 orange of juice 1/2 Teaspoon of cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water For the syrup 4 tablespoons Icing sugar 2 teaspoons honey 1/4 tsp orange blossom water 100ml water Juice 1/2 orange 1 cinnamon stick Preheat the oven to 180-*c. 1 - Cream the sugar and butter together well, until the colour starts to lighten, if you're using an electric mixer leave it going for about 2 minutes till they go light and fluffy. then add in the milk and mix again. 2 - Zest the oranges, getting all that lovely flavour off and set aside, and juice 1/2 of one of the oranges. 3 - Whisk your eggs together with the cinnamon, zest and juice. 4 - Add the eggs to the sugar and butter and mix well. 5 - Next sift your flour and baking powder into the mix and fold in until they're all mixed. Careful not to over-mix or you run the risk of a flat unrisen cake. 6 - Pour into a lined and greased 10 inch cake tin. 7 - Bake in the oven for approx. 25 minutes, it may need a little longer, depending on your oven, but do the skewer/knife test and as soon as it comes out clean your cake is cooked. 8 - Whilst its baking make the syrup. Put the icing sugar, honey, and blossom water, into a small pan, pour in the water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer, without stirring, for 5 minutes. 9 - Ladle the hot syrup carefully and evenly over the cake whilst its still warm. Let it absorb the syrup and cool completely

Falafel - Middle Eastern Street food!

Street food at its best! I'm going to start my making a bold statement - I ADORE falafel, i could eat it week in, week out and not get sick of it. Its my favourite street food, i ate so much of it when I lived in the middle east I'm amazed I didn't turn into a chickpea! Buying it from a street stall in the souks, the falafel still burning hot and crunchy, wrapped in a super soft flatbread with pickled carrots, salad, cooling yoghurt and a kick from some spicy hot sauce was an absolute joy. It was about 12dhs (less than £2 at the time!) and was jam packed! Making your own falafel is very easy, people think its hard as to make them properly you have to start the process the night before, but trust me, its well worth it. You'll need a food processor for the below. and, for the most part, its a case of just chuck in and go! I've put my tips at the bottom of the page too! Note: best eaten hot and fresh! Recipe Makes about 12 falafel dependent on the size you go for 125g dried chickpeas - soaked overnight in water 1 medium onion 1/2 lemon 2 cloves garlic 1 Teaspoon ground coriander 2 Teaspoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 2 tablespoon of gram or plain flour 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 3 tablespoon sesame seeds handfull fresh parsley Salt 1- The night before! Wash and drain 125g dried chickpeas - rinse them 2-3 times under cold water to remove any dirt. Then place into a bowl and cover completely (at lest 3 times the volume of chickpeas) with room temperature water and leave out overnight to soak. 2 - On the day Roughly cut the onion and pop into a food processor with the garlic and pulse till roughly chopped, then add the parsley and pulse again. 3 - Add the chickpeas to the processor with a squeeze of lemon juice and blitz it until it forms a thick paste, you want it to have some bits in but also to hold its shape. 4 - Add in the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, flour, baking powder and sesame seeds along with a good amount of salt (about 1/2 - 2/3 teaspoon) and a sprinkling of pepper. Pulse, then tip out into a bowl and make sure its all mixed together. 5 - Fill a saucepan with sunflower oil and whilst that's heating up shape the falafel. I shape them as I would if I was making meatballs, using slightly damp hands I shape them into little balls and then flatten them slightly - ideally you wont want them any bigger than about the size of a golf ball or they will burn on the outside before they've had a chance to cook inside. 6 - Deep fry in the oil for about 2-3 minutes till the outside is browned and crisp and remove onto some kitchen towel to drain. Enjoy them hot with a nice fresh salad and yoghurt or tahini as they are, or wrapped in a warm pitta! My Top tips! ALWAYS use dried and soaked chickpeas - some recipes will say its fine to use tinned, and I'm sure they will taste OK, but if you want really good falafel, just put the time in and plan ahead. These can be frozen un-fried, simple make into balls and freeze them on a flat baking sheet, once frozen just pop into a bag and fry straight from frozen - i always do a double portion and freeze half. Eat them right away, whilst the mixture ca be made up to 1-2 days in advance, they shouldn't be cooked in advance. These are much more delicious eaten fresh out the pan Standard flour can be used but Gram flour is good if anyone is GF. This is perfect with a Middle Eastern Fattoush Salad, its a sharp tangy salad with crisp baked pitta and full of crunchy goodness!

