Fesenjoon (Persian Chicken or Aubergine and Walnut Stew)

This dish was would have traditionally been made with duck (which I think would be too rich), and is now usually made with chicken. I have also made a vegan version with aubergines and I have to say I think it was my favourite.

This is quite a rich dish and the use of pomegranate molasses (available from most big supermarkets or Asian grocers) gives the stew a tangy sweet and sour flavour.

I call this a weekend recipe, meaning its something that requires low and slow cooking and you aren’t going to try and do for a quick weeknight dinner.

Serves 4


8 Chicken thighs (bone in, but skin removed), or 2 large aubergines (cut into bite sized chunks)

1 Tbsp. Tomato Puree

250 Grams Walnut pieces

1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

2 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Black pepper

125 Mil Pomegranate molasses

1 Tsp Sugar (or more to taste)

Pomegranate seeds to decorate (optional)


  • Add the walnuts to a food processor and whiz until they become fine crumbs and start to stick together in a paste
  • Move the walnuts to a large pot with a lid, and add 1 litre of cold water to the walnuts. Bring to the boil for a couple of minutes, and then reduce the heat and cover with a lid simmer for 2 hours.
  • Stir in the pomegranate molasses, tomato purée, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper until well combined. Return the mixture to a simmer
  • Add the chicken thighs or aubergine chunks to the pot and cover with the lid again and simmer for a further hour. Remove the lid and simmer for another 10-15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
  • Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds if using just before serving rice or flat breads

Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)

Everyone loves Mexican food, and while I make no claims that someone from Mexico would say this is just like their Mum would make, I think it tastes amazing. If you like pulled pork but never thought of trying it at home, you should give this a go. It really is simplicity itself, all you need is time, so perfect for the weekend when you kick back or get on with other things while the oven does all the work for you.

I love this in tacos but you can add it to burritos or sandwiches. While this does take some time, it’s a simple recipe and is ideal to feed a group of people cheaply. I used pork shoulder which is inexpensive and really benefits from being marinated and cooked long and slow.

Delicious in wraps too.


1 Kg Pork shoulder

100 ml Orange juice (I used the juice of 2 oranges)

1 Tbsp Tomato puree

1 Tsp Oregano

1 Tsp Chilli powder

2 Tsp Smoked paprika

1 Tsp Ground Cumin

1 Tsp Ground Coriander

1 Tsp Minced Garlic


  1. Cut your pork into 4 chunks
  2. In a sealable freezer bag add all the other ingredients and squish together to make sure they are well mixed
  3. Add the pork to the bag and seal, rub the bag to make sure the marinade covers the pork and then put in the fridge. If you can marinade this for 24 hours this is ideal. If you don’t have that sort of time try to marinade for least an hour
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees (Celsius). Put your pork and the marinade in an oven proof dish with a lid and place in the oven for 3.5 hours.
  5. Remove from the oven and shred the meat with two forks and mix in with the cooking juices for super tasty pulled pork

Slow Roast Cherry Tomatoes

Do you ever get a bit over zealous when shopping and have stuff hanging about the fridge that you forget about. I do this more often than I should. I recently found a tub of cherry tomatoes that I had forgotten about and were starting to go a bit soft. I decided to cook these long and slow and they tasted fantastic.

I used these as a side dish, but they would be fantastic stirred into some freshly cooked pasta, or served cold in salads or on some crusty bread with some soft cheese. These are every bit as tasty as sun-dried tomatoes. I made quite a small batch of these (because it was a small tub of tomatoes), but I’m definitely going to make bigger batches next time. These can live in your fridge for 3- 4 days in an air tight jar.


250 Grams Cherry tomatoes (halved)

1 Tbsp Olive oil

1/2 Tsp salt

2 Cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)

3-4 Sprigs of thyme or 1/2 Tsp dried thyme


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
  2. Place all the ingredients on a baking sheet and mix well to ensure the tomatoes are coated in the oil. Bake for 20 minutes
  3. Reduce the heat to 140 degrees and cook for a further 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes start to look wizened up and starting to char

Slow Cooked Ragu

Rich and unctuous with pasta.

I’m not vegetarian, but I do think if you’re going to kill animal you should make use of all of it, (I still have trouble with some offal, but I try). I have used shin for this recipe. Usually I would use beef shin, but I was lucky enough to be given some venison shin by friends who hunt (just in case you think the shin the photo looks different from what you’re using). Beef shin is relatively inexpensive compared to other cuts of meat, and benefits from long slow cooking when it literally just falls of the bone.

The meat should be easy to shred with a fork

If you haven’t had it before, it reminds me of oxtail. Its unctuous and tasty and makes great stews and casseroles. This version is fantastic with pasta, but is equally great with mashed potatoes or as a pie filling.

Browned before cooking within the sauce

I’ve used red wine in this sauce because I had some left, but if you don’t have any or prefer not to use alcohol you can swap this for beef or vegetable stock.

Thick and packed full of flavour.

This is what I used to call a “weekend recipe” or slow food meaning its not a quick recipe, but it is fairly simple (since many of us are working from home at the minute, you can make recipes like this, cooking away while you work). I used an oven to cook this, but if you have a slow cooker this recipe is perfect.


1Kg Beef Shin

2 Large carrots (Cut into 1cm chunks)

2 Stalks of celery (Cut into 1cm chunks)

1 Large onion (Cut into 1cm chunks)

2 Bay leaves (Optional)

1/2 Bottle of red wine or 750 ml beef or vegetable stock

2 Tbsp Tomato puree

400ml Can of Passata or chopped tomatoes

1 Tbsp Oil

1 Large knob of butter

Salt and Pepper


  1. Heat the oil and put in a large oven proof pan (with a lid), and brown the shin on all sides, before setting to one side
  2. In the same pan, add the chopped vegetables cook until soft, add the tomato puree and bay leaves and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the wine
  3. Allow the wine to cook until the alcohol has burned off (basically so it doesn’t sting your nose when you breath it in is the best way I can describe it). Preheat your oven to 160 degrees (celsius)
  4. Add the passata, and place the meat back in the pan. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 .5 hours
  5. After 2.5 hours remove the dish from the over and lift the shin meat out. On a separate plate you should be able to shred the meat from the bone with a fork
  6. Add the shredded meat back into the sauce and stir well. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Serve with pasta, or mashed potatoes