Lamb and Beef meatballs with tahini and garlic…

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My pores weeped Allium Sativum for 24 hours, I became lonely.  Seventeen cloves of garlic later, not even my daughter would kiss me good night. While the meatballs themselves were not to blame the combination of amazing flavours culminated in a shit load of garlic. All four of us on this MCC agreed that garlic is good… Really good.. There’s no shame in the love of garlic, and we set the inner garlic free. Luckily none of us are that sociable, even at the best of times. Tonight we made a simple (much simpler than the ingredients will lead you to believe) table of lamb and beef meatballs in a tahini sauce with a tomato and onion salad, humus and pita bread. It was one of my favourite MCC’s ever, only bettered by having a helping of the MCC Harissa we made a while ago. I’ll lay out the recipe for the meatballs here and save the humus and salad for another post… The humus is where most of the garlic went… It was dangerous and most definitely not to all tastes, we on the other hand loved it. Ooohing and ahhhing as we ate it.

The lonely meatball
The lonely meatball

These meatballs are delicious. I’ve got to be honest and say that the Tahini sauce is a little weird but once you combine a few meatballs, a little salad and a large dollop of humus inside a pita, it all makes sense. Amazing.



  • 35g stale white bread (we luckily had a bag of breadcrumbs available. As you do.)
  • 400g minced beef
  • 350g lamb
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 35g of flat leaf parsley
  • good pinch of salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1 free range egg
  • light olive oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish
  • grated zest of 1/2 lemon to garnish
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

The Tahini Sauce

  • 150 ml tahini paste
  • 150 ml of water
  • 70 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • pinch of salt


First things first, the tahini sauce. Splat your garlic clove with the side of your knife and then finely chop. Sprinkle crunchy salt on top and then make the garlic into a paste by working the salt into it.

Pasting garlic
Pasting garlic

Now add the tahini, water, vinegar, garlic and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Get yer whisk out and whisk the mixture until smooth. It should be kind of creamy.

Tahini sauce mix
Tahini sauce mix

Next up the meatballs themselves… Get the oven running at 200° and while it’s heating up, soak the bread in water for a few minutes. Remove the bread, squeeze out most of the water and add to a large bowl. Now get the rest of your ingredients and add to the bowl and mix well with your hands. It’s more of a fold than a mix as you want the meat to not become too mushy.

Lamb and beef meatball mix
Lamb and beef meatball mix

Make the mix in to small golf ball sized balls and set aside for shallow frying. Use the light oil and brown the meatballs on a quite high heat. About 2 minutes should do it. Even though they’re not cooked all the way through we couldn’t resist trying one…  Once done set aside on kitchen roll to absorb any juices and oil. Arrange the meatballs on a baking tray and put in the oven for 5 minutes, add the tahini sauce evenly over all the meatballs and put back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

Lamb and beef meatballs in oven tray
Lamb and beef meatballs in oven tray

That’s it we’re done. Really easy to make, amazingly tasty and with the rest of the meal was greater than the sum of its parts.

Pita of 17 cloves
Pita of 17 cloves


Not too crazy Chicken Jalfrezi

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An easy to make super tasty Chicken Jalfrezi, with a quick intro from the MCC Sensi himself:

A huddle of shadowy, hooded figures; faces lit by an eerie, blueish light. A church bell striking 12 midnight. The letting of blood in a re-enactment of some sinister, otherworldly ritual, as old as the earth on which these disciples stood. And so it came to pass, a resurrection. In other (real) words, a couple of texts were exchanged, a phone call made, and after a…. what is it the Americans say? A ‘hiatus’ of a couple of years, some shit, I don’t know, the founding members of the M.C.C. assembled.

Chicken Jalfrezi prepared, wisdom imparted, anecdotes exchanged, funk and sounds, as though made by machines, played… and the meaning of chode revealed. Yes, the 5 excellences were in check… or, truth be told, 4 blokes and a kitchen.


