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Category: lamb

A Frog in Boiling Water & Lamb Shanks

2014: My Annus Horribilis

I will never forget this year. From the beginning to the end, there has been little respite from health and personal issues. But all in all, I’m grateful that my mom is still with us, improving, albeit slowly, and things are moving forward (although currently she’s still in hospital and still in ICU once again). I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time with my parents than I have in the last 10 years, for which I’m grateful. Yes, unfortunately it’s been under a very stressful, painful and heartbreaking situation, but still I’m thankful to be able to be by their side and be able to help them every day.

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Lamb Roast with Pumpkin, Apple & Chestnut “Rough” Mash

I’m finding that taking food pictures of dinner in the Autumn and Winter in London is quite a challenge. By 15:45, it starts to get dark and by 16:30, it’s basically nighttime. The early darkness is annoying for our biological clocks, and alters our mood and sleeping habits.

For a food blogger, there’s the added issue of planning or trying to cook a meal around the small window of light hours. I am an awful planner and making dinner at lunch time during the week just to take a picture is not going to happen. However, during the week, many of my more elaborate meals are prepared at night.

Therefore, if I want to share these recipes with my readers, I have to make due with the poor lighting or create fake lighting… this last option, I’m still working on perfecting.

In the meantime, I’m sharing this recipe with pictures from breakfast. Yes, breakfast. I ate leftovers from dinner as my breakfast, something I love to do since going Paleo! It’s a quick and easy way to incorporate some healthy, saturated fats with which to start off my day.

The question today is, what do I make myself for lunch? ūüėČ


Ingredients, for 2:

1 kg leg of lamb
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 800g)
3 medium apples, peeled and cubed
10-12 chestnuts, peeled and halved
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon ground rosemary
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
zest of 1-2 lemons


Preheat the oven to 200C (390F). Toss the cubed pumpkin, apples and chestnuts together. Place them on the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Rinse the leg of lamb and place on top of the pumpkin mixture. With a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic. Add the rosemary, sea salt, pepper, zest and olive oil and mix well. Coat the leg of lamb on both sides with the rosemary mixture. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes for medium done or about 15 minutes longer for less pink. About half way through, take the roast out of the oven, and remove the lamb, carefully to not burn yourself. With a spoon, toss the pumpkin mixture and replace the leg of lamb, with the un-cooked side up. Continue baking until done.



Ingredientes, para 2 comensales:

1 kg pierna de cordero
1/2 calabaza tipo “butternut squash”, como 800g, pelada y cortada a taquitos
3 manzanas medianas, peladas y cortadas a taquitos
10-12 casta√Īas frescas, peladas y cortadas por la mitad
4 dientes de ajo, pelados
1 cucharada grande de romero molido
1 cucharada grande de sal gorda
1 cucharadita de pimienta negra
1/2 taza de aceite de oliva
ralladura de 1 o 2 limones

Como hacer el cordero al horno:

Precalienta el horno a 200C. Mezcla los trozos de calabaza, manzana y las casta√Īas y pon todo en el fondo del recipiente que vaya a ir al horno. Enjuaga la pierna de cordero y coloca la encima de la calabaza. En un mortero, machaca los ajos. A√Īade el romero, la pimienta, la sal, la ralladura de lim√≥n y el aceite de oliva. Mezcla todo bien y embadurna ambos lados de la pierna de cordero con esta mezcla. Hornear como una hora y 15 minutos o una hora y media. A mitad de tiempo, saca el cordero del horno. Retira la pierna del recipiente, con cuidado para no quemarte y ponla en un plato. A continuaci√≥n, con una cuchara de palo, dale la vuelta a la calabaza y dem√°s. Vuelve a incorporar la pierna de cordero en el recipiente, pero esta vez del lado a√ļn no hecho. Termina horneando.

