Harissa Roasted Lamb

Moroccan Dinner-lamb

One more summer adventure to tell you about and then I’ll be done. I can then get down to some serious pumpkin cooking and baking….not. I’m glad to see though that the pumpkin craze is a bit milder this year. Honestly, how many dishes can you really destroy with pumpkin before people revolt? OK, OK, I’ll stop with the pumpkin negativity 🙂 I know there are people who wait all year for this season and I don’t want to ruin it for them.

Custom Vent Hood

Their beautiful kitchen with new cabinets, range hood and Thermador appliances

The last fun event I was fortunate enough to attend and work, was a dinner that was sponsored by Specialty Appliance, and Kitchens by Wedgewood. I had the fortune to be asked to cater the dinner and the event. The purpose of the dinner was so our clients could welcome their guests to the newly remodelled kitchen where they could admire the new cabinetry, the Raw Urth range hood and the new Thermador appliances in action.

Nazneen

This could be my cookbook photo?

I supplied the action, and the dinner, of course. It was pretty nerve wracking to take over someone else’s brand new kitchen to cook a whole dinner! However, the clients were so wonderful and put me at ease and I went about doing what I do best (amongst other things 🙂 ), cooking.

Moroccan Dinner-8

Raw Urth range hood, this is an absolutely beautiful work of art and functionality.

I had met with the hosts of the dinner beforehand so we could discuss what kind of menu appealed to them and what kind of food they’d like to serve that evening. They are really laid back and casual and a fun couple. They have such a beautiful home up in the mountains by Boulder Canyon.

Moroccan Dinner

We decided on a Moroccan inspired menu and I set about making a menu. Since Morocco has such a strong French influence, I used a lot of French inspiration with a Moroccan twist. Rather than write, I’ll let the photos show most of the evening.

Moroccan Dinner

The recipe I want to share today happens to be the Harissa Roasted Lamb I made for the dinner. However, the lamb made that evening was made on the rotisserie that’s a feature available in the oven they purchased. It was quite a sight! And took no longer than a regular oven to cook. 

Moroccan Dinner

Not everyone has rotisseries in their ovens so the lamb I’m posting today is cooked in a regular oven. It comes out just as juicy and tender as the rotisserie version; you just don’t get the show.

Moroccan Dinner-

Harissa Roasted Lamb

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 10-12 servings

Juicy and succulent leg of lamb roasted with Ras el Hanout spices and Harissa.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. The lamb can be marinated the night before and refrigerated.
  2. Unroll the boneless leg of lamb and lay flat.
  3. Smear half the Harissa paste on the inside of the lamb, sprinkle with half of the Ras El Hanout spices,
  4. add pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Flip the lamb over and repeat on the top side.
  6. Roll the lamb back up and tie neatly to form a uniform roll.
  7. Place in the fridge overnight or at least 4 hours.
  8. Before roasting, pull out the lamb from the fridge and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
  10. Place the lamb on a rack in a baking sheet or roasting tin.
  11. Add a temperature probe and set for desired doneness.
  12. Place in the oven and roast.
  13. For a 4½ pound piece of lamb, it takes about 20 minutes a pound for rare and 30 minutes a pound for medium.
  14. It took me about 90 minutes to get a nice pink medium.
  15. In the rotisserie, the lamb turned beautiful golden brown by itself while rotating.
  16. In the oven, in the last 15 minutes, turn up the oven to 500F/220C to get a nice, crispy brown outside.
  17. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing into thick slices.
  18. Serve with Harissa vinaigrette if desired, or this herb sauce
Notes
You can use a bone in leg of lamb and just cut slits in the meat and smear in some harissa and then cover the leg all over with more harissa and Ras el Hanout. Your cooking time will vary of course.
The chermoula sauce that was used to marinate the Herb Grilled Chicken goes wonderfully with this lamb as well.
I used the last of my homemade harissa on this lamb and bought some extra from Whole Foods, which is quite excellent. You can either make your own or buy a jar.

As you might remember, I’m not a fan of lamb at all….and I mean, at all. Lately though, I’ve been making lamb for my dinner parties because everyone else in my family enjoys it and this way, most of it gets eaten. Everyone raves about it so I guess it’s good, I, however, will never know, and that’s all right by me!

