they dined on mince, and slices of quince...


the owl and the pussy cat that is, we had a slightly more exotic dish of lamb shank tagine with quince!

last week, when visiting my mum and dad i raided their japonica plant (aka flowering quince) which was laden with fruit. i’ve never cooked with quince but regularly see it in many of the middle-eastern cookery books i have and am looking forward to experimenting, especially given how delicious last night’s tagine was.

the tagine was rich and full of flavour and the quince added a wonderful piquancy – an almost citrus tang.


lamb shank tagine with quince (serves 2)

based on recipes from claudia roden and diana henry

50g butter

15-20 baby onions or shallots, peeled but still whole

½ teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed

½ teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 lamb shanks

700ml vegetable stock

3 tablespoons honey

3 strips lemon peel

500g quinces, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm slices

2 carrots, sliced and boiled until just ready

large handful of chopped coriander

in a large pan, melt the butter and add the baby onions, cook over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until they begin to colour. add the spices, garlic, tomatoes and lamb shanks. cook for a few minutes, turning the lamb so it gets coated with the spicy butter.

add the stock, honey, lemon and quince. bring to the boil, cover and turn the heat down. cook until the meat is very tender and starting to fall away from the bone – this took around 3 hours. if the liquid doesn’t cover them, turn the shanks regularly so all of the meat has a chance to cook in the juices.

before serving, add the carrots (i do them separately so they don’t over cook) and coriander. season to taste, remove the lemon peel (or warn your fellow diner) and serve. we had this with fennel flat bread.