Apricot Balls

 Apricot Balls



Apricot Balls

Makes about 30 balls depending on how big or small you make them


400 gm  Dried Apricots
250 gm walnuts
1 can sweetened condensed milk.
Coconut for rolling


In a food processor, process apricots until finely chopped

 Add the walnuts to the apricots and process until finely chopped

With the processor going, pour the sweetened condensed milk through the feed tube

Process until it becomes a smooth paste, (this will be very sticky)

Place mixture into a bowl & chill for about 30 mins

Place coconut into a bowl or plate

Roll apricot mixture into any size balls you like, then roll them into the coconut.

*These can be served straight away, or chill in the fridge until ready to eat.

Any kind of nuts can be used in place of the walnuts, if you don’t like nuts you can use a sweet biscuit, eg: Nice biscuits.


Pastitsio (Rick Stein)




Pastitsio & Salad 

 This is another one of my favourite Rick Stein recipes, a Greek dish called Pastitsio, I make this as often as I can. We usually eat half & freeze the other half in  Chinese take out  containers, or tupperware,  it’s great for one of those days when you just don’t feel like cooking, just remember to take it out the night before & defrost in the fridge. Once defrosted I reheat it in the microwave.


For the meat sauce
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1kg/2¼lb lean minced beef
200ml/7fl oz red wine
400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
10cm/4in piece cinnamon stick
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp dried oregano, Greek if possible
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
3 fresh bay leaves
100ml/3½fl oz water
1½ tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
For the pasta
8 tsp salt
500g/1lb 2oz tubular pasta, such as rigatoni, tubetti or tortiglioni
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
50g/1¾oz Greek kefalotiri cheese or parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp melted butter
10g/½oz fresh white breadcrumbs
For the white sauce
115g/4¼oz butter
115g/4¼oz plain flour
1.2 litres/2 pints whole milk, plus a little extra
½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. For the meat sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan, add the onion, garlic and celery and fry until just beginning to brown. Add the minced beef and fry over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon as it browns.
2. Add the red wine, tomatoes, tomato purée, cinnamon stick, ground cloves, dried and fresh oregano, bay leaves, water, the 1½ teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring now and then, until the sauce has thickened but is still nicely moist.
3. Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaves.
4. For the pasta, bring 4.5 litres/8 pints water to the boil in a large saucepan with the eight teaspoons salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 13 minutes, but take care not to overcook as it will cook a little further in the oven. Drain well, transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool slightly.
5. For the white sauce, melt the butter in a medium-sized non-stick saucepan, add the flour and cook, stirring, over a medium heat, for one minute. Gradually beat in the milk, then bring to the boil, stirring. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Season with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper to taste.
7. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Stir 250ml/9fl oz (about one-fifth) of the white sauce into the warm pasta with the beaten eggs and half the grated cheese. Keep the remaining sauce warm over a low heat, stirring now and then and adding more milk if it begins to get a little thick.
8. Use the melted butter to grease a large, shallow ovenproof dish that measures about 23cm x 33cm (9in x 13in) across and 7cm (2½in) deep. Spread one-third of the pasta over the base of the dish and cover with half the meat sauce.
9. Add another third of the pasta and then the rest of the meat sauce, then cover with a final layer of pasta. Spoon over the remaining white sauce.
10. Mix the remaining grated cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the top. Bake for 40 minutes until bubbling hot and golden brown.
11. Serve with a green salad, crusty bread and a gusty red wine.

Spaghetti with a Chicken, Mushroom & Cream Sauce



Spaghetti with a Chicken, Mushroom & Cream SauceIngredients:

1 packet spaghetti, or any pasta you like

Olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1kg chicken thigh fillets, sliced into small pieces

300g button mushrooms, sliced

Salt & pepper

300ml bottle of cream

¼ cup parsley, chopped

Parmesan cheese, as much as you like



Cook pasta according to packet instructions

Place a large pan over a low to medium  heat,  add enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan, add the chopped onion and cook for about 5 mins or until softened.

Add the garlic to the onions and cook for about 30 secs

Add sliced  chicken to onion & garlic & stir chicken until slightly golden,  about 5 mins

Stir in the sliced mushrooms, salt & pepper to taste, stir until mushrooms have softened a little

Pour in the cream & stir to combine all the ingredients, bring to a simmer, simmer covered for about 15 mins, stirring every now and again. When the  chicken is cooked through  stir in the chopped parsley

Add the cooked spaghetti & mix until the spaghetti is coated with the cream sauce

Top with grated parmesan cheese

Serves 4-6

Steak & Kidney Pudding

I got this recipe from Andrew & Gillian from the UK Boggers Association,  http://www.ukfba.co.uk/ . I had never made steak & kidney pudding before & really wanted to try it, well I did, & I have to say it doesn’t look pretty but boy was it yummy, my husband had been asking for it, I wasn’t too keen, but once I had a taste I was sold.  I couldn’t find any suet, so I bought a suet pastry mix & followed directions on packet,  Here it is.


