Tag Archives: Meat

When you ask people to name some famous British chefs most of them will come up with Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey and Nigella Lawson. Not me though… No I am madly and deeply in love with the cooking of Rick Stein. Rick and I had some great times in front of my TV. I sailed the canal du Midi with him, I ate dumplings with him in Phuket and I followed him around the Mediterranean. And that is still my favorit..his Mediterranean escape. I loved the show with that typical cuisine and the lovely views. I soaked in all his tips and one moment I thought I was going delusional in front of my tv cause I could almost smell the sea! I was overcome with joy when I finnaly got my hands on the Mediterranean escape cookbook. The first recipe I tried from it was this lovely kefta Mkaouara or a spicy egg, meatball and tomato tagine.
But although I love Rick Stein and everything he does I need to tell you how happy I was with the adjustments I made to the recipe. Without the extra spices I used I think the flavour would have been kind of bland. The husband and I agreed that his recipe could never be “spicy” like the title mentioned. I wrote my added spices in the cookbook and I saw the husband smile. All my cookbooks are tweaked with little notes in the sides to make recipes “more us”.


3 tablespoons of olive oil
4 medium sized eggs
a small handful fresh coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
450 grams minced lamb
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of hot paprika (I used some dried Harissa herbs I bought in Tunesia for this)
2 tablespoons of raz el hanout
1 medium onion, finely chopped
800 grams of canned chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves crushed

 Start with preheating your oven at 200 degrees.

Now for the meatballs put the minced lamb, parsley, 1 teaspoon of cumin, ½ teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper into a bowl and mix together well with your hands. When all is mingled together well form the meat into small balls. (Approximately 2,5 cm)

 Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a shallow tagine or a frying pan and brown the meatballs briefly on all sides. You don’t need to cook them through, they just need to get a lovely golden crust.  Remove the balls from the pan and transfer them to a plate.

 Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the onion to it. Cook it very gently for about 5 minutes until soft and tender. Now add the canned tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of cumin, ½ teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of pepper, the garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons of raz el hanout to the pan. Let this simmer gently for 20 minutes. Season with some salt to your liking.

Now return the meatballs to the pan and mix them together with the sauce. If you don’t have a tagine now is the time to transfer the mixture into a shallow oven dish. Make 4 slight dips into the mixture en break the eggs into each one. Now place the tagine or the oven dish in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the eggs or cooked.

Scatter with the chopped coriander and serve with some couscous like we did or some lovely Moroccan bread to dip into the sauce.

Recipe adapted from Rick Steins Med. Escape


Good old chilli con carne according to Jamie

There are few things I don’t really like in life. One of them is wasps, another one is dirty underwear and I certainly must not forget beans. I don’t like beans. Don’t get me wrong.. I ll eat them when they are on my plate. And over the years I did eat some delicious beans, but I wont make it for myself if I don’t need to. The problem is that my dearly beloved husband has a thing for beans. One of his favourite dishes is chilli con carne.
I don’t eat chilli con carne. To many beans and to much corn, another thing I am not to found of. Sometimes my mother in law makes some extra portions for her eldest son and we freeze it, so he can have some when I am not around the house. Only problem his, the husband is not really keen on his mothers chilli con carne. So for the love of my husband I crossed my boundaries and I made chilli con carne. Not just any chilli con carne, but “good old chilli con carne” from the ministry of food cookbook from Jamie Oliver. There are few things in life I really like, one of them is Jamie. And so everybody was happy. The hubby loved the chilli and thought it was better then his moms. I got to cook a recipe from Jamie and I saw my husband happy. What else isn’t there to like?


2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 red peppers
olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 heaped teaspoon of grounded cumin
1 heaped teaspoon of grounded cinnamon
sea salt and black pepper
400 grams of tinned chickpeas
400 grams of tinned red kidney beans
400 grams of chopped tomatoes
500 grams of minced meat
1 small bunch of fresh coriander
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Start of with peeling and finely chopping the onions, the garlic, the carrots and the celery. Deseed the red peppers and chop them up roughly.
Don’t forget chilli con carne is a rough dish, so no need to be very careful while chopping. Rustic pieces wont ruin the dish, it will just make it more authentic.
Add two tablespoons of olive all to a casserole and put it on a medium high heat.
When the oil is hot add all the chopped vegetables at once.
Now season it with the chilli flakes, the cumin and the cinnamon and end it with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Stir every 30 seconds for about 7 minutes until the vegetables are slightly softened and lightly coloured.
Poor in the drained chickpeas, red kidney beans and the tomatoes. Stir it all together and let it simmer for about a minute.
Then add the minced meat, breaking the larger chunks up with a wooden spoon.
Fill one of the empty tomato tins with water and poor this into the pan.
Slice the stalks of the coriander and finely slice them before adding them to the pan.
Now add the balsamic vinegar and a little bit of salt and pepper again.
Bring this all to the boil, when it starts boiling turn down the heat and let it simmer with a lid slightly askew for about an hour, stirring the stew every now and than.
When the hour has almost past, taste and season it a little extra to flavour.

