Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Christmas Samosas

These are really easy to make, they just require a bit of chopping and folding.


  • 50g dried apricots, chopped
  • 30g shelled pistachio nuts, finely chopped
  • 60g dried cranberries
  • 175g sultanas
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • zest of 1 orange/li>
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cooking apple, peeled, core removed and finely chopped
  • juice from 1 orange
  • 75g butter, melted in a microwave in a cut
  • 270g pack of filo pastry (about 6 or 7 sheets)


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (or 180 if it's a fan oven).
  2. Get the filo pastry out of the fridge and put it on the side.
  3. Combine the apricots, nuts, cranberries, sultanas, cinnamon, nutmeg, zest, brandy and honey in a large bowl.
  4. Add the chopped apple and pour the orange juice over it and mix well again.
  5. Leave to stand for at least twenty minutes.
  6. Cut the sheets of filo pastry length ways to make three long strips.
  7. Brush the top strips with the melted butter.
  8. Place a little under a tablespoon of the mincemeat at one end of each strip of filo.
  9. Fold over one corner of the pastry to make a triangle of filling, then fold it up over the perpendicular. You'll probably need to hold the mincemeat filling in with a carefully placed finger.
  10. Now fold it diagonally the other way, before making another perpendicular fold.
  11. Repeat this until you've got a neat pastry triangle.
  12. Place the triangle onto a baking tray and repeat the process for all the other strips, remembering to brush each new strip with butter before adding the filling and folding.
  13. Once all the triangles are on the baking sheet, brush them all with the remaining butter.
  14. Bake for 18 minutes or until nicely crisp and golden.
  15. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.

Makes 18 to 20 samosas.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Shredded Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

This gives you a wonderfully spiced and shreddy lamb that is great stuffed into pitta bread with some salad.


  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 800g lamb shoulder
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped


  1. Mix the garlic, lemon, oil, cumin, paprika, sumac, cinnamon and salt in a bowl until it's a smooth paste.
  2. Use a sharp knife to score the outside of the lamb shoulder.
  3. Rub the paste over both sides of the lamb shoulder and leave to marinade in the fridge overnight.
  4. Put the chopped onion into the bottom of the slow cooker with 100ml of water. Rest the lamb shoulder on top.
  5. Cook on low for 10 hours.
  6. Carefully remove from the slow cooked and shred with a fork before serving.

Serves about 3.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Spinach and Ricotta Manicotti

Manicotti are basically just large cannelloni. While hard to get in the UK, you can use rolled up lasagna sheets as a good replacement.


  • 450g ricotta cheese
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small tin of tomato puree
  • 1 large tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g fresh lasagna sheets
  • 225g fresh spinach
  • 225g fresh rocket
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 350g grated mozzarella cheese
  • 120g finely grated parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  2. Put several sheets of kitchen paper on a baking tray and spread the ricotta out over it.
  3. Fry the onion in the olive oil in a sauce pan for 5 minutes, or until it starts to soften.
  4. Add the tomato puree and chopped tomatoes and reduce to a simmer. Leave this simmering with a lid on while you do the rest of the preparation.
  5. Put on a large pot of water to boil and salt it well.
  6. When the pot is boiling, slide the sheets of lasana into it, count to 30, and then remove them with tongs in the same order you added them.
  7. Spread the sheets out on many plates and or baking trays so that they don't stick together.
  8. Blanch the spinach and rocket in the pasta water for 20 seconds. Drain immediately, rinse with cold water and then spin dry in a salad spinner.
  9. Finely chop the dried spinach and rocket, add to a bowl with the egg, garlic, and half of both of the cheeses.
  10. Scrape the cheese off the kitchen towel into the same bowl as the spinach.
  11. Season well with salt and pepper and mix the contents of the bowl until it's all uniform.
  12. Put half the tomato sauce into the bottom of a large, high sided, oven proof dish.
  13. Take each sheet of lasagna, spoon two tablespoons of the spinach and ricotta mix into the middle.
  14. Roll up and place into the oven proof dish on top of the tomato mixture.
  15. Repeat for the remaining sheets (or until you run out of filling).
  16. Spread the rest of the tomato mixture over the top of the pasta and then top with the remaining cheese.
  17. Cover the dish with foil.
  18. If needed, you can leave this in the fridge for a day or two until you need to serve it.
  19. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, remove the foil and then bake for another 15 minutes.
  20. Remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 people.