  • 8 large tomatoes
  • 6 Chicken breasts
  • 4 large peppers
  • 6 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 packet of birdseye chillies
  • 8 small white onions
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 3 tbl tomato puree
  • 2 thumbs fresh ginger
  • A punch of salt
  • Two large cups of basmati rice

This is a great one to get over the extreme january self loathing and still treat yourself a bit. The freshness of the tomato is key and gives this take on Jalfrezi a light but hearty feel. You won’t go hungry! Good to serve 4/5 people.

Grab a really sharp knife and crack on with some chopping:
Chop up the onions, nice and big. Slice them in to quarters than then pull them apart.

  • Chop up the peppers, again, nice and big.
  • Now do the same with the fresh toms, chop them up nice and bit.

End result should look like this:

Tomatoes, peppers and onions


Note. To avoid lower back pain whilst chopping you should assume a wing chun stance

Now, take care of the garlic, ginger, chilli.

  • Peel the garlic and chop it up finely (but not too finely).
  • Chop the ginger as finely as you can get it with a knife.
  • Chop the chilli, this is up to personal taste, the bigger you leave it the more likely you’ll get an intense kick. We left some whole, because, we’re proper men.

Chop up your chicken breast, you could probably use thigh but we like breast and time is of the essence.

  • Make sure you leave the chicken chunky, one normal super market chicken breast should give you 5 or 6 chunks.

Measure out your cumin, tara masala, turmeric and about half a punch of salt. Mix up with the ginger and garlic.

From this (don’t put the chilli in at this stage, we just had it on the same plate):

Cumin, chilli, garlic, onion

To this:

Mix your spices

Now, with your slightly chunky, spicy mix, get physical with your chicken and mix it all up:

Mix up the chicken

You are now ready to get going with putting the veg on, of course, if you have a lacky you could do two things at once.

The important thing with this dish is to do the verge and chicken separate, it keeps the chicken succulent and stops the verge losing all their moisture.

  • Stick some vegetable oil and an inch of butter in to a pan.
  • Add your onions, peppers and tomatoes.
  • Brown the onions a bit and wait for some of the juices from the tomatoes to come out.
  • Add some salt.

Sizzle and stir

You can add a lid to the pan to help things along a bit.

When you’re happy add the chilli powder, as much or as little as you fancy.

Taste, and adjust seasoning as you see fit.

When that’s all done, the tomatoes should have lost a lot of their juice but still be a little meaty. Take the veg and transfer it to a holding bowl.

Now, to the chicken…

Add another inch of butter to the pan and a second of oil.

Transfer your chicken to the pan.


Don’t by shy, the pan is your friend. Move the chicken around and toss it to ensure it’s evenly browned.

When you’re happy the chicken is evenly browned, add the tomato puree and make sure you get an even covering.


With the chicken done, add the veg back in to the mix.

Simmer the dish while you get the rice on, you can add a lid again if you like.


A few minutes before the rice is done warm some plates, and serve!

Proper Jerk Chicken

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This is the best Jerk Chicken I’ve ever had. Period. I found it on another site a while ago, modified it a little and here we are. I love jerk chicken, it’s one of my favourite things ever, especilly with Jah Tubby’s system pumping through the pavement at the same time.


  • 1 fat shallot
  • 2 seconds of oil – sunflower
  • a punch of salt
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2.5 punches of brown sugar – demerara
  • thumb of ginger
  • Totally squeezed lime
  • a punch of thyme (no stalks)
  • a punch of all spice
  • Scotch bonnets – I used 1 then added another half – be brave and add more!
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 seconds of soy sauce

It’s such a simple recipe that I’m not going to say too much.

It seems like a lot of salt, if you feel like it’s too much, you’ve probably got it just right. As for the Scotch Bonnets – they are ESSENTIAL. Do not substitute a different kind of chilli, Bonnets have the heat (oh my god they do), but they don’t over power the flavours from everything else. You could call it the secret ingrediant.

The shallots you could replace with any kind of salad or sweet onion really.

