Spiced lamb stew

Spice lamb stew

In the Crock Pot, ready to serve

This is an adaptation from a recipe in the BBC Good Food “Comfort Food” cookbook. It can be done as a stovetop stew, or in a slow cooker; I’ll provide both methods below. Note: the original recipe called for butternut squash, but since this isn’t widely available in Norway, we went with sweet potato and have never looked back. You can do it either way.


  • Olive oil (not needed for slow cooker)
  • 900g boneless lamb pieces
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2.5cm piece of root ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 1tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste (add more if you want it extra hot)
  • 25g plain flour
  • 1L lamb or vegetable stock
  • 1kg sweet potato, cut into large chunks
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes, or four fresh tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 200g baby spinach leaves
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method – stovetop

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the lamb and brown over high heat, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and ginger; cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion is soft.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, harissa paste, and flour; cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in the spinach and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper and serve as soon as the spinach is wilted.

Method – slow cooker

  1. Add all ingredients except the spinach, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to your slow cooker pot. NB if you prefer, you can brown the meat in a frying pan first.
  2. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours.
  3. Stir in the spinach and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper and serve as soon as the spinach is wilted.

Serve this with warm, crusty bread. Guaranteed winter warmer.

Chili con carne

Dedicated to my patient friend, Brian. Sorry it took so long!


Photo courtesy of sxc.hu

This summer, we finally arranged a long-talked-about Tex-Mex dinner with some friends. I had planned to make the chili con carne based on our tried and tested BBC Comfort Foods recipe book, but the last couple of times I’d found something lacking and decided to try a new recipe. Risky when you have company, right? Especially when one of them is American and knows what good chili should taste like. I looked all over for good recipes, and found many, as is so often the case on American recipe websites, that asked for brand-name ingredients I didn’t know how to substitute. In the end, I went with this one, but when I tasted it, there was definitely something missing. I fiddled around, throwing this and that in until it tasted better. Then I let it simmer for an hour or two, then served it up. That hour or two made a world of difference, and my friend has been asking for the recipe ever since.

Continue reading »

Apricot muffins

Apricot muffins

Apricot muffins

I started my new job on Monday last week, and by Friday I had somehow managed to volunteer to supply some sort of home-baked snack for my team at Monday’s team meeting. I thought about making my Victoria Sponge, but didn’t like the idea of trying to cover it with whipped cream on Monday morning with a toddler clinging to my leg. Not to mention trying to get it to work in one piece, given that it would have to ride under the pram. So instead I decided to make apricot muffins. I found a couple of recipes online and combined them to come up with what turned out to be a very tasty result. I did some in paper muffin cups and some with a silicone muffin tray. If you’re using a muffin tray, make sure the muffins are cooled before you attempt to pop them out. It’s a good idea to run a butter knife or rubber spatula around the edge to loosen them.

Continue reading »

Rogan Josh

Rogan josh

Rogan Josh with papadums

Here’s my recipe for the classic Indian lamb curry known as Rogan Josh. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like by adjusting the amount of chili powder you add. It’s really simple to make, and the preparation doesn’t take long. The cooking time is an hour and a half or more though, so make sure you get started early!


Continue reading »

Zucchini slice

Zucchini Slice with bacon

Zucchini Slice with bacon and corn

This is a recipe my mum always used to make when we were kids. Lately she’s been making it for my niece and nephew, who love it, and when she was over in Norway recently, she made it for Bubble’s first birthday party. It was very popular with the guests, several of whom have asked for the recipe, but most amusingly it was popular with the birthday girl. My tiny girl stuffed an entire piece into her mouth in one go, and somehow mushed it up enough to swallow, and then looked around for more. I then made it to take to her kindergarten summer party, where kids and parents alike tucked in with enthusiasm. It’s also a great way to get kids to eat vegetables (you can even use yellow zucchini to really hide the veggie content!).

Continue reading »

Chicken Laksa

Chicken laksaLaksa is a spicy coconut noodle soup, and it is one of my favourite Asian soups. Unfortunately the paste that gives it its flavour and spice is a little hard to come by in many countries. I buy Hogans laksa paste from Australia (and always stock up when I’m home) but there are other brands that are fine to use as well. If you can’t find it anywhere (and make sure you ask at your local Asian supermarket) you can use green curry paste. The taste is not quite the same, but still works. Laksa comes from Malaysia and Singapore, with many different recipes depending on the region it comes from. I use chicken, but that’s because I don’t eat shellfish. You can replace the chicken with prawns or other shellfish if you wish.

If you can’t find laksa paste anywhere and don’t want to use green curry paste, here’s a different recipe that includes how to make your own laksa paste.
Continue reading »