recipes for healthy living

Tag: indian

Spiced Lamb and Beans with punchpooran

Spiced Leg of Lamb with Potatoes Boulangere, Green Beans with Punchpooran

This is a very popular recipe in our house and one i love doing when we have people coming over. It is easy too, so I don’t have to be slaving away in the kitchen when people arrive.   This is family food at its best.-


Serves 5-6

1 leg or shoulder of lamb

2 cloves of garlic peeled and roughly chopped

1 shallot roughly shopped

2 tbsp of garam masala spice mix

2-3 tbsp coconut or olive oil

8 medium white potatoes or a mix of white and sweet potatoes

400ml vegetable stock

2tsp fresh thyme chopped


Oven at 200C

Peel the potatoes and thinly slice

Layer the potatoes, seasoning well as you go in a roasting tin big enough to hold the leg of lamb. Sprinkle over the chopped thyme.

Splash the stock over the potatoes.

Add the oil garlic shallot and spices to a blender and blend to a rough paste.

Pierce the lamb and lay out on a board and spread the paste over both sides.

Season well with salt and pepper.

Lay the lamb on top of the potatoes and cover the pan with foil and roast for 20 mins per lb and 20 minutes over for medium.  After about an hour, remove the oil and press the potatoes down to ensure they are still in the stock. Replace the foil lid and continue to cook.

If you want to slow roast it then turn the oven down to 150C and roast for about 4-4/12 hours until the lamb is falling off the bone.

Remove the lamb to a warm plate, cover and let rest. Keep the potatoes warm in the oven while you prepare the beans below.

Green Beans with punchpooran


This is a whole mixed spice blend of cumin fennel mustard nigella and fenugreek seeds. If you can’t get this, substitute with equal quantities (1/4 tsp) of each of the above.  It is delicious addition to the green beans.

500gr green beans, washed and trimmed

1 tbsp punchpooran

Zest and juice of ½ lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

Blanch the green beans for 3 minutes, plunge into ice cold water and drain then set aside.

Toast the punchpooran on a hot pan until the aromas release then tip into a bowl and let cool

Add the lemon zest, juice, olive oil and mix to combine

When ready to serve add 2 tbsp hot water to a frying pan and tip in the beans to reheat.

Add to your serving bowl and drizzle over the dressing

Spinach and Chickpeas



This is such a delicious tasty and filling dish perfect for Autumn. Easy and quick to prepare it is the perfect vegetarian meal if you aren’t a meat eater or pair with fish or chicken if you wish. I always keep frozen spinach in the freezer and it is perfect for this dish, you don’t even have to defrost, simply stir in for the last 5 minutes. This dish is a super meal with protein carbs and good fats and would be perfect for a large family gathering as you can easily double up and make ahead without adding the spinach, then simply reheat and add the spinach as below.

Spinach and Chickpeas

Serves 4 hungry or 6 as a side

1 white onion peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic peeled chopped and mashed
1 thumb size piece of ginger peeled and chopped finely
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp each of turmeric, ground cuimin and coriander
1 400ml tin coconut milk
2 medium tins of chickpeas drained and rinsed
200gr frozen spinach
2 tbsp oil
Salt to season

Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the onion until softened but not coloured
Add the ginger and garlic and cook out for about 5 minutes
Dont be afraid to add a splash of water if it looks too dry
Stir in the tomato puree and spices and cook for about 2 minutes
Then add the drained chickpeas and coconut milk, season well and cook for
about 10 minutes until the flavours are well developed.
Taste and be sure to add some more salt if you think it needs it.
Just before serving, add in the frozen spinach and stir through and cook for about 5 minutes.
If you have some fresh coriander, sprinkle this on top.







Chickpea Cakes & Mango Relish

OO&L Chickpea Cakes & Mango Relish

I’m neither vegan or vegetarian and even if I was convinced that there were benefits to that kind of a diet (which I’m not) it flat out wouldn’t work in my house and for those of you who know my other half, you know why. But occasionally I do like to have a meat free meal which these are great for or as a starter if you are having a big group over. Just make a big platter of these with lots of salsas and other dips and they make for a perfect informal gathering. Other pulses will work just as well for these – I’m thinking kidney beans or others like them. Just check in the back of the press you know there is a tin lying around in there – now you know what to do with it 🙂

Makes 8 small cakes
250gr Tin chickpeas
2 tbsp toasted coconut
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tsp Nigella seeds
2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper

Blend chickpeas with nigella seeds and chilli powders
Add the coconut, coriander, ginger, breadcrumbs, salt and peppers
Shape into small cakes about 4cm wide 1 cm deep.
If the mix seems dry then add a little water
Put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill before frying
Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan and fry until crisp brown on both sides
Side hot with salad and the relish

Mango and Ginger Relish
1 red onion
1 large red chilli
2 tbsp olive oil
t tsp grated ginger
1 ripe mango
2 ripe tomatoes
t tbsp distilled malt vinegar

Peel and dice the onion
De-seed and finely chop the chilli
Heat oil in a small saucepan, add onion ginger and chilli and gently fry for 10 minutes until the onion is softened.
Peel and chop roughly the mango and tomatoes
Add to the onion mixture, stir once, add vinegar and 1 tbsp water
Season , Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes
Leave to cool and serve with the chickpea cakes.

