Ofada stew with Shaki and Stock fish – Weekend Recipe

Ofada Rice and stew is a Nigerian meal native to the Yorubas but in recent times, everyone, especially those living in Lagos and its environs has been influenced by the Ofada Rice.

Ingredients for Ofada Stew

  1. 40 pcs unripe habanero peppers (atarodo, ose oyibo, atarugu)
    Note: Ofada stew is very very hot and spicy.
  2. Green tatashe peppers or green bell peppers
  3. 1 locust bean seasoning (Iru, ogiri okpei or dawadawa)
  4. 20cl red palm oil (at least)1 big onion
  5. 1 handful crayfish
  6. 850g assorted meat and fish. Which can include: Beef
  7. Shaki (cow tripe)
  8. Dry fish
  9. Stock fish

Ofada Stew Prep

  1. Wash and blend the peppers and the onion. Remember to remove the seeds from the green tatashe or the green bell peppers.
  2. Grind the crayfish and the locust bean seasoning with a dry mill.

Cooking Procedures 

  1. Cook all the meat and fish with the stock cube till tender.
  2. Pour the pepper blend into a separate pot and cook on high heat till all the water dries up.
  3. Pour the red palm oil into a clean dry pot and bleach till it turns clear. It should look like vegetable oil when done. Bleach on a low heat for atleast 10mins or more depending on your type of heater and the quantity of oil.
  4. Leave the oil to cool down a bit then add the boiled pepper puree. Fry till all the water has dried from the pepper.
  5. Add the crayfish and locust bean seasoning, the meat and fish and stir well.
  6. Add salt to taste, leave to simmer and it is ready to be served.

Serve with boiled Ofada Rice. 

Tips for bleaching red palm oil

Bleach the palm oil with a clean dry stainless steel pot. Aluminium pots work well too. Never use non-stick pots or enamel pots when bleaching red palm oil.

If possible, use a free flowing pure red palm oil. The congealed almost yellow ones contain some water.

Use low heat when bleaching the oil. This ensures that the oil is not very dark when done.

Do so in a well ventilated area. Turn on your kitchen extractor to remove the smoke as much as possible or leave your kitchen windows open. 

Do not leave the pot unattended because the oil will catch fire if overheated. Check it constantly and turn off the heat once the bleaching is complete.

Do allow the oil to cool down a bit before adding the ingredients. This will prevent hot splashes of oil and will keep your food from burning due to the high temperatures.

Nsala soup with catfish – Weekend recipe

Ofe Nsala is one of the fastest and easiest Igbo Soup to prepare and it’s also called the White Soup.

Nsala soup is prepared with pieces of yam, ogiri, utazi leaves and any of fish, chicken or liver. The soup originates from the Eastern part of Nigeria. A major ingredient of Nsala Soup is the cat fish which gives the soup a unique taste. Some times most people choose meat also, like chicken or cow liver to give them different tastes.


  • 1 big Catfish
  • 8 small pieces white yam
  • 5 Utazi leaves
  • 2 small seasoning cubes
  • Small piece of ogiri okpei
  • A handful crayfish
  • Habanero pepper (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)


  1. Kill and cut it up the Catfish if you purchased the live one. Then pour hot water on the pieces of fish to remove the slime on the fish as well as toughen them. You want to toughen the catfish so it does not disintegrate in the soup. 
  2. Quickly rinse off the slime with cool water and place the fish in the cooking pot.
  3. Peel the yam and cut into medium pieces.
  4. Chop the utazi and pound in a mortar with the pepper, ogiri okpei and crayfish. Just give them a rough pound. Same with if you are using a blender.
  5. Procedure for making the Ofe Nsala (Nsala Soup)1,Add the seasoning cubes (crushed) to the pot of fish.
  6. Add the pieces of yam.
  7. Pour water to cover everything and start cooking.
  8. When the yam is soft and moist, bring them out and place in a mortar.
  9. Add the pounded crayfish, pepper, ogiri okpei and utazi into the pot of fish and continue cooking.
  10. Pound the cooked yam in a mortar till smooth and stretchy.
  11. Add the yam into the pot of Ofe Nsala in small lumps, cover and continue cooking.
  12. Once the yam dissolves and thickens the soup, it is done. If you achieve medium consistency before all the yam is dissolved, take out the undissolved yam because you do not want the Ofe Nsala to be too thick.
  13. Add salt if necessary, stir very well and Ofe Nsala is ready for devouring. 

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This vegetarian stew is very adaptable: Use any potato that will hold up in the soup.Credit...David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Yam and plantain curry with crispy shallots

This vegetarian stew is very adaptable: Use any potato that will hold up in the soup.Credit...David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.
This vegetarian stew is very adaptable: Use any potato that will hold up in the soup.Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Regional versions of asaro are served all year round across the south of Nigeria and in other parts of West Africa. Traditionally, the dish is made with the West African yam, but you can also use white or purple taro root or unripe plantains. Here, firm, green plantains are combined with white yams in a sauce rich with caramelized shallots, garlic and ginger.

There is a slight but welcome heat from a single red habanero dropped in whole to infuse the stew. Coconut milk and an optional spoonful of red palm oil — a floral, slightly smoky oil that is pressed from the fruit of oil palm trees — round out the flavors, and hearty greens cut the richness. Serve topped with crunchy shallots, fresh herbs and a wedge of lime.

  • YIELD: 4 to 6 servings
  • TIME: 50 minutes


  • ¼ cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  • 4 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  •  Kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 (2- to 3-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 whole red habanero or Scotch bonnet chile, pierced all over with a knife
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 ½ pounds white or orange yams, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 green (unripe) plantains (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon red palm oil (optional)
  • 4 cups julienned hearty greens, such as dandelion greens, collards or lacinato kale, tough stems removed
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges for squeezing


  1. Heat a medium pot, large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium. Pour in the neutral oil, add the sliced shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are caramelized and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove shallots from the oil and allow to drain on paper towels or a cooling rack. Season with salt and set aside.
  2. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil out of the pot. (Reserve extra oil for another use.) Over medium-low heat, add the garlic, ginger and turmeric to the pot and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 2 minutes or until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Drop in the chile and add the whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, crushing the whole tomatoes with your hands as they go in. Stir to combine ingredients and dissolve the tomato paste, then add 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Once boiling, season with salt, reduce heat to medium, add the yams and simmer until the yams are just beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the plantains and cook until both are tender but hold their shape, and the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, 15 to 18 minutes.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and red palm oil, if using, season with more salt and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the greens and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. To serve, remove and discard the cooked chile. Ladle the curry into bowls, top with the caramelized shallots, a scattering of basil and cilantro, and several squeezes of lime juice.

