Moroccan Lamb Stew

Meat and stews don’t tend to appeal to me, I’m much more of a goats cheese salad kind of girl, or a sweet red pepper risotto when I’m in need of comfort food for dinner. For some reason the arrival of Autumn put me in the mood for a meaty stew.  So I put together this fragrant Moroccan style stew.

It needs plenty of time to simmer away, but otherwise it’s pretty simple to knock together.  Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

butter and olive oil for frying

2 medium white onion, chopped,

2 cloves garlic, sliced

500g organic diced stewing lamb

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

400g tinned chick peas, drained and rinsed

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato puree

500ml beef stock

chopped green beans

50g dried lentils

Method

1. In a large  sauce pan heat the butter and olive oil, then add the onion and garlic, cover the pan and lightly fry for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the paprika and cumin and fry for 1 min until fragrant.

3. Add the lamb, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and beef stock.

4. Cover and bring to the biol, then turn down to a gentle simmer.  Leave for 1 hour.

5. Add the green beans, chick peas and lentils.  Leave for another hour.

6.   Serve with rustic buttered bread and a glass of your favourite red wine.

This works wonderfully as a vegetarian dish too.  Simply leave out the lamb, in favour of some diced butternut squash, use veggie stock instead of beef, up the lentils.

Now time to find my slouchy jumper and slippers and I’m all set for a cosy night in.

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Back form holiday and Foodie Pen Pal

I got back from holiday yesterday (a lovely two week break in Ireland), to find a pile of post waiting for me, including a beautiful looking box from my food pen pal, Polly.  Polly is the author of the wonderful baking blog Baking and Alchemy, go check out her inventive recipes.

This is what I found inside my box

This delightful selection included homemade Lavender Earl Grey Brownies!!

I’m afraid, I don’t have a picture of the actual brownie because I ate it as soon as I saw it – you know before it went stale.  Strange sounding combination, but it was delicious!  The recipe is available on Polly’s blog.

This will be a welcome addition to tomorrow morning’s cereal bowl.

Also included were popcorn kernels.

I have to confess to never having had popped my own popcorn before, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so next movie night we have at home, that’s what I’ll be doing 🙂

Many thanks to Polly for such a wonderful box, which was just so nice to come back home to.  Just look how professional she is – with her own business cards!

 

Carol Anne over at This is Rick Salt runs the UK and Europe division of The Foodie Pen Pal idea.  This was my first month and I really enjoyed it – both the sending and the receiving.

 

 

While the cat’s away…the mice eat salad

So when the other half is out with the boys and have my home to myself, how does a wild and crazy chick like myself spend it?

Well first off, I fixed myself a delicious and easy cheats salad.    I stopped off at Marks and Spencer (apologies to all my non-UK readers who may not have the luxury of an M&S foodhall to enjoy) and picked myself up a tub of ‘Nutty Wholefood Super Salad’  an amazing mix of quinoa, veggies, nuts, beans and dried fruit in a soy and ginger dressing.  Try it, it’s delicious and oh so healthy.  I served this on top of some lettuce leafs, cucumber slices and shredded beetroot, along with a dollop of hummus, because a day with out hummus just isn’t right!

 

While no one was there to see I settled down to an hour of Extreme Makeover, Home Edition.  Am I the only one who is addicted to this show?  I snacked on a few too many chocolate covered raisins at the same time.

 

After speaking to my parents on the phone, I settled down to browse my favourite food and photography websites.  Here’s a few you might like as well:

http://www.katheats.com/

http://www.eatliverun.com/

http://ohsheglows.com/

http://www.photoforbeginners.com/

http://www.laraferroni.com/category/still-life-with/

http://nicolesyblog.com/

And of course much time was spent drooling over foodgawker!

Bliss!

From seed to table in 5 months

I may be a city girl, but not so much that I don’t get the whole food comes from the ground and need careful nurturing before it reaches the store.  Yet, I’m still totally amazed at watching the process first hand on my window sill and balcony.

Take the humble courgette – zucchini to some of you 😉   A seed planted my little ole me and grown on overcrowded window sill, as if by magic peaks through the soil as a little showing of green.  The in what seems like forever at the times becomes this

And the all of a sudden this appears

So many possible uses.  After all the love and care that went into growing this, I wanted to out it to good use.   It ended up in an unplanned thrown together quinoa salad, which turned out to be a light and lovely dinner.

To make enough for 2 (dinner for just me tonight, and handy leftovers for my lunch tomorrow) I boiled half a cup of quinoa in 1 cup of water.  As this cooked I sautéed slices of my precious courgette/zucchini with garlic, chilli flakes and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

I also sauteed up some asparagus and chestnut mushrooms.

I mixed up the cooked quinoa and veggies, added a little olive oil, lemon juice and snipped chives; and topped this concoction with avocado and goats cheese.

I think I did my little courgette proud.  Now I just need to think what to do with all the others coming through.  Zucchini bread will definitely be in the agenda.  Anyone got any other suggestions?

Cucumber, apple and basil smoothie

This is an Olympics inspired smoothie.  Watching the start of the athletics this morning inspired me to go for a long run.  I ran through the streets and my beautiful local park, soaking up the sunshine and imagining myself as the next great Team GB runner – anything is possible!

I came back in the mood for a green smoothie.  With no spinach, my usual green smoothie base, in the fridge, I had to get creative with what I did have.  And so the cucumber, apple and basil smoothie was born.  It actually worked really well – a lovely summery, cleansing kind of a taste.

Green smoothies are so easy and so healthy, I don’t know why everyone isn’t making and drinking them all the time.  Well I guess everyone is different, and that’s cool with me.  But please try a green smoothie – you’ll be a convert I’m sure.  All you need is a green of some sort,  spinach is the classic green to use, and a fruit or two, throw in  a blender, blend, pour into a glass, drink and feel the glow!  Simple!

Here’s the detail for a cucumber, apple and basil smoothie

Gather together your three ingredients.

 

Chop up the cucumber and apple, skin and all, but not the apple core.  Put the cucumber in your blender, with a little water to help it along.

Whizz for a couple of minutes.  The add the basil leaves and top with the apple pieces.

Whizz for another couple of minutes.

There you go, done!

I had mine along side my favourite sandwich – hummus and cherry jam (see here https://avocadoandbasil.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/hummus-addiction/ for more on that)

 

 

What’s your favourite smoothie?

An attitude towards enjoying life

 

Avocado love

Given the title of this blog, it will come as not surprise that I am somewhat of a fan of avocados.  I may have mentioned this a few a times as well!

So if you have a few of these little beauties lying around, here a selection my favourite recipes from around the blog world.

Hopefully, you be inspired and fall just as in love as I have!

 

15 minute creamy avocado pasta sauce

 

This is so simple and totally amazing.  Not only is it delicious, it leaves me feeling oh so healthy.  No wonder Angela called her blog ‘oh she glows’, this dish certainly leaves one glowing inside and out!  Don’t believe me? Try it and see!

 

The Only Guacamole You’ll Ever need

 

The title says it all, she’s not lying!

 

Avocado on Toast

 

Sometimes the simple things in life are the best.

 

Potato Skins with Avocado and Corn Salsa

 

This is new on wordpress today.  Looks so good, could well be one of my new favourites!

 

Oh and one tip to never forget with avocados. Never, ever cut into them until they are nice and soft.  Don’t do it, no matter how tempted you are, you’ll be disappointed!