The husband ate the chilli with some tortillas, sour cream and cheddar grated on top of it.


Its beginning to look a lot like spring time! With temperatures around 17 degrees I even start to dream of summer.
This week I was able to drink a glass of rose while I was chatting with a friend on the phone while wearing a T-shirt and sitting in my garden looking at the daffodils.
We went for an evening walk in our town and I did not have to whine that I was cold once.
That little bit of sun and warmth was just in time, because I was really tired of that never ending snowy winter. At the beginning of winter I am always over the top with joy because its time for delicious stews and heart warming pans full of fat meat to get us trough winter. But after a while I start to long for those light, flavourful sunny dishes that resemble the summer in my kitchen.
The husband came home with the idea to make a fresh paella. The last paella I actually made myself is dated back in 1999 when I spend my summer in Andalusia and the entertainment guys from the hotel seduced me into some outdoor cooking by the pool. The chef of the hotel gave me some wonderful tips on how to cook an authentic Andalusian paella… but time has erased them from my memory.
Paella brings back such a warm memories to me. It makes me remember the lunch breaks I had with my friend Karen on the grass by the museum of classic arts when she brought left over paella and we had it cold with just some bread.
It takes me back to a vacation from hell the hubby and I had in Mallorca when we were still dating. The hotel came out of a horror movie, the area was full of drunk and high teenagers and the food was just horrible. Luckily we found a little restaurant 30 minutes away from our hotel that served a killer paella. (It was also the only thing that little restaurant served.) 7 nights in a row we walked down there to indulge ourselves in their lovely paella. The chef even felt sorry for us and tried to serve us a different paella everyday. We enjoyed it all… it were wonderful night on the terrace of that little restaurant, just the two of us, the candles and the paella.


200 grams of paella rice ( I used arroz bomba from the brand La fallera)
200 grams of mixed fruits de me (I used mussels, cuttlefish and various clams.)
1 chicken breast
6 chicken wings
10 large prawns
100 grams hot chorizo
4 gloves of garlic
1 onion
1 red bell pepper cut into fine stripes
125 grams of pealed chopped tomatos
100 grams of peas
8 tablespoons of olive oil
500 ml of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of paella herb mix
1 teaspoon of cayennepepper
1 lemon

Wash the mussels and the clams with cold water.
Boil them till they are nearly done. (Don’t cook them all the way trough, cause they ll go into the paella and will be cooked a little more.)
Now heat a little bit of olive oil into the paella pan and bake the chicken cubes and the chicken wings shortly. They just need to get a little color.
Take the chicken out and throw in the cuttlefish and the shrimps. Again, cook them quick and set them aside together with the chicken.
Now heat the rest of the olive oil in the paella pan. When the oil is hot add the finely chopped onion and garlic. When the onion is nearly cooked at the bell pepper and stir fry for about 5 minutes.
Now its time to add the chorizo cubes, the tomato and the peas. Season this with the cayenne pepper and the paella herb mix. Give it a good swirl with a wooden spoon so all the flavours combine.
Now add the rice to the pan and poor in some chicken stock. The rice should be just under the stock, so don’t add to much stock at once.
Turn the fire down to medium low heat and let this simmer for about 15 minutes. Check it regularly so your rice does not burn.
After 15 minutes place the chicken cubes and the fruits de mer on top of the rice. Try to mix them in, without stirring the rice. Now add some more stock and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Depending on what rice you are using it might be necessary to add more or less stock.
After 10 minutes it is time to place the large shrimps and the chicken wings on top of the rice. If necessary poor in a little more stock and cover the paella with a piece of newspaper or some aluminium foil. Let this simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Just before serving decorate your paella with the lemon and if you like some finely chopped parsley.

Mezze for the meat eaters!

