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By now, you will have realised that my best skill is cooking and I like blogging about it too.  I am sure, or at least I hope that at some point, I’ll get to the sewing, knitting and other stuff!  Here is another food one I wrote  in the summer last year but I am now going to use it in a series of *Make your own* posts that I am going to experiment with.  Enjoy.

The fresh ingredients...

My parents have been away for a couple of weeks and I was left with strict instructions to pick the tomatoes from my fathers garden and eat them.  Well, I love tomatoes as much as anyone else but I have to admit, there were quite alot of tomatoes to be contending with and there is only so much salad we can eat!! 

I wanted to do something to test my own skills and so I decided to make a Passata sauce. I have never actually eaten any passata before so was very worried about what I was doing but decided it was all for the name of experimenting!

I found a simple recipe online that called for ingredients that I had in the house already.  Tomatoes, fresh basil, (I have a pot that was given to me on my birthday), garlic and onions – check!

Firstly, I boiled then simmered the tomatoes along with a whole onion and a couple of sprigs of basil for about an hour.  Then I had to strain the mix through a sieve as I don’t have a mouli (a food mill) and this took quite a bit of time and really hurt my arms (cooking is good exercise!) but I was pleased with the end result.

Once you have the sauce ready, you then add a finely chopped onion and several finely chopped cloves of garlic with more basil and salt to taste.  I boiled it down until I thought it was thick enough to be a *sauce*.  The aroma of garlic and basil had engulfed the house making us all hungry.

For my first attempt at making this sauce, I think it went very well indeed.  I was more happy because I used two homegrown ingredients which, even though I didn’t grow at home myself, it still gave me a personal sense of satisfaction!  If you feeling even more adventurous, you can couple the sauce with a homemade pasta and garlic bread too!

 

 

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Otherwise known as Khoresht e Bamiyeh (khoresht-casserole, bamiyeh-okra) in Iran, this is a simple dish to make and extremely tasty but be warned it needs a good couple of hours to simmer away so the meat cooks nicely and is very tender.

It’s even good for the children because even though they won’t eat the okra, it oozes it’s juices and goodness into the casserole sauce, giving it a nice simple spicy flavour that they will enjoy! I even get away with mashing an okra or two up for my little ones!

 Enjoy!

Diced Lamb Casserole with Okra

700g Diced lamb (preferably shoulder, not leg)

400g firm okra, washed

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp cooking oil

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garlic powder OR 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

 

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chopped onions.  Fry until golden brown, then add the turmeric, garlic and a little salt and pepper.  Continue to fry on a high heat for 5 minutes then add the lamb. 

Keep stirring the lamb into the onion mixture making sure it is all covered, bring the heat down to medium and allow the meat to cook for 20 minutes whilst stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Add the chopped tomatoes, and cover with water.  Bring it to the boil then simmer for 60 minutes.

After the 60 minutes, add the okra, (putting it in too early will result in a mush of okra) and simmer for a further 40 minutes or until the lamb is nice and soft.

Serve alongside white rice and some cool fresh yogurt or greek yogurt!

 Note:  You can substitute the lamb for beef, but increase the cooking time by about 20 minutes.  If you prefer vegetarian, cook your preferred vegetables along WITH the okra for about 25 minutes or until cooked.

You can make this in the slow cooker but be aware that the flavours come from frying the onion along with the spices and meat for 20 minutes before cooking.  It won’t taste exactly the same but will still be a delicious meal all the same!

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Yesterday was a busy day for me.  I had the in-laws coming around for tea and cake (like, TOTALLY shop bought) and I had a lot of washing and ironing to do (just call me the last minute homemaker!) On top of this my youngest is sick (we had a throw up festival) and I decided that I was going to completely overhaul and sort out my daughter’s room as well.

I had put out some lamb the night before and the last thing that I really wanted to do was to cook a huge meal and stand over it, stirring and making sure it didn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or burn or anything SO I brought out my trusty three litre slow cooker and here is what I finally decided upon!

 

I had previously bought half a leg of lamb from the butchers, chopped into medium sized casserole pieces INCLUDING the bone.  You can either leave that out and make a soup stock later or cook it in the casserole like I do for added flavour.  I split the half leg of lamb into two as there are two adults and two children, aged 5 and under who don’t eat huge portions. I recommend using fresh ginger and garlic but the *lazy* or ground varieties will work just as well if you can’t get to the shops.

Ingredients

Half a leg of lamb (to serve 4 adults), fat off, chopped into medium sized casserole chunks

1 onion, diced

300g green beans chopped about 1 inch long

2 tbsp cooking oil

1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 tsp finely chopped garlic

2 tsp finely chopped ginger

1/2 tsp turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients into the slow cooker and put it on high.  Serve with white fluffy rice and greek yogurt. You can use beef if you don’t like lamb and you can also try the same thing with diced chicken breast as well.

Enjoy!

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So this weather doesn’t seem to be able to make it’s mind up! One day it’s dark and damp, the next it’s bright and freezing.  Whatever happens, we have another two months of it at least and what better way to get through it all than to have a nice bowl of something hot!

Here is a quick and easy recipe for a lovely winter recipe.  Try it with a crusty baguette or even garlic bread.  Banish those winter blues with this yummy dish.

Ingredients:

2 tins borlotti beans or red kidney beans, drained

2 medium sized potatoes, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 tbsp tomato puree

Juice of half a lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

Yummy...

Place the beans, potato, onion, olive oil, turmeric and tomato puree into a pan and cover with water.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until potato is soft.  Ten minutes before serving, add the lemon juice and more pepper to give it a kick. Enjoy!

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