Saturday, 25 April 2015

15 – Your M&S Cookbook – Cooking the Books


Starter:   Spiced Beef and Orange Koftas with Sunshine Salsa

Main:      Sticky Spiced Duck with Apple

Dessert:  Gingerbread Squares with Lemon Drizzle

m&s cookbook

Starter: Spiced Beef and Orange Koftas with Sunshine Salsa

Easiness: 8/10, especially if you already have pesto

Taste: 9/10

Make again: 9/10

Cheats & Changes: leek and coriander seed instead of onion and coriander leaf

You could easily make a quick flatbread to serve these with if you’re not pushed for time, or else and toasted pitta would do the job. In fact, the pitta recipe is great and works every time, creating a lovely pocket inside to pop the kofta into.


The salsa is grated orange zest added to segmented orange, mixed with chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh coriander, olive oil and salt and pepper. For the kofta, add orange zest, finely chopped onions, minced beef, harissa, fresh chopped coriander, pine nuts, salt & pepper (all to taste) and egg and mix well. Shape around wooden skewers that have been soaked in water first to prevent burning. Pop under a hot grill, turning regularly, for around 12 minutes until cooked through. Serve with the salsa and warmed pittas. DSC_0554

When making, I found that the mixture was already quite sticky before adding the egg, but added it nonetheless to follow the recipe. This meant, however, that the mixture didn’t really stick to the sticks as it should have so just beware. If it’s already a sticky mixture, there’s really no need to add the egg.  As usual, I found myself beginning without the required ingredients, so substituted onion for finely chopped leek, and coriander leaf for crushed coriander seed, but the flavours were still good. These were truly delicious and something I’m looking forward to doing again in the summer months.

Main: Sticky Spiced Duck with Apple

Easiness: 7/10

Taste: 8/10 Flavours were good. The marinade was delicious

Make again: 4/10 (going up to a 7/10 with the right ingredients!)

Cheats & Changes: I used duck legs rather than breasts to save a bit of money!


4 duck breasts

4 tbsp dark muscovado sugar

4 tbsp cider vinegar

4 star anise

2 dessert apples

chunk of butter

egg noodles


Slash the duck skin in a diamond pattern and place in a bag or bowl with the sugar, star anise and vinegar. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Give it a good squish to ensure all the duck is coated

Heat a heavy based frying pan til hot and place the breasts skin down until the skin sizzles and begins to crispen. Turn down heat to medium and fry in each side for about 5 minutes. Remove and leave to stand for ten minutes.

Core and thickly slice the apple. Remove the fat from the pan but leave the sticky goodness. Add a chunk of butter and fry the apple slices, adding any leftover marinade, and bubble for a minute until sticky.

Cook the noodles, and serve everything, drizzling any leftover juice from the apple pan over the top.

First off, this would work much better with duck breast: if you’re going to use leg, I suggest a low, slow cook so the meat falls off the bone. I tried to combine the two and failed miserably. I also used rice noodles instead of egg which were disgusting. All in all, not a very successful meal but edible, just about. If you actually used the ingredients suggested, it would have been much, much tastier. The apples were yummy!


Dessert: Gingerbread Squares with Lemon Drizzle

Easiness: /10

Taste: /10

Make again: /10

Cheats & Changes: none



175g s.r. flour

1tbsp ground ginger

2 eggs

100g light muscovado sugar

4tbsp black treacle

4 tbsp milk

4tbsp sunflower oil


Grease and line a 19cm square cake tin and preheat oven to 180 degrees c.

Beat together eggs, sugar, treacle, milk and oil.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour and ginger.

Make a well in the powders and beat in the liquids until thoroughly combined and lumpless.

Pour into the tin and bake for 25/30 mins. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack.

Mix some icing sugar, water and lemon juice to a thick paste that you can drizzle over the cake.


This was quite a runny mixture, but rose nicely and turned out well. Mine was a little bitter, probably due to the fact that the treacle I used had been half used and in the cupboard for a few years (!) but was good, especially with the lemon drizzle on top. I used real zest and a little juice rather than the extract as per the recipe and gave it a proper coating, not just a few lines. Once cut into small squares, it doesn't last too long so this is a cake for either sharing, or wrapping tightly and cutting one square at a time!

The recipe that lasts, and the one I’ll be making this summer, is definitely the koftas as you can play around with the flavourings according to what you’ve got in the cupboard at the time.

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Merlotti x

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