Saturday, 21 January 2012


Mr Redding bought me some fantastic Christmas presents – most of them from Sally at Persepolis!  I am now the proud owner of an ‘I Love Peckham’ hoodie, cactus soap (which is fabulous) and, most beautiful of all, a tagine. I have hankered after a tagine for years, ever since visiting Marrakech in 2000. And this one is the real deal, handcrafted, hand decorated, a veritable thing of beauty.

I knew straight away that the first dish I cooked in it would be lamb meatballs, or kefta. Traditionally eggs are added at the end but that didn’t appeal, so I just served them as they came with couscous. I cooked the couscous with chicken stock, then seasoned well and added lots of chopped coriander and some lemon juice. I found cooking in the tagine very interesting. Sally recommended I used a diffuser, and the ‘we sell everything’ shop in the Aylesham Centre provided me with one (I actually had a choice of three!). The tagine took a long time to get up to temperature but once it was there the residual heat just kept on going…the saying about turning round oil tankers came to mind. But I came to realise that the tagine is a fabulous vessel for cooking, and the top of the cone stays cool…it is all so well designed, which is why it is still in use after centuries I suppose!  I can see me using it for more western style dishes too...
Serves 2


500g lamb mince
Small onion or shallot, chopped very finely
2 tsp ras-el-hanout
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp baking powder
Handful finely chopped coriander
Ground black pepper and salt 
Medium onion, finely sliced
Clove of garlic, crushed
Can of chopped tomatoes, drained
Ground black pepper and salt 

Put all the kefta ingredients together in a roomy bowl and knead together well with your hands until the fat starts to melt and the mixture becomes slightly sticky – this will take at least five minutes.  Put in the fridge for ten minutes.
With wetted hands, shape the mixture into walnut sized balls. Heat up the tagine, or a wide sauté pan, and add two tablespoons of olive oil.  Fry the kefta until they are nice and brown all over. Remove and leave to drain ion some kitchen paper. 
To the remaining oil and sticky bits in the tagine add the onion and garlic. Cook slowly for at least ten minutes until thoroughly softened and slightly browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and a good grind of black pepper and a sprinkle of salt.  
Return the meatballs to the tagine, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes Check for consistency and if the sauce is a little thin allow to reduce uncovered. Sprinkle with some chopped coriander and serve with couscous or flat bread.


  1. Beautiful tagine! And gorgeous looking meatballs too. I'm sitting reading this on a beautiful Persian throw I um, bought from Perspolis. We are addicts!!

  2. I am afraid we are - still, could be worse! :)