Spiced Lamb Meatballs

Spiced Lamb Meatballs


I owe a great debt to Ottolenghi for this glorious recipe. His newest publication – ‘Jerusalem’ masterfully depicts the beautiful cuisine of his native Israel and is the origin of this recipe (with a few small tweaks)!

Lamb meatballs are spiced with cinnamon and allspice and cooked in a wonderfully rich stock alongside dried figs and banana shallots. Cooking slow and low ensures the stock reduces to a delicious consistency – packing a seriously rich punch, the sweetness working in harmony with the salty, herby meatballs.

Ask your butcher for freshly twice-minced lamb shoulder (around 75% lean) to ensure the meatballs remain tender and moist. Topped with greek yogurt and an abundance of fresh herbs – the dish works perfectly with fresh lemon and sultana couscous.

Spiced Lamb Meatballs
Serves 4


For the Meatballs: 500g Minced Lamb Shoulder, 1 Medium Onion (Finely Chopped), Large Handful Flat Leaf Parsley (Chopped), 2 Garlic Cloves (Crushed), 1/2 tsp Allspice, 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon, 50g Dried Cranberries, 1/2 Medium Egg (Beaten).

For the Sauce: 4tbsp Sunflower Oil, 5 Banana Shallots (Peeled), 200ml White Wine, 400ml Chicken Stock, 2 Bay Leaves, 3 Thyme Sprigs, 1 tsp Caster Sugar, 150g Whole Dried Figs.

To Finish: 200ml Greek Yogurt, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Large Handful Torn Fresh Herbs – Coriander, Dill, Mint.


1) Combine the minced lamb with the other meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands until fully combined. Divide into approximately 15 meatballs.

2) Place a large, heavy based pot (a Le Creuset casserole is perfect) on the stove top over a medium heat. Cook the meatballs in the sunflower oil until well browned all over. Remove from the pot and set aside.

3) Brown the shallots in the oil for around 10 minutes. Turn up the heat, add the wine and let reduce for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat back to medium. Add the chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme and caster sugar. Bring to the boil.

4) Add the meatballs and figs to the stock, dispersing amongst the shallots. Ensure there is enough liquid to just about cover the meatballs. Cover and cook for 20 minutes over a very low heat.

5) Cook to cook uncovered over a very low heat for around 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced considerably (by around two thirds).

6) Serve the meatballs with the sauce. Top with a little greek yogurt and generously sprinkle with fresh herbs.



Winter Halloumi Salad

Winter Halloumi Salad


Salads are fast becoming a fundamental constituent of my pre-Christmas, healthy eating regime!

With a craving for halloumi, I took inspiration from my Autumn Harvest Salad to concoct this simple, satisfying dish.

I love pomegranate and normally go crazy with it at this time of the year – sprinkling its glorious seeds over everything I get my hands on!

This salad is delicious – the salty halloumi perfectly complemented by the sweet Crème Fraîche dressing. It would be great scaled up as a dinner party starter or side salad.

I detail the elements of the salad below for inspiration!

Winter Halloumi Salad


Halloumi – Sliced and lightly fried in olive oil

Crème Fraîche Dressing – With lemon and orange juice

Pomegranate Seeds

Toasted Pain de Campagne



Basil – Finely chopped

Mozzarella – Torn

Charred Baby Onions

Homemade Hummus

Winter Popovers


Anyone that knows me knows I have an insatiable obsession with Yorkshire Puddings! And when it comes to cooking these delicious pillows of crispness I am strictly a traditionalist – one tried and trusted recipe every time. However, this normally means I only get the opportunity to eat them with Sunday lunch.

Rather ignorantly, I never appreciated that popovers were simply flavoured Yorkshire puddings; not dense, heavy muffins. Now I have the perfect excuse to adapt them to every meal!

I stumbled across this recipe in the latest edition of Bon Appétit and had to give it a try. Served with a parma ham, manchego and grilled pear salad they were absolutely delicious. They would also go fantastically well with roasted lamb. The combination of spicy black pepper and nutmeg is perfect for this time of year – the chopped parsley stopping them from becoming overly heavy.

Now it is time to experiment with different fillings!

Winter Popovers
Makes 12

2 Cups Plain Flour
2 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
3 Large eggs
3 Tbsp Chopped Parsley
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
Large Knob Unsalted Butter, Melted

1) Preheat the oven to 220C. Grease a 12 tin muffin tray with melted butter – around 1/2 tsp in each cup.

2) Prepare the batter by combining the flour with the black pepper, parsley, nutmeg and salt.

3) Whisk together the eggs milk and 3 tbsp melted butter. Add to the flour mixture and whisk to combine – trying to incorporate some air into the mixture.

4) Pour the batter into the muffin tin and place in the top half of the oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.