For you lamb lovers out there, try this, it really is good, juicy and tender with a lovely hit of spice.

Moroccan Dinner

Appetisers: roasted grapes in balsamic, whipped Feta dip and Merguez meatballs (not shown)

On the topic of dinner parties, I am a little curious of dinner party etiquettes that I know exist and that I’m quite sure I follow. I was just wondering what you guys think they are? First off, I must say that in this day and age, I don’t expect anything from anyone. It just seems that’s the society we’ve become. 

Moroccan Dinner Nazneen-1

I don’t expect a “hello” from the friends of my daughters that come through my door for whatever reason, I don’t expect a “thank you” when I drop them off home at times, I don’t expect a RSVP unless I hunt one down, I don’t expect a “thank you” email or text after a party I’ve hosted and I certainly never expect a hostess gift when I host a party. I may be wrong to not expect general courtesies, but I’m tired of being disappointed so I just don’t care now.

Moroccan Dinner

Butternut squash and sweet potato salad, vegetable tagine, couscous with preserved lemons and almonds

This doesn’t mean that I have taught my children to do the same, no. They are always to hold a conversation and to always be courteous and polite with all adults, especially their friends’ parents, and I’m glad to say they do. This is probably why they are the favourites of those parents. 

I always RSVP and send a thank you email, text or phone call. I never turn up at a party empty handed, but maybe this is just me. Your turn to chime in. What do you think is the expectation?

Chicken Kabsa | Saudi Style Chicken and Rice

Chicken Kabsa

I wanted to start by thanking everyone who commented on my last post. It was heartwarming to hear from so many who also live with auto immune conditions, and to learn about the challenges they have overcome and the changes they have made to their life to find relief. It helps me to know that I am not alone in this and all I have to do is reach out to find friends. Thank you.

It was also interesting to learn that this food problem is just as prevalent in other countries. I knew it affected other countries but I had also learnt that many countries overseas had stricter laws concerning food additives and preservatives. It seems that it is not quite the case. They may be restricting some but they definitely aren’t rushing to ban all of them.

I do know that the US is the worst for what it deems acceptable for public consumption. So much so, that even China and Japan and many other European countries are restricting certain food imports from the US. I just hope our food people wake up and realise what the public really wants. Actually, we’re okay with just labelling; label the food and let people make up their own mind. Anyway, I’ll step down from my soap box now.

Chicken Kabsa

So, I don’t know if I ever mentioned this before, but I was actually born in Saudi Arabia. I left there when I was 6 and moved to London where I grew up. I remember a little bit of my time in Saudi, just flashes of memories. However, the ones I do remember all have to do with food. Even as a youngster, good food left a definite impression on me.

Most of the time we ate at home and that was pretty much always Indian. On the occasions we ate out or were at a wedding or event, the food was always Saudi; shawarmas, kebabs, rotisserie style chicken and Saudi rice and meat. Weddings and family meals were served Saudi style which is communal. As a child I though it was fun sharing food on a big tray, the ladies gathered around all digging into their portion of food on their side of the tray. Also, as a child born in Saudi, it was normal to me, even though we did not eat like that at home. It was different but my child mind was open to all possibilities.

This Kabsa is a Saudi dish of chicken or lamb and rice. I think it is Saudi Arabia’s national dish since it’s so loved by all Saudis and all foreigners who’ve had a chance to taste it.

Chicken Kabsa

It’s not particularly difficult to make but it’s has layers of flavour and thanks to the sultanas and almonds, lots of texture too. It is usually a heavily spiced dish and has a nice kick to it.

Traditionally, it’s made by cooking the chicken with spices in water and then using the broth to cook the rice. The chicken is then quickly broiled to crisp it up a little and then served atop the spicy rice often with a salsa like sauce on the side.

If I am making this for a dinner party, I like to cook the chicken and rice separately. I like to marinade the chicken with the Arabic spices and garlic and then bake it rather than boil it first. The rice I cook separately with spices and tomatoes in a chicken broth. I prefer this method only because I find the chicken stays more moist than the double cooking of boiling and broiling. Then I place the chicken and the juices over the rice and sprinkle the fried golden raisins and almonds.

