Monday, 23 February 2015

Persian inspired Lamb chops

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I was shopping for organic Lavender online for baking purposes and came across dried rose petals, so what did I do? I bought them both! :) 
Ofcourse I had no idea what to do with rose petals other than use them for decorations, so I looked into it some more and found that  rose petals are used extensively in Persian cuisine for taste and decoration, also for beauty purposes and some medical conditions. So having looked at the way dried rose petals can be used I decided to grind them and use as a spice for marinating my lamb chops. along with some other spices too, and WOW did they turn out amazing! The dried rose petals add a delicate floral aroma and flavour to the meat. A  must try recipe if you wish to impress or just indulge in something that little more special :) 


2lbs lamb chops
6 tbsn dried edible rose petal ( grind in a spice grinder till very fine )
5 tbsn of Olive oil or ghee
1 tspn Turmeric
1 tspn Cumin powder
1 tspn Garam masala ( Click here for my garam masala recipe
1 tspn Cinnamon powder
1 and a half to 2 tspn salt 
3 cloves of garlic sliced or grated.
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsn of rosewater 


3 red chillies ( remove seeds if you don't want it too spicy )
1 cup of fresh coriander chopped up
1 tbsn of dried mint
Juice of 1 lime
Half cup of olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Put lamb chop in a bowl and in all the ingredients and mix thoroughly making sure all the lamb chops are covered in the marinade. Cover with cling film and leave for a few hours or best overnight.

2. Pre-heat oven to highest temp, take the meat out of fridge and leave to come to room temperature. After about 10 mins, rub a little oil into a large baking dish and place the lamb chops on there.

3. Place the chops into the oven and cook for about 25 mins. Keep checking to make sure they are not over cooking as some oven cook quicker than others.

4. In the meantime make the dressing by adding all the ingredients for dressing to the oil and mix well, season according to your own taste. Leave aside to allow the flavours to marry.

5. Once the lamb chops have cooked remove and place in a serving dish, drizzle over the dressing and serve immediately.

Juicy and succulent!

Serve with a salad or Vermicelli Rice. Click here for link to that recipe

Serving suggestion, Persian Lamb chops with Vermicelli Rice

My Homemade Garam Masala

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Nothing beat home milled spices! Forget the rubbish in the packets! one of the most famous of all is Garam Masala which is a Mixed spice that is used in cooking within the Sub-continent. What I love about garam masala is that each region, even household has their own unique version, there is no one set recipe, although the majority of whole spices is generic, some may like more cumin in theirs while others may want more cloves and cinnamon. I like to vary mine each time it, I guess I am still trying to find that perfect blend for me :) 
I give you my version here however sometimes I like to add nutmeg and mace, here I have not used but if you would like to add them by all mean try and see what tickles your taste buds. :)


2 Tbsn Cloves
2 Tbsn Black Peppercorns 
10 Large Black Cardamoms
3 Tbsn Whole coriander seeds
5 Tbsn of Cumin seeds 
1 whole Cinnamon stick
1 Star Anise


1. Dry roast the spice by places them into a dry frying pan, keep close watch and keep stirring until the spices begin to release a beautiful aroma and boy will they!! When they are lightly toasted remove and put into a grinder.

 4. Grind the spices until finely milled, I like to do this in batches as it grinds quicker and finer this way. 

5. Once milled put into a plate and allow to cool. Once spice mix has cooled store in air tight container and use whenever you wish to add the aroma of the sub-continent to your dishes! :)


Courgette Spagetti/ Courgetti

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Courgette spaghetti or Courgetti as it is known here. ( One of my American friends informed me it known in the US as Spoodles, spaghetti/noodles :D ) I saw this recipe in a Healthy eating magazine as an alternative to pasta. I thought I would give this a try and see how it goes, would I substitute it for pasta? No, however this is a delicious dish in its own right, so flavourful and bursting with freshness! I really enjoyed cooking this, as well as eating! You can cook with any ingredients you wish, I decided to go for the fresh flavours of the Mediterranean. It doesn't take long at all. It can be eaten as a yummy lunch, light dinner or as a side dish. Either way I am sure you will enjoy! Give it try and see for yourself.


3 Courgettes
10 sundried tomatoes from a jar
10 roasted peppers from jar
4 tbsn of Olive oil
1 Small bag of fresh basil chopped up
Handful of pine nuts
Salt and black pepper to taste.


1. Cut courgettes into thin strips till you reach the seeds. ( To do this I used a tool that looks like a peeler but actually juliennes, if you do not have you can grate using the thick side of grater)
 Do not throw away the inside of the courgettes as this will be used in the sauce.

Keep this part to add to the sauce.

2. Next heat 2 tbsn of olive oil in pan and add the courgetti and cook for about 2 minutes on high heat. We do not want to fully cook the courgettes but just enough to keep a good crunch. Remove and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining oil in same pan and add the sundried tomatoes, peppers and inside of the courgettes. Cook till the pulp of courgettes has softened which should take about 5 minutes. Then add you chopped up basil leaves. Cook for another 2 mins and then add your courgetti.

4. Cook all together for a few more minutes making sure the sauce covers all the courgetti.
5. In small frying pan toast the pine nuts until golden brown, making sure to not burn.
6. Finally, dish up your courgetti into a plate, sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.


Monday, 1 September 2014

Chicken and Mushroom pie

 بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

With Autumn fast approaching, nothing beats a hearty midweek supper. Chicken and mushroom pie is a classic dish. There really is no one set recipe for this, everyone has their own version and preference with ingredients. This version of mine is made with Shittake mushrooms which give this pie a really meaty flavour. So give this a try and see for yourself, add or omit as please, you can add carrots and spinach also, great way of getting vegetables into your meals.


