Recipes

Crock Pot Lamb Tagine

I’m new to Crock Pot ownership. In fact, it was my Mother-In-Law who finally bought one for us because I was just so unaware of that kind of cooking.  I’ve made slow-cooked meals before, but just using a normal pot on the stove top, or even in the oven in a “brick” (which I think is now called “stoneware”).

But, I went from not knowing what a Crock Pot is, to knowing that if I was going to be getting one then it absolutely had to be red! 🙂

For quite a while I’d been wanting to cook Lamb Tagine, so that seemed like the perfect first choice for my new Crock Pot!  I mashed together a few recipes that I found online, because none of them were totally right on their own, until I had created a recipe that I was happy with. Though I’ll probably tweak this one a little more the next time I cook it, but I’m really pleased with how easy it was to do and how tasty the tagine was 🙂

Also, this recipe uses turmeric which is a spice that has many health benefits.

Ingredients:
2 lb lamb, cubed (you can use stewing steak if you can’t find any lamb)
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
5 carrots, sliced
1 lemon, zested
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger (ground)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cloves (ground)
1 pinch saffron
3/4 tsp corriander (ground)
1/2 tsp cardamom (ground) (if you can’t find this, you can replace with nutmeg)
1 tsp salt
1 cup broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp honey
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins/saltanas

 1. Mix all the spices in a small bowl, toss the meat in the spices to coat it. (I used stewing steak as it seems to be almost impossible to find lamb since moving to America!) Brown the meat in the butter and olive oil to help seal in the flavour.

2. Set the meat aside and place the diced onions in the pan, stir them around (no heat) to “collect” the spice and meat juices.

3. Mix together the stock, honey and tomato puree.

4. Put the onions in the crock pot, add carrots and lamb/steak, then the rest of the ingredients and pour over the stock, honey and tomato puree mixture.

5. Cook on high for 3.5 hours, then enjoy! 🙂

I served ours with some boiled rice, but usually would serve tagine with couscous.  I was really happy with how it came out, though next time I would probably add some flour towards the end, to thicken it up, and some extra apricots to add a different texture as the ones added at the start do soften up a lot and I prefer them to still have a bit of a bite.

This is my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week, and follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Recipes

Homemade Basil Butter

I love basil! I add it to almost everything, in all different forms – fresh, dried, pesto, paste – I even have to hide the plant from my cats because they love chewing it (can’t say I blame them!)

Though I had a strange start to my love of basil, as we never had basil at home when I was growing up, because my Dad is allergic to it. I didn’t even know it existed for quite a while, until I was out for lunch one day and I decided to try Pesto Pasta – there my love began 🙂  It was almost like having a strange love affair while I lived at home, because I could only eat it when out of the house, so as not to trigger my Dad’s allergy.

I haven’t had to hide my basil-love for a while now and always like to have some growing fresh in the kitchen – though Florida is much better for growing it outside!  I haven’t yet added herbs to the garden here, but a friend had a lovely “crop” of basil and she very kindly gave me some this weekend.  Which was perfect timing as I’d just found a recipe on Pinterest for Basil Butter, and knew I had to try it!

I tweaked the recipe a little, adding more garlic and a little more basil. I added the garlic raw, but you could cook it first if you prefer 🙂

Ingredients:
1 stick of butter
4 tbsp cream cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (plus a few extra, because yey basil!)
2 cloves garlic (less if you aren’t as keen on garlic as we are)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Chop up the basil. I don’t own a fancy chopper so I just rolled up the leaves, and used kitchen scissors to cut them finely. Put the chopped basil in a small bowl – I put it back in the measuring jug.

2. Mince the garlic – cooked or uncooked – and add to the basil. Add the olive oil and stir to mix well.

3. Soften the butter and cream cheese and mix together in a seperate bowl until smooth. Add the basil mixutre and stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Enjoy!

It keeps fresh in the fridge, though we’ve almost used it all up in just a few days!

We tried it on toast (with and without cheese), I’ve also made a yummy tuna sandwich using the basil butter instead of regular butter – ohhhh that was good!

We’ve even stirred the basil butter into cooked pasta, topped with some grated cheese – you could stir in some pine nuts and/or baby tomatoes too.  Everything as tasted great, I’ll definitely be making some more when this runs out!

This is my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Recipes

Soup Season: Pumpkin and Carrot Soup

We are now definitely into “soup season” where everyone loves comfort, warm fires and hearty food. Soups are so easy to make and you really don’t need a recipe to follow – just throw a bunch of vegetables into a pot with some stock, cook, blend, et voila! Soup 🙂

But there are a lot of lovely soup recipes around and I love trying them out! My Mom is the homemade soup master..well, mistress, so today we made one together from a new cookery book that was a surprise find!

The book is called Comfort Cooking: Recipes To Warm Your Heart by Bay Books. It’s packed full of recipes I know I’ll love to cook just as much as I want to eat them – when I first found the book and flicked through I was ravenous by the end! I’ve searched online and not managed to find anywhere that sells it, I got my copy from a book man at work so it may be that they’re out of print. I’ll do a review of the book itself in a different blog post another time and try to find more details to help source it.

So yes, it is that time of year where a nice bowlful of warm soup is a real comfort 🙂 so I have decided to do a series of posts throughout the next couple of months called Soup Season! Today’s recipe is Pumpkin and Carrot Soup.

We changed a couple of things in the recipe, so I’ll indicate in the ingredients list which things we altered or removed.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
40 g (1.5 oz) butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) carrots, sliced
125 ml (4 fl oz / 0.5 cup) orange juice
750 g (1 lb 10 oz) butternut pumpkin (squash), peeled and roughly chopped. <—[we used actual fresh pumpkin, like you carve at Halloween, about 2 lbs]
1.5 litres (52 fl oz / 6 cups) chicken stock. <—[we used vegetable stock as Mom is vegetarian]
1 tbsp snipped chives. <—[we didn’t have any chives so we left this out]
herb scones or herb bread to serve. <—[we used seeded bread as we have that in the house]

1) Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion for 5 minutes, or until soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic and carrot and cook for another 5 minutes, or until starting to soften. Pour in the orange juice and bring to the boil over high heat. Add the pumpkin, stock and return to the boil (the original recipe also asks for an additional 500 ml, which is 2 cups, of water to be added but we thought that would make it too watery so we left the extra water out completely…and are glad that we did!). Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the carrot and pumpkin are soft.

2) Blend the soup in batches in a blender (or with a hand held blender if you have one), until smooth – the recipe says to add a little more stock if you prefer the soup to be thinner, but we didn’t do this, it was just the right consistency in our opinion 🙂

3) Return to the cleaned pan and reheat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Divide the soup among the serving bowls and garnish with the chives (or without chives, as we did). Serve with herb scones or bread – we used Warburton’s Seeded Batch instead, because it’s the bread we have daily and love it!

This was a great recipe and so tasty. We’ll definitely be doing it again.

We only used 2 bowlfuls of soup today so the rest will be going into Pour And Store bags, when it’s cooled down, and stored in the freezer for a later date 🙂 These bags are great for freezing soups, sauces, marinades, etc and they stand open on their own making it easy to put the soup in them. I’m all for ease when it comes to cooking!