Lamb Stew

My Young Diabetic Friend approached me the other day and said, “I sense a trend going on.”

I looked at him sort of blankly when he said, “You have a lot of apples at your house right now, don’t you?”

Well…yeah.  I do.  And my recipes over the last couple of weeks have reflected that.  Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re tired of apples, I do apologize.  And as a way to make up for it, there are absolutely no apples in this recipe at all.

Last Friday I announced on Facebook – my personal page, no the blog’s page – that I was going to make Beef Bourguignon for dinner on Saturday; it just sounded like a good idea.  That was before we went to visit our friends at Whitefeather Meats, where we were gifted with nearly 10 pounds of the most beautiful venison.  We also purchased a pound of lamb stew meat.

We’re not big lamb eaters, but I thought it might be nice for a change and abandoned my plans for Mrs. Child’s most famous dish.  And, quite frankly, I’m glad I did because this stew was so very good.  The lamb wasn’t in the least bit gamey and the dish wasn’t heavy at all; it had a lovely, fresh citrus undertone that was just delicious. I also think we may become more enthusiastic consumers of lamb, because before going back for seconds, Beloved turned to me and said, “Spring lamb next year?”

Oh, I think so.  Yes.  Yes, indeed.

The original recipe for this stew, which I’ve modified quite a bit, called for chick peas.  Even if I had no problem with canned legumes, I probably wouldn’t have used them because I really don’t care for chick peas.  So I substituted roasted fingerling potatoes, and it turned out really well (it would also be quite good with the potatoes omitted and served over steamed jasmine rice, if you’re so inclined).

Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients; the stew is really quite simple.  You could add the fingerlings and cook them with the stew, of course, but I quite liked the textural contrast of the crispy roasted potatoes.

Lamb Stew
Lamb Stew
Lamb Stew

Serves: 4
  • For the lamb:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound lamb stew meat, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
  • For the stew:
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 whole cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • For the potatoes:
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a mixing bowl, toss the lamb with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cardamom and salt unitl the meat is well coated. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the lamb, and brown well. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining lamb.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium; add the whole garlic cloves, onions and carrots to the pot and sweat for 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh ginger and continue cooking until fragrant, an additional minute or so. Stir in the tomato paste, then return the lamb to the pot and stir in the lemon zest, chicken stock, apricots, and honey.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is tender.
  4. About 45 minutes before the lamb is done, preheat the oven to 425 F. In a mixing bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil and a little salt and pepper until the potatoes are well coated. Spread on a shallow, rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown and easily pierced with a fork.
  5. Stir the roasted potatoes into the stew. Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro, if desired, and serve right out of the pot.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 510 calories, 24.5g total fat, 78.4mg cholesterol, 817.4mg sodium, 1309.6mg potassium, 43.4g carbohydrates, 5.5g fiber, 15.8g sugar, 30.3g protein


Apple-Cranberry Muffins

I’d promised myself I wasn’t going to make any more “sweet things” for awhile, then I realized the holiday season is almost upon us, and decided that perhaps “fewer sweet things” might be in order.   Then I saw the fresh cranberries at the store.

Now, to give me credit, I wanted the cranberries primarily for a fermented cranberry chutney – which promises to be absolutely delicious and is just a beautiful color, to boot – and to have some to freeze for later in the winter.  And I did both, but don’t you know there was just a cup of them sitting there, begging me to bake them into something with one of those beautiful Fuji apples next to it on the counter?

So I did.

These muffins are simply wonderful.  They are tart and sweet and moist and delicious – even The Young One ate one, and he’s pretty anti-muffin unless it’s chocolate.  They’re also one of the few baked goods that improves after they sit for awhile – I wouldn’t serve them hot; they tend to be a bit on the mushy side fresh out of the oven (why yes, I know that for a fact :P).  The texture improves a great deal as they cool, so I suggest letting them cool completely before serving.  If you can manage it, you might even want to make them the day before serving them (store them in an airtight container, of course).   They’ll still be quite good with a smear of soft butter, if you’re so inclined.

