Meaty melanzane parmigiana

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There is not much to say about this as it’s a complete meal and all you need to do is make a green salad. Simply divine!
What could be nicer than ground meat in with the Melanzane Parmigiana? This comes direct from the one and only BBC Good Food magazine.

Serves 6
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
2lbs ground lamb
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 thyme sprigs
4 rosemary sprigs
3 large bay leaves
2 x 14 oz or (1x 28 oz) can chopped tomatoes or tomato passata
a good glass of drinkable red wine
1 lamb or chicken stock cube
1 good handful of fresh basil, sliced roughly
1 tbsp sugar
5 large eggplants, sliced lengthways into 1/4 inch slices
2 x 7 oz balls mozzarella cheese, torn into chunks
8 oz good parmesan cheese, grated
6 oz mascarpone cheese

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or flameproof dish. Add the ground meat and brown over high heat, breaking up with a fork as you go. You may need to do this in batches. Once well browned, tip onto a plate and set aside.
Add more oil, the garlic and herbs to the pan and gently cook for 1 minute. Tip in the tomatoes and red wine and bring to a simmer, stirring up any meaty bits on the bottom of the pan. Return the ground meat to the pan, crumble in the stock cube and add the sugar and seasoning. Gently simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally, splashing in more water (or lamb/chicken broth, if you have some) to keep it saucy if you need to. If you have time to simmer for longer, go for it – the longer the better for great flavor and intensity. Now fish out the herb stalks and bay leaves.
Meanwhile, heat a griddle or frying pan. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil, then griddle in batches. You want each slice softened and slightly charred, so don’t have the heat too high or the eggplant will char before softening. Remove to a plate as you go.
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Set aside some of each cheese to go on top. In a large baking dish, spread a large spoonful of meat mixture over the base, then a layer of eggplant and season well. Spoon over more meat sauce then scatter over some fresh basil, mozzarella, parmesan and blobs of mascarpone cheese.
Add another layer of eggplant and some seasoning. Repeat, layering everything up and finish with a layer of meat sauce. Top with your reserved cheese and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is crisp and golden and the meat mixture is bubbling.






Asian spicy ground pork (or turkey) and green soup

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So soothing, cleansing, light and tasty. Oh, and easy too!  I found this in an old Bon Appetite magazine and adapted it slightly.

Serves 2
1/2 lb ground pork (or turkey)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp finely grated and peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely chopped (I roast mine for more flavor)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 bunch mustard greens, or kale, beet greens or other greens, torn (about 4 cups)
4 to 6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp Thai fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
8 oz wide rice noodles

Mix the ground pork, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes and cumin in a medium bowl.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pork mixture, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a fork, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the broth and bring to the boil; reduce the heat and simmer until the flavors meld, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the torn greens, scallions, soy sauce and fish sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and divide the noodles between the bowls and ladle the soup over






Loaded supreme nachos


This is such fun to serve at a party and completely over the top in all ways.

1 bag tortilla chips
1 x 16 oz can refried beans
1lb ground beef, browned and drained on paper towels
1/2 lb chorizo sausage, browned and drained on paper towels
1 cup cooked chicken (optional)
1 x 8 oz can tomato sauce
3 tbsp taco sauce
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
1/4 cup scallions
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 can jalapenos, sliced (to your taste)
1/2 cup guacamole
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup spicy salsa

Heat the oven to 350 F
Combine the refried beans, browned beef, chorizo, chicken, tomato sauce and taco sauce and set aside.
Layer the chips out on an oven safe pan (use a cookie sheet). Layer the meat mixture on the chips.
Layer the cheeses, olives and green onions.
Heat in the oven until the cheese melts
Then top with the remaining ingredients and serve


Thanksgiving meat loaf

The whole array of Thanksgiving flavors in one dish! It’s a lot of fun to eat.

2 lbs ground dark turkey (preferably organic)
2 boxes of your favorite stuffing mix
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
2 large eggs
1 tbsp grain mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
2 cups hot chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 400 F

In a heatproof bowl, add the two boxes of stuffing mix, poultry seasoning, mustard, garlic and chile flakes.
Pour the two cups of hot broth over the stuffing and mix well to soften.
Then mix together the 2 lbs ground turkey, salt and pepper and 2 eggs. Mix both the stuffing and meat mixture together.

Take more than half the meat loaf mixture and start to construct your meatloaf in the middle of a lined shallow baking dish. Flatten it out a bit then lay slices of the cranberry sauce down the middle of the meat mixture. Top with the remaining meat mixture making sure the cranberry sauce in completely surrounded all round with the meatloaf mixture.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until fully cooked.