Have you cooked this? Please leave us a comment below.

Simple barbecue sauce recipe

  • YIELD: About 1 1/2 cups
  • TIME: 10 minutes

Smoked paprika is the secret weapon in this simple barbecue sauce, which goes beautifully with pork and chicken. If you’re painting the sauce onto cooking meat, thin it out with water to about a one-to-one ratio, which will keep the sugars from burning too quickly over the fire. Serve the full-strength stuff alongside the finished meat.


  •  cup ketchup
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes.

Recipe for smoky rice noodle salad

David Atherton’s smoky rice noodle salad. Photograph: David Atherton

Smoking has been used to preserve food since ancient times. Today it is also used to add extra flavour to food – and I love it. I stumbled across the idea of using lapsang souchong tea to create smoked noodles and there is no going back for me. This recipe is fresh, quick, easy, and smoky. You can use what you have in your cupboard – it’s a great time to experiment. I eat this noodle salad for lunch, but if you want to make it for dinner you can quickly pan-fry fish or tofu with soy sauce to make it more substantial.

Serves 2

For the dressing
50ml vinegar (rice, white wine or cid
er etc)
40g something sweet (honey, syrup
 or sugar)
30g nut butter (peanut, almond or cashew etc)
5ml hot sauce (chilli, sriracha or peri peri)
1 tsp salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
30ml sesame oil
10ml soy sauce

For the noodles
1 carrot
½ cucumber
1 mango
30g herbs (coriander/mint/basil)
Roasted and salted peanuts
lapsang souchong tea bags
rice noodles

Start by adding all the dressing ingredients to a jar and shaking it. Put aside.

Prepare the vegetables. Peel the carrot into ribbons, cut the cucumber and mango into batons, roughly chop the herbs and smash the peanuts in a pestle and mortar. Toss all of these together in a large bowl.

Boil 500ml of water in a medium saucepan with the lapsang souchong tea bags. Once they have stewed for five minutes, remove the tea bags and add the noodles, simmer for one minute, then allow to sit for three minutes. Take two tablespoons of the water and add to the dressing. Drain the rest and add the noodles to the bowl with the vegetables.

Pour over the dressing, toss and eat straight away.

Recipe for baked spring cabbage with sweet potatoes

The recipe

Put 150ml of olive oil in a blender with 100ml of water, 10g of dill fronds and 15g of parsley leaves, then process to a vivid green dressing. Add a little salt and pour into a large bowl.

Cut a spring cabbage, or 2 if they are small, into slices about 2cm in thickness. Wash thoroughly, then toss them gently in the herb dressing and set aside.

Peel 750g of sweet potatoes, then cut into large pieces. Pack into a steamer basket or colander and place over a pan of boiling water. Cover tightly with a lid and leave them to steam for 25 minutes, until you can easily pierce them with a skewer.

Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6, then line an oven tray or grill pan with kitchen foil. Place the slices of cabbage on the foil side by side, reserving any extra dressing that may be in the bowl. Dot 65g of butter between them, then bake for 20 minutes, until tender to the point of a knife. Baste them a couple of times as they cook.

While the cabbage is baking, tip the sweet potato into a bowl and mash to a smooth, thick purée with a masher or fork, then season generously. Divide the sweet potato mash between 2 warm plates, then remove the baked cabbage from the oven, trickle over any remaining dressing and serve. Enough for 2

The trick

Baste the slices of cabbage as they bake with any dressing or butter in the oven tray (and with a little more melted butter if necessary), and test every few minutes. You ideally want the outer leaves to be green-gold, lightly crisp at the edges and the stalks to be tender.

The twist

Use other root vegetables for the mash, including swede or large, maincrop carrots. If you didn’t want to bake the cabbage, you can sauté it in a little oil and butter instead, basting it as it cooks.

Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater

Simple Goan fish curry recipe

Starring the flavours of coastal India CREDIT: YUKI SUGIURA

An aromatic fish curry with cool coconut milk and lots of spices that really is quick to make. You can use whatever fish is in season – pollack, cod, haddock, gurnard, coley and monkfish are all suitable.

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes




  • 4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 dried red Kashmiri chillis
  • 2cm sq piece root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large plum tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar (or soft light-brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 green chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 500g firm white fish fillets, skin removed and flesh cut into chunks about 3cm sq
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander


  1. Toast the coriander seeds, cumin and dried chillis in a dry frying-pan for about a minute.
  2. Grind in a mini food processor or pestle and mortar, then mix in the ginger, garlic, turmeric and 1 tsp salt.
  3. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry until soft and golden.
  4. Stir in the spice mix. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato and cook until it has lost most of its moisture.
  5. Add the coconut milk, sugar, tamarind and green chilli and bring to just under the boil. Immediately turn down the heat and simmer for about five minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Season the fish with salt, then add it to the sauce and simmer gently for about four minutes until the fish is cooked through. Check again for seasoning. Add the coriander and serve.

Recipe for chickpea pasta in a spring vegetable stew

Meera Sodha’s chickpea pasta in spring vegetable broth. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Louie Waller. Food assistant: Katy Gilhooly. Photo assistant: Sam Reeves.

Fusion, when it comes to food, can be a bit of a dirty word, but progress often means building on old ideas to create new possibilities and, sometimes, joining the dots between food cultures. In today’s recipe, I’ve taken our ancient Gujarati chickpea pasta, or dhokli, made using gram and wheat flour (then usually simmered in dal), and added it to my favourite Italian springtime stew, vignole. I hope neither the Italians or Gujaratis will mind too much.

Chickpea pasta in a spring vegetable stew

While fresh peas and broad beans will soon be available, frozen vegetables make a very wonderful stew. Gram or chickpea flour can be found on the world foods aisle in most major supermarkets or online.Advertisement

Prep 20
Cook 25
Serves 4

100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g chickpea flour
1½ tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp fine sea salt

For the spring vegetable broth
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 large leek (250g), cleaned, trimmed and cut into 1cm-wide pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
½ tsp salt
250g frozen peas
, defrosted (or about 500g fresh in their pods)
250g frozen broad beans, defrosted (or about 500g fresh in their pods)
750ml vegetable stock, suitable for vegans
300g jarred artichokes, drained, to get 200g, and each piece cut into quarters
1 big handful mint leaves (10g)

First make the pasta dough. Put the flour, chickpea flour, oil and salt in a large bowl with 80ml warm water, and use clean hands or a spoon to bring everything together. Divide in half and roll on a floured surface into two large circles the thickness of a lasagne sheet. Cut the pasta into small diamond shapes, about 3cm x 3cm, then spread them out on a tray and toss in flour so they don’t stick.