If you’re new to MCC a punch is about a table spoon, a pinch a teaspoon and a second of pouring is about a tablespoon. You’ll get used to it. 😉

Ok, here we go. Chuck everything into a blender and whizz unitl a paste. The end. Da daaa

I like it a little bit chunky, you might like it smooth, just keep whizzing.

You can use as a sauce or a marinade. For the marinade, cover the chicken with the sauce, cover with cling film and leave for a few hours. Barbecueing is best, but 35-45 minutes in the oven and then 10 minutes under a hot grill will give you crispy skin and still taste amazing.

We had four bits of chicken each and frankly it wasn’t enough. With the 1 and 1/2 bonnets it was hot but not too hot for my kids.


Authentic fail safe Sushi Rice

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Sushi is one of those things like Chess; easy to pick up, yet difficult to be good at… The bit that most people think is the easy bit is making the rice. And really it is, sort of. It’s easy and time consuming. So get your zen on.

With this quick “recipe” you’ll get it right every time. In theory!

First you need the right rice. You must use the right rice, not long grain, basmati, or Uncle Bens… Get short grain “blunt” rice.

Once the correct rice is acquired get yourself a mug and measure out two mugfuls into a pan. Now wash it thoroughly. You need to cleanse the starch away as much as possible. Rinse it thoroughly until the water is almost clear. Do NOT use a metal sieve, you will damage the rice, just use your hands to gently rub it. Once its ‘s clear as you have patience for, remove as much of the water as possible.

Now to add the water for cooking. For every one mug of rice, add about a mug and a quarter of water. If in doubt, do less than a quarter, maybe an eighth. So for the two mugs of rice we’ve just done, add two and a half mugs of water.

Cover the pan, stick it on the hob, heat full blast and wait for it to come to the boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat leaving the lid on and leave for ten minutes. After ten minutes, take off the lid and cover with a tea towel and again leave for ten minutes…

By  now the water should be fully absorbed and the rice a nice sticky consistency. I can’t resist having a little bowl with some sweet soya sauce (or Teraki)… After a taste if you find that the rice is still a little “grainy”, add a few tablespoons of water and cover again for a few minutes.

Remove the rice from the pan and lay on a large smooth flat surface. I always use a few chopping boards. Cover the surface with the rice. All we’re doing here is increasing the surface area so that we can cool the rice efficiently. At this stage it’s worth drizzling over a little Sushi vinegar, you can buy this or mix up some sugar, a little rice wine and a mild vinegar. Personally it’s easier to just buy it. The idea is that it makes the rice a little sweeter. Now you need to fold the rice carefully while still warm and with the “vinegar”, use your hands or a non brittle spatula. Spend five to ten minutes doing this.

The last step and the one that will make you feel as mad a hat is the fanning of the rice. Yes… Fan the rice. If you don’t have an authentic Japanese fan to hand (who doesn’t?) use a flimsy chopping board or a magazine. Then gently fan the rice for another five to ten minutes. This process helps remove the moisture while keeping everything moist. Ideally you would do this while you are folding as well in the previous step. This is a tradition. Whether it improves the taste or texture is up to you to decide. It does however definitely put you into the rice zen master class…

When the rice is cool you’re ready to roll (sorry). Chilled rice is the worst so don’t refrigerate unless you have to.

[featured image by quinn.anya]

Apple and Almond cake

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It’s autumn, so there’s tons of apples. Also, it’s getting cold, so there is an inherent need for cake. This cake also has one of your two a day, so you can file it under healthy. It’s fabulous at tea time, which is at about fourish and, fortunately, happens every day.

Continue reading Apple and Almond cake

Quick Octopus Salad

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I bought an Octopus. It was more bravado with the kids than a culinary choice. The super duper fish counter at Morissons drew me in and the kids wiped the floor with me. I bought the Octopus.

The preparation

Once we got it home we had to decide what to do with this alien beast. It wasn’t like a little squid that needed a bit of de-inking and bone removal (is it a bone?). This was a beast.