This would also be great baked in a loaf pan; just increase the baking time to 50 minutes or so.

Note:  You can substitute the evaporated cane juice with coconut sugar if you like, and cut the calorie and carb counts a little.  The only reason I didn’t use it was because I didn’t have any on hand.

Apple-Cranberry Muffins
Apple-Cranberry Muffins
Apple-Cranberry Muffins

Serves: 12
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and evaporated cane juice until well-blended.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, tapioca flour, potato flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir into the egg mixture in three batches, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Stir in the melted ghee, apple and cranberries.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the cups of the muffin tin and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Place on a wire baking rack and cool for 10 minutes before turning out of the pan. Cool completely before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 177 calories, 9.1g total fat, 56.7mg cholesterol, 124.7mg sodium, 114.9mg potassium, 20.7g carbohydrates, 1.9g fiber, 12.4g sugar, 1.8g protein


Curried Apple Soup

The name of this recipe should probably be “Curried Apple and Sweet Potato Soup with Pecans” but jeez – that’s kind of a mouthful, isn’t it?

Honestly, though, no matter what it’s called, it SHOULD be a mouthful, because omigod, this is GOOD.  And it’s one of those things I just sorta pulled out of my, um, refrigerator because we had no leftovers for lunch and I didn’t want to cook fish again.  It also gave me an opportunity to use one of those jars of roast turkey we canned a couple of weeks ago, but any leftover, cooked poultry will do.  Actually, I’ve made this twice so far, the second time with leftover smoked pork shoulder, and it was every bit as good.

I used a Japanese sweet potato for this, but I think it would be just fine with an orange-fleshed variety, although the soup will be a touch less sweet (not necessarily a bad thing).  The recipe calls for Fuji apples because that’s what I used, but you can use any sweet, firm apple that holds up well to cooking.  You can also, if you wish, substitute the coconut milk with half and half – and probably save a calorie or two in the process – but the soup is just wonderful as written; warm, hearty, filling and satisfying, and the servings are quite generous.  The curry and cayenne give it a bit of kick, too, but not so much that those in your household with tender palates won’t be able to enjoy it.

I topped the soup with toasted pecans, which gave it a marvelous textural contrast and another layer of flavor (and because I love them), but you can leave the nuts off – the soup won’t suffer at all.  Leave out the turkey and it will make a lovely first course dish.

Oh – it’s Whole30 compliant, too.

Curried Apple Soup
Curried Apple Soup
Curried Apple Soup
Serves: 4
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
  • 2 small Fuji apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a small stock pot, cook the onion in the ghee over medium heat until it begins to soften, about 2 or 3 minutes; add the apple and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to high and add the sweet potato and chicken stock to the pot; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sweet potato is easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until thick and smooth. Or, working in batches, transfer to a blender or food processor, puree until smooth, and return the soup to the pot.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk, curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne and turkey. Simmer until the turkey is heated through; season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with toasted pecans, if desired, and serve.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 372 calories, 20.2g total fat, 64.4mg cholesterol, 247.8mg sodium, 682.5mg potassium, 23.9g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 10.7g sugar, 25.8g protein


Buffalo Chicken Frittata

Remember my need for some leftover chicken?  Yes, this would be the brunch dish I wanted it for.

Don’t ask me where the idea for this came from, because I couldn’t tell you.  I was just thinking about what to make for our Sunday brunch, when the thought of it just popped into my head.  I certainly wasn’t going to deny it – I love buffalo-style chicken anything.

Was it good?  Well, I went back for seconds, and I rarely do that.  Beloved went back for thirds.  (The Young One had a ham and cheese omelet. *sigh*)  Really, it was delicious, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it came out.  I used a Japanese sweet potato, but a regular orange sweet would be fine; it gave the frittata itself a lovely texture and slightly sweet flavor that contrasted really well with the spicy buffalo chicken.  The ranch dressing added a tart cooling element to the whole dish, which was very filling and satisfying.

