Category Archives: Main courses

Roast duck with orange sauce


We treated ourselves to a duck and I decided that oranges would feature in the recipe but when I looked up Duck à l’Orange on some cooking websites it looked like a lot of hassle that I couldn’t be bothered with so I took the easy way.

I roasted the duck in my cast iron Dutch Oven which meant I could sear the duck breast side down in that pot, add my other ingredients and then put the pot in the oven to finish roasting.

So, I added a splash of oil just to cover the bottom of the cast iron pot and then placed the duck in, breast side down and seared until lightly browned.

I sprinkled salt and a few chilli flakes over the skin followed by the juice of one medium orange. I also placed half an orange inside the duck and chopped bits of orange (skin and all) around the duck along with one small, chopped onion.

I covered the pot and roasted for 30 minutes  per pound of weight at 350F/180C/Gas 4.

I then made an orange sauce by taking 2 teaspoons cornflour and mixing with 2 tablespoons cold water. I then added 2 teaspoons Marigold vegetable stock to a small saucepan along with some of the juice from around the duck and some boiling water. I added the cornflour mixture to thicken the sauce, adding a little extra boiling water to thin it to the required consistency.

The small pieces of orange were soft and marmaladey so I even ate some of those (skin and all)




Rishta is the name for the soft Algerian noodles which are made with flour and water and then gently steam cooked. The stew that is served with them is very similar to that of cous cous. I added carrots into my sauce because the children don’t like courgettes or mooli however,  this sauce usually would not contain carrots. It would contain chickpeas though… which  forgot to add! 🙄


1 medium onion, grated

2 tbsp oil

1 medium chicken cut into pieces

2 or 3 medium mooli (luft)

6 small courgettes

I also added 3 large carrots

1/2 tin chickpeas

salt, pepper, ground cinnamon to taste


Saute the grated onion in the pan until it starts to take some colour and then add all the remaining ingredients plus about 1.5 litres of boiling water. Bring to the boil and cook until everything is soft. I used the pressure cooker.

In a couscousiere, steam the rishta noodles as you would steam couscous. I don’t have a couscousiere so I moistened the rishta with cold water and left for a while. Then I sprinkled with more water and microwaved it in a covered container. After 2 lots of 3 minutes in the microwave it was just as though it had been steamed.

Serve with meat and vegetables arranged over the top, some of the broth poured over to moisten the rishta noodles further and serve the remaining gravy in a jug.

One Pot Chicken Pasta


This is a one pot pasta recipe, inspired by the Libyan M’baakibka. Cooking the pasta in the same pot as the chicken and sauce allows the pasta to absorb lots more flavour than usual so this makes for a very tasty dish with less washing up to do afterwards!


  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bayleaf
  • Chilli to taste
  • Sprinkle of paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chicken spices or Baharat/Ra’s al hanout (Arabic mixed spices)
  • ½ teaspoon mixed herbs
  • 1x 400g tin plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • Several pieces of chicken on the bone according to your preference; I used a 450g pack of drumsticks
  • 1 cup of petits pois peas
  • 1-1.5 litres water
  • 300g uncooked pasta shapes (i.e. penne pasta or fusilli)


Sautee the onion in 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic and quickly fry before adding the spices & herbs; stir well then add the tomatoes and tomato puree. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces and cook in this sauce for about 10 minutes.

Now, add the peas, uncooked pasta and plenty of water – I added about 1 litre to start off with. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to about medium heat.

Keep checking from time to time to ensure that the pasta is not sticking to the bottom of the pan and to check the water level. Add more water whenever necessary, make sure that the sauce doesn’t dry out completely; when you serve you want it to be a bit ‘saucey’.

You can serve the pasta as it is with whole pieces of chicken or you can do as I did and remove the chicken, cut the meat off the bone and then return to the pot.

Tomatish bil Bassal


So what to do when hubby brings home with an enormous amount of tomatoes, “because they were a good price” and no amount of salads will use up this glut of tomatoes?! 🙄  Go Algerian and make Tomatish Bil Bassal or in English, Tomatoes with onions.

Tasty dish perfect for summer when tomatoes are cheap and all you need is some French baguette or other crusty bread on the side to mop it up with. Simply delicious!

  • 4 large onions, halved and sliced
  • a few small chunks of meat, preferably on the bone to impart more flavour – however much you want to eat, I used 4 small chunks which was probably barely 100g
  • 1kg chopped tomatoes
  • 1 green chili, deseeded (I recommend the use of rubber or latex gloves for this!)
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Slice the onions and add them into a pressure cooker with a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of olive oil, add the meat and stir fry for a few minutes until the meat is sealed.

Roughly chop 1kg fresh tomatoes and deseed  1 fresh green chilli. I’d recommend using latex or rubber gloves when handling the cut chilli.

Throw the tomatoes and chilli into the pot with the onions and meat. Add a teaspoon of salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, put the lid on the pot and leave to gently simmer for a while.

