Chicken and Lemon Tagine

December is always a little fraught for me. The looming prospect of financing a Christmas day that is filled with presents and food and fun. It is my favourite time of year but even I sometimes have that stomach churning feeling of doubt that I won’t be able to pull it off. I can safely say I did and am truly hopeful that next year I will do the same and better!

One of my favourite jobs last December was a shoot for National Geographic Food Magazine. A day spent cooking and shooting Tagine’s for their February edition.

I made a Lamb Shank and Prune Tagine, recipe provided by Nargisse Benkabbou her cookbook Casablanca My Morrocon Food is out this May.

I also cooked my recipe for chicken and Preserved Lemon Tagine featured on the lead cover of the article along with my hand lifting the Tagine lid :).

Here are a few pics of the article, better still go and buy the magazine. I leave you with my recipe below.

































Chicken and Preserved Lemon Tagine

This is a fairly traditional Chicken Tagine recipe. You can add to it some raisin’s or some sweet dates if you wish, it is pretty flexible. I use saffron to infuse a little smokiness but if you don’t have any use a teaspoon of turmeric. You do not need to own a traditional Tagine to make this. In fact after the 2nd of my clay Tagines split on the hob, I now use a dutch pot. if I have guests over, I decant the stewinto the Tagine for serving. Otherwise the pot just goes on the table.

Serves 4 hungry people (IE my family) or 6 with a selection of sides.


Pinch of saffron (or a teaspoon of Turmeric)
550ml chicken stock
Glug olive oil
six to eight chicken thighs
1 large onion, chopped
4garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted
1 cinnamon stick
6 small preserved lemons, quartered quartered then cut into thin strips
200g green olives
Small handful fresh flatleaf parsley or coriander, chopped
salt and pepper

Soak the saffron in a jug containing the hot stock for a few minutes. If you are using Tumeric add it to the stock now.

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or deep sided frying pan over a medium/high heat and brown the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper whilst you brown them. You may need to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan or you will end up with steamed chicken. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the onion to the pan. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and spices to the pan and cook, stirring, for a further couple of minutes then add the chicken and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer over a gentle heat, covered, for 45 minutes until the chicken is tender.
Add the lemons and olives and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Season to taste, scatter with the fresh herbs.

I serve this dish with cous cous or rice and some flat breads. Enjoy x


Coming Up Easy

The summer holidays have begun. Pav, the kids nanny left for her vacation. I resisted the urge to cling to her legs screaming don’t go don’t leave me pleaaseeee. I am actually surprised that my children didn’t do exactly that. After the five stages of grief passed, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. I decided to pull myself together and plan the next few weeks around the kids and summer and work and all that stuff. Luckily for me my dance card is getting quite full with invitations to fun things to do with the kids. My lovely friend Uju Mother and Shaker was hosting a bloggers network event at  The National Portrait Gallery. It was a wonderful evening getting to meet fellow bloggers and have a chilled glass of wine in the Late Shift Bar a cool relief from the temperatures outside. I had a glass of wine and chatted to Claire our NPG host while the kids never ceased to find travelling up to the first floor on the imposing escalator and then running down the stairs to have another go, entertaining. Claire filled me in on the summer family friendly activities which sound fab. The kids and I did a family trail finding paintings and then the kids decided that they needed a second dinner! They would not be convinced otherwise.

I am going back, I want to see the Virginia Woolf Exhibition and take a bit more time to see the wonderful BP Portrait Award exhibit.

We left and jumped on the 38 Bus, the kids were demanding Lahmacun. Its a cross between a flatbread and a pizza. Ok its a flatbread pizza, but without the tomato sauce. Right just Imagine a giant fluffy flatbread smothered in minced lamb and spices and then topped with shredded lettuce and saladness then rolled up.  The kids love it, you can buy it in Hackney for less then £2 and its a full meal in itself. Me being me, said ok but I’m not buying it. I want to make it. Big giant protests ensued. Rufus said my lahmacun would be “rubbish” Lola and Tilda tried to make some money from my “challenge” I told them if its not better then Tad’s I will give them donuts for breakfast for a week. Then realised maybe I have shot myself in the foot with that statement!

So I leave you with a few pics and a recipe for Lahmacun. Enjoy!