American Chocolate Muffins

Guaranteed to put a smile on everyone's face! These are the Double chocolate muffins that you need in your life! Chocolate + Muffin = JOY! I lived on choc muffins when I lived in the States and I've been trying to recreate that proper taste and texture ever since! These bad boys are light and fluffy inside but have that delicious muffin top that makes a muffin so gloriously muffiny - and is also the reason that some bakeries in the USA actually just sell the muffin tops - the best bit!! If you wanted you can add extra tastiness such as fine chopped walnuts, or mix up the chocolate chunks into white and milk - you do you and go with what you fancy! The key to muffins is not to over-mix them, they have a slightly thicker cake batter than a usual cake of cupcake, so don't be put off if the batter seems less runny than when you're making cupcakes. I also always sprinkle extra chocolate chips on the top before baking - because chocolate. Recipe makes 14-16 muffins Ingredients 150g Unsalted butter, melted 160g Light brown sugar 80g Caster sugar 1 Teaspoon vanilla essence or vanilla paste 2 Eggs 120ml Runny natural/plain yoghurt 150ml Milk (or sub the milk and yoghurt for 250ml buttermilk) 40g Dark chocolate 300g Self raising flour 60g Cocoa powder 2tsp Baking powder 1/2 tsp Fine salt 1/2 tsp Baking soda 200g Chocolate chips/chunks Oven at 170*C muffin tray filled with cases 1 - Melt the dark chocolate either in the microwave or using the bain marie methods 2 - In a large bowl mix together the sugars, melted butter, yoghurt, eggs, melted chocolate and milk. 3 - In a separate bowl sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder and sod and the salt. 4 - mix the wet and dry ingredients together and finally fold in 160g of the chocolate chunks 5 - Spoon in the mixture to your muffin cases, approx. 2/3 full and sprinkle a few chocolate chips/chunks on top, don't overfill them or they will overflow from the cases when they bake. 6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or till cooked through, then leave to cool slightly before diving straight in! Enjoy!

Shakshuka

Shakshuka, filling, warming, meat free and bang full of flavour. I'd say its healthy but I always end up eating loads of bread with it. Shakshuka is an easy dish and can be super flexible with what you put in, its great for chucking in any leftover Veg or fresh hers that are on the way out. I also love it with a bit squeeze of lemon over the eggs. My version is below. Sorry if its not fully authentic, but it is definitely delicious. Recipe Serves 2. 1 onion thinly sliced 1 pepper thinly sliced 1 teaspoon fresh grated garlic 1 fine chopped chilli - Optional (note the heat) 3-4 tomatoes chopped into rough thick chunks 1tsp smoked paprika 1/2 tsp cumin 1 tin 400g chopped tomatoes 1tbsp tomato puree 4 good sized (free range) eggs fresh coriander/parsley or herb of choice 1 - In a deep saucepan add the onion and pepper and cook for a few minutes on a low heat to sweat, add in the garlic and tomatoes, along with the chilli if using, season and stir together and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring every now and then to make sure it doesn't stick. 2 - Add the smoked paprika, cumin, tin of chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and simmer it down (if it gets too dry add a splash of water). 3 - Make a well and crack in an egg (do the same with all 4 eggs) pop the lid on and leave for 5 mins on a low simmer. Once done (runny eggs don't take long, keep an eye on them) and sprinkle on lots of fresh coriander or parsley and enjoy with warm crusty bread! Tip - Be careful with the chilli, if you like a lot of spice then feel free to add ore or some chilli flakes/hot paprika, if less only use half a chilli or leave it out completely if you're scared of the heat or this dish is being served to young children. I actually love this with potato in it which I know is completely and utterly not authentic in any way shape or form :D I simply cut up potatoes into wedges or cubes and boil/roast them, once cooked in pop them into the pan along with the tomatoes and garlic. Its a great option if you're GF and cant have bread or if you have some that need using. Enjoy!

Winter vegetable fritters!

