I didn’t blog yesterday because I try not to turn on the computer on Sundays. It’s an internet-free day. The kids hate it and so do I, frankly, because it means I have to do something more active with them than feed them sugar while they sit, drugged, chasing some strange elf around a dismal landscape or karate kicking psychotic penguins.
Often we’ll go to the local farmer’s market in the park near us. We’ll walk up through the muddy field and then sit and have a coffee and watch the people and their dogs wander by. It’s a strange pseudo rural scene with the wail of police cars as background music. But it’s great for people spotting. I’ve seen James McAvoy and Ian McGregor and several TV character actors whose names I can never remember.
The market offers the usual farmer’s cheeses, meats and organic veg but this being North London it’s got a very spicy international flavor. You can buy coconut Mozambican chicken from one stall, Algerian mint tea from another. You can nibble on Mexican churros with a cup of pure melted chocolate to dip them in, French crepes, Brazilian cheese buns, Jamaican cake, Moroccan chicken pastries.
This isn’t really a recipe blog but I thought I’d add a recipe I once tried, inspired by our (usually) rainy Sundays and our local farmer’s market.
Moroccan Lamb with Honeyed Prunes
(I can’t remember where I got this recipe so apologies to the one I’m stealing it from)
2 pounds lamb shoulder cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 red onions, finely chopped
3 crushed garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of dried chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Pepper to taste
Two 13 oz cans tomatoes
1 strip orange rind
2 cinnamon sticks
24 ready to eat prunes
4 tablespoons honey
3 oz toasted blanched whole almonds
Mint leaves to garnish
Mix lamb with onions, garlic, oil, chili, cumin, ginger, paprika and pepper. Marinade for at least two hours.
Reserve marinade. In batches, fry lamb until brown. Transfer to heavy casserole. Add tomatoes, orange rind, cinnamon and half of the cilantro. Pour marinade into small pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add to meat. Cover casserole and put in a preheated oven 325 F (160 C) for 1 1/4 hours.
While it’s cooking put prunes into a sauce pan with honey and just enough water to cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 15 minutes before the end of the lamb cooking add prunes and cooking juices to the lamb. Add remaining cilantro about 7 minutes before the end.
Scatter almonds over lamb, garnish with mint leaves and serve with couscous.
And voila, a little bit of North London on a dreay rainy Sunday.