With Valentine’s Day round the corner there has to be a ‘Love’ theme, and what better to love than good food. Eating has always been high on my list, but I haven't always loved cooking, but that’s probably because when life is pulling you in lots of different directions, putting a meal on the table becomes just another thing on the list of “to do’s”.  I really love it now - with a bit more time it’s so much more enjoyable, and sitting down to a delicious meal is unquestionably one of the best parts of the day.  I love food, but there’s more to it than that. 

In 2003, when we headed off to Andalucia, I was given a wonderful book written by Elisabeth Luard, the food writer. ‘Family Life: Birth, Death and the Whole Damn Thing’ is a account of the ups and downs of her family’s time living in Southern Spain, and the adventures they had. I loved the book, and quickly began to resonate with the experiences they had had, as many of the anecdotes she describes - some amusing, some frustrating - started to play themselves out for us in a very similar way!  But the thing I remember most is the emphasis throughout the book on family time spent round the kitchen table – this was where the excitements and calamities of the day were discussed, issues were debated, problems resolved, and happy, and sometimes sad times shared – as well as delicious food consumed – shared times around the kitchen table are incredibly special so love them.

I sometimes find it hard to write “the recipe” for the food I produce as I am essentially a “chuck it in and see” cook - last night’s supper was a Moroccany lamb dish, and this is sort of how I did it!  Hope you might love it.

Moroccan Lamb

250g good diced lamb steak, 1 red onion chopped, 1 inch piece fresh ginger chopped, 1 clove garlic chopped, 1 sweet potato peeled and cubed, carton chopped tomatoes, 500ml chicken stock, dash of Fino Dark Balsamic or Fino Arrope, fresh chilli (as much as you like), 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds, shake of cayenne pepper, 2 tbsps pomegranate seeds, fresh coriander for garnish, tbsp plain yogurt

Fry the onion, garlic and ginger with a drizzle of olive oil over a gentle heat for 5 mins – then add the diced lamb and cook until browned.  Add the chilli, cumin and cayenne to the browned meat and continue to cook for a couple of minutes before adding in the sweet potato, chopped tomatoes, chicken stock and dark balsamic (or arrope).  Turn up the heat and bring to the boil.  Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and leave to gently simmer for 30 mins, or alternatively transfer to the oven at 180C for the same time – check mid way through, and top up with a little more stock if necessary.  Serve with couscous or rice, and garnish with yogurt, fresh coriander and pomegranate seeds.

As part of the “love” theme, for one week I am offering a 10% DISCOUNT on all bottles of Fino Olive Oil or Fino Balsamic (offer does not include tins) – and also FREE DELIVERY OVER £50 – just click here www.finooliveoil.co.uk/shop to order and enter LOVEFOOD at the checkout– orders placed by midday on Monday should arrive on 14th!

Love from Fino


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