These little beauties are pumpkin, carrot and potato fritters and they are divine!! Spiced with cardamom, fennel and nigella seeds they are absolutely packed with flavour. We have them as a complete meal with a rocket and spinach salad and a big dollop of Greek yoghurt, but they are yummy as a snack, picked up, dunked in sauce and scoffed down in a few bites. You can use most veg for this, parsnips, courgettes and squash all work very well, and adding fresh grated beats adds an amazing pop of colour too! Recipe Makes 10-12 fritters . Ingredients 1/2 small pumpkin - seeds and skin removed 1/2 onion 2-3 medium sized potatoes 1 large carrot 2 eggs 4 tbsp flour (plain, wholemeal or gram all work) 1/2 teaspoon baking powder handful of fresh parsley - chopped 3 cardamom pods 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 2 teaspoon sesame seeds 2 teaspoon black sesame seeds or nigella seeds 1 lemon S&P Sunflower oil for frying 1 - grate all the veg, either by hand or in a processor, place into a collider and sprinkle over a teaspoon of salt, mix well and leave to sit for half an hour - this is important as it removes excess moisture and starch from the veg and will keep the fritters crisp. 2 - Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and pop them into a pestle and mortar along with the fennel seeds and bash them until broken up and fine. 3 - In a large bowl mix the eggs, parsley, all the ground spices, seeds and season with salt and pepper, add the grated veg (make sure to squeeze any moisture you can out of them as you add!) then finally add the flour and baking powder and mix the lot together. 4 - Heat about 1-2 cm of oil in a frying pan and once hot scoop spoonful's of the mixture into the pan and fry for a minute or so on each side, until they're browning and crisping up, then once cooked remove to a bowl lined with kitchen roll to drain slightly. keep going till you've used up all the batter! Squeeze over a bit of lemon juice and you are good to go! NOTE: Do not be tempted to avoid either salting the veg and letting it sit OR squeezing out the excess moisture before mixing, too much moisture and starch in these fritters can make them soggy and watery inside. Now - try not to eat them all before they've hit the table. Enjoy!

Festive Linzer Biscuits - The best jam sandwich!

Austrian Linzer biscuits, a buttery crumbly biscuit, filled with jammy goodness - the original jammy dodger! They are easy to make, with few ingredients, but as the mixture is crumbly they can be a bit of a faff if you want to rush, I find using a processor makes it as easy as ca be, so this recipe uses one, but it can be all done by hand if you have the patience. They bake in about 10 mins, and they cool quick, so no waiting around too long to sandwich either. As a base its a nice tasting biscuit on its own, so you could do round ones, and dip in chocolate too. You can share them, or you can eat the entire lot yourself. I save the middles of the biscuits I cut out and bake them alongside. As they’re lush, moorish little bitesize snacks. I use a mix of Mackays Strawberry and Bramble Jams a they are both utterly divine, and not too runny which is important as you don't want jam glugging out the sides of the biscuits. Their Jams really are beautiful, readily available in most supermarkets they're also my go-to for my Bakewell tart! Recipe Makes 15-20 sandwich biscuits . Ingredients 200g Plain Flour 50g ground almonds 200g unsalted butter cut into squares 100g Icing Sugar plus extra for dusting Pinch Cinnamon 2 egg yolks 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste Jam of choice 1 - Place the flour, ground almonds, butter, icing sugar and cinnamon into a processor and run till the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively if doing by hand rub together until it creates a breadcrumb texture. 2 - Add the egg yolks and vanilla essence and mix until a dough forms. Collect it all together and bind, then on a floured surface roll out to about the thickness of a £1coin (1/2cm). Cut out into rounds. 3 - Cut a smaller hole or design in half of your round biscuits and place them onto a lines baking tray. Pop in the freezer for an hour (do not skip this step!) Oven at 170*c 4 - Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until light golden-brown. 5 - Remove, cool for 5 minutes on the tray then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 6 - On your plain round biscuits place a splodge of jam and cover the biscuits, then sandwich another with a hole on top. dust with icing sugar. These make lovely little edible gifts for friends, they will last 3-4 days in an airtight container. NOTE: Do not be tempted to skip freezing these biscuits, if you bake these without chilling them they will spread and lose their shape. Enjoy!

Indulgently delicious double chocolate fudge sheet cake.

