Lamb and Carrot Pilau – Midweek Supper

I’m sure I’ve done something similar here before but I wanted to share this simple supper that I made last week.  It’s full of flavour, economical and easy to pimp up with some extra sides and sauces.

lamb pilau x

Serves 2/3


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 200g white basmati rice
  • 125g lamb mince
  • 2 carrots, sliced into batons
  • A tablespoon of oil
  • A heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • a heaped teaspoon of medium curry powder
  • Half a veggie stock pot
  • 400ml of boiling water
  • Salt


Soften the onions until translucent then put to one side.   Fry lamb mince in heavy bottomed pot until browned and crispy, add softened onions, spices and fry for a minute.  Then add rice and carrots and stir well so that the rice is coated in the oil.   Add the water stock  and cover with lid.  Cook for about 14 min, turn the heat off and let it stand for five minutes.  Open the pot and you should be engulfed in a steamy, lightly spiced cloud, mmmm, fluff gently and season to taste.  Serve on its own, with yoghurt, chilli sauce, chutney or as part of a feast.

What are you having for dinner tonight?


Falafel – Gluten Free

Had you been wondering if I did any cooking anymore? Well I have to admit, I’ve been a bit slack, I do still cook, I just been sticking to staples and not really bothering to take pictures and remember recipes.  But here we have a simple little falafel recipe, perfect for summer days as part of a mezze or stuffed in a pitta.


So for the recipe…

Ingredients (makes 10 small falafel):

  • 1 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tablespoons of gram or gluten free flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
  • a handful of mint
  • salt
  • oil for frying


First soften the onions and garlic, I do this in a microwave because I find it easy but gently frying in a pan has the same results, you just want them soft and translucent.

Then add all the ingredients bar the flour to a food processor.  Blitz, you may need to scrape down any stray chickpeas or you might want to keep it chunky.  Then depending on the wetness of the mixture I add two to three tablespoons of flour, now my plan was to have chickpea flour (gram/besan) but  mine was out of date so I substituted gf plain flour, if you’re not coeliac then plain regular flour would work too.   You want a thick but not too wet mixture that you can easily manipulate, see picture for clarity there, it’s awful hard to describe!

Once you’ve got the right consistency, scoop out walnut size blobs if you want to emulate mine, but frankly any old size will work, you could make big fat burgers or round footballs or cut them into star shapes should you desire but flat patties was what I was after.

Then chill the patties for a while (time constraints permitting, I’m sure they would be fine fried straight away should you need to).

Shallow fry for about 3/4 minutes each side on a medium heat.  Then serve hot stuffed into a pitta with chilli sauce and yoghurt.

falafel stages

You can freeze these and heat up in the oven at a later date should you need to, I made too many for me and my little dinner guest so I’ve stashed the remainder away for a mid-week dinner.

Ok, so that was the first recipe for a while.  It felt good, what do you think?


Oven Baked Chilli Fries

This is a quick and simple recipe I knocked up for lunch, the chilli powder actually combines chilli (duh), cumin, oregano and garlic and gives these fries a spicy, moreish flavour which makes them almost impossible to resist, I thought I was knocking up enough for two but ended up eating  the lot.


  • However many potatoes you want
  • Chilli powder, I went for a mild one but a hot one would certainly pack a punch
  • Olive oil
  • Salt


Pre heat your oven to 200 and get out a big tray.  Slice your potatoes (skin on) in to fat match sticks, well you could do wedges, super fine fries or whatever but i think fat match sticks worked well for a good crisp chip.  Chuck the tatties in large roasting tray then slug on a tablespoon or so of oil, mix with your hands then sprinkle liberally with chilli powder and salt then mix some more.

Shove in the oven for about 25 min until hot and crispy then serve with sour cream and sweet chilli.  Oh yeah.



Marks and Spencer’s Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins

Marks and Spencer’s Gluten Free Chocolate Muffin

Marks and Sparks are doing pretty well at this whole gluten-free lark, I happened to be in need of a little respite in the Croydon branch today so decided to have a little nosey at what one might purchase for elevenses in their Cafe Revive and what did I find? Choice, that’s what.  There were not only these pretty damn delicious and intensely chocolatey muffins, there were fruit cakes, sandwiches and the offer of a wrapped gluten-free roll with their soups.  Yes that’s right, you are not hallucinating, as well as the usual standby of jacket potatoes there was quite a selection of both sweet and savoury offerings for us gluten sensitive coeliacs.  So I salute you M&S, well done, and I think I shall be returning around lunch time next week for a taste of one of the more substantial savoury offerings.

I’ll keep you posted dear readers but in the mean time, what about you?  Found any more new and exciting gluten-free morsels on the high street?  Let me know!

Salt and Spice Toffee Popcorn (Pop!)


I’ve been meaning to make popcorn for sometime.  My little lady and I have got into a rainy day afternoon ritual at the weekend of downloading an animated film and kicking back and relaxing with it as the rain pours outside.  Yesterday we watched Lady and the Tramp, what a beautiful film ‘and they call it bella notte’, anyway, enough singing in a bad Italian accent. So, this afternoon on cue, the rain tumbled down and in preparation for the film screening of the afternoon, I’ve made popcorn.  This is a twist on the traditional flavours, I love sweet popcorn, I’m not a salted fan but I do love the savoury/sweet combination of salted caramel so I decided to put a bit of punch into my toffee and add some paprika and salt.  Now this stuff comes with a warning, it’s addictive, could cause tooth decay and will not last longer than an afternoon (you’ll have eaten it before tea time anyway).  So here is the recipe:

Makes a bowl big enough for an indulgent afternoon for one or sharing between one adult and a small child (there is a ratio here and it is height and size appropriate)


  • Popcorn – (I used a ramekin full)
  • A drizzle of oil (enough to coat a the pop corn pan, you can use butter but I’d already made the sauce and was feeling guilty)

For the Salt and Spice Toffee Sauce:

  • 3 heaped dessert spoonfuls of Demerara sugar
  • 1 desert spoonful of agave syrup (sub golden if no agave, let’s face it there is no point pretending to be healthy with this stuff,  although I might just point out that pop corn is a vegetable and as one should clearly be counted as one of your five a day –  same rule goes for chips in case you were wondering)
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • a good shake of salt
  • about 50g of salted butter


Melt all the sauce ingredients together in a pan, leave the paprika until towards the end to make sure it doesn’t burn.  Bubble the sauce together until the sugar has dissolved and you have a toffee brown coloured sauce.  See picture for info.

salt and spice toffee sauce

Heat a large saucepan, coat the bottom with a drizzle of oil or some melted butter.  Pour in your pop corn kernels put the heat on low to medium, place on lid and wait for the pop….pop…pop….shake your pan with the lid on to encourage popping and discourage burning.  Take a peek and when most kernels have popped turn the heat off and coat in your sticky spiced toffee sauce.  Turn out your popcorn onto a tray to cool then pop into a bowl, stick on your favourite film and sit back and relax.

Salt and Spice Toffee Popcorn

So in light of the weather forecast for the week, what animated films do you recommend?