Lamb tagine

no fast food, only slow food

Seen outside a restaurant on our honeymoon

We served this in vast quantities at our silver wedding party – it went down very well!  It’s the kind of thing that you can leave on a low heat to simmer for ages without it coming to much harm.

• 500g cubed lamb
• 1 onion
• 200g dried apricots, chopped
• 1 400g tin chickpeas, drained
• 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes (or 4 big fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped)
• 1 jar roasted red peppers or 2 fresh Romano peppers, cut into strips
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 250ml stock – veg, chicken, lamb, whatever you have to hand
• 3 heaped teaspoons ras-el-hanout (a Moroccan spice mix) – if you can’t find this, the main ingredients are ginger, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cayenne and black pepper plus dried rose petals, so go wild with your spice jars
• 1 small red chili, chopped finely, to taste
• Salt and pepper

Brown the cubed lamb in the olive oil in a frying pan over a relatively high heat. Drain the meat and put it in an ovenproof casserole dish. Now fry the onions in the remaining oil in the frying pan, over a gentle heat, adding the ras-el-hanout to the mixture along with the chili to taste (there is some cayenne in ras-el-hanout but if you like spicy dishes, just add a bit more chili). Once the onions are nice and soft but not browned, add these to the lamb in the casserole dish. Add the drained tin of chickpeas, the red peppers, the tin of chopped tomatoes and the chopped dried apricots to the casserole. Add about 250ml of hot stock . Give it a good stir and leave it in a low-ish oven or a slow cooker for an hour or two. Add more stock if it looks to be drying out at any time during cooking. Taste and season with salt and pepper and extra chili if it needs it.
Serve with couscous, or flatbreads. This should serve 4…


OK, this is a straight steal from the Channel 4 programme Superscrimpers, via our neighbour Teresa who made her own version of it. It’s not terribly authentic, but it tastedlemon so good I was inspired to try it for myself. If it works it’ll be an excellent addition to our repertoire of home-made Christmas drinks.

Take the zest off 8 lemons (make sure you only take off the yellow zest, and as little of the white pith as you can manage). A very sharp knife or a speed peeler would be best to do this, or you could use a grater.  Put the zest in a large bowl with the squeezed juice of the 8 lemons, and pour over a 70cl bottle of cheap vodka.  Don’t throw the bottle away!  Add 500 grams of granulated sugar to 500ml of just boiled water and stir until dissolved, then add to the lemon/vodka mix. Cover the bowl and leave to steep for 5 days.  This is the stage the recipe has reached at the moment… After 5 days, strain the liquid. You could use a paper coffee filter or a piece of muslin in a sieve or colander. Pour the strained liquid into clean bottles (this is why you should keep the empty vodka bottle!).