Greek Inspired Lamb Meatballs

On 23rd April 2016, This was Dinner...

I’ve actually made these Donna Hay meatballs before but forgot to add the feta and served it on top instead. I did it right this time and even though they were very good last time they were even better this time.

Get set…

  • Crumble up some feta
  • Finely chop some rosemary
  • Grate some lemon rind
  • Prepare some chicken stock
  • Halve some cherry tomatoes
  • Chop some mint leaves
  • Get couscous, lamb mince, honey, chapatis, houmous, baby spinach, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Pour the chicken stock over the couscous, cover and leave until the stock is absorbed.

Combine the couscous with the lamb, honey, lemon rind, rosemary and some seasoning  and shape into small balls, flattening slightly. Cover and chill for 15 minutes.

Heat a little oil in a pan and cook the meatballs for about four minutes each side, depending on the size and thickness of yours.

Dish it up…

Spread a chapati with houmous and add the spinach, tomatoes and mint then place a couple of meatballs on top then roll, wrap or whatever you want. Just enjoy.


As I said earlier, this is a Donna Hay recipe and can be found in her book – Fast, Fresh, Simple which I highly recommend.

Greek Lamb & Macaroni Bake

On 18th April 2016, This was Dinner

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you will know I love a pasta bake. This BBC Good Food recipe has a suggestion to serve with garlic bread! All those carbs? I don’t think I could manage it! Oh and there was plenty of leftovers for lunch at work the next day, always a winner.

Get set…

  • Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan)
  • Finely chop an onion
  • Finely chop a couple of garlic cloves
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Prepare a small amount of beef stock
  • Get lamb mince, macaroni, ricotta, tin of chopped tomatoes, ground cinnamon, milk, dried oregano, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat some oil in a pan and add the onion. Cooking until softened then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the mince and cook until browned, breaking it up as you cook.

Add the cinnamon and stir. Add the stock and allow it to reduce. Sprinkle in the oregano then add the tomatoes and cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and season then cook for another 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

Cook the pasta then drain.

Mix the ricotta with most of the parmesan and some seasoning and stir in the pasta.

Pour the mince into a large oven proof dish then top with the pasta. Scatter over the remaining parmesan. Bake for around 20 minutes.

Dish it up…

Get a great scoop into a bowl and feel the comfort of the pasta bake.


Lamb Kofta Curry

On 16th March 2016, This was Dinner

I know that these are not presented in the best way possible but take it from me when I say these are good. Very good. If I could eat another bowl of these right now I would. I’ve made another very good lamb kofta curry before but wanted to try a different recipe.

Get set…

  • Toast some fennel seeds
  • Peel a couple of garlic cloves
  • Peel & roughly chop some ginger and grate another small piece
  • Roughly chop a couple of green chillies
  • Peel & roughly chop a shallot, finely chop another
  • Get lamb mince, garam masala, turmeric, tin of chopped tomatoes, natural yoghurt, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Pop the garlic, roughly chopped ginger, chillies & roughly chopped shallot into a small processor and whizz up.

Mix with the mince and the fennel seeds. Season and roll into small balls. Cover and chill.

Heat some oil in a pan and then add the finely chopped shallot and cook for a few minutes. Add the grated ginger, along with the turmeric and garam masala and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the tin of tomatoes along with a little water. Simmer for a few minutes then pop the meatballs in, cover and cook for around 15 minutes, stirring a few times to get the meatballs coated.

Dish it up…

We served ours with brown rice, a dollop of the yoghurt and a sprinkling of coriander.


Did I say I could eat this right now? Oh yes, sorry! Anyway, the original Delicious Magazine recipe can be found here.

Spiced Shepherds Pie

On 27th February 2016, This was Dinner

Two days of pie. Who am I to complain?

I adore a shepherds pie and was going to make the Jamie Oliver one from his Comfort Food book. However, I hadn’t remembered that it used a shoulder of lamb. It wasn’t what I particularly fancied so I had a nosy around the web and lo and behold, there was Jamie again with this spiced one.