It’s also pretty darn simple, especially if you’ve made the dairy-free ranch in advance – you can, of course, use a bottled ranch dressing (all that soybean oil! Blech!), or a home-prepared dressing using traditional ingredients.  If you have a serious milk allergy and cannot tolerate even the ghee, I’d sub the high-quality (read: no soybean oil) margarine of your choice.

If you don’t have a problem with dairy, Beloved says some bleu cheese would just take the whole thing over the top.  And if you leave out the honey in the ranch dressing, it is Whole30 compliant.

Buffalo Chicken Frittata
Buffalo Chicken Frittata
Buffalo Chicken Frittata

Serves: 8
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 8 large eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 1/3 cup [url href=”” target=”_blank”]Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing[/url]
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt the 2 tablespoons of ghee over medium heat in a large, oven-proof skillet and cook the onion until it begins to soften, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the shredded sweet potato to the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the sweet potato begins to soften and lightly brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the beaten eggs evenly over the sweet potato/onion mixture. Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the frittata comes out clean.
  4. While the frittata is cooking, whisk together the melted ghee, hot sauce, vinegar, garlic and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and add the cooked chicken; stir, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the frittata comes out of the oven.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken from the hot sauce and spread evenly over the surface of the frittata. Drizzle with extra buffalo sauce, if desired, and the dairy-free ranch dressing; serve.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 343 calories, 28.4g total fat, 256.7mg cholesterol, 621.8mg sodium, 277.9mg potassium, 6.4g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 2.2g sugar, 16g protein



Come Dine With Me

The Sushi Bar is going overseas.

Late last week I received an email I wasn’t sure what to make of:


I am writing to let you know that your online recipe, Moroccan Goat Stew, is being cooked by a contestant on Come Dine With Me Halloween on Channel 4, 31st October.

It will be promoted on the Come Dine With Me Scrapbook with a direct link to the recipe on your site, so users will be able to cut out and keep the recipe in their own online Scrapbook. If you would like to link back to the Scrapbook from your site that would be brilliant – please let us know and we can send you a promo image.

Just to be clear, we are not re-publishing the recipe, we are just linking to it.

Please do let us know if you have any queries.

Many thanks


I’ll be honest here and say I went “Huh?” when I read this.

I followed the link provided, and went “Huh?” at the website.

Then it hit me – this a British television show.  Someone is going to make one of my recipes on a British television show.

It’s apparently a popular show, too.  The  premise is 5 people each throw a dinner party over the course of five nights in the hopes of winning £1,000 (that would be One Thousand Pounds, or at today’s exchange rate, $1,116.30).  Their dinner guests are the other four contestants, who also rate each dinner party – the person with the highest score at the end of the week wins the cash.  The judging criteria includes more than just the food, but from the one episode I’ve watched, I’ll be darned if I can tell what it might be.

It’s a cute show, though, and I was absolutely glued to my laptop while I was watching.  I’m also extremely amused that one of my goat recipes made the cut for the Halloween show – goodness, I hope it wins!  I’d love to think I was responsible for something like “Goat Takes Great Britain By Culinary Storm.” 😛

As for the Scrapbook, from what I can tell, you can find all of the recipes cooked by the contestants on a section of the network’s website – if you register, you can save recipes you designate, forming an online, well, scrapbook of them.  While the email said they’ll merely be linking to my recipe, all of those I’ve looked at so far are posted on the show’s site itself, which means they’re all metric.  That shouldn’t pose too much of a problem if my U.S. readers want to cook one, since it’s fairly easy to find standard measures to metric measures converters online.  Some of them look pretty good.

Just a note:  if you want to watch the show, I have had NO luck watching it via the Channel 4 website – it takes so long to load it keeps crashing my browser.  There are plenty of episodes on YouTube, however, which is where I viewed it.  The show also airs on BBC America; I haven’t had time to track it down yet, but if you’ve seen it I’d love to hear about it.

As for the promotional image, it’s over there on the left at the bottom of the “More Cooking Schtuff” widget.  Please click on it and give the site a look – it’s really very interesting.

Come Dine With Me
Come Dine With Me Scrapbook