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Warm the oil in a large, deep pan over a medium-low heat, add the onion, and fry for seven minutes. Add the leek, garlic and half a teaspoon of salt, fry for six to eight minutes, until soft but not coloured, then stir in peas, broad beans and hot stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes (a little less if using fresh peas and broad beans), until the peas and broad beans are just cooked through, then stir in the artichokes and leave to rest while you cook the pasta.

Bring a large pan of water to a boil and cook the pasta until it floats to the surface – about a minute or two, then drain and stir straight into the vegetable pot. Rip in the mint, drizzle with a little extra oil and serve at once.

Flatbreads topped with spinach and egg recipe

Fabulous flatbread: no ordinary eggs on toast dish CREDIT: ISSY CROKER

By  Lily Simpson 

This is my take on a Florentine pizza. The bright green topping is made from spinach and butter beans, with a baked egg to finish.

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling time | Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes




  • A handful of caraway seeds
  • 250g chickpea flour
  • 125–175ml cold water
  • 400g jarred butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus extra for frying
  • 200g spinach
  • 4 eggs
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds to sprinkle
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper


  1. Toast the caraway seeds in a small dry frying pan until fragrant. Tip into a bowl and add the flour and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Gradually mix in enough water to create a thick batter. Chill for two hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
  3. To make the spinach mixture, place the butter beans, oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the spinach and blitz again. Set aside.
  4. Heat a little oil in a 20cm frying pan. Spoon in about a quarter of the batter, spreading it out with the back of the spoon to create a large pancake. Once golden on the base, flip over and cook the other side.
  5. As the flatbreads are cooked, transfer them to a baking tray.
  6.  When all the flatbreads are on the tray, smear the spinach mixture over them. Crack an egg on top of each.
  7. Bake for two to three minutes until the eggs are cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
  8.  Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve.

Recipe from Detox Kitchen Vegetables by Lily Simpson (Bloomsbury, £26)

Masala baked beans on toast recipe

Meera Sodha’s masala baked beans on toast, with green chutney on the side. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling:Jennifer Kay.

My mother grew up in relative wealth in Uganda, but entered into poverty when she and her family arrived in the UK after being exiled by the dictator Idi Amin.

Having little money meant cooking very thriftily: she made chutney from fallen apples in the garden, bought sacks of lentils and rice from wholesalers, and ate a lot of spiced masala baked beans.

I am by no means poor, but this time in January (post-Christmas, pre-payday) can be very testing, and these beans are some of the most frugal but delicious things a person can eat.


Masala baked beans on toast with green chutney

Eat these for breakfast, lunch or dinner, on toast or with chapatis, and with or without a little non-dairy yoghurt or the green chutney. This makes enough beans to top two slices of toast generously, so double it to serve more.Advertisement

Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 2

For the beans 
2 tbsp rapeseed oil 
1 large brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 
1½ green finger chillies 
1 heaped tsp tomato puree
1 tsp ground coriander 
½ tsp ground turmeric 
½ tsp ground cumin 
¼ tsp fine sea salt 
1 x 400g tin Heinz baked beans

For the chutney
60g coriander (leaves and tender stalks) 
1½ green finger chillies 
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
½ tsp fine sea salt 
2 tbsp rapeseed oil 
2 tbsp roasted salted peanuts

To serve
2 slices good bread
Non-dairy spread

Make the chutney first. Put the coriander in a bowl, add cold water to cover and agitate with your hand. Fish out the coriander and put it into a colander, leaving behind any gritty bits. Roughly chop the drained coriander, then throw it into a blender with the chillies, lemon juice, salt, oil and peanuts, and blitz to a smooth chutney (the coriander, being wet, will help it blend), adding a drop of water, if need be. Taste and adjust the lemon, salt and chilli as you wish – this chutney should be sour, herbal and hot – then scrape into a bowl and leave to one side.

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To cook the beans, heat the oil in a frying pan and, once it’s hot, add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes, until soft, golden and translucent. Add the garlic and chilli, cook, stirring, for three minutes more, then add the tomato puree, all the spices and the salt. Cook for two minutes, then add the beans and a half-tin’s worth of water, and cook for five minutes, until the sauce has thickened a little, then turn off the heat.

Toast the bread and put on two plates, spread generously with your favourite spread, pile the beans on top and decorate Jackson Pollock-style with the coriander chutney, or just spoon it over, as you wish.

Vegan chickpea cakes and baked apples

It has rained on and off all day and now, as the streetlights start to come on, it has become bone chillingly cold, too. There is little or no temptation to leave the house. Dinner will be more rummage than forage. I don’t keep a heavily stocked fridge, but I can usually get some sort of meal together without having to shop.

Chickpea cakes: ‘A thin, crisp crust is essential, a contrast to the soft texture of the cakes.’ Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer.

There are cans of chickpeas in the cupboard. I fancy making them into soft cakes, seasoned with rosemary and garlic and frying them to a crisp on the hob. But once the peas are crushed to a velvet purée, I raid the little box of aromatics in the bottom of the fridge for some seasoning. Even that is unusually low, revealing nothing more than a shallot or two, a couple of chillies somewhat past their best and two stalks of lemongrass, but there is a good firm lump of ginger. There is also a bag of spinach, slightly past its use-by date, and a few herbs. The chickpea cakes can have a ribbon of spinach running through them, a southeast Asian seasoning.


The little bowls of fruits in the larder currently offer nothing more interesting than two pears that need a few more days ripening and a handful of tiny scarlet apples. I slice the apples in half and bake them, basting them now and again with a splash of sherry and the remains of a jar of marmalade.

Tomorrow I will fill the little box of aromatics with shiny new chillies, a packet of lime leaves, more ginger and fresh limes. I will come back from the shops with a crinkly leaved cabbage, some smooth heads of pink chicory and a bag of crimson skinned blood oranges. I will pick up a pomegranate, some dark grapes, pumpkins and parsnips. But for now, there’s the satisfaction of having made the most of what there is, quietly, and giving thanks for a few little apples, a bag of spinach and a can of chickpeas.