Slice and serve with gravy.

Uncomplicated golden overnight chicken/turkey stock in your slow cooker

I want to shout this recipe out loud because it makes the world’s best stock while you’re sleeping, it’s SO effortless and with only 4 few ingredients. I can hear you say, “What about the carrots, celery, thyme….?”  You really don’t need them! Try this recipe as is first, is all I am saying and you will realize it’s all you need.

In preparation for Thanksgiving or Christmas (and any other times you want the very best quality chicken or turkey stock), we woke up this morning to the beautifully pervading smell of turkey broth cooking in the slow cooker.
I’m getting ahead of the game by making the turkey stock for the gravy, and having made this recipe once, I swear there is no other stock recipe you will need.
It is so easy and with so few ingredients. Go to your local supermarket (I went to Wholefoods) and ask for 3lbs of their wings, that is all.
It’s a rich, golden, strongly flavored stock and usable in so many ways.
It would be the most divine broth just to have neat, especially if you’re under the weather and it will make the most wonderful gravy.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, go out and buy yourself one, (preferably 5 quart size or more) even if it’s just for this recipe. They are very inexpensive and well worth it.

Makes 3 quarts

4 lbs uncooked chicken or turkey wings
3 quarts water
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp salt, or more to taste

Place all the ingredients in your slow cooker.
Cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours (I did mine overnight) or HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.
Strain out the chicken/turkey parts, onion and garlic.
I put a large colander lined with kitchen towel over a large bowl and emptied everything into that and waited for 20 minutes until every drop had been strained through the towel, then threw all solids away.
The stock is now ready for use, or you might like to refrigerate it overnight and skim off the small amount of fat the next morning, freezing it for when you roast those potatoes!
Once defatted, you can use or freeze the broth for later use.
It’s as simple as that!


My turkey meat muffins

These are fun and easy to make and are great to have cold the next day. You can use a muffin or cupcake tin and they are so much more flavorsome than ordinary old meatloaf. You can vary the amounts of ingredients, I tend to like a very flavorsome blend.

Makes about 18 cupcakes, or 12 muffins

2lbs ground turkey (I use the dark meat, but either is good)
1 large onion, chopped in the food processor
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 tbsp Worcester sauce
2 heaped tsp sweet paprika
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 extra large egg


1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Get your largest bowl and put ALL the ingredients except the glaze ingredients into it.
Wash your hands, (remove any wedding rings) and plunge your hands into the mixture and mix it all together thoroughly so the egg is well blended and everything else is well blended.

Get out your muffin or cupcake tins and spray each hole with oil. Also with your hands, or an ice cream scoop, fill each hole with the meat mixture.

Brush the tops of each meat muffin with the ketchup then sprinkle over the grated parmesan cheese.

Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes.

Moroccan-spiced pie with harissa yoghurt dressing

Ground meat is such a great way to save money but also have a dish that is spectacular to look at and eat. Ground lamb is so much more flavorful than ground beef and marries very well with the Moroccan spices. Thank you to the BBC Good Food Magazine for this recipe.

1lb ground lamb
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds. (I roast my own then grind them as they pack more flavor that way)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
4 medium carrots, grated coarsely
2 raw beets (beetroot) grated
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
5 tbsp butter
5 tbsp olive oil
15 sheets (200g) of Filo pastry
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp olive oil for frying the meat

For the harissa yoghurt

2-3 tsp harissa
7 fl oz of Greek yoghurt
2 -3 tbsp milk
pinch of paprika

Put the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the ground meat until browned all over.
Add the garlic, ginger, spices and seasoning and stir in to the meat, frying for about 4 -5 minutes.
Add the carrots, beets, cranberries and most of the pine nuts, reserving about 1 tbsp for decoration.
Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes checking for taste then set aside and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 425F
Melt the oil and butter together in a pan. Brush a 11 inch round loose bottom fluted flan tin with the oil and butter. Lay one sheet of the filo pastry in the bottom, allowing the edges to hang over the sides of the tin.
Brush lightly with oil and butter (you may need more than the recipe says) and continue to layer up to
8 sheets of pastry at alternate angles so that the whole base of the tin is covered and you have plenty hanging over the sides all round the tin.
Pile the cooked meat mixture into the tin and bring the pastry up over the filling, scrunching the pastry on top. Add 5 or 6 more sheets of filo on top to cover the top, brushing lightly with the butter/oil mixture then drizzle the remaining butter and oil mixture over the top.
Bake for 20 minutes and sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts and continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until golden and crisp.

