Chef whose food wowed patients at the Rotunda shares her favourite recipe

Daily Dish: Joyce Timmins’s fruity aromatic lamb tagine can be served hot or cold with a fruity couscous and even creamy mash

I perfected this tagine at home for a dish that I wanted to introduce to my menu when I worked at Espresso Bar, on St Mary’s Road, and it went down very well. So much so that it made regular appearances in the restaurant and at home.

What I like about this recipe is that it suits any season. I love this dish for its deep, warming flavours. The apricots and the prunes add just the right amount of sweetness.

It can be served hot or cold with a fruity couscous, pomegranate seeds, tzatziki and flatbread. But it is quite adaptable, and can also be served with creamy mashed potato and roasted vegetables, if couscous is not your thing.

I like it best with couscous, with Moroccan flavours, toasted pitta, hummus, pesto and a chunky tomato salsa with coriander and mint.

It is important to use tomato puree rather than passata as this gives the sauce more of a velvet finish. Don’t be afraid to add more water and keep cooking it, if you feel that the lamb is not tender enough, just reduce liquid down and then correct the seasoning.

I really hope you enjoy this recipe as much as myself and my family do.

What you’ll need:

500g diced lamb
1 big onion
½ a butternut squash
2 cloves of garlic
140g dried apricots
100g prunes
3 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp ground ginger
100g tomato puree (not passata as the puree gives it glossier and velvety)
1 beef stock cube
2 litre of boiled water (may seem or look a lot but this will reduce right down while cooking the meat to tenderise it)
Salt and pepper

How to make it:

1. Fry the lamb, onion, garlic and squash together in some oil.

2. Add ginger and cinnamon, stir thoroughly so the spices are over the meat and veg.

3. Stir in tomato puree, then add the prunes and apricots.

4. Dissolve stock cube in the two litres of boiled water and add to the pot.

5. Bring to the boil and simmer until the lamb is tender – add more water if need be.

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Joyce Timmins is Catering Manager at Marymount Care Centre and was formerly executive head chef at the Rotunda Hospital