Sweet apricots, dates and fragrant butternut pumpkin make this a delicious Middle Eastern family meal.

Jane Kennedy has had a long and successful career in television, both in front of and behind the camera, appearing on comedy shows and co-producing movies. She has recently been popping up on the Channel 10 series “Have You Been Paying Attention”, and is about to appear in “House Husbands.” Along with a successful comedy and television career, she is passionate about food and has recently had her first cook book published called The Big Book Of Fabulous Food.

Jane Kennedy is a big fan of food. She loves cooking it and she especially loves eating it. However, Jane can’t eat anything she wants to and really didn’t want to live on lettuce and air. Jane isn’t into fad diets – her recipes are not sugar free or vegan and there’s no complicated calorie counting. Instead they are full of fabulous flavour but low on calories – ensuring you eat well, and can keep eating well for the rest of your life while keeping those unwanted kilos off.

In The Big Book Of Fabulous Food, Jane shares more than 150 great recipes that are fast, fresh and delicious. These are dishes for every day in the home, for entertaining family and friends and for those nights when you can’t be bothered cooking and are tempted to just get takeaway. You can make your own mouth watering pizza, curries, lasagna and even rhubarb and strawberry crumble!

This recipe is an edited extract from The Big Book Of Fabulous Food by Jane Kennedy, published by Hardie Grant Books and available in stores nationally.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 small carrots, finely diced
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) lamb, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
½ cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon honey
80 g (2 ¾ oz) dried apricots, cut into quarters
2 dates, stones removed and cut into quarters
1 vegetable stock cube
1 small butternut pumpkin (squash), cut into
2 cm (¾ in) cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
Cauliflower ‘rice’ (page 256) to serve
Chopped flat-leaf parsley and coriander
(Cilantro) leaves to serve
Chopped fresh red chilli to serve

Method:

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.

Cook the onion and carrot for 3–4 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.

Add the lamb to the pan and brown it all over. Stir in the garlic, cumin, ginger, saffron, cinnamon stick, allspice and chilli powder and cook for 2 minutes. Add the honey, apricots and dates, crumble in the stock cube and pour in enough boiling water to cover the meat – about 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups). Stir and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Remove the lid and cook for a further 30 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin, season with pepper and simmer for 20–30 minutes, or until the pumpkin and lamb are tender.

Serve the tagine with cauliflower ‘rice’ and top with the parsley, coriander and fresh chilli.

(Serves 6)