My Free Patterns

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strawberry Shortbread Thumbprints

I made these cookies this morning for my husband to take to his cricket game.  He didn't end up going so we get to eat them, yay!  I adapted the recipe slightly from one on Allrecipes, you can find the original here:

Strawberry Shortbread Thumbprints 
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, cream together butter and white sugar until smooth. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix in flour until dough comes together. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, then flatten into rounds and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Make a depression in the center of each cookie, using your thumb and fill the hole with jam.

Bake for 11 to 15 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Let cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lamb Tagine

A tagine is a North African dish, so named for the type of pot it is cooked in.  I discovered the wonder that is a tagine at my favourite restaurant in Glasgow, Mzouda.  Not having a tagine pot, I make mine in a covered skillet and it still tastes wonderful.  Normally my husband makes this dish, and he is responsible for finding the recipe as well.  However currently he is pressed for time, and I have some to spare, so I thought it was high time I tried to make it for myself.  I can only hope it turns out as well as his does, or there will be tears before bedtime.

The ingredient list is long, however you should have most of the spices in your cupboard.  It is also not as daunting as it looks, and well worth the effort.

While cooking
Lamb Tagine:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds lamb meat, cut into cubes
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch saffron (I don't have this, so I omit it)
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp ground coriander
2 medium onions
3-5 carrots, sliced (we also add diced potatoes and mushrooms if we have them)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tblsp freshly grated ginger
1 lemon, zested
1 14.5 can homemade chicken broth or canned (or a stock cube.  I used homemade broth from the freezer and 1/2 a stock cube)
1 tblsp sun-dried tomato paste (I use regular tomato paste)
1 tblsp honey
1 tblsp cornstarch (optional)
1 tblsp water (optional)

Place diced lamb in a bowl, toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and set aside. In a large resealable bag, toss together the paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, salt, ginger, saffron, garlic powder, and coriander; mix well. Add the lamb to the bag, and toss around to coat well. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight (I have never marinated it, I just cook it straight away).

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of the lamb, and brown well. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining lamb. Add onions and carrots to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh garlic and ginger; continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Return the lamb to the pot and stir in the lemon zest, chicken broth, tomato paste, and honey. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender.

If the consistency of the tagine is too thin, you may thicken it with a mixture of cornstarch and water during the last 5 minutes.  I usually just take the lid off and let the liquid boil away for 1/2 an hour or so to reduce it down, works brilliantly.  Serve over couscous and enjoy!

Now, the recipe can be found here:

A quick note about LOVE this site.  It is fantastic and I've found so many wonderful recipes there over the last few years.  A wonderful feature is the "ingredient search" where you can type in the things you have or want to use and it will search for recipes with those ingredients.  Can't get easier than that!

Here is the finished product, it tastes divine, though a bit salty.  I think next time I will reduce the salt to 1/2 tsp.   

A blog is born

I suppose I should start with the purpose of this blog.  I wish it were as easy as that.  Reading blogs online I thought, "I should try this, I do interesting things."  Now I'm not so sure the things I do are interesting to anyone but myself.  However, I know there are loads of people that like to cook, sew, knit, and craft in general.  I am one of those people, and if you are reading this you might be too.  So I'll write this a bit like a diary, and if you come across it and enjoy, I'll be pleased.
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