Lamb Kefta Tagine with Zucchini, Updated

Update, 2 December 2015

I originally created this recipe for my first and only guest post to-date on another blog in October of 2013. It’s been over two years! And so much has changed in my life, and also in that of Naz’s, the author of Cinnamoneats where this post was originally featured. Back then, we were both living in the UK and now we are both ‘back’ in the US.

Naz is making big changes to her blog, rebranding it and in the process she’s doing away with guest posts. Coincidently, I was looking for this recipe to make again this week and went to her blog only to find it ‘under construction’ (she’s working diligently to have it ready soon!). Thankfully, I had the recipe saved in email and am now adding it to this post so we all have it readily available.

Original post, now with recipe included

Welcome to my first guest post on another blog! Naz, from Cinnamoneats, and I follow each other on Instagram and Facebook and have discovered we have quite a lot in common, aside from both being expats (she’s from Australia) living in the UK and being Paleo bloggers! I love her site and her delicious recipes and interesting posts; so it’s an honour to be featured on her blog today.


Naz originally asked me to share a traditional Spanish dish, but as I don’t have anything planned in the near future, I didn’t want to keep her waiting indefinitely… Therefore I thought something Moroccan would be suitable, as that’s very close to my heart and culinary interests as well. I’ve spoken about my passion about the Maghreb cuisine and how I have a ton of Moroccan cookery books… and this recipe is adapted from one of those books, which I purchased on my last trip to Spain.


Cocina Marroqui, by Ghillie Basan, is a great resource for recipes of tagines and couscous, as well as spice blends and tips on how to prepare delectable Moroccan meals. Ghillie even discusses odd bits about the culture and the people of this colourful country.


(mise en place and the lamb/mouton meat mixture)


(on the left is the base for the tagine; on the right are the vegetables poaching)

Tagines are very easy to make and usually encompass combinations typical of the local cuisine, such as spicy with fragrant or sweet and savoury. In this particular recipe, ras-el-hanout is the star. Once you take your first whiff of this spice blend, you’ll either be totally enchanted or possibly really dislike it (although I doubt that). The combination of spices and edible flowers plus chili and turmeric make it quite unique and aromatic, as well as healthy.

And although lamb is used in this recipe, you could very well make the tagine with beef or a beef/pork combination. It’s a great dish to make ahead and then heat up on the stove top. In fact, the longer you let it sit, the better it tastes as the flavours really permeate into the meat.

You can accompany the dish with some green vegetables or a fluffy “cauliflower couscous”…

Lamb Kefta Tagine with Zucchini

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10
Cook Time: 30


For the Meatballs/Kefta
500g ground lamb
2 small red onions (finely chop 1 1/2 of the onions; julienne the remaining 1/2 onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons Ras-el-Hanout
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
3 cups filtered water

For the vegetables
2 medium zucchini, roughly peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium aubergine, roughly peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Tagine:
1 tablespoon ghee
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small red onion, julienne-style
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 to 2 cups water from cooking the meatballs
coarse sea salt, to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt)
fresh mint leaves, chopped, for garnishing


Mix the ground lamb with the onion, garlic, mint leaves, ras-el-hanout, chili powder, and the sea salt. Mix until everything is well incorporated. Scoop out balls with a measuring tablespoon and with your hands create the meatballs. Set them aside on a platter or clean surface.

In a deep, but wide pan, place about 3 cups of filtered water, over medium heat.¬†When it starts to bubble, carefully add the meatballs. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they¬†cook on all sides and do not stick to the pan or together. (I stir, moving from the bottom of the pot so I¬†don’t break the meatballs.)¬†With a slotted spoon, remove from the water and place on a plate or in a bowl. Set the water aside.

In a large saucepan, over low heat, add the zucchini, olive oil and garlic. Poach uncovered for about 10-12 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the aubergine and cook an additional 7-8 minutes. Stir frequently.

In the meantime, in a tagine (ceramic pot or another saucepan), sauté over low heat the 1/2 julienned onion and the cumin seeds in the ghee and olive oil, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the 1 1/2 cups of water from cooking the meatballs. (Add the remaining water only if necessary.)