However, when I crave this during a week night, I cook the whole skin on chicken in the pressure cooker with spices and then use the broth to make the rice. I cut up the chicken and quickly broil it to crisp up the skin. Weeknight Kabsa usually does away with the raisins and almonds and I serve with a salad instead of the salsa. Just as good but done in less time. Today’s post is the easy weeknight Kabsa.

I will do a post on the party Kabsa one day when I find where I put my recipe! I seemed to have misplaced my spicy rice recipe when we moved and I haven’t found it yet. This was before my blog so it’s written on some scrap of paper tucked inside a notebook somewhere in a box.

Chicken Kabsa

Chicken Kabsa

Calories: 4109

Fat: 150g

Saudi style spicy chicken and rice dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken or large chicken pieces, skin on
  • 6 -8 cups water, enough to cover
  • 1 onion, in quarters
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Handful parsley
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons Bharat mix
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
Rice
  • 2½ cups/500g Basmati rice, washed and soaked for 15 minutes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon red cayenne powder
  • 3 teaspoon Bharat spice
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • cinnamon stick
  • 1 fresh chopped green or red chilli, optional
  • 5 cups reserved chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Golden raisins/sultanas, soaked for 15 minutes, optional
  • Almonds, slivered or halved, optional
  • 2 tablespoons butter, optional
Instructions
  1. In a pressure cooker or a large dutch oven, place the chicken or chicken pieces, onion, carrots, garlic cloves, parsley, and the spices and cover with water.
  2. If using a pressure cooker, follow your cooker instructions and pressure cook for 20-25 minutes.
  3. If using a dutch oven, simmer the chicken until tender, about 60 minutes.
  4. After the chicken is cooked, slowly remove from the stock and place on a baking sheet.
  5. If your chicken is whole, you could cut into pieces or leave it whole.
  6. You can even just pull the meat off the bones and serve on top of the rice without broiling.
  7. Allow the broth to cool a little and strain into a clean bowl and skim off the fat.
  8. Reserve for the rice.
Rice
  1. In a large pot, add the oil and lightly brown the onions.
  2. Add the cardamom pods and the cinnamon stick and toss in the oil.
  3. Add turmeric, the cayenne powder, the Bharat spices, mix thoroughly and cook a little in the oil.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened.
  5. Add the fresh chilli if using.
  6. Add in the rice and toss in the oil and spices.
  7. Pour in the hot broth, add the salt and allow to come up to boil.
  8. Simmer the rice uncovered until most of the broth is absorbed and the level of broth is the same as the rice and you can see little dimples forming on the surface.
  9. Turn down the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
  10. Put on a timer.
  11. After 10 minutes, remove from the heat and without lifting the lid, let sit off the heat for another 10 minutes.
  12. After 10 minutes, lift the lid and fluff up the rice.
  13. While the rice is cooking, turn the broiler on.
  14. Place the baking sheet with the chicken under the broiler and cook until the chicken is crisped and browned.
  15. If using the almonds and golden raisins, melt the butter in a small fry pan and fry the raisins and almonds.
  16. To serve, place rice on a platter, arrange the chicken on top and scatter the almonds and raisins.
  17. Or, you can just dish it up on plates like I do with a salad on the side.
Notes
Bharat is a spice mix commonly used in the Middle East. There is a 7 spice Arabic mix that can be used too, interchangeably. Here is a recipe for Bharat from Ottolenghi if you want to make your own
1 teaspoon black peppercorn
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 small cinnamon stick, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cardamom pods
½ whole nutmeg, grated
Grind all the spices together and store in a clean jar.

Chicken Kabsa

Hope y’all had a great weekend and are off to a great start to the week. My children are off for half term/spring break so they’re all home, being very trying. I did a big grocery shop and stocked up the fridges so they can eat themselves happy :). When they are home, that’s all they do, eat. Hope you’re having a great week!!

Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

pumpkin mini bundt cake

I don’t really like pumpkin. There, I said it. The most sacrilegious words ever to be uttered by a blogger it seems. I mean it is autumn and there are pumpkins galore, at the farms, the stores and the blogosphere. I look at them, ooh and aaah at the sizes and the shapes and even at how pretty they are, but not one of them ever goes home with me.

My introduction to pumpkin was from our Kuwaiti neighbours back in England, the ones who made the delicious goodies and sent them down to us. One of the dishes that used to be sent down regularly was a savoury preparation of pumpkin; where chunks of the amber hued fruit were cooked with lamb in a tomato based curry. It was really good and I enjoyed eating the soft, orange, sweet flesh of the pumpkin. So, what happened? Store bought pumpkin pie is what happened.

pumpkin mini bundt cake

In England, my mother didn’t make pumpkin anything. In fact, I don’t ever remember seeing a pumpkin growing up (and I mean all winter squash) at least not in our house. So, on my first trip to the US we happened to be here around Thanksgiving. We were invited to a gathering at my parents’ friend’s house and that’s where I had my first experience with American pumpkin pie. And I’ve hated pumpkins since.

pumpkin mini bundt cake

Fast forward a few years, a wedding, a husband and four children later, and here we are. I have American children, and even though during their childhood, I never made pumpkin anything, they being Americans, wanted pumpkin pie one year. I was in a serious debate with myself, after hearing that request. But, I am a cook and a baker and I don’t back down from a challenge (unless it seafood, then I have no problem letting it go). I went straight to my favourite pie maker, Rose Levy Beranbaum and searched her book to see what kind of a pumpkin pie recipe she had listed. Her recipe looked normal, it didn’t have a million different spices, or tins of milk or where you opened a tin of pumpkin mixed it with eggs and poured the batter into a crust. No, hers was a recipe. It involved cooking the pumpkin and adding cream and a hint of spice. In short, it’s a perfect pumpkin pie recipe and it’s SO good. It has since become a staple dessert on our Thanksgiving table. Laith requests it every year and then eats almost half of it by himself. Last year, my husband complained he only got one piece. I think I will have to make two this year.

pumpkin mini bundt cake

So, yes, slowly but surely, I am getting over my dislike and fear of pumpkin. I still haven’t progressed to actually buying one from the farm stand yet but we’re getting there. Funny thing is, I don’t mind other winter squash, which actually happen to be pumpkins also, it is just those orange ones. To help the process along, I thought this year I would attempt something other than my usual pie.

After joining the Improv Cooking Challenge two months ago, I finally had time to take part this month. The Improv Cooking Challenge is hosted every month by Kristen Baker of Frugal Antics of a Harried HomemakerIt just so happened that this month the challenge was cake and frosting. I jumped on the opportunity to use pumpkin in my cakes (because it’s autumn and all, and you’re not a reputable blogger unless you have a pumpkin recipe on your blog) and make those cakes for Laith to take to school as his treat for our Eid ul Adha holiday and fulfill my challenge for this month. I am quite brilliant.

pumpkin mini bundt cake

So, here are my Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and topped with some deliciously, crunchy pumpkin seed brittle. And you know what? I love them.