So. I turned its head inside out and watched as it eyes bulged the wrong way. Very frickin’ weird even by my standards. I then pulled, scraped and cut out any bits that I could. There were weird sacks of stuff (eggs?), general goo and a little beak. Pretty amazing really.

The Cooking

Grab a big pan and pour in about three seconds of red wine vinegar. Get it hot in the pan without gassing out your kitchen. Open the windows. I’m sure this is how you make some nasty gas…

Once the vinegar is nice and hot chuck in the octopus and put the lid on. I added a little salt and pepper. Leave it for about 10-15 minutes, giving it a little poke every now and again so that all sides are browned.

You know when it’s cooked as it will be quite easy to pierce with a fork, almost soft.

Once soft, remove from the pan and leave to cool. Then chop into little pieces. I added chopped black olives (Crespo) and poured a little olive oil with a few more crunches of black pepper. A little squeeze of lemon juice and you’re ready to serve.

Very nice and it makes you feel like you’re on holiday!

Easy Peasy Teabread

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The best thing about this recipe is that it’s made from a bowl of cereal. Nice. It’s an old family recipe that my Mum used to make for us. It’s so tasty that everyone who tries it always asks me for the recipe


  • 1 mug Kellogg’s All Bran
  • 1 mug sultanas (or other dried fruit)
  • 1/3 mug Muscovado sugar
  • 1 mug milk
  • 1 mug self-raising flour
  • sprinkle of mixed spice

All the ingredients are measured with a mug so it’s piss easy. Mix the All-Bran, sultanas and sugar in a large mixing bowl and then drown the mixture in the milk. You can add other mixed fruit if you like, just make sure all the All-Bran and sultanas are covered with milk.

Go off and do something while you leave the mixture to soak up the milk for about 45 minutes.

After 45 mins you should have something resembling a soggy bowl of cereal 🙂

Sieve the flour and add a few shakes of mixed spice and into the mixture. Pour it into a greased loaf tin, or a silicone loaf tin (much better as no greasing required) and pop it in the oven for 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

Tip onto a wire rack to cool then slice and butter to serve, ideally with a nice cuppa.

Two Greedy Italians Pork, Ginger and Honey… Amazing and Simple

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I’ve been watching the the “Two Greedy Italians” on BBC 2 for the last few weeks. It’s one of those weird programmes that shouldn’t be good. It just is. I love Italian food, always have. If I was stranded on a desert island with a chef, they’d be Italian and I’d be fat.

These two old geezers though as they travel around their homeland have displayed a simplicity and a passion that’s got me properly fired up. The recipe that really got me salivating was their Pork, Ginger and Honey hot pot stew thing… I’ve never liked “English stews” (ready for the flames on that one), but this just looked amazing…

I made it with the kids, nice and easy, although I couldn’t find for love nor money a pork fillet the size that they did! I’ll post the recipe as we did it; with less pork.


  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 100g Pancetta
  • 2 Carrots
  • 4 Small Parsnips
  • 4 Shallots
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 4 tbsps Honey
  • 2 x 300g Pork Fillets
  • 300 ml of stock
  • Fresh ginger
  • Salt & Pepper

Before starting it’s worth getting prepared. Chop your carrots and parsnips into nice fat chunks. Slice the shallots into nice thick slices, if they’re too fine they’ll disintegrate. Your ginger needs to be sliced coarsely, about 6 or 7 slices, each one the size of a thumbnail and a few millimeters thick. Lastly crush your garlic, nothing fancy. I peeled mine, you don’t have to if you’re feeling all rustic.

Get a nice large deep frying pan (with a lid) and drop in a few table spoons of oil. You want it to be about a millimetre or two deep across the whole pan. Get this hot, put the lid on to make sure it’s really hot and then chuck in the Pancetta. Careful, it will spit.