Place the meatballs/kefta inside the tagine, along with the poached vegetables. Stir well. Add coarse sea salt, to taste. I used about 1 teaspoon. Cook covered for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then uncovered and cook an additional 12-15 minutes, or until liquid is partially reduced.

Sprinkle with fresh, chopped mint as garnish.

Lamb Tagine with Vegetables, Honey & Dates

If you’re a regular follower of my blog and Facebook page, you will know by now about my passion for Moroccan food. While we were in Spain this past month, I bought a bunch of cookbooks, including a two Moroccan ones. And then my friend Pedro, from Colesterol Sin Fronteras, presented me with a third! So, I have no excuse but to use them, of course…


Perusing through one of them, I came across the idea of a lamp chop and date tagine. But since I had some kale on hand and a few different vegetables than the recipe called for, I came up with my own concoction, which I share with you now.


Lamb Tagine with Vegetables, Honey & Dates
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Moroccan
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Serves 2-3.
  • 600g lamb chops (about 6 smallish chops)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
  • 2 cups kale leaves, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 dates, pitted
  • 4 mushrooms, clean and cut into fourths
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • a few sprigs of saffron
  • 1 stick cinnamon, halved
  • 1 + 1/4 cup filtered water (more if necessary)
  • butter, ghee or oil of choice
  • 1/2 tablespoon raw honey (more or less, to taste, and optional)
  • coarse sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of sesame seeds, raw or roasted (optional)
  • some mint leaves, chopped (optional)
  1. Rinse and and lay to dry on a plate or paper towels the lamb chops. Sprinkle with some sea salt and set aside, while you prepare the vegetables.
  2. In a tagine or other pan over medium heat, melt about 1-2 tablespoons of butter.
  3. Add the lamb chops and brown on both sides, making sure all of the blood is gone.
  4. Remove the lamb chops from the tagine/pan.
  5. In the same tagine/pan over low heat, melt another 1-2 tablespoons of butter.
  6. Add the onions and whole garlic cloves.
  7. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are almost translucent.
  8. Add the rest of the vegetables, turmeric, saffron, cinnamon and 1 cup water (add more water during cooking, if necessary, to not dry out the vegetables completely).
  9. Mix well, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Add the honey and mix well.
  11. Place the lamb chops back into the tagine/pan.
  12. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup (or slightly more if necessary) water over top.
  13. Cover and cook an additional 10-15 minutes (depending on desired tenderness of meat), turning the chops half way through.
  14. Season with sea salt and pepper, if necessary, or leave the seasoning to the individual plates.
  15. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped mint leaves, if desired.
  16. Serve immediately.


Rosemary-Thyme Oven Roasted Leg of Lamb with Vegetables

There’s no special reason for this post, other than that I really wanted to eat lamb and had three legs in the freezer…so it was about time to use one of them. ūüėČ

With all my meals, I try to incorporate a number of vegetables, not just one or two, and I also like to vary what we eat on a daily basis. At our Paleo table, we do eat potatoes, just in moderation and not so frequently. There is not “one fits all” Paleo lifestyle or diet out there, and we should each adapt our nutrition to what works for our body and exercise levels.

We both exercise on a regular basis, so a bit higher carb intake on certain days is not unhealthy for us. Plus, as I balanced it out with more vegetables, this meal was quite complete.

The lamb was delicious, by the way.. cooked to perfection, tender and juicy. Adjust the cooking time depending on your oven and the piece of meat that you use.