pepitas brittle collage

Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Calories: 5674

Fat: 310g

Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Ingredients
Mini Bundt Cakes
  • 2 cups/280g plain/all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick/113g butter. softened
  • 1 cup/200g granulated organic sugar
  • 1 cup/212g pumpkin puree, (I used an organic tinned one)
  • 1 cup/212g sour cream
  • 3 eggs, large organic
  • ½ cup/120mL organic milk
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz/227g cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup/60g powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup/175mL heavy whipping cream
Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  • 1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup/100g superfine/caster sugar
Instructions
Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  1. Line a baking tray with parchment or liner.
  2. Place the sugar in a large skillet with a very thick bottom.
  3. Make sure the sugar is in a very thin layer not more than 0.1″/3mm, use a large pan.
  4. Heat the sugar gently until it turns a golden brown colour.
  5. Do not stir at any time. There may be little bits of undissolved sugar and that’s fine.
  6. Carefully, add the toasted seeds and stir with a wooden spoon until they are evenly coated.
  7. Pour the coated seeds onto the lined baking tray and let cool.
  8. When the seeds have cooled, break the brittle into medium pieces so they can top the cakes.
Bundt Cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉/180℃
  2. Grease and flour 2 mini bundt pans or line 2 cupcake tins with cupcake liners
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, the spices and salt together in a bowl, keep aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs and beat until incorporated.
  6. Add the sour cream and pumpkin puree and mix.
  7. Add the flour and the milk.
  8. Spoon into the mini bundt pans or into cupcake tins.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm and golden brown.
  10. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes and then remove the cakes from the pans and cool on a rack before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Beat the cream cheese until softened.
  2. Sift in the sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth.
  3. Add the cream and whip until firm, and peaks form.
  4. Spoon into a piping bag, if desired, or can just spread the frosting on the cakes.
  5. Top each cake with a piece of pumpkin seed brittle.
Notes
I made these little cakes a few times and I made them with oil, with butter and oil and just butter. They all turned out really well. However, the butter ones do well in the bundt pans because it's a firmer cake. If you want a more fluffy, box cake mix like texture, use ½ cup of a neutral oil instead. I used avocado oil and they were excellent, moist and fluffy. Oil will work really well in cupcakes. Also, for the frosting, make sure your heavy cream can be easily whipped. If you doubt the ability of your heavy cream, whip the cheese and cream separately and then combine the two.

pumpkin mini  bundt cakes

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I’ve been busy this week with Eid and all, but will visit all of you this weekend and catch up! 

Merguez Kebabs

merguez kebabs

Taking a break from autumn recipes, there’s plenty on the web if you need something desperately, I have decided to concentrate on the upcoming Islamic holiday of the pilgrimage to Mecca and its culmination, Eid ul Adha. This year, the pilgrimage starts, most probably tomorrow. The whole new moon and viewing the new moon is always a bit tricky.

The pilgrimage to Mecca happens in the 12th month of the lunar Islamic calendar. The pilgrimage lasts 10 days, starting from the first of the month, and these are some of the most important days for a Muslim in his life time. The Pilgrimage, also known as Hajj, is one of the 5 Pillars of Islam and is a duty upon all Muslims providing they can afford to do it.

The Hajj involves tracing some of the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad (blessings be upon him) and the footsteps of other revered people in the Old Testament, for example, one ritual we observe is the frantic pacing of Hagar between two hills, looking for water for Ishmael, when they were stranded. On their seventh run, Ishmael struck the ground with his heel and a spring of water appeared. We do the very same thing, we walk back and forth between the two hills seven times. The walk is much easier for us than it was for her, we do it on paved marble and we take our time but even with the comfort, it’s not easy. It is a reminder for us, of her desperation, her resilience, her hardship and her motherhood. That well of water still exists today in Mecca and is known as the well of Zam Zam.

merguez kebabs

We travel to Medina, the city of the Prophet and observe other rituals during the 9 days. The 9th day is probably the most important, this day, everyone gathers on Mount Arafah and asks for their pilgrimage to be accepted and their sins forgiven. The Hajj is almost a baptism. When you perform Hajj, you have a clean slate, all your sins are forgiven and you are like a new born baby, pure and untainted. This is symbolised by the complete shaving of men’s head and just snipping the ends of a woman’s hair. So if you happen to see bald Muslim men come October 17th, they just got back from Hajj.

The Day of Arafah is a reminder of the day of judgement. You pray and ask for forgiveness and acceptance for your worship. Everyone is busy doing this intently and hoping their Hajj is accepted. It’s an “each to your own” mentality and that is a reminder of the last day, no one will be able to help you and only your good or bad deeds will decide your fate.

merguez kebabs

The 10th day is the day of celebration known as Eid ul Adha. On this day, everyone goes to congregational prayer in the morning, dressed in their nicest clothes. They meet and greet their friends and family. After prayer, its time for the sacrifice of the lamb, sheep, goat or cow.

Another ritual we observe is the sacrifice of Abraham of his only, beloved son, Ishmael (known as Ismail to Muslims). In the story, according to Islam, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his most beloved son, Ishmael and when Abraham obeyed his Lord without question, God rewarded his loyalty by replacing Ishmael with a lamb and Abraham ended up sacrificing that instead. It is Abraham’s loyalty to his one God, his duty and his sacrifice without question, that we remember, observe and celebrate.

