Cookbook 99: Relish Mama

I backed Relish Mama by Nellie Kerrison on Kickstarter or Pozible because I thought it sounded good, and supporting Australian authors is something I like to do.  The book is full of amazing recipes, great photos and it is very clear that Kerrison loves food, loves sharing her cooking knowledge, and wants everyone who obtains this book to have a wonderful meal.  Some of the ingredients are a little hard to find, some are seasonal which means that you can’t cook all the recipes fully, all year around – which is how the world generally is anyway.

That said, there are some issues.  This book needed a better editor.  There is one recipe where Kerrison says that the dish would be complemented by another recipe on page “XXX” – the placeholder has never been updated.  One of the recipes I cooked says, “and then dry fry the cumin seeds in the same pan” and the cumin seeds are not listed in the ingredients – we had no idea how many and so made it up.  I’m confident that if there is a second printing of this book that these editing issues will be rectified.  If you’re able to put up with some relatively minor mistakes, I’d not let that put you off.  Overall I’d give this 3.5 stars out of 5.

Orecchiette with broccolini and lemon


  • 500g orecchiette pasta
  • 3 bunches broccolini
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
  • 1 fresh chilli, finely chopped (seeds removed if you like less heat)
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 large handfuls of fat leaf parsley, leaves only
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt and pepper


  1. Cut the stems from the broccolini florets and then slice the stems in thirds lengthways.  Set the sliced stems and the florets aside.
  2. Fill a large pot with water.  Bring to the boil and add enough salt so that it is as salty as the sea.  This is the key to cooking pasta well.  No oil is needed.  When the water is rapidly boiling, add the pasta.  Cook per instructions on the packet, remembering that you want it al dente and not over cooked.
  3. Place a frying pan on a medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil and butter and when hot, add the garlic and chilli and stir constantly so that the garlic doesn’t burn.  Add the salt and pepper and stir.  Add the broccolini and cook until semi-soft but definitely not soft and mushy.  It may take around 6 minutes.  When the broccolini is a vibrant green and cooked, add the lemon zest and taste for seasoning.
  4. Strain the pasta and toss it into the frying pan with the broccolini or transfer to a large mixing bowl if your pan is not large enough.  Toss together and add the lemon juice and parsley.  Stir through the parmesan.
  5. Serve with crusty bread and antipasti on the side.

Notes on this recipe:

  • All the recipes were enjoyed for this meal, but of the 5 people around the table, 2 voted for this being the best dish.  This is a great non-tomato based pasta dish, with fantastic flavours.
  • It’s also really quick and simple to make.  I think I’ll be adding this dish to my regular cooking schedule.
  • Oh and we used a red chilli since the recipe did not state which colour chilli they recommended.

Slow-roasted lamb shoulder with ras el hanout

  • 1 x 2kg lamb shoulder on the bone
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 heaped teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons ras el hanout
  • 2 red onions
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 250ml white wine
  • 150ml red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic bulb, unpeeled and quartered
  • 6 good quality anchovy fillets, in oil
  • 3 lemons, rolled and then cut in half
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

To Serve

  • 1/3 cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mint leaves, torn
  • 1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed
  • Goats Cheese or Labne

Harissa Dressing

  • 60ml olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons harissa
  • Sea salt flakes and black pepper to season


  1. For the harissa dressing, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl, until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper and allow to stand at room temperature for at least half an hour to let the flavours really develop.  Give a light mix again just before serving.
  2. Using a small sharp knife, cut three or four slits diagonally across the lamb.  Combine the olive oil, salt and ras el hanout in a bowl.  Rub this mixture into the lamb, massaging well and down into the slits, to cover entirely.   Cover and place in fridge to marinate overnight.
  3. Take the lamb out of the fridge at least 1 hour before you start cooking so that it is close to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 140C.  Place a large frying pan (large enough to hold the lamb shoulder on a medium-high heat.  Brown the meat on all sides, it will take about 10 minutes to get a good colour all over.  Transfer the lamb to a large plate.
  4. Place the sliced onions and thyme on the base of a large roasting dish and place the lamb on top.
  5. Tip off any fat from the base of your frying pan and place the pan over a low heat.  Pour in the wine and let it bubble and reduce for 2 minutes.  Pour the warm wine over the lamb.
  6. Pour the vinegar around the lamb and add the garlic, anchovies and lemons.  Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and cover tightly with foil and bake on the middle shelf for 5 hours.  Check every so often to ensure the onions are not burning and to baste the lamb.
  7. Remove the foil after 5 hours and cook, uncovered, for the last 40 minutes.  When ready, the meat should be tender and falling off the bone.  Gently shred the meat into large pieces and use the roasting juices to moisten the meat.
  8. You could serve the lamb as it is now and it would be lip-smackingly lovely, or if you want to turn it into something very special, place on a platter and scatter with almonds, mint and pomegranate seeds.  Drizzle with the harissa dressing and dot with marinated goat’s cheese or labne.

Notes on this recipe:

  • This dish was voted as by 2 of the 5 eating dinner as the best dish of the night.
  • The meat is incredibly tender at the end of roasting process, and kept well.  It was also really salty thanks to the salt rub.
  • You can skip the pomegranates if you’re making this in the cooler/colder weather, but I wouldn’t skip the cheese, the lamb and cheese was divine.

Freekah and lentil salad


  • 165g freekah
  • 125g French green lentils
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole almonds
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons oilce oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 50g currants
  • 1 cup coriander
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup common mint
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, pulp removed, diced finely
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasse
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pomegranate seeds, to serve

Yoghurt dressing

  • 250ml natural yoghurt
  • [1 teaspoon cumin seeds]
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Bring two saucepans of water to the boil.  Place the freekah in one and cook for approximately 40 minutes or until the freekah is cooked but still retains a little bite.  Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.  Cook the green lentils in the second saucepan for 20 minutes.  Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
  2. Toast the nuts and seeds in a dry frying pan and cook over a medium-low heat for 2 minutes or until golden and smelling aromatic.  Toss or stir the pan frequently to avoid burning and to allow even cooking.  Roughly chop the almonds and pistachios.  Place the nuts and seeds on a plate and set aside.  Using the same pan, toast the cumin seeds (used later for the yoghurt dressing) on a low heat for 1 – 2 minutes, until smelling fragrant.  Place in a small mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind to a powder.  Set aside.
  3. Heat a small frying pan or saucepan over a medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the onion and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring often until the onion softens.  Add the currants, stir for 1 minute and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the freekah, lentils, seeds, nuts, onion and currants.
  5. Wash the herbs and spin dry in a salad spinner [if you have one, otherwise just shake them dry].  Roughly chop and add to the bowl of freekah and lentils.  Add the preserved lemon and season with salt and pepper.
  6. To make the yoghurt dressing, combine all the ingredients and mix well.  Set aside.
  7. Combine the oil, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice in a small bowl or jar and mix well to combine.  Dress the salad, tossing gently to combine and coat well.  Top with pomegranate seeds and serve drizzled with the yoghurt dressing.

Notes on this recipe:

  • This was my favourite recipe.  I love freekah, and I love toasted nuts and seeds, and all of this put together in a salad with no bitter ingredients was heavenly.
  • It is very fiddly though, with lots of things requiring cooking and then setting aside for later.
  • I must make this again.



1 comment

    • mscate on 02/01/2015 at 8:54 pm

    wow awkward, I know from writing and teaching recipes that you need to check the ingredients and steps several times before they go to a classroom. Hopefully she used recipes that had been tested by cooks with different abilities too.

Comments have been disabled.