Monday, 13 August 2012

lamb tagine with prunes and Ainsley Harriott's Moroccan Medley Cous Cous

... well, the sunshine finally came out didn't it and boy what a scorcher of a weekend...?

... it's days like this that childhood memories are made... running barefoot in the garden as you jump, screaming over the sprinkler... catching butterflies in your hands and then setting them free on the wind, like captured fairies... finding funny shaped animals in the stray cloud that passes over head... paddling in the stream and laughing at the trout as they shoot from under your feet... racing home-made margarine-tub sailboats down the river... it sounds like the ultimate bucolic dream doesn't it but actually we did all these things this weekend as the sun blazed down on belleau cottage... and all this whilst the heady aroma of a moroccan lamb tagine filled the air as it baked slowly in the oven...

... the lovely people at Ainsley Harriott Foods sent me a fabulous hamper stuffed to the gils with ingredients for the perfect summer meals to eat along with his new range of cous-cous... the range includes some interesting and innovative flavour combinations such as sundried tomato and garlic cous-cous, wild mushroom cous-cous and my favourite, lemon mint and parsley cous-cous... the range is fully vegetarian, ready in just 5 minutes and free from nasty little things such as artificial flavours or preservatives... i'm not really a huge cous-cous eater but these are very pleasing and really do go very well with a huge range of different meals...

lamb tagine with Ainsley Harriott Moroccan Medley Cous Cous
... the people at Ainsley Harriot Foods are keen to promote the #AinsleyBBQ experience but i've had a bit of a barbecue fail this summer so i'm starting with this wonderfully rich stew that tastes like summer in a bowl... I will eventually get round to purchasing a new BBQ and when i do I have a wonderful chicken thigh recipe, naturally, to share with you... i've also made a veggie version of this dish which I make alongside the meat one, doubling the recipe... I used some Quorn chicken fillets cut into wedges and potatoes which I treated in exactly the same way as the lamb...

1 kg of lamb shoulder - diced
2 large onions  finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves - crushed
2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 pint (1/2 lt) veggie stock
a handful of sultanas
a handful of chopped dried apricots or pruned
a handful of almond slithers
2 tsp honey
fresh mint and coriander

- set the oven to 160C and warm some olive oil in a large casserole dish

- add the meat (or quorn and potatoes) in batches and brown then set aside

- saute the onions and garlic then after about 6 mins throw in the spices and toss them around until the onions are coated and starting to soften

- throw the rest of the ingredients, along with the lamb back into the dish, cover and place in the oven for two and a half hours until the meat is gloriously succulent

- after it comes out of the oven take out the meat and place the dish back on a high heat to reduce the stock for about 5 mins of rigorous boil, once nice and thick pour it lovingly over the meat and cous-cous, sprinkle with fresh chopped mint and coriander and then sit back in the evening sunshine and enjoy!


  1. My friend introduced me to Ainsley's cous cous range a few years ago, was very impressed as they had decent flavours and were quick and easy. We added in a few extra ingredients such as chopped raw onion or lightly cooked veg, to bulk them up further. Really nice.

  2. I am a great fan of couscous. I am also a great fan of lamb. I will wait for cooler weather before doing a long-cooking stew however. Had a look at the Viking's blog the other day. Don't remember if I sent him a comment. I envy you your bucolic life.

  3. Thanks for the blog comment
    come again!

  4. Hey, that lamb looks great! I got x2 beef recipes in my hamper and cheated with a disposable bbq - cheap and no washing up after ;)

    1. I may have to pop out for one of those. I have a chicken thigh recipe to cook so it may be the best option!

  5. I love lamb tagine, that looks fantastic. Childhood memories hmmm (taps foot) that's what you were up to at the weekend isn't it?

  6. I can smell it here Dom - I have been using Ainsley's couscous for ages too my favorite is sundried tomato & garlic & i sometimes add some crispy fried onion.

  7. Dom, it is good to meet you...I 'found' you over at John Gray's blog.
    This lamb tagine looks like a minced-meat chutney of sorts. I can see it going well with couscous and maybe even quinoa?
    Look forward to following you and learning a thing or two!

  8. What a lovely intermingling of flavors....I can just tste it. Thanks for a wonderful recipe. My Mom always made a leg of lamb. Nice to have a twist.

  9. I love the look of your tagine recipe! As far as I'm concerned couscous needs sauce, so a tagine is a much more suitable accompaniment than BBQ'ed meat (unless you add a separate sauce).

  10. Looking at those ingredients I just know it will taste nice! Sadly, lamb appears only rarely here and I think goat would be a bit tough I will try it with Bush Buck, a type of antelope, a sort of 'from the shot to the pot' exercise.

    This is a great culinary blog, unlike so many this is witty, chatty as well as having nice recipes. Like so many others, I suspect, I found you through the Welsh St Francis of Assisi's blog (John Gray).

  11. You have me craving lamb lately. Great looking dish. I make couscous but have to have some kind of tomato based sauce with it or my family refuses it eat it. I think it is a textural thing with them. I usually add a zucchini in it too. This recipe of yours is good because it sops up the lamb sauce. Yum!

  12. I like that sort of thing better than cakes! :)
    My barbie has been totally unused this year, due to the weather.

  13. I don't eat lamb but I often use Ainsley's cous cous to make salads for lunch - yum!

  14. Tagine is one my favourite meals, whether it be a hot summer's day or a bitterly cold one....and this all looks WONDERFUL Dom! Hope you are okay - haven't seen you around much lately! Karen


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