Chickpea cakes with spinach and lemongrass

A thin, crisp crust is essential here, a contrast to the soft hummus-like texture of the cakes. Once the cakes have rested and firmed in the fridge, they should be lifted carefully into the sizzling oil using a palette knife, then left to form a thin, golden crust on the bottom before you attempt to turn them. Fiddling with them as they cook, although tempting, will result in them breaking up in the pan.
Makes 12, serves 4

spinach 200g
lemongrass 2 large stalks
chickpeas 2 x 400g cans
banana shallots 2, small
garlic 2 cloves
ginger 60g
chillies 2
lime 1
coriander 15g
mint 15g
Dijon mustard 2 tsp
breadcrumbs 120g, fine and dried
groundnut oil for cooking

Wash the spinach and remove any tough stalks. Put the wet leaves in a deep saucepan over a moderate heat, cover and steam for 2 or 3 minutes. Turn the leaves over and continue cooking until they are bright and soft. Drain thoroughly and give the leaves a firm squeeze to remove any remaining water.

Peel the outer leaves from the lemongrass and discard them. Chop the softer inner leaves and put them in an electric coffee mill or spice grinder and process to a coarse pulp. Alternatively, chop them very finely.

I don’t keep a heavily stocked fridge, but I can usually get a meal together without having to shop

Drain the chickpeas and tip them into the bowl of a food processor. Peel and roughly chop the shallots. Add the lemongrass and shallots to the chickpeas. Peel the garlic, peel and coarsely grate the ginger then add both to the chickpeas.

Finely chop the chilli, grate the zest of the lime finely then add to the food processor. Pull the coriander and mint leaves from their stems, add to the bowl and process to a rough paste, seasoning with mustard and a little salt as you go.


Transfer the chickpea paste to a mixing bowl then combine with the spinach and breadcrumbs. Divide the mixture into 12, shape each into a small cake the size of a digestive biscuit and set aside to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

To cook, warm about 1cm of groundnut oil in a shallow pan over a low to moderate heat. Lower the cakes, a few at a time, without crowding the pan. As they turn golden on the underside, gently turn with a palette knife and cook the other side. Remove carefully to warm plates.

Baked apples with sherry and marmalade

Baked apples with sherry: ‘There is something pleasing about basting food as it cooks.’ Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

There is something pleasing about basting food as it cooks, about spooning the cooking juices over it as your supper bakes. Basting the apples here will ensure they are evenly caramelised and richly coated with the sherry and marmalade. I do this 2 or 3 times during the 45 minutes or so it take the apples to bake. The sauce will thicken to a jammy consistency on the hob later.
Serves 4

sherry 200ml, medium sweet
lemon juice 100ml
caster sugar 100g
bay leaves 2 or 3
orange marmalade 3 heaped tbsp
small apples 6

Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Pour the sherry into a medium-sized saucepan. Add the lemon juice, sugar, bay leaves and marmalade, then warm over a moderate heat until the sugar has dissolved.


Cut the apples in half, place them cut side up in a baking dish, then pour the sherry and marmalade syrup over them. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until their flesh has puffed up a little and they are soft enough to cut with a spoon. Baste the apples frequently while they cook.

Remove the tin from the oven and place over a high heat, watching carefully as the syrup reduces to a jammy consistency. Serve the apples and syrup with crème fraîche or thick yogurt.

How to make jam from over-ripe kiwi – recipe

What to do with under- or over-ripe kiwi fruit? Turn them into a delicious jam

Tom Hunt’s kiwi jam on toast. Photograph: Tom Hunt/The Guardian

In my endeavour to waste nothing, I’ve made it my mission to learn to love foods that I’d never have eaten before, learning to enjoy new and unfamiliar smells, textures and tastes.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced – which I found worse than any offal or funky ferment – is the skin of a kiwi fruit. To acquire the taste, I applied the theory that you can learn to like a food by trying it 10 times and, sure enough, I now eat kiwis like apples, merrily biting chunks out of the furry fruit and leaving no waste. If you don’t already do so, start by scrubbing the skin to remove some of the fur, then slice the fruit. That way, the skin holds the flesh together, but isn’t the prime textural experience. According to one paper on the health attributes of kiwi fruit, eating the skin can double the fibre content and increases the folate and vitamin content by almost a third.


Unripe kiwis tend to be hard and unpalatable, but once they ripen, they bruise easily and melt into an undesirable mush. But you can easily make a jam with both under- or over-ripe kiwis, and this uses the whole fruit.

Kiwi jam

Kiwi jam is so delicious, I have no idea why it isn’t already widely eaten. It’s quick to make and a great way to use up an excess of under- or over-ripe kiwifruit. Like citrus, the kiwi season falls over our winter, making them a delicious, vitamin-rich – albeit imported – fruit to enjoy over the colder months when our seasonal fruit is in short supply. Kiwi fruit does grow in the UK and is ready to harvest in late summer, although they can be hard to obtain as it is only in small-scale small production.

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Kiwi fruits, ideally organic or not sprayed with pesticides or fungicides
1 tbsp sugar per kiwi
1 tsp lemon juice per kiwi

Remove the hard node at the top and bottom of the kiwifruit without wasting any flesh.

Cut the fruit into slices and then into rough pieces. Put in a thick-based pan with both a tablespoon of sugar and teaspoon of lemon juice per kiwi fruit.


Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and becomes gloopy. Eat within a week, or store in sterilised sealed jars indefinitely.

Oxtail stew and trimmings recipes

A warming treat fit for Burns Night, complete with neeps and tatties.

Bonnie bones: braised oxtail with smoked garlic. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

sudden need for a dinner seasoned with tradition and nostalgia. I pick up lumps of oxtail from the butcher’s, a jumble of bones with deep maroon meat marbled with cream-coloured fat. I cook them with sweet roots and ribs of celery, letting the heat of the oven do the work. There is red wine and beef stock, tufts of thyme and twigs of bay and I serve it in the casserole in which it is cooked, with a mash of swedes and a flat, crisp cake of potatoes. The dinner is a dry-run for Burns Night, the sort of food to set us up for wine and whisky and song.