3 lbs boneless chicken ( I used Chicken Thigh as it is more tender and flavourful )
1 bunch of spring onion
3 x 125g tub Shittake Mushrooms
2 cups of frozen peas
50g of butter 
1 tbsn of sunflower oil
5 tbsn of cornflour
1 tub of mascarpone cheese
Knor vegetable stock pots 
2 packets of Just Roll puff pastry
1 egg
1 egg white
2 tbsn garam masala 
Salt to taste (Be careful as stock cubes already have salt so add little to begin with)
2 tspn black pepper

Ceramic blind baking beans or you can use lentils or rice.


1. Heat pan and melt butter and oil together. Add chicken and brown well. Add 1 tspn salt and garam masala. When it has browned add 2 tbsns of cornflour and cook well together this chicken is well coated. Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. In same pan add your chopped spring onions and cook till soft, then add the sliced mushrooms and cook well till they soften also ( If need be add a touch more oil ) next add the chicken back into pan and mix well. Followed by the peas. Cook together for about 3-4 mins.

3. Now add the remaining cornflour and combine, followed by the vegetable stock pots or stock cubes.

4. When mixed well add your mascarpone cheese, black pepper and mix.

5. Now add two cups of hot water mix together and cook till it reaches a loose creamy consistency. Check seasoning especailly salt and add if needed. Then set aside and allow to cool.

5. Next take you puff pastry and roll out to size of dish. Then place parchment paper over it and add in your ceramic blind baking beans or if you don't have them add lentils or rice, this is to weight the pastry and make sure sure it does not shrink during cooking process. This is called blind baking. Please note the rice or lentils being used will not be ok to cook, but you can store and put away for blind baking next time.

6. Bake at gas mark 4 for about 20-25 mins, then take out and coat with egg white, this will seal the bottom pastry, put back in oven and cook for another five minutes.

7. When pastry is done, pour the chicken and mushroom mixture over pastry.

8. Now roll out other puff pastry and place on top of the pie. Push or crimp sides and coat with egg wash. Place into oven at same temperature and cook till golden brown.

9. Remove from oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Bil-hana wa ash shif'a!

Zarda ( Sweet Rice )

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم 

So I was at my mothers house when she decided she wanted to make Zarda for dessert
so I took this as a great opportunity to blog my mothers Zarda recipe from her home. :)
A simple yummy dessert.


2 cups Basmati Rice
1 and 3/4 cups of sugar
2 tbsn coconut shavings
2tbsn almonds
2tbsm pistachios
Tbsn raisins
5 cups water (for par boiling rice)
Pinch of salt
1/4 tspn Cardamom powder
125g Butter
Half cup of water
Half teaspoon food colouring


1.Soak rice for half hour.
2. Boil almonds and pistachios then peel almond skin and leave to soak in cool water with pistachios and raisins. 

3. Heat water in another pot and when boiled Add food colouring then when comes to boil add the rice. Add pinch of salt and Cook on high.

4. After five minutes rice should be slightly undercooked, al dente, then drain. Set aside.

5. Now in same pan melt butter on low heat. When melted add sugar and half cup of water. Cook till sugar has dissolved. If you don't add some water the sugar will clump and not dissolve. Keep sitting to avoid burning. When frothing add the raisins almonds and pistachios, cook further.

6. When it reached sticky stringy consistently add rice and very gently combine in folding motion. Do not be too rough as it will break rice. Make sure the rice is evenly coated in sugar syrup.

7. Add few drops of Kewrah water, if you don't have this you can use rose water. Cook on medium heat for 2 mins then give stir folding with a fork ever so gently. 
8. Turn heat down low and cover and leave till until it dries up. 

9. Pop into pre heated oven at gas mark 4 or leave on top of cooker with diffuser underneath the pan, leave for another 5-8 mins so rice fluffs up. 

10. Serve and enjoy!

Bil-hana wa ash shifa'a.

Apple and Blackberry Turnovers

  بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I love baking when it does spare of the moment, when you look in the fridge to find some puff pastry and blackberries and plenty of apple my wonderful father had bought for me. There was only one thing to do! Turnovers. Now I don't know about you but i love these delicious pastries! yummmmmy especially with a cup of tea. What I also love about this is that the filling can be used with french toast or to pour over porridge. My children loved these! Delicious I tell you! Hey but don't take my word for it, try it out yourself. :)


6 medium apples of your choice, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 punnet of Blackberries
Zest of Half of an Orange
Half a cup of Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp of Unsalted Butter
1 Tbsp of plain flour
1 tsp of Ground Cinnamon
2 packets of puff pastry
1 egg for egg wash.
1 tbsn milk
Brown or white sugar, for topping
Chocolate chip to melt and drizzle on top ( Optional )


1. Pre-heat oven to gas mark 4. Melt butter and add the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and orange zest. Cook for 10 minutes till apples soften.

2. Then add the Blackberries and cook together. Blackberries will release their juices. Then ad flour and combine. Sauce will thicken. Set aside and allow to cool.

3. Next roll out pastry into square and cut four smaller squares, place some of the filling in each one as shown in pic below.

4. Then fold over into triangles. In bowl mix egg and milk and wash the pastries with this egg wash. Sprinkle some brown or white sugar on top. Place in oven and cook for about 20 mins or until pastries are golden brown.

5. This part is totally optional, however a most delicious touch! For chocolate drizzle simply melt place in pan and place over pan of hot water and allow to melt. The drizzle over pastries using a piping bag or with a spoon.

6. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with a lovely cup of tea. 


Bil-hana wa ash shifa'a