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Jono liked this so much he swears that if he’d been on his own he would have scoffed the lot! The combination of lamb shoulder, spices, apricots and preserved lemons give this dish such richly and multi-layered flavours that are all exceptionally well balanced and moreish. Make the most of fresh apricots while we can get them!

This needs time to marinate which will add even more depth of flavour and tastiness, but if you forget even a short marinating time will still give a very nice result.

Lamb Tagine with Apricots (serves 4)

  • 1kg lamb shoulder, diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 60g sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 750 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 350g fresh apricots
  • 1 preserved lemon, pulp discarded and skin finely chopped
  • 1 handful coriander leaves, torn
  • 1 small handful mint leaves, torn

Mix ground spices thoroughly together then toss lamb in half the ground spices and leave for at least 4 hours, but try to marinate from the night before (we didn’t read the recipe properly so didn’t marinade it at all and it was still fab!).

Heat oven to 160C/Gas 3. Warm olive oil gently in a deep, heavy-based casserole and add seasoned meat in small batches; brown on all sides and then remove. Next add the onions and garlic with the remaining spices and soften, stirring regularly. Add a little more oil if it dries too much because of the spices. Be careful to moderate the heat as you don’t want to burn the spices.

Add sultanas, honey, saffron, stock, tomatoes and whole apricots and then return the meat to the pan. Bring to the boil, season with salt and black pepper, cover with a lid and place into the oven.

Cook for 2.5 hours.

Remove tagine and stir in the preserved lemon. Lift meat out with a slotted spoon and boil sauce over a high heat until reduced and thick.

Return meat to sauce and stir in the coriander and mint.

Serve with couscous.

[Original recipe from Nigel Slater: Tender Volume II (fruits)]

Wine suggestion: a lighter Pinot Noir from New Zealand’s 2009 vintage. This vintage is excellent all the way across NZ so that even the €6.00 Tesco Finest: Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009 was a delight; and a complete bargain! (Thanks Michael!)
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Each time we see this recipe in Nigel Slater’s Tender Vol. 1 we salivate. We had almost forgotten about Brussels sprouts after having so many over Christmas. Just as well we caught them while still in season cause we definitely weren’t prepared to wait another year to try this. Stick a dish of these down in front of someone who doesn’t like sprouts and we defy them not to like them.

These were perfect with our barbecued striploin steaks (as ever from Tom in O’Toole’s in Glasthule village) though Nigel suggests they could also be served as a main with pasta – Jono has already swiped the leftovers to try with pasta for his lunch tomorrow!

A rich dish of sprouts and cheese for a very cold night (serves 4 as a side dish)

  • 750g Brussels sprouts
  • butter
  • 180g blue cheese – we used Colston Bassett Stilton
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 400ml cream
  • 100ml milk
  • a handful of finely grated Parmesan

Prep your sprouts and cut them in half. Bring a large pot of water to a fast boil, salt lightly, and drop in the sprouts. Bring back to the boil and time for 3 minutes. Drain well and place them in a lightly buttered, shallow, ovenproof dish.

Crumble the blue cheese over the sprouts.

Put the mustard in a bowl and stir in cream, milk and a good twist of black pepper. Stir and then pour over your sprouts. Scatter the Parmesan over the top and bake at 180C/gas 4 until lightly coloured and bubbling (about 15-20 minutes).

Yum!!!!

 

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