This is the sort of food to set us up for wine, whisky and song

Of all the bonnie, bony possibilities on the butcher’s counter – the osso buco and the neck of lamb, the shanks and the trotters – it is oxtail that needs the slowest cooking. Once browned in hot fat, you need to lead an oxtail along the slow road to tenderness in a slow oven, the bones wallowing in stock or wine, and with robust aromatics. Thyme, bay leaves, a head of garlic. Rosemary perhaps. It is not a dish that needs updating, but a curious cook can tweak the details. I gave mine a soft smoky note with a whole head of golden-skinned smoked garlic.

Swede is a favourite vegetable in this kitchen, less sugary than carrot, and makes a fine accompaniment to a mahogany-hued, onion-dense gravy. I have baked it in stock, diced and fried it with sausages and added it to a lamb stew, but have never found a better end for one than roughly mashed with butter and black pepper.

Determined to serve neeps and tatties on the 25th, I will be baking potatoes to accompany the oxtail. They will be baked in a round pan, sliced as thinly as my amateur knifemanship will permit, each slice tossed with olive oil and salt and rosemary. Then baked in the same oven as the oxtail, until the top layer is crisp in patches, its edges nut-brown.

Braised oxtail with smoked garlic

It is worth serving a stew such as this in a bowl and offering a spoon as well as a knife and fork. No one will want to miss one drop of the dark and sticky sauce, with its notes of bay and smoked garlic.

Serves 4

olive oil 3 tbsp
oxtail 1.5kg
onions 3, medium
carrots 350g
celery 200g
plain flour 3 heaped tbsp
red wine 350ml, light and fruity
beef stock 1 litre
smoked garlic a whole head
bay leaves 4
thyme 6 bushy sprigs

Warm the olive oil in a very large, deep casserole over a moderate heat. Add the pieces of oxtail and let them sizzle in the hot oil, turning them as each side darkens to a rich golden brown.

While the oxtail is browning, peel and roughly chop the onions and carrots, and cut the celery into short pieces. Remove the oxtail from the pan to a plate then tip the onions, carrots and celery into the pan, toss them in the oil and general stickiness left by the oxtail, then leave them to cook for 5 minutes. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stir and continue cooking for 3 or 4 minutes until the flour is no longer white, then pour in the wine and bring to a fierce but brief bubble. Slice the head of garlic in half horizontally. Pour in the stock and bring back to the boil then season with a little salt, the garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Return the oxtail to the pan.

Lower the heat so the liquid bubbles slowly, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for 2 hours. Lift the lid, check the oxtail’s progress. If the meat still clings tightly to the bones, cover and continue cooking for a further 30 minutes or until the meat is soft and can easily be pulled from the bone. Lift the garlic out and remove the soft cloves from their skins, crush them with a fork and return them to the sauce. Check the seasoning and correct with black pepper and, if necessary, more salt.

Mashed swede and potatoes with rosemary and olive oil

Golden brown: potatoes with rosemary and olive oil, and neeps. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

Unlike carrots, potatoes and turnips, you can’t get away with not peeling a swede.

swede 1.5kg
butter 50g

Peel the swede then cut into small pieces. Pile into a steamer basket and leave to steam over a pan of boiling water, covered with a lid, until soft. Check for tenderness from 15 minutes.

Put the swede into a bowl or empty pan, add the butter in pieces and crush roughly with a potato masher or fork. Keep warm and covered.

Potatoes with rosemary and olive oil

Should the oxtail be ready before the potatoes, remove it from the oven (it will come to no harm, with its lid in place) and turn the heat up to 220C/gas mark 8, until the potatoes are the requisite golden brown.

potatoes 1kg, Maris Piper or similar 
olive oil 250ml
rosemary 4 large sprigs

You will need a 25cm ovenproof frying pan that doesn’t stick. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Scrub the potatoes (I don’t think you should feel the need to peel them) and slice very thinly. Pour the olive oil into a mixing bowl. Finely chop half of the rosemary, leaving the rest on their stems and add to the bowl. Grind in a little black pepper then add the potatoes and gently turn them over in the seasoned oil. Cover the base of the pan with a single layer of slices, each overlapping the other and adding a little salt as you go. Place a second layer on top, then another and so on, until all the potatoes are used up. Pour any remaining oil over the top.

Bake the potatoes in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until the top layer is golden and lightly crisp at the edges.

Today’s recipe: how to cook saag paneer

The Indian restaurant classic spinach-and-curd-cheese side dish gets the Felicity Cloake treatment.

Felicity Cloake’s saag paneer with flatbreads. Photograph: The Guardian. Food styling: Jack Sargeson.

Saag paneer has long been my go-to side dish in Indian restaurants, but having managed to recreate the magic of these deliciously oily, garlicky greens dotted with plump pillows of fresh curd cheese, these days I increasingly find myself eating it at home with nothing more than a warm flatbread for company. (Note: to make this vegan, use extra-firm tofu instead of the paneer.)

Prep 15 min, plus draining time
Cook 10 min
Serves 4 as a side

For the paneer
1.1 litres whole milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp fine salt


For the dish
500g fresh spinach, well washed, or 5 pucks frozen whole-leaf spinach, defrosted (or other greens – see step 9)
1 small onion
4 fat garlic cloves
4cm piece fresh ginger
1 small fresh green chilli
2 tbsp ghee
½ tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala

½ tsp turmeric

1. Start on the DIY cheese (or buy some in)

If you’d rather not make the paneer yourself, use 150g shop-bought cheese instead. If you do, however, you’ll need to work an hour or so ahead.

Put the milk in a saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s foaming but not boiling (93C is ideal, according to Morgan McGlynn’s book, The Modern Cheesemaker). Take off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

2. Finish the paneer

Once the milk has completely separated into solid curds and liquid whey – about 15-20 minutes – pour it into a muslin- lined sieve set over a bowl (the whey that collects in the bowl can be drunk or used in baking).

Heat the milk, add lemon juice and wait for it to separate, then pour through muslin to collect the curds.

Squeeze dry the curds in the sieve, mix in the salt, then form into a rough square. Wrap this up in the muslin, weigh it down with a plate topped with a tin or two, and leave for an hour to drain.


3. If you’re using fresh spinach…

Frozen whole-leaf spinach is fine here, if you prefer; just defrost and squeeze it completely dry before roughly chopping it and continuing from step 5 – there’s no need to blanch it. But if you’re using fresh spinach – big, adult leaves, well washed, would be my preference – bring a big pan of well-salted water to a boil and fill a sink or bowl with iced water.

