Tag Archives: lamb

lamb dansak hand pies

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The food police have taken over in my office at the moment, and my guess is that yours isn’t much different: it’s January, and therefore nice food is Not Allowed. I am plotting the revolution as we speak. Come join me behind the barricades – there will be banana cake (with chocolate bits in! oh, the decadence), and these pies, and of course anything that you fancy bringing along. Be careful which friends you bring, though: no-one will be allowed to gaze covetously at any mid-morning snack while they tuck forlornly into their third Ryvita of the day – these people will be unceremoniously evicted from the brotherhood.

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It perhaps does not reflect very well on me as a person that I am entirely intentionally bringing in pies for lunch, while what seems like the whole of the rest of the office munches their way through salad after salad. I could be worse, however – I suspect there are those among us who are actively pursuing the make-everyone-else-fat-so-I-look-thinner school of January dieting, otherwise known as bringing in all the spare Christmas chocolate biscuits for everyone else to eat.

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What nobody except you and I needs to know, though, is that these are secretly very healthy pies – you see all those vegetables? Easily enough to cancel out the butter in the pastry, by my reckoning (although I do have a record of not really subjecting these hypotheses to proper scientific analysis. Please don’t do so on my behalf, though – ignorance is bliss, after all). In all seriousness, these are packed with good things: squash, spinach, lentils, chickpeas – the lamb is almost a secondary concern. They include more vegetables than meat, and more pulses than either – perfect for a January weekday lunch. If you want to up the filling-to-pastry ratio, just make the pies bigger, or make pasties instead, or serve this for dinner with rice and pickles. It’s delicious either way.

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lamb, beer & black bean chilli

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Snow! It’s quite an event, here in England – put aside any hopes you had of a) travelling anywhere or b) having a conversation with anyone that isn’t about precipitation, and rush to the supermarket for essentials (bread! milk! loo roll! Quick! the thaw isn’t due until Monday!) before heading out with wellies and sledges to career precipitously down a hill towards what would be a busy A-road if normal service was not temporarily suspended.

Or, if – like me – the absolute last thing you want to do is go outside when it’s minus several and the vengeful weather gods are throwing tiny bits of ice down the back of your neck, you could stay in and make this chilli. For very little effort, you could have the best kind of winter food simmering away on the cooker for a few hours, wafting tempting smells through the flat. This leaves you free to huddle under blankets watching Jonathan Creek and laughing at all of the expensively- but inappropriately-dressed women getting out of shopping-laden 4x4s and shouting expert instructions on how best to ascend an entirely frozen 1:8 slope to their husbands (this happens more often than you might think, in Bath).

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I know the ingredient list looks a bit long, but odds are you’ve most of it knocking around the house anyway (tinned tomatoes? beans? cumin? And don’t pretend you weren’t more concerned about stocking up with beers than with milk on that last emergency run to Tesco, because I won’t believe you).

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