Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Excellent Blog award, hoorah!

DJKirkby has very kindly given me this blog award which originated with a Canadian blogger who says:’ I love being a part of the blogging community and part of all the friendships that I've formed so I wanted to give a blog award for all of you out there that have Excellent Blogs. By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want but please award at least 10.'

I've included a few bloggers in here who probably aren't the sort who'd expect to be given awards like this, since their blogs are somehow a step away from the babies/recipes/gardening type topics the rest of us stick to. I hope they don't mind, and I'll not be hurt if they don't feel able to pick up the baton.

Then after that I'll tell you what I cooked myself for dinner this evening!

Sparx at Notes from Inside my Head who writes about the Spud and the Frog with inspired use of the <strike> tag.

who I notice hasn't posted since December, but whose writing has moved me to tears more than once.

Science Girls at InklingMagazine for a constant stream of wonderful techie posts.

Dulwich Mum for very funny 'insights' into life in the Smoke.

Jenny at Mountain Mama who writes so unsentimentally about her own deafness, and makes it so real for me.

Mohammed Judas Christiansen for expressing my views on religion so clearly and forthrightly. Unfortunately his blog doesn't have the facility to post comments, so I can't tell him, but you can still visit this excellent blog.

DelboysDaughter for a great blog, but particularly for her excellent Interlude post of Jan 25th. Check it out!

Yorkshire Pud for the way he talks so unpretentiously and openly about his own life.

GeraniumCat for fantastic food blogging and for recommending Diana Henry's cookbook: Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons.

Reynolds at Random Acts of Reality whose vents his anger and his love and his dedication with/of/to the London Ambulance Service on his blog. Sadly, I couldn't get this one to accept a comment from me either, but please visit the blog, which is excellent.

And so to my dinner!

I'm particularly proud of this because I kind-of made up the recipe. Jenny's in Denmark right now, and I'd got a rib-eye steak out of the freezer, but coming home I decided I wanted to go Moroccan, so when I got home I looked in Crazy Water Pickled Lemons and found a lamb tagine recipe which I thought I could adapt, and indeed, it was so.

Fillet of beef tagine with couscous (serves 1)

Aberdeen Angus rib-eye steak, cubed.½ red onion, finely chopped

1 garlic, crushed

5 or 6 dried apricots, sliced & soaked if nec.

5 or 6 dates sliced

½ tsp cumin seed

½ tsp coriander seed

6 cardomoms

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp cayenne

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 dsp liquid honey

150ml chicken stock

Dry roast the cumin, coriander and cardamoms, then crush them quickly with a mortar and pestle. Take out the cardamom husks if you want.

Toss the meat with all the dry spices to coat and leave to stand for 10 mins while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.

On a high heat, flash fry the meat in a little olive oil, for perhaps 30 seconds, to just brown it and flavour the oil, then remove.

Fry the onions and garlic in the remaining oil until soft, then add some chicken stock, the apricots, dates and honey.
Season to taste.

Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for as long as you can bother to wait. 10 mins minimum.

As the time approaches, uncover the sauce to let it thicken a bit, cook some couscous and add a few pine kernels when it's done. When that’s pretty well ready, put the meat back in the sauce and let it heat through for a few minutes. Toss the couscous with a little butter just before you serve.


dulwichmum said...

God bless you for this Mr Clack. You have cheered me up so!

Sparx said...

Oh, wonderful! Many thanks. I am wearing a cowboy hat, check shirt, jeans, leather chaps and a gun made of plastic with a piece of potato stuck in the end of it. Pop, you're it!

Rob Clack said...

Magic, guys, I knew I could depend on you! Actually, you're a bit of a stunner in the cowboy outfit, Sparx!

jenny said...

Thank you so much for the honor!! And you even made dinner, but alas! only for one! Sounds yummy and I've never made indian food. Would like to try one day.

I WAS wearing a slinky black and white dress, but Hubby took one look at me and tore it off in a fit of mad passion.. so I've been reduced to sweat pants and sweater. Much more sensible for these cold West Virginian nights, anyway!

DJ Kirkby said...

How great is Sparx's costume?! I wanna be in her gang... That lamb dish sounds delish, we do something very similar in our slow cooker.

Jane.Dudman said...


I'm pleased you nominated Tom Reynolds, at Random Acts of Reality. Our big public services summit in St Albans last week was chock-full of the Great and the Good of public services - and the person I was most excited to meet was Tom, who was there in person, to talk about his blog. He was great!

Rob Clack said...

Wow, that must have been interesting! And he's right about Guardian women, it goes without saying!

Jane.Dudman said...

I hadn't read his comments til just now. Of course he's quite right about Guardian women!!

Really pleased that he felt our event gave him a worthwhile forum to air his views.