Blanch the spinach, drain, refresh in iced water, then drain again and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

4. Blanch, ice and dry

Blanch the fresh spinach for 10 seconds, then drain and drop into the iced water to cool – this will help it keep its colour. Squeeze out vigorously in clean tea towels, then finely chop any large stalks and roughly chop the leaves. Give it a last squeeze to ensure it’s as dry as possible before you start cooking the saag paneer.

5. Get everything ready to go


Cut the paneer into rough cubes (the homemade sort will always be softer than the commercial kind).

Peel and finely slice the onion and garlic. Peel and grate the ginger, and deseed and finely slice the chilli. Put these and all the other ingredients within easy reach of the hob, because you’ll have to work quickly once you start cooking.

Before you start cooking, get everything chopped and ready, then fry the paneer until crisp and browned.

6. Start cooking

Heat the ghee in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the paneer, in batches, if necessary, until golden and crusted on all sides – if it’s homemade, be careful when turning it, because it will be very fragile.

With a slotted spoon, ideally, scoop out the cubes and put them on a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain, leaving as much ghee behind in the pan as possible, then season with a little salt.

7. Fry the onion, garlic and spices

Put the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli in the hot pan, along with the dry spices and remaining salt, and fry, stirring energetically, until they are soft, but not brown – turn down the heat if anything looks like it’s threatening to burn, and add a little more ghee, if necessary.

Fry the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and spices in ghee, until softened, then stir in the chopped spinach.

8. Finishing touches

Tip the chopped, dried spinach into the pan and stir-fry until it’s well mixed in with the other ingredients, then return the paneer to the pan and gently heat through – don’t stir too much at this stage or the cheese may break up. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve at once with your flatbread of choice or rice.

9. Alternatives

Strictly speaking, the name of this dish should be palak paneer – I’ve used the more familiar name found on restaurant menus, but these often contain a mix of leafy vegetables, so feel free to play around with what you have. Just make sure it’s thoroughly wilted, roughly chopped and completely dry before adding it to the pan in step 8.

Today’s recipe: North African bean stew with barley and winter squash

Today’s recipe: North African bean stew with barley and winter squash

Today’s recipe: North African bean stew with barley and winter squash
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

This warming, highly spiced stew is rich in beans, grains and chunks of sweet winter squash. Feel free to substitute other grains for the barley. Farro works particularly well. If you’d prefer something soupier, thin it with a little broth or water before serving.

  • YIELD8 to 10 servings
  • TIME1 hour 45 minutes


  •  cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
  • 2 leeks, white and green parts, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
  • 1 cup finely diced fennel, fronds reserved (1/2 large fennel bulb)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ tablespoons baharat (see note)
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup pearled barley
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  •  Large pinch saffron, crumbled (optional)
  • 4 cups cooked beans or chickpeas
  • 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (1 small squash)
  • ¾ cup peeled and diced turnip (1 medium)
  • ½ cup red lentils
  •  Plain yogurt, for serving
  •  Aleppo pepper or hot paprika, for serving


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and cook leeks until they begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Finely chop cilantro stems. Stir into pot, along with diced fennel and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in baharat, cinnamon and tomato paste, and cook until paste begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in broth, 3 cups water, the barley and the salt. Bring to a gentle boil, stir in saffron, if using, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Stir in beans, squash, turnip and lentils; cook until barley is tender, about another 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Remove cinnamon stick.
  4. Ladle stew into bowls. Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with cilantro leaves, fennel fronds and Aleppo pepper or paprika.


  • Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice mix. You can buy it at specialty markets or make your own. To make it, combine 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon ground turmeric, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom and 1 teaspoon allspice.

Follow Bloomgist on Instagram @TheBloomgist to see Cooking Videos.

Banga rice (The improvised version)

I’ve been thinking all day of the particular recipe to post today but I just couldn’t come up with anything exciting, and while I was sitting there, just playing with my phone and hoping that an idea would come soon, I got it! Eureka! Just like that, it landed in my palms.

So, I remembered this delicacy my bunk mate taught me how to make while we were in school. It’s called Banga rice but most of the time, we didn’t cook the main dish, rather we made the one known as the ‘improvised version’. We did this because we were in school and it could be stressful if we had to make our banga concentrate from the scratch. So, instead 

we made use of palm oil. I hope you’ll have as much fun reading and trying out this recipe asmuch as I did while writing it. Ciao!


  • – Palm oil
  • – Scotch bonnets 
  • – 2 big red onions
  • – Smoked fish (as much as you want)
  • – 1 tbsp ground crayfish 
  • – 2 seasoning cubes (star/knorr)
  • – Salt to taste
  • – 2-3 cups of rice 
  • – Scent leaves/utazi leaves
  • – Water (as required)


  • – Rinse and chop scotch bonnets into thin bits
  • – Rinse and chop red onions as well 
  • – Wash the smoked fish, debone and break into big pieces
  • – Rinse the scent/utazi leaves and chop finely 
  • – Wash your rice and set aside Cooking Directions
  • – Bring the rice to boil until it is almost completely cooked 
  • – Drain in a colander and set aside
  • – Now, put your saucepan on the cooker and add palm oil
  • – Make sure the palm oil is just enough for the quantity of rice you’re cooking. You don’t want your rice to be too oily.
  • – After the oil has been heated enough, add onions, scotch bonnets with smoked fish and fry over medium heat.
  • – Add salt to taste, remember to add just a little salt because the rice already has salt in it.
  • – Add ground crayfish, scent leaves and seasoning cubes.
  • – After your sauce has been cooked, slowly add the rice to it in small quantities while you keep turning it as you add the rice. This is to make sure the rice absorbs the sauce.
  • – After every bit of rice has been added to the sauce, add a little water and leave to cook over medium heat for five minutes.
  • – When you’re sure there’s no more water left in the rice, turn off the heat.

Serve hot.

This delicacy can be eaten with chicken, beef, goat meat or as the spirit leads. Lol. It is best enjoyed when it is still hot.

Kale and peanut butter: The Green smoothie recipe loaded with Kale, Peanut Butter, and Joy

Kale and peanut butter: The Green smoothie recipe loaded with Kale, Peanut Butter, and Joy

You love the classic peanut butter combos, like bananas and peanut butter and chocolate and peanut butter. Now, get ready to fall in love with a new one: kale and peanut butter.

Kale and peanut butter: The Green smoothie recipe loaded with Kale, Peanut Butter, and Joy

This green smoothie recipe is guaranteed to make you a fan of this power couple—not only because of its taste but because it’s a nutritional powerhouse.