Choc fudge sheet cake! I love doing this sheet cake, its easy to cook - one pan only needed, easy to decorate - no layers or fancy toppings, and tastes great! Along with a good Victoria sponge its one of my favourite bakes and as of yet I've not met one single person who doesn't love it. The fact it doesn't have actual melted choc in it means that, whilst being easier to make, a good quality cocoa is key here to make sure get that rich fudgy chocolate taste and colour. I use a 12*8*2 traybake tin by Silverwood Bakeware which you can get here but if you don't want to do a sheet cake then this will make 8 or 10" round tins, - only making 1, simply halve the recipe The way you mix this will also have an effect, anytime you bake a cake where it calls to 'cream' the butter and sugar make sure you mix this together till it starts to go lighter in colour, and when it comes to icing ALWAYS sift the icing sugar. Recipe Makes 1 sheet cake. Ingredients For the cake 340g soft light brown sugar or caster sugar 340g stork baking spread 5 tablespoons cocoa powder 6 medium eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste 360g self raising flour 1 teaspoon baking power 2 tablespoon milk For the chocolate butter cream 85g stork baking bread or unsalted butter 200g icing sugar 5 tbsp milk 50g Cocoa 1/2 tsp Vanilla paste/extract Oven at 180*c and your cake tin of choice greased and lined 1 – Cream together the stork, sugar and vanilla extract till they go light and fluffy, 2 - In a cup mix the cocoa powder and some boiling water into a lose paste and mix into the butter and sugar mixture - you may need a touch more cocoa or a touch more water, you’re looking for a toothpaste type texture. 3 - Add the eggs one by one, mixing after each egg, followed by the milk. 4 – Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix till it all comes together, pour into your lined tin 5 – Bake for about 25 minutes or till its cooked through and a skewer comes out clean - this will depend on what cake tin you have gone for so keep an eye on it. 6 - Once out the oven transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. For the buttercream icing. 7 – Using an electric whisk if you have one beat the butter, milk and cocoa powder in a bowl, sift in the icing sugar bit by bit and mix till its smooth and light. spread thickly onto the top of the cake and top wit some chocolate shavings. Left over mixture? Just pour into muffin cases and enjoy them as cupcakes or chocolate muffins, they taste just as great!! Enjoy!

Scones - a British classic.

Its been a very grey day here in Shropshire, and i wanted to feel at least a little like we aren't knee deep in winter (even if my warmth was provided by the boiler instead of the glorious sunshine) So, I decided to give some love to the best of all British bakes, the humble scone! Vanilla buttermilk scones, which I will snaffle later with some cream and jam. I LOVE scones, both sweet and savoury (cheese and bacon scones, I'm looking at you here, you sexy beast) They remind me of summer, when me and my sister Maria would go down to the Cotswolds with our parents, and the treat after a day of wanderings was a cream tea in Bourton-on-the-water. I always do buttermilk scones instead of baking powder and milk, just because I think it makes them a little more rich, but however you make them, they're utterly, deliciously, British. So the question is, cream or jam first?? Ingredients: 450g Self raising flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 100g Unsalted butter 90g Caster sugar 280ml buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract pinch salt 1 tablespoon milk for glazing Oven at 220*c. Mix self raising flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt and rub in the cubed cold butter till it resembles breadcrumbs (you can do this is a processor if you have one, its much quicker), then add in caster sugar and stir. In a measuring jug mix the buttermilk, along with the vanilla paste or extract (make sure you use the good stuff) and pour into the flour mixture and bring together with your hands till it forms a dough, careful not to overwork it. Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for half an hour. Roll the mixture to about 3cm thick and cut out with a cutter, place into a greased and lined baking tray, brush with a little milk, sprinkle on some sugar and bake for about 10 minutes or until they have a nice golden brown colour on top. Cool and serve. Tips If you want that line down the middle roll the dough out, brush with a little milk and fold it back over itself then lightly roll again and cut. These work with the addition of both currants and chocolate chips, just add to the dry mixture before you add the liquid. For a real summer treat whip up some whipping/double cream with a splash of vanilla essence and a few tablespoons of icing sugar, this with strawberry jam tastes like a summer strawberry sundae and is utterly delicious!! Enjoy!

Lamb and rice pilafi one pot.