Get set…

  • Finely chop a couple of red onions
  • Peel & finely chop a piece of ginger
  • Finely chop a couple of garlic cloves
  • Deseed and slice a red pepper
  • Peel and chop some potatoes
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Pod 4 cardamom pods
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan)
  • Get lamb mince, cinnamon stick, tinned chopped tomatoes, milk, frozen peas, garam masala, butter, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat the oil in a pan and add the mince. Cook for a couple of minutes then add the garam masala, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods and cook until brown. Stirring regularly.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for about five minutes. Add the red pepper and cook for a few more minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes and add about half a tins worth of water along with some seasoning. Bring to the boil and cook until thickened.

Whilst it cooks, cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water and cook until tender. Drain and leave to dry a little then pop back in the pan and mash with a little butter and milk. Season.

Stir the peas through the mince.

Transfer to a baking dish and spoon the mash over. Cook for 20 minutes then sprinkle the cheese over and cook for another 10 minutes.

Dish it up…

Just a nice serving with a drizzle of ketchup.


A nice twist on what is never a bad pie choice.

As a coincidence, my memories came up on Facebook and I actually made a shepherd’s pie on the 27th February last year too.

Sunday Roast?

On 20th February 2016, This was Dinner

Mr S really fancied a Sunday roast this week so I said yes, on the condition that we had it on Saturday. If you think about it, it actually makes sense to eat such a huge dinner on Saturday rather than Sunday (although I wouldn’t have said that when I had a dress to fit in on a Saturday night!). That got me thinking about the origins of the Sunday roast. Here are a few Wikipedia facts:

  • To the uninitiated – ‘the Sunday roast is a traditional British [and Irish] main meal that is traditionally served on Sunday (surprisingly!), consisting of roasted meat, roast potato, with accompaniments such as Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, vegetables and gravy’.
  • Eating a large meal was common in European countries with a Christian heritage after the church service.
  • It was traditional to fast before a Sunday church service, hence the large meal.
  • Fridays meant abstinence from meat for Roman Catholics and Anglicans
  • There is the thought that it dates back to medieval times when village serfs would serve the squire for the other six days a week.

The memory of the childhood Sunday roast is one of a full belly, lounging on the sofa, nagged by Mum to make sure all your homework was done with that impending feeling of doom as Monday back at school drew closer!

We umm-ed and ahh-ed (is there a correct spelling) at what meat we were going to make so ended up buying both lamb and beef. In the end we froze the beef and roasted a gorgeous leg of lamb.

Get set…

For the Yorkshire puddings:

  • Get 4 eggs ready
  • Measure out 200ml milk
  • Measure out 200g plain flour
  • Get oil & seasoning ready

For the stuffing:

  • Boil a kettle
  • Get butter & a stuffing mix ready

For the roast potatoes:

  • Peel and chop some potatoes
  • Get goose fat, polenta & seasoning ready

For the lamb:

  • Get a leg of lamb (I used fillet end) to room temperature and score if required.
  • Chop some rosemary
  • Peel, bash & chop some garlic
  • Get oil & seasoning ready

It is really up to you which way you cook everything but I just found this a lot easier and you can always bosh something back in the oven if you need to. Preheat the oven to 200°c (fan), to see you through cooking everything.

Throw it together…

Pop the flour in a bowl along with a pinch of salt. Make a well and crack in the eggs. Mix together well. Slowly add the milk and combine then whisk until smooth and the consistency of single cream. My tip would be to pour into a jug then leave to rest for a while.

Mix the stuffing mix with boiling water and butter then spread out on a small baking tray and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with foil.

Add a little oil in each tray of a 12 hole bun tin.* Pop in the oven to heat well.

When ready to cook, take the bun tin out of the oven and quickly add the pudding mix, get it back in the oven ASAP and cook for 25 minutes. You can remove and cover these with foil too.

Mix the rosemary with the garlic, oil and some seasoning and rub all over the lamb. Pop in a baking tray with a rack and put in the oven. Mine was roughly 1kg and took just over an hour to cook. Turn it occasionally.

Pop the potatoes in salted water and boil for 10 minutes to soften. Drain and leave to dry out a little.

Heat the goose fat in a pan.

Shake the potatoes vigorously and sprinkle with polenta. Pop into a baking tray and pour over the fat.

Cook for about 35 – 40 minutes, turning once.

When the lamb is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Carve as required.

Dish it up…

With mint sauce of course and serve with your vegetables of choice. Use frozen to save time like I did.