Sweet Potato Crescents

Indian Sweet Potato Crescents

Indian Style Sweet Potato Crescents

I used always love January as a month, a preparation month, getting the house spring cleaned, clearing the garden of the winter debris (ready for more winter debris), buying new notebooks for work and generally planning the year ahead around holidays and trips to be taken. Those of you who know me, will know the devastation that occurred in January nearly 14 years ago, when my beloved first husband died very suddenly, very young, on a skiing holiday. I spend a long long time wondering how life could have been so cruel and how I was still alive while feeling such pain, until gradually the light came back into my life and I found that not only had I the strength to go on, but also had found joy again, starting with small things like time with friends and family and ending up to where I am now, with new loves in my life.
So, while January still holds some sadness for me, tinged with lovely memories, I find I still have the need to spring clean and prepare for the year ahead. Cooking and baking always saved me during sad times and now is such a part of my life that it’s what I do when I need some time – like a little meditation almost, emerging refreshed and usually with decent food after a good session in the kitchen. These were the product of yesterday after a session in the kitchen, inspired by a recipe for Empanadas I have for about 20 years but done Indian style.

Spicy Sweet Potato Crescents with Raita
Makes 25

For the pastry
200gr chickpea (gram flour)
100gr juwar flour
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cuimin
1 tsp salt
200ml water
50 ml rapeseed / coconut oil

Oven at 170C
For the filling
200gr peeled and cubed sweet potatoes – steamed until tender
1 small red pepper diced finely
1 red chilli diced finely (seeds in if you wish)
2 cloves garlic, chopped and mashed
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Salt and pepper to season

Spoon the flours and spices into a bowl.
Make a well in the centre, add the oil and most of the water.
Bring together with a knife until it forms a not too wet dough
Turn out onto a floured surface, bring together with a knead or 2 and wrap in cling and into the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat some oil over a medium heat and tip in the garlic, pepper and chilli and cook until softened.
Add the cooked sweet potato and fry gently until incorporated.
Tip into a bowl, add the coriander, season well and leave to cool.

Roll out the pastry thinly
Using a 4” ring cut out circles of pastry
Fill with a heaped tsp of filling and fold in half and crimp the edges together.
Wash with egg or milk before baking on parchment for about 15 minutes.
Serve warm with Raita or other dip of choice.

Chicken and cashew nut curry….

IMG_2221.JPGI have this recipe so long but had forgotten about it until the other evening. My sister asked me for a curry without coconut milk as she is not a fan and I remembered this one. I love making curry’s and usually my take has more of a Thai bent with lots of coconut milk, fish sauce etc. This one for a change, has no coconut milk, its sauce is based on nuts blended to make a paste, diluted with water and topped with lots of fresh chopped coriander, green chillies and more nuts making a really lovely dish.  You should leave in the seeds in the chilli you blend but if you prefer it a bit milder, leave them out. I make it with a whole chicken which I butcher into 8 pieces and make a stock with the carcass for a soup or another dish. The cooking time is the only thing that takes a while with this dish; the paste can be ready in a few minutes. When I dished this up this evening, I was asked ‘Where are the quinoa wraps, I need something to dip in the sauce’…. Sadly I had forgotten to take them out of the freezer so we had to make do with a little rice on the side, still really nice though!

Serves 4 hungry people
1 chicken butchered into 8 pieces (or you can buy the pieces you wish to use)
30gr ginger peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
2 green chillies
2 tsp turmeric
150gr unsalted cashews
3 tablespoons ghee or oil
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 cloves
3-4 black peppercorns
2 medium onions
120gr natural yoghurt
1 bunch fresh coriander chopped
Salt and Pepper

Place ginger and garlic in a blender with 125ml water, one green chilli (deseeded unless you are really brave), the turmeric and half of the cashew nuts.
In a small pan with just a drizzle of ghee or vegetable oil, fry the coriander seeds, cloves and the black peppercorns until they start to pop.
Add the seeds to the blender and blitz everything until smooth. Set aside
Season the chicken and fry in a little ghee or oil until caramelised and lovely and golden. Remember to not move them around too muuch – let them get lovely and caramelized. Dont overload then pan either or they will just steam – if you are in a hurry do the 8 pieces in 2 pans.
Remove and drain when brown.
Fry the onions in the same pan until lightly coloured. Place chicken back in the pan, season with salt, add the spice paste and pour in 225mls water, bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer.
Cover with a lid and cook for 45 minutes turning occasionally until the chicken is cooked.
Just before serving pour in the yoghurt and simmer gently for a further 3 minutes
Meanwhile roast the remaining nuts.
Slice the second chilli and sprinkle the nuts, coriander, and remaining chilli over the chicken.
Serve at once as is with my superwraps if you have them!

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