Liquid will start to come out of the tomatoes but after about 10 minutes add about a cupful or so of extra water and then screw on the pressure lid and leave on a low to medium heat for about an hour. Check the water level after about half an hour though.

The stew is ready when the meat is cooked through and tender and the onions are deliciously soft. Check for salt, add more if necessary.

Serve with fresh, crusty bread.

Bon Appetit!

Boeuf Bourgignon – recipe review



I had a delicious boneless piece of beef today that I wanted to cook in the slow cooker… I remembered this recipe for Boeuf Bourgignon (sans alcohol) on Simplicity by the Sea so I  popped over there to see if I had all the ingredients. I didn’t quite have everything: no mushrooms and no pearl onions but thought it would be a nice recipe to try anyway.

I followed Henia’s instruction roughly. I hadn’t forplanned so there was no time to marinade the meat AND slow cook it. Instead of marinading in 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, I just added a generous splash of the vinegar into the crockpot with all the other ingredients. Instead of pearl onions I added a couple of smallish onions cut into quarters… they disintegrated in the stew but I love to find large pieces of soft, sweet onion in my stew so all’s good! I also forgot to thicken up the gravy with flour nevertheless, the resulting stew was delicious! It slow cooked over a period of 9 hours and, like Henia at Simplicity by the Sea, I served it with mashed potato.



I used to be terrible at making pizza – I guess I just didn’t find the right recipe. I would make pizza with focaccia dough which was good but hubby would always ask me if I could make it thinner. All my attempts with different recipes would over-rise though so I’d never be satisfied with my efforts.

Some time last year I saw Um Almujahid’s Pizza with “anything” and decided to give it a whirl. This is now my recipe of choice when making pizza so thanks Um Almujahid, my Italian friend!

Her recipe calls for:

  • 500gr of whole meal flour
  • 7gr of dried instant yeast added to 250gr of warm water
  • 1 tbs of salt
  • 1 tbs of olive oil.

I made my pizza in the bread machine, used regular white bread flour, added the yeast straight onto the flour and I also found I needed more water. The recipe I use now is as follows (add ingredients to bread machine in the order listed):

  • 300ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 500g strong all-purpose flour (bread flour)2 1/4 teaspoons easy blend (instant) yeast

Put the bread machine on ‘pizza’ or ‘dough’ cycle and leave to knead and prove. When the cycle is complete, divide the dough into 2 or 3 depending on how large and how thin you want your pizzas. I normally make 2 from this dough but yesterday stretched the dough a little further and made 3 slightly smaller pizzas. (Of course you can also knead by hand until the dough is smooth, cover and leave in a warm place for 1 hour and then knock back, divide and shape the dough.)

Roll out the dough and place onto baking trays, preferably pizza trays – the bottom will be less doughy if you use pizza trays which have holes in the base.

Top with pizza sauce and your choice of toppings and bake at 400F/200C for around 20mins.

I have found you can put the pizza into the oven straightaway or leave to prove for a while longer before baking. Either way, they will still be good. The pizzas yesterday stayed waiting to go in the oven for a good hour.

I made one pizza with pizza sauce and grated Cheddar cheese:

One pizza with pizza sauce, Kalamata olives, grated Cheddar cheese and some slices of Mozzarella:

And one with pizza sauce, grated Cheddar and sliced sausage (Frankfurter):

Spicy Libyan Couscous


Spicy Libyan Style Cous cous


Cous cous in the Algiers region is generally served with a non-spicy, white (containing no tomato) stew but as you travel east towards Tunisia and Libya you will find that the stew is spicier and there  is the addition of tomato into the sauce. This stew and method of serving the couscous (drenched in the sauce) is typical of Libya.

In a pressure cooker, fry 4 sliced onions until soft:


Add 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/8 teaspoon chili powder, salt and pepper: 


Stir well and then add 1 chicken cut into portions or 1/2 – 1 kg of lamb or beef, fry to seal the meat:

Add  1/2 can chickpeas6 small/medium carrots peeled and halved lengthwise,  3 tablespoons tomato puree (concentrated paste) and a kettleful of water (approx 1.5 litres):


Bring to the boil and then cover  and screw on lid and simmer until the meat is half cooked. Now add 4 small courgettes (zucchini) and 2 medium potatoes cut into quarters and more water if the level has reduced.  Cover again and simmer until the meat and vegetables are all cooked.

Cook your couscous according to the package instructions or see here. N.B. The couscous will need to be fairly dry as you will pour the liquid from the stew over the couscous and mix it in.

Remove the meat, vegetables and as much of the onion and chickpeas as you can. Mix as much of the red sauce into the couscous as it will absorb. Transfer the couscous to a large serving dish.

Arrange the meat and vegetables over the couscous, sprinkle the chickpeas and onions over the top to garnish.

Serve any additional sauce in a jug seperately.