Lamb Tagine with Apricots & Preserved Lemon + Edible Flower Couscous with Pistachios & Feta

Here in Livingstone we seldom have really cold days in our short winter. Early mornings are chilly, especially on our slab under the Mongongo tree where there are no doors and few windows. After the sun has set, however, it’s a different story: a hot drink, a scalding bath, and an electric blanket turned up high to warm the bed — usually in that order — is how we deal with the drastic drop in temperature at night.

A tagine is terrific comfort food in the cooler weather. And as Nigel Slater said about his recipe I worked with below, “Meat, spices and apricots probably work better together than any combination since roast pork and apple sauce.” I have to agree with him.

I served this lamb tagine for lunch on a recent balmy Sunday and paired it with an edible flower couscous, inspired by another of my favorite British chefs, Sarah Raven. It was a pairing that surpassed even my expectations, which was complemented by a selection of salads fresh from the garden, and my homemade Ciabatta bread.


NIgel Slater's Lamb Tagine with Apricots & Preserved Lemon.
The tagine ready to be served for a lunch with neighbors.

Nigel Slater’s Lamb Tagine with Apricots & Preserved Lemon

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 1 kilogram/2.2 pounds diced lamb shoulder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon saffron stamens
  • 3 cups lamb or chicken stock
  • 2 cans (400 grams each) cherry tomatoes (chopped tomatoes will work just as well)
  • 2 1/2 cups dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 preserved lemon, flesh removed and skin roughly chopped
  • handful Genovese basil, roughly chopped
  • handful mint, roughly chopped
  • handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped


Ingredients for the tagine.
Some of the ingredients for the tagine.


  • Mix all the ground spices together in a small bowl, and cut into two batches. In a Ziploc bag, toss the cubed lamb in half of the spices, seal, and leave for at least four hours (I left mine overnight).
  • Warm the olive oil in a deep, heavy-based pot, adding the seasoned meat in small batches to brown. Remove into a separate dish, and set aside.
  • Add the onions to the pan in which you browned the meat. After a couple of minutes add the sliced garlic with the remainder of the spices and allow to soften and color lightly. Stir regularly over a moderate heat so that the spices flavor the onions but do not burn them.


Softening the onions after browning the meat.
Softening the onions and garlic after browning the meat.
  • Add the honey, saffron, stock, tomatoes, apricots and sultanas, and return the meat to the pan. Bring to the boil, season with salt and black pepper, and then cover with a lid. Turn down the heat to as low as possible and simmer, about two-and-a-half hours.
  • Stir in the chopped preserved lemon, followed by half of the chopped basil, mint and flat-leaf parsley. Use the remaining herbs for garnish, and serve.


Sunday lunch on the farm with the lamb tagine, edible flower couscous and various salads.
Sunday lunch on the farm with the lamb tagine, edible flower couscous, and various salads.

Edible Flower Couscous with Pistachios & Feta – inspired by Sarah Raven’s Edible Flower Couscous Salad

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • large handful mint, roughly chopped
  • handful Genovese basil, roughly chopped
  • handful flat-leafed parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped and dry-roasted
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 large lemon or 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • selection of edible flower petals (I used jeweled nasturtiums, violas, borage, marigolds and echinacea)


Vibrant colors light up the couscous.
Vibrant colors light up the couscous.


  1. Place the couscous into a large mixing bowl. Bring the stock to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan, and when boiling pour over the couscous. Add the olive oil, stir the mixture once, and then cover. Leave to soften, about 10 minutes, and then fluff it up with a fork. Set aside.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the herbs, nuts, and feta cheese, leaving a little of each for garnish. Add to the couscous and, along with the citrus, gently combine the ingredients, ensuring they are mixed well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Transfer the couscous to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining herbs, nuts, and feta cheese. Decorate the dish with edible flowers.


Edible Flower Couscous with Pistachios & Feta.
Edible Flower Couscous with Pistachios & Feta.

Annabel Hughes Aston is a writer and an award-winning chef in Livingstone, Zambia. She is the creator of "bush gourmet" cuisine.


  • Taste Buds doing a Tango on my Tongue !!

    • Haha! It’s delicious, I swear … give it a go, John!

  • I’m on to this Annabel, particularly like the edible flower couscous with it. Xx Sula

    • Great, Sula, I don’t think you will regret it!

  • As usual a delight all round ! Would LOVE to try this.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment, chitaitai!

  • Love tagine and Nigel Slater is one of my fav chefs! Wish I could have some of your cool night temps here. We are roasting.
    As always your food looks wonderful. I shall keep this in mind when temps drop which cannot come soon enough.

    • Thanks again for your kind comment, Gillian. I’m a big fan of Nigel Slater, too … and agree wholeheartedly with his sentiments about a good tagine. Not much beats it …

  • What a beautiful meal!

    • Thank you, Michelle … those edible flowers can be pretty dazzling!

  • Definitely going to try this wonderful flavoursome recipe. Thanks Annabel and lots of love to you both. XXX

    • Oh great, Di! I hope you will enjoy the dishes as much as we did. They really are tasty. Thanks for your support and interest! Much love back to you and Janusz … xo

  • Absolutely gorgeous and luscious!

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment!

  • Your photos are simply gorgeous! I’m inspired 🙂

  • Those flowers are beautiful! I love the lamb and fruit combination. Unfortunately, my husband does not. Needless to say, it’s been a long long time… I will just stare at your photos!

    • Thank you, chef mimi, for your kind comment! I also love lamb and fruit together, and always have. It’s amazing how edible flowers can jazz up a dish. So many of them also make great companion plants with vegetables in the garden, therefore they are more than just their pretty faces!

  • Lamm, Lamm,Lamm, Toll

  • […] Lamb Tagine with Nsumo Fruit & Preserved Citrus alongside an Edible Flower Couscous with Pistachios & Feta, and a Mixed Leaf Green Salad with Avocado & Cucumber […]

  • […] Echinacea flowers. Roasted Beetroot & Pearl Barley Salad with Goat Cheese. Rocket flowers. Violas. Coconut Dulce de Leche & Caramelized Pineapple. Tiny edible flowers from a seed mix. Marigolds. Yomar’s Strawberry Mousse. An onion flower, with a feeding stingless bee. Purple runner bean flower. A Blue Strawberry/Table Talk’s canapé garnished with viola petals. Lemon blossoms covered in feeding bugs. Sunny yellow violas. Blue Strawberry/Table Talk’s beautifully-adorned smoked salmon appetizer. Dill flowers. A nasturtium flower. Thai-inspired Tilapia Ceviche with Avocado, Pomelo & Roasted Peanuts. Pea flowers. Lima bean flowers. Edible flower couscous. […]

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