A Spice Feast (Lamb steaks, nigella seed salad, roasted chilli sweet potatoes)



I’ve done it. I’ve finally narrowed down my favourite type of cuisine (well nearly). After a recent dinner time conversation with a friend it remained mutually concluded that choosing your death row dish is too ambitious a commitment. Top contenders include a creamy and decadent risotto or a homely fish pie but its still a hard call. However, cuisine and flavour I can conclude on. While I adore classic french food, on the opposite side is my love of Moroccan and middle Eastern style foods and ingredients. Think Ottelenghi. The use of spice adds so much flavour to satisfy any demanding taste buds. The dishes are filling and hearty but in a way that retains a light, fresh and (importantly for me) healthy style. Exciting spices and fresh ingredients keep my recipes quirky and the mix of hot and cold make it perfect for all seasons.

I still haven’t made it to Morocco however….yet…

Serves 2

Chilli and Coriander Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 giant or 2 normal sweet potatoes
  • ½ hot red chilli (seeds retained if you dare)
  • Bunch of coriander
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds

Lamb Steaks

  • 2 top quality lamb leg steaks
  • 1 tbsp spice mix (see here)
  • Generous pinch smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Lime yoghurt (see here)

Green Nigella seed salad

  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 bag rocket
  • Handful of mangetout
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • 1 tbsp Nigella seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. For the potatoes, par boil until just tender but don’t water log (about 3-4 minutes). Drain and leave to steam a little. Season and drizzle with a little light oil and sprinkle with the mustard seeds. Roast for about 30-35 minutes until crispy.
  2. Marinade the lamb in the spices and oil for as long as possible but remove from the fridge and leave a room temperature at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  3. For the salad, peel the cucumber in thin strips. Sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain in a colander for about 5-10 minutes. Then rinse lightly under cold water and leave to dry.
  4. Blanch the mange tout in boiling water and refresh in cold water and drain.
  5. Slice the avocado and sprinkle with a little lemon juice.
  6. To make the salad, combine the rocket, avocado, cucumber and mange tout. Sprinkle with the nigella seeds and only when ready to serve, squeeze over the lemon juice.
  7. To cook the steaks, heat a frying pan until hot. Add about 1 tsp olive oil (not extra virgin – the burning temperature is much lower and it will burn!). If a thick layer of fat on your steaks, cook this out with the steak on its side for a few minutes first before cooking the steaks to your liking. I usually do about 2-2 ½ minutes per side for a 2cm thick steak. Leave to rest for about 5 minutes in foil to keep in the juices.
  8. Chop the chilli finely with the fresh coriander. When ready to serve, combine roasted potatoes, chilli, coriander. Serve with the dressed salad.
  9. Slice the steaks in thick finger like strips and pour over the resting juices. Serve alongside the salad and potatoes with some cooling lime yoghurt. Garnish with extra coriander if you like.