And we keep on going with our greek mezze challenge. A few days ago I placed the spotlight on the delicious veggie possibilities that mezze have to offer. For my herbivore friends I served grilled halloumi and falafel together with some wonderful spreads and dips. Today I want to go the carnivore way and share with you some typical Greek fish and meat platters that I served at my mezze party.
Greece always brings back sweet memories of vacations in the years past. Lunch at a little tavern by the beach where the fisherman brought the squids from the sea straight to the kitchen. I remember them throwing the fishes against the rocks to tenderize the meat. 10 minutes later that same fish played the head part in our delicious salad!
Or should I tell you about the long walks we made in the medieval town of rhodos where the aroma of charcoal, grilled meats and exquisite herb bouquets filled our noses and made our tummies grumble.

Yes, they sure know how to use spices and herbs around the Mediterranean. As good as on those hot, southern night my ribs will never taste, but they come pretty damn close!
350 grams squid (I used fresh clean squid from the fishshop, but you can also use frozen squid.)
150 grams all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of black pepper
2 tablespoons of paprika powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
vegetable oil for frying (You can also use your deep fryer but your oil will get heavy polluted.)

2 racks op ribs
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of lime zeste
1 tablespoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of grouned bay
1 teaspoon of dry oregano
1 teaspoon of dry thyme
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of paprika powder
2 tablespons of Greek honey

Large cleaned shrimps ( 4à 5 shrimps p.p)
2 tablespoon of Raz El Hanout
1 teaspoon harissa herbs (This is not the shop bought ready to use Harissa. That is Harissa paste. These are dried herbs to make the paste yourself. I bought mine in Tunisia, but I also found them at my local Moroccan grocery store. If you cant find any replace them by some hot paprika powder.)
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of dried mint
pepper and salt
fresh chopped cilantro
a hint of lemon zest
olive oil

500 grams minced lamb meat
fresh chopped cilantro
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of raz el hanout
1 teaspoon of dried mint
1 teaspoon of dried cloves
a hint of cinnamon powder
Peper and salt
Olive oil


I bought fresh squid at my local fish shop. Ask the fisherman to clean the squid for you! It saves you a lot of time and the quest to find the ink inside of the fish!
Cut the tubes into rings and cut the tentacles into little pieces. If you don’t like to use the tentacles, just throw them out and only use the tubes! Pat the squid dry with a kitchen towel

Now mix in a bowl the flour, the pepper, the paprika powder and the garlic powder.
Heat the oil on the fire.
When the oil is hot (This is the secret of a good calamari fritti, the oil needs to be searing hot!) you dip your squid into the flour mixture and fry it in about 3 minutes golden brown.
Now season the calamari with some sea salt and serve with some lemon wedges.

Greek Ribs

Mix in a small bowl (or do as I did and use one of those very handy zip lock bags. It saves you a lot of dishes and its easy to shake the marinated around.)  the garlic powder, de lemon zest, de pepper, the grounded bay, the oregano, the thyme, the salt, the paprika powder and the honey. Mix this all together till you get a sticky marinade. Now toss the ribs into the marinade and shake until the ribs are fully covered with your wonderful rub.
Place the ribs into the refrigerator for 4 hours at least, but the best is to keep them there for about 12 hours.
Take the ribs out 30 minutes in advance so they can come back to room temperature before cooking them. Preheat the oven at 175°.
Now put the ribs on some aluminum foil or use a trow away baking tray and cover the ribs with some aluminum foil.
Cook for about 30 minutes in an oven at 175°, then lower the head to 150° and cook for another 30 minutes, but now without the foil on top.
Keep an eye on the ribs so they don’t get scourged.

Arab Shrimps

Mix in a bowl (or use a zip lock bag again.) the raz el hanout, the harissa spices, the cumin, the dried mint, the pepper, the salt, the lemon zest and the finely chopped cilantro.
Now pop in the scampi and shake so that the marinade is all around the shrimps.
Toss this into the refrigerator overnight so the shrimps can soak in all those lovely flavours.
The next day you put the shrimps on wooden pins and grill them in the pan or on the BBQ.


A very simple dish but a true flavour bomb! I serve it very regularly at home with some seven vegetables couscous and in summer they are a very regular guest at bbq-parties.
Just mix the minced lamb meat with the herbs and the fresh cilantro.
Roll little balls of them and put them on wooden pins.
Drizzle with some good quality olive oil and just put them in de refrigerator overnight.
The next they you only need to grill them in the pan or on the bbq!