Here I am! Yoo hoo! Sorry, I know I'm late. There was this thing with a thing and then my phone battery died and then I locked myself out and it all just fell on my head.
Good New Year? No of course it wasn't. Ha! New Year is dreadful. What a stupid question. Well don't worry it's nearly February, the year has begun in earnest and we can all get back to whatever it is that we normally do.
I've got a peace offering for you to make up for my tardiness - a lamb tagine that I did out of Gwyneth Paltrow's book, It's All Good.
Everyone's got such a problem with Gwyneth!! I don't understand it. So she wants to live a semi-vegan diet and work out for 6 hrs a day so she doesn't look fat when she has to put on a size 0 dress and stand on a red carpet having her photo taken by 4 million people? That's her life and her choice, people. Speaking as someone who often has to put on a dress and be photographed for the paper looking fat, I understand where she's coming from.
And GOOP is just hilarious. Fact. Her nonchalance in recommending a $400 grey cashmere sweater to her readers because "it goes with everything" is simply a laugh out loud moment. No?
Okay whatever. I wasn't that crazy, in all, about It's All Good. I found the fact that they didn't bring out a British edition (so that all the measurements are in cups, spring onions are scallions etc) annoying. And everything requires about a million ingredients. And the pictures are just frightful, the food looks flat and boring - but the full-length photos of Gwyneth wrapped in a $550 goat hair Mexican blanket looking soulfully into the distance are a giggle.
I do absolutely love tagine and this is a really terrific one. I honestly ate my half of the pot in about 5 minutes. I am a fast eater, but even then. So do this! I don't know in what way this is supposed to be healthful and restorative (it certainly isn't vegan) but it is very easy and generally delightful.
Just don't go crazy and make the vegan brownies from the same book because they are just diabolically disgusting.
So here we go
Serves 4-6 if you are having rice with it. If only a salad then this serves 2.
1 handful chopped coriander
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2-inch nub of ginger, peeled
1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2tsp ground black pepper
3 tbsp good olive oil
some sea salt
500g of whatever stewing lamb you can get your hands on
about 300ml chicken stock
a pinch of saffron if you have it
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
about 200g butternut squash, peeled and chopped
the recipe also specified 1 small preserved lemon, chopped up but I cannot STAND preserved lemon so I left it out.
1 Put the coriander, garlic, ginger, onion, cumin, pepper and olive oil in a blender along with a large pinch of salt. Blend this together and then thoroughly cover the lamb in it. Marinade for six hours, overnight, or as long as you possibly can. Even 30 mins will make a difference.
2 Preheat the oven to 160C and put the lamb and all the marinade into a casserole dish. Put it over a medium flame and brown all over. Sprinkle over the saffron if using and then add the chicken stock. Bring all this to the boil and stir to release any browned bits stuck to the bottom.
3 Cut a piece of greaseproof paper big enough to sit over the top of the pot, then scrunch it, wet it and set it over the lamb. Put the lid on and cook for 1.5hrs. Check occasionally that it hasn't dried out. After 45 min stir in the butternut squash and the chickpeas and keep cooking.
4 add more salt and pepper if you think you need it and then serve with more coriander sprinkled over the top.
Eat wrapped in a blanket, looking soulfully into the distance, thinking about the day when BOTH your kids will be at nursery all morning.