Mary Berry: Lamb tagine, Cabbage and Fennel slaw, and Apple and Lemon sandwich cake
Swap out the traditional roast for something new this Easter, with these speedy, tasty dishes from cookery doyenne Mary Berry.
For the TV series accompanying my new cookery book, I travelled to Morocco where tagines, like this, are a staple dish. They may be slow to cook but they are quick to make. This is my quick version as some tagines take three hours to cook. The spices used here are a classic combination for tagine recipes and give a wonderful depth of flavour. All these spices are good to keep in your store cupboard, so you always have them to hand.
Prep time: 30 minutes.
Cook time: 1 hour 40 minutes-2 hours 10 minutes.
Can be made up to a day ahead and reheated. The cooked dish freezes well.
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
750g (1lb 10oz) lamb neck fillet, sliced into 2-3cm (¾-1¼in) pieces
2 large onions, sliced
3 celery sticks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4cm (1½in) knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated (see note)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 × 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
450ml (15fl oz) chicken or lamb stock
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp harissa paste
1 tbsp runny honey
8 ready-to-eat dried apricots, quartered
2 preserved lemons, sliced into 8 pieces and any pips removed (see note)
1 × 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 150˚C/130˚C fan/gas 2.
2. Heat a deep oven-proof frying pan with a lid, or a large cast-iron casserole dish, over a high heat. Add the oil and the lamb and fry for 3-4 minutes or until the meat is golden brown all over. You may need to do this in two batches. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a plate.
3. Add the onions and celery to the pan and fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften but not browned. Add the garlic and ginger, then sprinkle in the spices and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for 10 seconds, add the tomatoes, stock, tomato purée, harissa paste, honey, apricots and preserved lemons. Bring to the boil, stirring, and then return the lamb and any juices to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour.
4. Remove from the oven, stir in the chickpeas and check the seasoning, then return to the oven, uncovered, and cook for another ½-1 hour or until the onions have softened and the meat is tender (see note).
5. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with couscous or salad.
Cabbage & Fennel slaw
Slaw, as it is now trendily called, does not have to be thick with mayonnaise. You can vary the dressing to make it fresh and healthy. For this recipe I have included a quick lemon and caper dressing made with yoghurt rather than mayonnaise. It is quite runny, which helps to give the cabbage and fennel a good coating.
Serves 6. Prep time: 15 minutes. Make up to 4 hours ahead and keep in the fridge. Not suitable for freezing.
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed
1 small pointed green cabbage, very finely shredded (see note)
2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
For the dressing 100g (4oz) Greek-style natural yoghurt
1 tbsp grainy mustard
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
1 tsp sugar (or to taste)
1. Measure all the dressing ingredients into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk together until combined. Set aside.
2. Cut the fennel bulbs in half, remove and discard the core, then very thinly slice into strips (see note). Add to the bowl with the dressing. Tip in the cabbage and spring onions, then season and mix together until everything is well coated.
3. Serve in a pretty bowl or platter.
⬤ Pointed green cabbage, sometimes called sweetheart cabbage, is a little softer than a classic white cabbage, so slightly less crunchy, which I prefer for this recipe.
⬤ There's no right or wrong way to slice fennel. Depending on the shape of the bulb, it can be cut horizontally or lengthways, and you may like to keep the leafy fronds for the garnish.
Apple and Lemon Sandwich Cake
The ultimate cream sponge cake - the apple makes the cake really moist and the lemon-flavoured cream keeps it fresh-tasting. Delicious!
Prep time: 20 minutes.
Cook time: 25-30 minutes, plus cooling.
Once assembled, keep the cake in the fridge for up to one day but serve at room temperature. The cooked sponges freeze well.
For the sponge: 225g (8oz) baking spread, straight from the fridge, plus extra for greasing
225g (8oz) caster sugar
225g (8oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs, beaten
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and grated (see note)
Icing sugar, for dusting
For the lemon filling: 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
3 tbsp lemon curd
1. You will need two 20cm (8in) round, loose-bottomed sandwich tins. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan/gas 4, then grease each tin and line the base with a disc of baking paper.
2. Measure all the sponge ingredients except the apple and icing sugar into a large bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk until combined. Fold the grated apple into the mixture, then divide between the tins and level the tops.
3. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until golden, well risen and coming away from the sides of the tins. Allow to cool in the tins.
4. Meanwhile, make the filling. Whip the cream into soft peaks, then lightly swirl in the lemon curd. Invert the tins to remove the cakes and then peel away the paper. Sit one cake upside down on a serving plate. Spread the lemon cream to the edge of the sponge, place the other cake gently on top to sandwich the cakes together.
5. Dust the top with icing sugar to serve.
⬤ To peel a small knob of root ginger, which can be a bit tricky to handle, take a teaspoon and scrape away the skin - it will come of easily.
⬤ Preserved lemons are available to buy in the specialist ingredient section of good supermarkets. They have been preserved in salt so the skin softens
and can be eaten.
⬤ The cooking time depends on the size of the lamb pieces - smaller chunks may take a bit less time to cook.
⬤ For a speedy way to grate the apple, first core the apple and cut into pieces but keep the skin on. Grate the flesh and then discard the skin.
* Recipes extracted from Quick Cooking by Mary Berry, with photography by Georgia Glynn-Smith, published by BBC Books at £22