Muslims remember this sacrifice and we too give a sacrificial lamb, goat or cow at the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca. Even if we don’t go to Mecca, we are still expected to give a sacrifice. The meat from the sacrifice is divided into thirds; 1/3 goes to the needy, 1/3 goes to family and friends and 1/3 is for yourself. Since my husband is not very good with the whole sacrificing a lamb sort of thing, we donate ours overseas to a needy country.

Needless to say, come the day of Eid, and days after, there’s a lot of meat! There is the meat that you have from your own sacrifice and then there’s the meat family and friends give you! There’s a lot of meat dishes that appear at the dinner table the next few months!

As a child visiting India or Pakistan for the holidays during this time was not a pleasant time for me. I did not like to see the sheep at our home one day and gone the next, and then appear on the dinner table later that week!

couscous

My family was very frugal with the meat too, and not because of saving money, but because they, honestly, found every piece of the animal truly tasty! The day of Eid, the breakfast was a lavish lay out of brains, livers, kidneys and other offal, all in rich masala and served with buttery naan or parathas. The breakfast table was filled with my uncles, grandfather, my older brother and my father all enjoying eyeballs and Rocky Mountain oysters (if you get my drift) talking excitedly about some mundane topic.

Me? I would walk up to that table, look at what was on it and quietly, walk right out. It was a hard few days for me because I didn’t eat much. I don’t know how I would be now if I went back to celebrate Eid there. I think I’d have an ever harder time!

Living here it’s much easier, I don’t have the visuals of animals, blood and guts. If I am given meat, it is already cut up and fairly clean. Living in Houston with family, we did enjoy some meat feasts though. 

So today’s recipe, appropriately is a meat one; a Merguez Kebab one. I tried Merguez sausage once when I found them in Houston. I have looked since and have not come across any. So a few Google searches led me to the basic spices in the sausage and since Merguez sauasge is a North African spiced sausage, I wasn’t surprised to see the spices in the mix. Trial and error got me to the sausage I remembered. If you want to use it as a sausage, I would omit the onion and fry up links or patties, it is SO good. You can even drop Merguez meatballs into a tagine.

I turned the sausage into a heartier kebab by adding some onions and mint. I really wanted to grill them but time was of the essence that day so they went in the oven. Served with couscous and a vegetable tagine, they were perfect.

merguez kebabs

Merguez Kebab

Serves: 24

Calories: 2585

Fat: 166g

The popular North African sausage, with flavourful Harissa and spices made into a kebab.
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs/1kg lean ground beef (10 percent)
  • 1 lb/500g ground beef (20 percent)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • handful of mint, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix everything except onion and mint together and marinate overnight in the fridge.
  2. If you want to use it as a sausage, fry up in some oil as links or patties.
  3. If you want to make kebabs, add the onions and mint, form into kebab shape or patties and grill.
  4. Brush with a neutral flavoured oil before grilling or placing in the oven.
  5. You can also bake at 400℉/200℃ for about 30 minutes or until firm and browned.
  6. You can also stick them under the broiler for 5 minutes to get a deeper brown colour.
Notes
The Merguez is a spicy sausage and you can control that by increasing or decreasing the chilli powder and the Harissa. The recipe above is not too spicy, just enough kick and very flavourful. The flavour that the Harissa adds is incredible; the spicy roasted pepper and hot peppers add a nice heat and colour.

merguez kebabs

The ten days of the pilgrimage are very important whether you are travelling to Mecca or observing it at home. I usually fast the 9 days before Eid, so I will be doing it again this year, that means getting up before dawn and eating a light breakfast and then eating again after the sun sets. 

In the spirit of this Islamic holiday, I’d like to wish you all much peace and happiness. I hope you are having a great weekend. Today, I am at Laith’s soccer tournament which is a two day affair and since it snowed yesterday, I am quite sure I am very cold. But I will take the cold over the heat any day! Wish us luck, I hope we win all our games.