  • 2kg fresh leg of lamb (or frozen and thawed)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground rosemary (I eye-balled this and the thyme, but about 1 tablespoon of each, for each side)
  • 2 tablespoons ground thyme
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter
  • sea salt, to taste
  • vegetables (I used white potato, carrots and zucchini)



  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Rinse the lamb and place in an oven proof dish. (I didn’t take any of the fat off, since I wanted to have more juices to cook the vegetables. However, if the leg has too much, cut some off, according to taste.)
  3. Sprinkle the rosemary, thyme and the garlic on both sides. Place the butter on the top side.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, turning over every 1/2 hour, and basting occasionally.
  5. Add the vegetables, depending on what you use and how long they need to be roasted. I used white potatoes, carrots and zucchini. So, I placed them in the last 35-40 minutes of baking.
  6. Bake the lamb an additional 20 minutes on each side, basting and turning the vegetables, as well.




Paleo Lamb Bastila or Pie

I call this dish a “pseudo” bastila, since it’s made with lamb and it has no phyllo dough. It’s probably more aptly called a Moroccan inspired pie… but the concept is that of a traditional Chicken Bastila with the meat and egg sauce filling, roasted almonds and spices.


Yet, however you want to call it, it tastes good and it’s Paleo! I absolutely adore Moroccan and Lebanese cuisine and one of the hardest things since going Paleo is avoiding dishes like this one or the delicious baklava! And although I’m sure a purist would not completely agree with my recipe, this is a keeper for me. Next time, I’ll be making it with chicken (the “proper” way) and maybe changing the crust using a different vegetable, like cauliflower, which is more neutral.

For the carrot crust that I used with this pie, please click here.


A couple of notes: I usually don’t measure my ingredients when making savoury dishes. This recipe is definitely the rule rather than the exception. So, for the spices, adjust according to your taste, especially with the ground cinnamon and ground cumin. There is a traditional Moroccan spice mix, called ras el hanout, which is a blend of spices that is typically used for bastila and other Moroccan dishes, and varies from kitchen to kitchen and even by vendor. The most frequent ingredients found in it are cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, clove, coriander, nutmeg, pepper and turmeric. If you can find ras el hanout, I recommend using it. (Here’s my recipe for this spice blend.)

I decided not to go too crazy on the spices as the lamb meat has a strong flavour and I didn’t want to compete with that. However, when using chicken meat, it’s easier to be more generous with the spice mix.

Additionally, rose water can be added to the roasted almonds, along with the cinnamon. I also opted not to add the rose water since my crust was flavourful enough. If you’re making the “real” bastila with phyllo dough, feel free to add this in, as it does give the dish a unique aroma.



Ingredients, for 4-6

  • 6 mini lamp chops, or about 1 1/2 cups of lamb meat
  • butter
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
  • 1 aubergine, partially peeled and cut into cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • water
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (adjust to taste, as desired though)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (adjust to taste, as desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • a pinch or a sprinkle of ground cardamom
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 2 handfuls of raisins
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • almonds, about 2 handfuls, plus additional ground cinnamon


  1. In a saucepan over medium to low heat, add some butter and brown the lamb chops. Cook until most or all of the blood is gone. Set aside to cool. Once they are cool, cut the meat into small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Wash and prepare the vegetables.
  3. In the same saucepan used to brown the lamb, add a bit more butter and sauté the sweet potato, until almost tender.
  4. Add the celery, aubergine, and garlic and sauté until tender.
  5. Add the meat, the raisins and some water to cover all of it. Add the spices and mix well.
  6. Cook until the meat is fully cooked and the sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add more water as needed, so the sauce stays thick and doesn’t dry out.
  7. Then make a hole in the middle of the mixture and add the beaten eggs. Allow to cook slightly before stirring and scrambling into the rest of the sauce. Cook 2-3 minutes longer and set aside.20130325-153447.jpg
  8. In the meantime, in another saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil, over medium heat, lightly brown the almonds. Set aside and sprinkle with ground cinnamon (about 2 teaspoons). Once the almonds are cool, place them in a food processor or blender and chop roughly.20130325-153458.jpg
  9. Place the meat mixture into the carrot crust and top with the ground almonds.
  10. Bake at 180C (350F) for 25 minutes on the lower rack of the oven to avoid burning. (You can also cover it with some parchment paper if the almonds begin to burn.)


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