Once golden, put the Pancetta in a bowl and leave somewhere convenient (Note: not in reach of the dog. Doh!) Now add in your pork and sear for a few minutes. It should be really hot, sealing in the flavour of the pancetta. While this is happening stick the kettle on for your stock. I used vegetable stock. It worked well.

Ok, now add in the garlic, ginger and honey. Keep this cooking until caramelised, it shouldn’t really be longer than a few minutes. It look so amazing at this stage. Now you can add in the rest of the ingredients. Leave this cooking for 30 mins with the lid on. Then take out the vegetables and set aside. If they’re not tender leave them in for a bit longer, although they should be. I used a pair of tongs, which made it bit like playing Operation but in reverse…

Now this is the bit where we changed the timings. As we had to 300g pork fillets instead of one mammoth 800g piece we had to adjust the cooking time. So while originally the cooking time is an hour, we went for 20 minutes. Perfect. Take the meat out and let it cool for a few minutes, then slice into nice chunky pieces.

Finally add everything back into the pan to just heat through. You are not cooking anything here, just making sure that it’s hot.


Literally hold on to everymouthful. This is so tasty, easy, cheap, healthy…

Black Pudding and Poached Egg Salad

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I originally had this at Harvey Nichols for lunch and figured it must be easy to make. The dressing was the hard bit, in that it took longer than three minutes for my brain to process.

This is my favourite quick recipe at the moment. It’s so simple, healthy, tasty and cheap and… Fuuuuuucckkkkk, I love it. 🙂 Now that we’ve got fresh eggs from our chickens this is even better than before (and Harvey Nicks).


  • Black pudding – 3 big slices per person or 5 fat little slices
  • Rocket and some mixed leaves
  • 2 FRESH eggs per person
  • A squirt of virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar

Get a sealed jam jar to mix up your dressing. Add half an inch of balsamic vinegar, a quick squirt of the olive oil, some ground pepper and crunchy salt. Put the lid on and shake… A lot. That’s the hard bit done. Nice.

Poached eggs next. This is the bit that everybody has an opinion on.

“Use cling film”, “Use cookie cutters”, “add salt to increase the boiling point“, “blah blah blah”…

The trick to poached eggs is to use the freshest eggs that you can. The end.

Get a large frying pan, fill with water and heat until just boiling. Not vigorously boiling, just gently boiling. Crack your eggs and drop them in as quickly as you can, as close as you can to the water without burning yourself. Then simmer for a few minutes and then… Turn off the heat and leave for ten minutes… Its the bubbles that disperse your egg whites so we need to minimise that.

Once your your eggs are in, fire up a frying pan, add a drip of oil and add the black pudding when the oil is hot. Black pudding should be crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, hence the thick slices. Once crispy, turn the heat down. Decent black pudding makes all the difference. Good black pudding you can eat raw. Honest.

Grab your leaves, chuck in a bowl and wait for your eggs. After your ten minutes of poaching, pull out your eggs (!) and lay on kitchen towel to drain. Put the black pudding on top of your leaves and drizzle some of your dressing over, then gently place your eggs on top and drizzle a little more of the dressing. Depending on how many people you;re feeding you’ll probably have some dressing left.

Personally I don’t like runny eggs. Although there is something about the yolk mixing in with the dressing and then covering the peppery rocket and black pudding that somehow tastes more than what it is…

Oh god, I need to eat this now… 😉

Cluck cluck go the sound of the hens

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We finally did it. After Phatty helped us with the chicken coop we’ve acquired a couple of beautiful hens. We’ve named them Burt and Ernie.

Already after only one day they’ve started laying; two eggs so far. I’m poaching them for breakfast! I’ll post my new favourite recipe to celebrate. Black pudding and poached egg salad…

This will be an interesting experiment. We live in a small terraced house with a very small back garden, just enough for the chicken coop. One thing I really wasn’t prepared for is the volume of the clucking. Who knew chickens cluck so bloody loudly.?

Five thirty this morning they started. The neighbours already are plotting ways to leave the coop door open for the foxes I’m sure. Apparently they’ll settle down… We’ll see…