Steak & Kidney  Pudding 

The classic steak and kidney pudding has been messed around with quite a bit, i guess to economise.However, this is a theme on a classic recipe that i have used many times. It is simple and magnificent
Pudding mix
500g flour
500g beef suet
7floz cold water
a good pinch of salt

Steak & kidney filling
500g lean steak, (chuck, blade, braising)
500g ox kidney (removed of connective tissue)
1 finely diced onion
pinch of mace
plenty milled black pepper
Lots and lots of freshly chopped parsley preferably curly not flat

Place meat,kidneys and seasonings in a bowl mix thoroughly before adding enough flour to coat everything.
Line your pudding bowl with the suet pastry leaving an overlap at top.
Fill bowl with the pudding mix and add water, enough to almost cover ingredients.
Now trim the top and moisten edges. Lay on the lid and gently crimp together.
Cover with a buttered cartouche followed by a damp cloth and tie with butchers string.
cook in a covered pot of boiling water for three to 4 hours. Topping up when necessary

Lamb & Spinach Curry (Rick Stein)

Mumrez Khan’s Lamb and Spinach Karahi curry recipe from the Karachi Restaurant in Neal Street, Bradford.

 Lamb & Spinach Curry

I’ve never been a fan of curries, but when I watched Rick Stein make this one I had to give it a go. I made it exactly as the recipe is written, but I found it way too hot with the green chillies, so the next time I made it I left them out, I also reduced the chilli powder to ½ a tablespoon, it still has a kick to it, but if you like your curry really hot then follow the recipe as it is. I’ve made a few curries in the past because my husband loves them, but so far nothing can beat this one. It takes a good couple of hours to make, but it’s well worth the effort.

Serves 4

The Ingredients

250g (9oz) Ghee

550g (1 1/4lb) Onions Chopped

1 x 400g (140z) Can Chopped Tomatoes

120ml (4fl oz) water

50g (2oz) Fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped

65g (2 1/2oz) Garlic

900g (2lb) Boneless leg or shoulder of Lamb (1½ in) cubes

1 tablespoon Salt

1 tablespoon Ground Turmeric

1 tablespoon Red Chilli Powder

1 tablespoon Paprika

1 tablespoon Ground Coriander

350g (12oz) Fresh baby Spinach

4 medium sized Green Chillies with stalks removed

3 tablespoons Fresh Coriander (chopped)

½ tablespoon Garam Masala

A pinch of ground cumin and freshly ground black pepper to serve

1 tablespoon Ground Cumin

How to Cook

1. Heat the ghee in a large, heavy based pan. Add the onions and cook over a medium heat, stirring now and then, for 20 minutes until they are soft and a light brown

2. Put the tomatoes, water, ginger and garlic into a liquidizer and blend until smooth. Remove the fried onions with a slotted spoon, add them to the paste and blend briefly until smooth.

3. Return the puree to the ghee left in the pan and add the lamb and salt. Simmer for 30 minutes, by which time the lamb will be half cooked and the sauce will be well reduced. Stir in the turmeric, chilli powder, cumin, paprika and ground coriander and continue to cook for 30-45 minutes for shoulder or 45-1 hour for leg, until the lamb is tender, adding a little water now and then if the sauce starts to stick.

4. Meanwhile, put 175g (6oz) of the spinach leaves into a large pan and cook until it has wilted down into the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 minute, then transfer to the rinsed out liquidizer and blend to a smooth puree. Set aside. Rinse out the liquidiser again and add the green chillies and 2-3 tablespoons of water and blend until smooth. Set aside.

5. When the lamb is cooked, there should be a layer of ghee floating on the top of the curry. You can either skim it off or leave it there, whichever you prefer. Then stir in the spinach puree and the remaining spinach leaves and cook for 2 minutes.

6. Now taste the curry and add as much green chilli puree as you wish, according to how hot you like your curries . Simmer for 2 minutes more.

7. Stir in the fresh coriander and Garam Masala. Transfer the curry to a serving dish and sprinkle with a little more ground cumin and some freshly ground black pepper just before you take it to the table.

Serve with your choice of rice, Naan breads, poppadoms and whatever else you can cram in.