Gentle spices will warm up these simple suppers
I CAN’T believe it’s September again already.
The summer has flown past, and now it’s back to routines with the children back in school.
My recipes this week are both using a touch of spice. One is a one-pot supper that is best cooked over a few hours, the other is a quick supper, ready and on the table in about half an hour.
Lamb shanks are one of my favourite dishes, and although the shanks come from the bottom of the leg of lamb (which is one of the least tender parts), when it’s cooked correctly, the meat should fall off the bone.
It’s not suitable for quick cooking methods - it’s perfect for a slow-cooking method like braising, the gentle heat softening the meat to rich tenderness. I have added some Moroccan aromatic spices to this recipe, giving it a lovely warm feeling for even the coolest of evenings.
In my spiced cod with garden peas and a gentle curry sauce, I have used the mild creamy curry sauce from Green Saffron as I don’t want to overpower the delicate fish flavour. This recipe works well with haddock, hake or monkfish.
It’s the perfect autumn dish, using the last of the peas from the garden, with a touch of spice to warm things up slightly. Sometimes we forget how well fish goes with subtle spicing.
Moroccan style lamb shanks
4 lamb shanks (medium)
1 tbsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 heaped tbsp Green Saffron Tagine spice mix or ras-el-hanout
2 x 400g tin tomatoes
3 red onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
500ml lamb or chicken stock, boiling
50g dried apricots
150g sultana or currants
½ bunch each of mint and coriander
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
Couscous to serve
1 Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Add the cumin seeds, tagine spices (or ras-el-hanout) and two tablespoons of olive oil. Coat the lamb shanks all over, cover and chill for two hours or overnight.
2 In a large heavy-based pan over high heat, drizzle oil and add the shanks. Season with salt and pepper and caramelise for 10 minutes, until coloured on all sides. Transfer into the ovenproof dish.
3 In the same pan, add the onions and garlic and cook for two minutes, until lightly coloured. Deglaze with some stock to leave all the flavour from the pan and tranfers with the shanks.
4 In a food processor, blitz the tomatoes and apricots to a chunky consistency. Pour over the shanks, add the rest of the boiling stock and add the currants. Place the lid on and bake for three to three-and-a-half hours, until the shanks are almost falling off the bone.
5 Just before serving, in a small bowl, stir the yoghurt with the fresh herbs and seasoning. Serve the juicy lamb shanks topped with dollops of yoghurt dressing and simple cooked couscous.
Spice baked cod with garden peas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cm fresh ginger, grated
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
300g garden peas
50ml chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
Salt and pepper
4 x cod Fillets, each approx 200g
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp Green Saffron
1 lemon zest to taste
3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped to garnish
1 Preheat the oven to 220˚C/425˚F/Gas Mark 7. In a pan, drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil and add the red onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the peas and the stock and season with salt and pepper.
2 Remove from the heat and set aside until needed.
3 Mix together two tablespoons of olive oil with a tablespoon of curry mix and brush over the fish fillets. Place the fillets on a lightly-greased roasting tray and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the roasting tray to the preheated oven and roast for 12 to 15 minutes.
4 Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining curry powder and cream and bring to the boil. Add the lemon zest.
5 Divide the roasted pieces of cod and add the pea mixture and a spoonful of sauce. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and enjoy immediately.