Hello winter food! I love a one pot, I absolutely hate washing up and tidying my kitchen post dinner so anything that limits the amount of that I have to do is always a win, and the fact that this is DELICIOUS makes it a new favourite of mine! It's packed full of Cypriot flavours of tomato and earthy cinnamon and the creamy yoghurt is just perfect with the lamb - as an added bonus the rice is full of veggies too! I used my Procook cast iron dish as It's absolutely perfect for hob to oven cooking. This dish can be on the table in just over half an hour, and 15 of that is it sitting in the oven doing its thing, and get all your veggies prepared before you start cooking and you'll be good to go in no time! Ingredients: 8 lamb leg steaks 1 onion finely sliced 1 pepper finely sliced 1 large carrot grated on the large grater setting 1 courgette grated on the large grater setting 2 large handfuls of baby spinach 10 cherry tomatoes sliced in half 2 cloves of garlic grated/finely chopped OR 1 teaspoon pre chopped lazy garlic 300 ml in a measuring jug of long grain rice, washed and drained 2 nests of vermicelli lightly crushed or a handful of ready crushed fide 700ml boiling water 1 chicken/veg stock cube 1 tablespoon tomato paste/puree 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 lemon 2 tablespoon fresh mint roughly chopped Oven at 190*c and 1 kettle full of water boiled ready. 1 - In a hob to oven safe dish heat a little oil, season the lamb steaks and fry them for a few moments each side just till slightly browned, remove to a plate and set aside. 2 - In the same pan fry the onions and peppers for about 3-4 minutes (add a little extra oil if needed) and then add the garlic, carrot and courgette. Season and add the cinnamon, cumin and smoked paprika and vermicelli/fide. Continue to cook for a few minutes longer on a medium heat. 3 - Add the long grain rice and stir so everything is coated well, and turn to a low heat. measure 700ml of boiling water, and dissolve a stock cube in, once dissolved add in the tomato paste, mix well and pour into the pan, stir well. cover and leave on a low heat for 2-3 minutes 4 - Remove the lid and stir in the spinach, cherry tomatoes, chopped mint and the juice of half a lemon. Place the lamb steaks on top of the rice, cover again and oven cook for 10 minutes, check half way through to see if the rice needs a splash more water adding. 5 - Once the rice is cooked through, remove the lid and cook for a final 5-6 minutes in the oven. remove, squeeze over a bit more lemon juice and top with some thick Greek yoghurt! Enjoy! Notes: For rice I measure using a measuring jug - it saves on weighing things out and you can use the same just for measuring out the stock too. I add crushed vermicelli/fides to mine, as I always do when I make pilaf, its common within Cypriot and Middle eastern cooking but if you don't have any or don't want to it doesn't matter to leave it out. This dish and these flavours also works well with Skin on chicken thighs - you would just need to cook them a little longer in the pan and check they're cooked through before serving. Got extra veggies you want to use - don't be shy and chuck them in, a handful of peas or green beans works well thrown in just before it goes in the oven! Just before I put it in the oven uncovered I also add a few dots of salted butter to the top of the rice - it's not integral, but I love butter and it adds a extra bit of rich naughtiness which I cant resist.

Indonesian style pork noodle salad.

Those of you who know me know that I am an absolute cookbook addict, I love getting a new cookbook and working my way through it for inspiration and new ideas on flavours and pairings,. The new Zest book from Dairy Diary is packed full of delicious healthy fresh recipes and this Indonesian pork noodle salad is one of my faves! It was super quick and easy to make and packed a punch if flavour. Not loads of ingredients and anything that takes 20 mins from book to bowl to mouth is always a win for a midweek meal In my eyes. I served it with some Asian greens and it was just perfect! The lovely guys over at DairyDiary have said I can share the recipe so here it is in all its yumminess! You can buy the Zest book from the their website directly and I highly recommend it, it's got the AKT stamp of approval! Ingredients: 200g Dry rice noodle - thin or flat both work well 500g lean minced pork (or meat alternative such as Quorn mince) 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 2cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated 1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and chopped 3 tbsp soy sauce 2 limes 1 tbsp clear honey small bunch fresh coriander, chopped small bunch fresh parsley, chopped 1 red chilli, deseeded and fine chopped 50g roasted peanuts, crushed carrot, radish and cucumber salad to serve (optional) 1 - Put the noodles in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 5 minutes to soften, then drain well, cover and set aside. 2 - Put the pork in a bowl and mix in the garlic, ginger, spring onions and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. 3 - Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot. Add the pork mixture and dry fry over a high heat for 5 minutes, stirring to break up the meat into small clumps, until lightly browned all over. 4 - Squeeze the juice from one of the limes and pour over the pork along with the remaining soy sauce and honey. Stir-fry for a further 3–4 minutes until cooked through. 5 - To serve, stir the noodles through the pork then spoon into bowls and sprinkle with chopped herbs, chilli and peanuts. Cut the remaining lime into wedges and serve with the pork and noodles. Serve with a shredded carrot, radish and cucumber salad, if you like. Enjoy!

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