Visit National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery is at St Martin’s Place, off Trafalgar Square, WC2H 0NE (Charing Cross tube)

BP Portrait Award runs until September 21, 2014, admission FREE

Virginia Woolf exhibition  runs until October 24, 2014

Late Shift Events  run every Thursday and Friday until 9pm

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This is not a traditional recipe at all. I totally made this recipe up. It’s somewhere in the ball park I am sure and it’s delicious and thats what really counts. I am lucky to live 5 minutes away from a fabulous Turkish supermarket, so I buy packs of 3 freshly made fluffy flatbreads for 99p. If you can’t find authentic turkish bread then just us flour tortillas, no big deal.

Serves 4 


  • 4 flatbreads (or flour tortillas)
  • 300g mince lamb
  • Half red onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • Stick of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (or more if you like heat) of chilli flakes or cayenne pepper
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • A squirt of tomato ketchup
  • Salt and pepper

Garnish with shredded lettuce, or any green you would like, coriander, mint, basil, spring onions…etc


Take you flat breads and if you wish you can warm them up in a very low oven while you make the lamb mixture. In a glug of olive oil, fry your onions over a medium heat until soft. Add the salt and pepper while you are frying the onions. Then add the garlic, stir and add the cinnamon, sumac, coriander, cumin, chilli  and the lamb. Cook and stir until the lamb is no longer raw. Add the tomatoes and ketchup then turn down the heat and cover for 10 mins.  Taste for seasoning and then turn off the heat. Leave it for 10 mins to cool a little. Then spread the lamb mixture equally over the tortillas and sprinkle the garnish of your choice. Roll up and apply to face.




Honey Now

First I need to apologise for being an absent blogger! I have not been neglecting my duties deliberately. Circumstances beyond my  control turned my life upside down and backwards for the last few weeks. I cannot tell you how happy I feel to be behind my Mac typing away.  My biggest obstacle appeared when I opened my Mac a few weeks ago to find the screen totally obliterated. After the initial horror and shock,  I then started the interrogation of the under 9s.  It wasn’t pretty. All of them denied all  knowledge of the incident and I for a very very split second wished that there was a 101 number for the immediate sale of your children. My Mac was returned to me on Friday, new screen and the children are no longer allowed to look at it let alone go within 20ft of it.

Luckily I had enough to distract me from my technical woes. I was invited to visit Feast In The Fields. A pop up event at London Fields Brewery. I had a much needed kid free day, so what did I do? I spent the morning making Jamaican patties and poaching a ton of chicken legs and thighs to fry up later. I call them Jamaican loosely.  The pastry was a traditional patty recipe but the filling was sort of more Moroccan influenced. I had quite a lot of veg in the fridge that needed to be used up, potatoes, carrots, onions, spring onions. Threw it all in a dutch pot and seasoned it with cumin, coriander, chilli, cinnamon bark, salt, pepper, sumac. Cooked the veg for 15 mins slowly then added a tablespoon of corn flower and a couple of teaspoons of vegetable bouillon and enough boiling water to make a bit of liquid for everything to braise in.

Armed with my Jaroocan Patties, I met Uju the fabulous Mother and Shaker and owner of Babes About Town and we headed to the brewery. This year seemed a lot busier then last year and it was great to see so many new foodie start ups. I chatted to the guys who just a few weeks ago launched 7 Bridges Deli. These guys smoke their own pastrami and make super stacked Reuben’s with delicious artisan rye and sourdough bread. I had to try some of the local beer. I really rarely drink beer, just a few times a year. I tried the Hackney Hopster and the Unfiltered. Both very distinctive flavours, nothing like that tasteless watery stuff you get on tap at your local. I had a really tough time deciding what to eat, but after sampling some very moreish smoked polish sausages from The Polish Deli London oh and the most fabulous mini canapé like pies from The Square Pie I finally decided to keep with my sort of moroccan theme of the day and try a wrap from Doukan, I was not disappointed. Spicy, juicy chicken with lots of fresh salad and hot spicy sauce.

Uju and the kids and I then spent the rest of the afternoon on London Fields with a bottle of wine and I ran home to finish frying off the buttermilk chicken I had made in the morning, as you do.

I leave you with a few pics. Im busy editing a few videos of Ru and I cooking some of our favourite dishes. I will be posting them shortly. I’m also designing my menus for a pop up restaurant this summer. Exciting times. I will keep you posted.

Have a lovely week!

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