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Tag Archives: Out of the Pod
  • Posted on February 6, 2015

    Recipe for the Weekend: Valentine's Edition

    We’ve got a super recipe for you this week from Vicky Jones' Out of the Pod. The perfect Valentine’s meal; you can leave this simmering away on the stove while you chat over a glass of wine, then impress your date with the bright colours and wonderful Persian flavours! You could scale down the recipe for two, or why not make the whole thing and enjoy it for leftovers for the next day? Either way, you’ve got a week to plan your meal and we think this delicious lamb casserole would be a big hit!

    Persian lamb casserole with chickpeas and herbs 

    Rich lamb stews are very popular in Iran, although traditionally they would often contain very little meat. All kinds of vegetables, fruits and pulses would be added to give body to the hotpot, as well as handfuls of fresh herbs, and the stew is usually served with rice. Iranians love the sweet and sour flavours that were a feature of many medieval English dishes, a formula that survives to this day in the form of the traditional mint sauce which accompanies roast lamb.

    3 tablespoons olive oil

    1 kg/2 lbs. shoulder of lamb, bone, fat and gristle removed, cubed

    3 large onions, chopped

    8 garlic cloves, chopped finely

    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    2 teaspoons ground turmeric

    500 g/21/2 cups cooked, soaked dried chickpeas (garbanzos), or the contents of 2 x 400-g/14-oz. cans, drained

    6 tomatoes, skinned and chopped

    3 tablespoons white wine, freshly squeezed lime juice or verjuice

    200 g/7 oz. spinach or Swiss chard leaves, chopped

    a generous handful of chopped fresh coriander/cilantro and mint

    salt and ground black pepper

    sugar, to taste

    pomegranate seeds or barberries, if available, to serve

    boiled rice, to serve

    Greek yogurt, to serve

    warmed flatbread, to serve

    Serves 6

    Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large casserole dish or frying pan/skillet and fry the lamb until browned. You may have to do this half at a time to ensure that the meat is nicely caramelized on the surface. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook gently until soft. Then add the spices, chickpeas, tomatoes and wine, lime juice or verjuice. Stir well, adding a splash or water if necessary, cover and simmer for around 1 hour, until the lamb is tender.

    Towards the end of cooking, sauté the spinach or chard leaves in a tablespoon of olive oil, and add to the casserole. Stir in the chopped fresh herbs.

    If using barberries, soak them in water for 10 minutes, then sauté briefly in oil. 

    Check the seasoning, adding salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Strew pomegranate seeds or barberries over and serve with boiled rice, Greek yogurt and warmed flatbread.

    Out of the Pod by Vicky Jones is available here.

    Have a lovely weekend everyone!

    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with casserole, Valentines Day, chickpeas, recipe for the weekend, 2015, Out of the Pod, lamb

  • Posted on January 9, 2015

    Recipe for the Weekend

    We’re slowly drifting further into January; work feels like a familiar routine again, relaxed afternoons filled with books and chocolate are now a distant memory, and as always, a few of those healthy eating resolutions are starting to wear a bit thin! If you’re struggling to stick to your lettuce leaf lunch or breakfast in a bottle then we’ve got a deliciously healthy recipe for you today that will keep you on track, because here at RPS and CICO Books Towers, we believe that healthy eating should still mean tasty eating!

    Taken from the flavour-filled new book, Out of the Pod, this recipe will make you reconsider the humble salad (and lovely lentils!) and will have you reaching for the herbs to freshen up your dull diet dishes. We hope you enjoy it and good luck with your resolutions!

    salad of puy lentils with roasted beetroot

    The habit of serving lentils with beet(root) goes back to Roman times. Writing in 2nd-century Rome, the physician and philosopher Galen recommended this health-giving combination in his treatise On the Power of Foods, dressing the salad with a sweet and salty fish sauce. If a fishy taste appeals, add some fish sauce to the dressing instead of salt. Serve the salad on its own, or strewn with crumbled salty cheese, such as feta, or slices of grilled halloumi cheese.

    500 g/1 lb. beet(root), peeled and cut into wedges

    3 tablespoons olive oil

    3 fresh or dried bay leaves

    1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

    200 g/1 cup dried Puy or French green lentils, rinsed and drained

    2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole

    3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

    salt and ground black pepper

    For the dressing:

    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

    1 tablespoon maple syrup

    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    salt and ground black pepper

    Serves 4–6


    Preheat the oven to 180oC (350oF) Gas 4.

    Place the beet(root) in a small roasting pan, and toss in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil together with 3 tablespoons of water, 2 of the bay leaves and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper, cover with aluminium foil and roast in the preheated oven until they are soft – about 1 hour.

    Meanwhile, boil the lentils in a saucepan of water, together with the whole garlic cloves and the remaining bay leaf and olive oil, for about 30 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked.

    Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together.

    Drain the lentils and stir in all but 1 tablespoon of the dressing and the chopped fresh herbs. Arrange the chunks of cooked beet(root) over, drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve at room temperature.


    Out of the Pod by Vicky Jones is available here.

    Have a lovely weekend everyone and happy healthy eating!

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with lentils, olive oil, beetroot, parsley, savoury, thyme, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, 2014, balsamic, healthy, Out of the Pod

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