Mix the harissa paste with the yoghurt and milk and sprinkle with a little paprika.
Slice the filo pie and serve hot with the harissa sauce on the side


Persian Rice

I just love rice dishes, especially with these spices!


1 cup jasmine rice
4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp pine nuts
3 tbsp currants
1/4 lb leg or shoulder of lamb cut into small cubes
1-1/2 cup lamb stock
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
salt to taste


Season the small lamb cubes with salt and pepper then in a solid pan saute the lamb in a little oil and 2 tbsp of the butter on a medium heat till color turns and it starts to brown a little.
Add the other 2 tbsp butter and the chopped onion. Saute until the onions get soft.
Add the rice and other ingredients and saute for 2 -3 mins.
Finally, add the stock, bring to the boil then turn down the heat and cook until the rice absorbs all the stock.
Rest for 20 minutes, before serving

Asian lettuce cups with spicy ground turkey filling (CleanCuisine)

This makes 4 to 6 servings

1 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil, you may need more depending on the size of the an you’re using.
3 tbsp minced red onion or shallots
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey (I prefer the dark meat)
4 tbsp soy or tamari sauce
1 tbsp chile garlic sauce, or more if you like spicy food
1 tsp fish sauce
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1/3 cup chopped peanuts (dry roasted are nice to use)
1 large head or 2 small heads of Boston or Butter lettuce as long as you can fill it well. (See picture)

Chop the onion and set aside.

Peel the ginger root then grate with the large holed side of a cheese .
Chop the garlic finely.

Heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan, add the onion and saute for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and saute for another minute or so.

Add the ground turkey to the frying pan with a bit more oil, if needed, breaking apart the meat and spreading it out in the pan, then add the soy sauce, chile garlic sauce and the fish sauce. Cook until the turkey is brown and crumbling apart and the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

While the turkey cooks, wash, dry and chop the fresh cilantro making 1 cup. Remove the core end from the lettuce, separate the leaves and wash, drying gently in a salad spinner.

Chop the peanuts and put them in  a small bowl to serve at the table.

When the turkey is done, add the freshly chopped cilantro and mix well together, cooking for about 2 more minutes.

Serve the turkey filling and lettuce leaves in separate serving bowls alongside the chopped peanuts in the smaller bowl.

Each person takes a lettuce leaf, fills it with the desired amount of filling, tops it with some chopped peanuts then eats the mixture from the lettuce cup.

Sme people like to fold the lettuce over to resemble a taco, but be careful your lettuce id not the breaking sort and you are left with a large pile of filling on the table!


Tortilla Pie

Once you have the hang of what you can put between the layers of this stunning creation, you can please meat lovers, vegetarians, adults, children….
It goes down very well with everyone, is delicious and a beautiful display!


14 (8 inch) flour tortillas

Meat layer
1 tbsp vegetable oil
14oz can chilli beans, drained
1/4 oz package taco seasoning mix
1lb lean ground lamb

Pinto/Salsa layer
4 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups of your favorite salsa
4  cloves garlic, crushed

Black bean/salsa layer
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 (15oz) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped tomatoes

4-6 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, or Mexican blend
1 cup sour cream
1 avocado diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 inch round loose bottom cake tin

For the meat layer
Heat  the oil in a large non stick frying pan, add the ground lamb and cook for 5 minutes or until brown, breaking up the lumps with the back of a spoon. Drain off the excess oil, add the seasoning mix and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the chilli beans until heated through. Set aside

Black bean/salsa layer
In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup salsa, cilantro, black beans and tomatoes.

Pinto bean / salsa layer
In another bowl, mash the pinto beans. Stir in 3/4 cup salsa and the garlic.

Now depending what you’re using in your layers, this is roughly how you assemble it. You, of course, can improvise depending what people like.

Place one tortilla in the bottom of the cake tin.
Spread 1/2 cup of the lamb mixture on top. Spread 3/4 cup of the pinto/salsa mixture on top of the lamb and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.
Cover with another tortilla then spread 2/3 cup of the black bean/salsa mixture on, then 1/4 cup ground lamb and 1/4 cup grated cheese on top.
Cover with another tortilla, then continue the layers of whatever you want, always putting grated cheese on top before adding another tortilla.
Lightly press down each tortilla as you go, so it stays as flat as possible.
When you run out of fillings or the pie is getting really high, end with a tortilla and some pinto/salsa mixture and lots of grated cheese on top.
Cover lightly with foil and bake for about 40 minutes, removing the foil at the last 15 minutes so the cheese can brown.
Cool slightly, remove from tin carefully and put on a nice dish.
Cut into wedges and top with a dollop of sour cream and the diced avocado.
Serve with a salad.