You already know kale is a superfood green; it supplies more than 650 percent of your recommended daily value (RDV) of vitamin A and more than 900 percent of your RDV of vitamin K in a single cup, plus more iron per ounce than beef (when cooked) and 45 types of flavonoids (which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties).

If you’re a PB addict, you can probably recite the health benefits of peanuts by heart; they’re loaded with healthy fats that help reduce your total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Combine these two delicious, healthy superfoods, and you really can’t lose.

If this green smoothie was *mind-blowing* for you, give these other kale smoothies and peanut butter smoothies a try.

Kale Peanut Butter Green Smoothie


  • 1 cup kale, packed
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 2 tbs peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • Chia seeds (optional)


  1. Add kale to the blender first, then banana and peanut butter, followed by the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Blend until smooth, garnish with chia seeds (optional), and enjoy!

P.S. Next time your kale is about to spoil, or your banana is getting a little too brown, don’t toss them—freeze them! Prep the ingredients (wash and slice as necessary), then store in an airtight freezer bag.

Next time you’re craving a one of these smoothies, you’ll have the ingredients (minus the peanut butter, almond milk, and ice) ready to go. From there, just add liquid ingredients first, then solid ingredients, and blend.

American pancakes

FoodPrep: The American pancakes

These pancakes are light and fluffy and great for a weekend brunch. Continue reading “FoodPrep: The American pancakes”

baked peppers with tomatoes and feta. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

Bloomgist recipe: baked peppers with tomatoes and feta

A stuffed vegetable dish that’s delicious and versatile

baked peppers with tomatoes and feta. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer
baked peppers with tomatoes and feta. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

It is the season for stuffed vegetables. Aubergines with cinnamon-spiced onions; courgettes with crumbs and parmesan; tomatoes with soft, garlicky orzo and, of course, the sweet bell pepper – this last lending itself to anything from minced lamb with cumin and garlic to a jumble of tomatoes, olives and feta.

The recipe

Halve 4 large, ripe peppers and remove and discard any stalks, cores or seeds. Set the peppers, cut side up, in a roasting tin.

Halve 350g of cherry tomatoes and put them in a mixing bowl. Crumble 200g of feta into large pieces and add to the tomatoes. Stone 16 olives, adding them to the bowl with a grinding of black pepper (no salt).

Stir in 8 tsp of basil pesto then spoon it into the halved peppers. Pour enough olive oil into each to come up to the top. Bake for about 25 minutes at 180/gas mark 4, until the top is lightly brown.

The trick

This is one of those dishes that seems more appropriate warm than hot, so leave the peppers to settle for 20 minutes before eating. While they are in the oven you may want to cover the dish with foil to stop the pesto from darkening.

The twist

Fist-sized beefsteak tomatoes are a good vehicle for filling. Hollow out the cores and seeds and stuff them with the feta, pesto, olives and small, golden tomatoes. A splash of red wine vinegar is a good trick, sprinkled over the dish just before it goes in the oven, to sharpen its edges.

SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Nigel Slater/Guardian UK

Cucumber-watermelon salad recipe

Asian (hoisin sauce) and Mexican (jalapeño) combine in this bright summer salad, which Continue reading “Cucumber-watermelon salad recipe”

Yotam Ottolenghi’s braised veal meatballs with fregola. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay

Crumbs of delight: The secret to great meatballs and fishcakes

I went to stay with my parents over Easter. The predictability of my mother cooking meatballs when we get together is, for me, one of life’s great comforts.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s pappardelle with cod cakes in tomato sauce. Photograph
Yotam Ottolenghi’s pappardelle with cod cakes in tomato sauce. Photograph

I now make them for my own kids, and they always remind me of home. The secret to both meatballs and fishcakes is, I think, to cook them with grain, in the mix itself (as with the cod cakes’ breadcrumbs or the lamb’s bulgur) or in the pan (the fregola). Either way, it’s the grain that allows the flavour and moisture from the sauce or stock to be fully absorbed. This is what makes meatballs so full of flavour and big on moistness, and also allows them to taste as good – if not better – the next day.

Pappardelle with cod cakes in tomato sauce
Pappardelle are large, flat and broad pasta noodles. The name derives from the verb “pappare”, to gobble up. If you can’t get hold of them, use fettuccine instead. Serves six.

115ml olive oil
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground turmeric
700g cod, skinless and boneless, roughly chopped into 5cm chunks
60g fresh white breadcrumbs (about 2½ slices, crusts removed)
1 egg, beaten
20g preserved lemon skin, finely chopped (skin of 1 small lemon)
20g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
20g mint leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp harissa
600g chopped tinned tomatoes (ie, one and a half cans)
650ml chicken stock
2 strips shaved lemon skin
1 tsp caster sugar
600g pappardelle

Heat three tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high flame. Fry the onions for 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until golden brown and soft, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Transfer half the onion mix to a small bowl, then add the ginger and spices to the pan, fry for a minute, then spoon into a large bowl and set aside to cool down.

Blitz the fish in a food processor a few times (you want it to be roughly minced, not overworked), then add to the large bowl with the onion and spices. Using your hands, mix in the breadcrumbs, egg, preserved lemon, a third each of the parsley and mint, three-quarters of a teaspoon salt and a good grind of black pepper. Once the mix is well combined, form into 12 cakes, 6-7cm wide and 2cm thick.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan on a medium-high flame. Fry the fishcakes in two batches, cooking them for two to three minutes on each side, until golden-brown; keep the first batch on a plate while you fry the second in two more tablespoons of oil.

Return the onion and garlic mix in the small bowl to the pan, add the harissa and fry for a minute, stirring the whole time. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, lemon skin, sugar and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, bring to a gentle boil and leave to bubble away for 10-15 minutes, stirring a few times, until the sauce has thickened.

Return the fishcakes to the pan with the remaining parsley and half of the remaining mint, and cook for five minutes, stirring gently now and again, then take off the heat and set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, then cook the pasta for 10-12 minutes, until al dente. Drain, return to the pan and mix with two teaspoons of oil.

To serve, divide the pasta between six shallow bowls and spoon over as much sauce as you like (the lemon skin can be discarded), top with two fishcakes per portion and sprinkle with the remaining mint.

Braised veal meatballs with fregola
Yotam Ottolenghi’s braised veal meatballs with fregola
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Yotam Ottolenghi’s braised veal meatballs with fregola. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay
This is one for a slow-cooking Sunday. Cooking them for a long time at a low temperature means the meat takes on so much flavour from the liquids in the pan. As a result, you don’t need anything else with this other than a plain green salad. Serves four.