The Sunday roast, it’s a great tradition to have isn’t it?

* I would normally use a muffin tin but I left it at my in-laws.

Italian Shepherd’s Pie

On 8th January 2016, This was Dinner

I do love a shepherd’s pie and this one was no exception. The sweet potato topping made it a little lighter and normally I would overdo some cheese on top but the light scattering of parmesan meant I didn’t overdose on cheese for a change.


  • Finely chop an onion
  • Peel and chop a couple of carrots
  • Quarter some mushrooms
  • Roughly chop some basil
  • Peel and chop some sweet potatoes
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Preaheat the oven to 200°c (fan)
  • Get minced lamb, red wine, tin of chopped tomatoes, butter, mascarpone, oil & seasoning ready


Heat some oil in a pan and fry the onion and carrot until softened.

Add the lamb and cook until the mince is browned. Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add the wine and turn the heat up until reduced. Add the tomatoes and basil, season and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water. Drain and mash. Add a little butter and mascarpone and half of the parmesan.

Pour the mince mixture into a casserole dish and top with the sweet potato. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.


This is a Gino D’Acampo recipe from the Market Kitchen Cookbook.

Curried Pulled Lamb

On 21st September 2015, This was Dinner

The picture really does not do this meal justice. The curry sauce was mighty fine and the lamb just melted in your mouth. I started this on Saturday, precooked it on Sunday and finished it off (both in terms of cooking and eating) on Monday so elegant and perfect photos were the last thing on my mind.

Saturday Preparations:

  • Peel 6 garlic cloves
  • Peel and roughly chop a thumb sized piece of ginger
  • Roughly chop a green chilli
  • Lightly score a shoulder of lamb (mine was 1.5kg)
  • Get turmeric, chilli powder, ground cumin & ground coriander

Whizz up the garlic, ginger, green chilli and the spices in a processor along with a splash of water and a pinch of salt. Rub a third of this paste all over the lamb then cover and pop in the fridge overnight. Pop the remaining paste in the fridge too.

Sunday Preparations:

  • Preheat the oven to 140ºc (fan)
  • Slice a couple of onions
  • Chop a couple of large tomatoes
  • Get the lamb and curry paste ready
  • Get natural yoghurt, a few cardamom pods, a cinnamon stick, a couple of bay leaves, muscovado sugar, malt vinegar, oil & seasoning ready

Heat the oil in a casserole/oven proof pan and add the onions, cardomom cinnamon and bay. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft and golden. Sprinkle with the sugar then add in the vinegar and stir for another minute. Add the remaining curry paste and cook for a minute more.

Add in the tomatoes and then add some water and the natural yoghurt. Season. Pop the lamb in the dish and spoon over some of the sauce. Cover and stick in the oven for about 3 hours.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cooled, carefully separate the lamb from the sauce (it will be very tender). Cover the lamb and pop in the fridge again. Transfer the sauce to another container and pop in the fridge.


  • Preheat the lamb to 180ºc (fan)
  • Get the lamb, sauce, oil & seasoning ready


Brush the lamb with oil and cook in the oven for around 30 minutes.

Pour the sauce into a processor and whizz until smooth. Pop in a pan and heat through.

I just served mine with flatbreads I made using a shop bought bread mix and natural yoghurt.

TWD_2109_Pulled_LambThat’s a cumin polenta crusted roasted carrot in the bottom left of the picture which I then chopped up and added to the rolled flatbread.

The recipe came from BBC Good Food September but is now on their website. They do have some great accompaniments to go with it too but there was only the 2 of us so it seemed a bit much.

Greek Inspired Meatballs

On 17th July 2015, This was Dinner

I finally got around to recipes from my new Donna Hay cook book. My prize from Donna at A Cookbook Collection. This book does not disappoint.

It was poor food planning this week in that I ended up with two different versions of mince in two days but both were gorgeous so I’m not complaining.


  • Prepare some couscous
  • Prepare some chicken stock
  • Zest a lemon
  • Finely chop some rosemary leaves
  • Break up some feta
  • Halve some cherry tomatoes
  • Get honey, lamb mince, houmous, flatbreads, spinach, mint & seasoning ready


Mix the mince with the couscous, honey, lemon zest, rosemary and seasoning. Shape into patties, pop in the fridge to chill for at least 20 minutes.

Cook in a large frying pan for a few minutes each side.

Warm the flatbreads, spread over some houmous then scatter the spinach, mint and tomatoes. Top with the meatballs then sprinkle with feta.

TWD_1707_Lamb_MeatballsDonna Hay’s recipe actually puts the feta in the meatballs – lovely. I forgot 😦

Pastors Pie

On 31st May 2015, This was Dinner

The power of advertising! Browsing Facebook I came across a sponsored post for something called Gran Luchito. As a massive fan of Mexican/spicy food I took a look at it. Thinking ‘I will never get my hands on this in sunny old Donny’ I was wrong. You can buy it in M & S. Now it is not cheap – it cost me seven quid for the paste and a tiny jar of the mayo but boy this pie was worth it.

Apparently Pastor is what Mexicans call their Shepherds so here is my very slight adaptation of the recipe on their website. Beware! If you download the PDF from the site there is an error. DO NOT use 250ml of the paste :-/


  • Finely chop an onion
  • Peel & chop a couple of carrots
  • Peel & chop a couple of celery sticks
  • Finely chop a couple of garlic cloves
  • Pick some rosemary leaves and chop
  • Prepare some vegetable stock
  • Peel and chop some potatoes
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Preheat the oven to 190ºc (fan)
  • Get lamb mince, plain flour, tomato purée, Gran Luchito smoked chilli paste, Gran Luchito Smoked Chilli Mayo, nachos, oil, butter, tinned chopped tomatoes, single cream & seasoning ready


Heat some oil in a pan and add the carrot, onion, celery and rosemary. Cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the mince to the mixture and cook whilst breaking down the mince and ensuring it is browned. Add a couple of teaspoons of the paste and a squirt of tomato purée. Stir for a couple of minutes.

Add the tinned chopped tomatoes and the stock and bring to the boil. Season. Pop the lid on and leave it to cook for about an hour. Stir occasionally.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and leave to steam for a couple of minutes. Mash well with butter, cream, some seasoning and a dollop of the mayo.

Transfer the meat mixture to an ovenproof dish. Top with the potato, crush up some nachos and sprinkle on top then sprinkle with cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes,

TWD_3105_Pastor_PieThere was plenty left for dinner on Monday night too. Magificent.

Shepherd’s Pie

On 27th February 2015, This was Dinner

Carrots? They really do go off quickly. This has always been a source of irritation for me so I read up on how to store them a long time ago. There are lots of suggestions but the one that works for me is to top and tail them then store in the fridge. I topped and I tailed the ones I bought last week but forgot to fridge them. Luckily I noticed this on Wednesday and managed to rescue, blanch and freeze them. Can someone create a long life carrot please?

I think we all know the difference between cottage and shepherds pie but here’s 10 facts about shepherd’s pie from Jamie Oliver including my favourite:

The Chilean version of “pastel de papa”, a dish similar to shepherd’s pie eaten in many parts of the world, also contains hard-boiled eggs, raisins and black olives.

I’m definitely trying that. I’d forgot about Jamie’s Comfort Food version, I’ve been making this one for years.

The carrots are my only contribution to this meal as Mr S cooked it whilst I was at work. All I had to do was take it out of the oven and serve it up.


  • Chop a large onion
  • Peel & chop a couple of carrots
  • Peel and cut some potatoes
  • Prepare some beef stock
  • Preheat the oven to 190ºc (fan)
  • Get minced lamb, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, dried rosemary, milk, butter, plain flour, oil & seasoning ready


Cook the potatoes in a large pan of salted water. Drain, leave to steam for a few minutes then mash adding milk, butter and seasoning.

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion until soft and starting to brown. Add the lamb and brown. Stir in the flour, Worcestershire sauce and tomato purée and stir well.

Add the carrots, herbs and stock then bring to the boil. Season well. Cover and cook for about half an hour. Add water if it starts to dry out.

Transfer the meat to an oven proof dish and spread the mash over evenly then cook for another half hour.

TWD_2702_Shepherds_Pie TWD_2702_Shepherds_Pie_2

Ir’s National Pie Week next week, we’re a little early.