350g minced veal
350g minced pork
50g fresh breadcrumbs
75g ricotta
50g finely grated parmesan
½ small onion, finely chopped
¾ tsp ground allspice
1 egg, whisked
3 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped, plus 1 tbsp extra to serve
25g parsley, roughly chopped
2 lemons
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
400ml white wine
3 bay leaves
200g fregola or giant couscous

Heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Put the first 10 ingredients a large bowl with the grated zest of half a lemon, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix to combine, then form into 14 balls, about 5cm wide and about 70g each, then set aside.

Shave off the remaining skin from the half-grated lemon, and cut it into thin strips. Put these in a bowl with two tablespoons of lemon juice. Cut the second lemon into quarters.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan for which you have a lid on a medium-high flame. Fry the meatballs for seven to eight minutes, turning them over every once in a while, until they’re golden brown all over.

Pour over the white wine, 650ml water, the lemon strips and juice, bay leaves and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and bake for an hour. Remove from the oven, stir in the fregola, then return to the oven for 30 minutes, until the fregola is cooked through and the sauce is thick. Give everything a final stir and serve hot with a final sprinkle of oregano and a wedge of lemon.

Lamb and bulgur meatballs with chard, sorrel and celeriac
If you can’t get hold of sorrel, just raise the amount of chard to 400g and increase the lemon juice to one and a half tablespoons to compensate for the lack of sorrel’s gloriously sour notes. Serves six.

75ml olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1½ tsp ground cumin
500g minced lamb
100g bulgur, rinsed
1 medium celeriac, peeled, halved and each half cut into six wedges
1½ tsp caraway seeds
1½ tsp paprika
350g swiss or rainbow chard leaves, left whole but any tough woody stems discarded
80g sorrel leaves, left whole
2 plum tomatoes, coarsely grated and skin discarded
1 tbsp lemon juice

In a large saute pan for which you have a lid, heat two tablespoons of oil on a medium-high flame, then fry the onion for about seven minutes, until golden brown. Stir in the spices and a teaspoon of salt, cook for a minute, then tip into a large bowl. Add the lamb and bulgur, mix well, and form into about 26 balls, each weighing about 30g.

Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan – there is no need to wipe it clean – and return it to a medium-high heat. Fry the meatballs in one batch for eight minutes, turning them regularly so they brown on all sides, then transfer to a plate – use a slotted spoon, so you leave the oil behind in the pan.

Add the celeriac to the pan, sprinkle with a quarter-teaspoon of salt and fry for eight minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown. Transfer the celeriac to a plate and wipe clean the pan.

Put the pan on a medium-high flame, add the final tablespoon of oil and fry the caraway, paprika and a third of a teaspoon of salt. Once the caraway seeds start to sizzle, add the chard and sorrel, cover, and leave to cook for three minutes, until the chard has wilted; shake the pan every now and again, to help it along.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s braised veal meatballs with fregola. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay
Yotam Ottolenghi’s braised veal meatballs with fregola. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay

Add the tomato, lemon juice and 400ml of water and, once boiling, reduce the heat to medium. Arrange the meatballs on top of the chard, so they’re half submerged, then spoon the celeriac on top. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to medium-low and carry on cooking, still covered, for another 20 minutes, until the sauce is thick.

If the juices are still a little watery after this time, take off the lid and leave the mix to bubble away and reduce for a few minutes, then take off the heat and serve at once.

• Yotam Ottolenghi is chef/patron of Ottolenghi and Nopi in London.

This article was edited on 18 April 2016. An earlier version mislabelled the second image. More significantly, a production error meant that the sentence describing the method for shaping the lamb and bulgur meatballs was missing. This has been corrected.

How to make triple chocolate trifle with raspberries


Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 serving

The imagination  has no limitations, as we see from this recipe. It’s chocolate pudding, chopped chocolate, whipped cream and raspberries layered over brownies, repeatedly. It’s a fairy tale dessert to satisfy all comers.



1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, more for greasing pan

3 ounces finely chopped unsweetened chocolate

½ cup cocoa powder, sifted

2 ½ cups granulated sugar

3 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons Cognac, rum or bourbon, optional


½ cup granulated sugar

8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

2 tablespoons cornstarch Pinch salt

1 ¾ cups whole milk

3 cups heavy cream

2 large egg yolks

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (2 cups)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar for whipped cream

1 to 2 pints fresh raspberries


Step 1

To make brownies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Step 2

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Remove pan from heat and stir in chopped chocolate until fully melted. Stir in cocoa and sugar until combined. Slowly add eggs, whisking chocolate mixture constantly, then whisk in vanilla. Fold in flour and salt.

Step 3

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until just firm, about 25 minutes (do not overbake). Transfer pan to a rack to cool. If using spirits, prick holes in hot brownies and drizzle evenly over pan.

Step 4

In a large bowl, mix together granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in 3/4 cup milk.

In a large saucepan, bring remaining 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup cream to a boil over medium heat. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into cocoa mixture.

Return to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking gently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. (A simmering bubble or two is O.K., but do not let it boil.)

Step 5

In a medium heat-resistant bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking them constantly, very slowly dribble about half the cocoa-milk mixture into yolks until fully combined. Pour yolk mixture into saucepan with remaining cocoa-milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking occasionally, over medium-low heat, until thickened, about 5 minutes. (Do not let mixture come to a simmer. If pan begins to steam thickly, remove from heat for a few moments and stir well before continuing.) Let cool slightly.

Step 6

Melt 5 ounces chopped chocolate with butter. Stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Cool 5 minutes, then fold into thickened egg mixture. Place plastic wrap directly against pudding (to prevent a skin from forming), and chill until set, about 3 hours. (Pudding and brownies can be made up to 5 days ahead, and refrigerated.)

Step 7

Just before assembling, in an electric mixer, beat remaining 2 1/2 cups cream with remaining 5 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar until it forms soft peaks. Scrape down sides and fold in any excess cocoa or sugar.

Step 8

Cut brownies into 1-inch squares. Fit a layer of brownie squares in bottom of a 4-quart trifle, glass, or other bowl. Top with half the pudding, a third of the whipped cream, a third of the remaining chopped chocolate and a third of the raspberries. Repeat layering until all ingredients have been used. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 24 hours before serving.