Month: August 2014

Turkey & Cucumber Moussaka Recipe #TurkeyTractorChallenge

This post is my entry for The British Turkey Blogger Recipe Challenge. This challenge is also helping to raise awareness of The Red Tractor logo, Red Tractor is the UK’s largest food assurance scheme. Its respected food standards are used across the food supply chain to provide clear food labelling about the quality and sourcing of your food. This is close to my heart as a farmers’ daughter! More info can be found at

If you look at my ingredients below you should be able to spot 4 Red Tractor logos on items used in this recipe


The brief is to cook up an ‘Arabian Nights’ dish featuring British Turkey and a minimum of 2 approved Red Tractor ingredients.

So to cook my Turkey & Cucumber Moussaka you will need:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 6 tablespoons of oil
  • 2 medium onions (chopped finely)
  • 500g British minced turkey (I used thigh meat which is cheaper and tastier)
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1/4 pint of chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons ras el hanout spice mix
  • kaffir lime leaves
  • 3oz plain flour
  • 3oz butter
  • 1 pint of milk
  • 2oz Cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg
  • paprika

Please don’t be put off by the list of ingredients as it is very flexible. I use home made chicken stock, but you could use a cube or white wine or even just water. If you do use a stock cube then please go careful with the salt. The ras el hanout is a ready made spice mix of coriander, paprika, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, turmeric, cloves and cayenne pepper so you can play around with any of these to suit your taste or just what you have in store.


  • Peel the cucumbers and slice crossways into thin slices.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and fry for 2-3 mins each side until golden.
  • Leave to drain on kitchen paper.




  •  Use the same pan and any remaining oil to fry the onion. You will need to lower the heat and cook gently for around 5 mins to soften the onion but not brown it.



  • Now add the turkey mince and cook until there is no pink meat left.
  • Then add the tomato puree, ras el hanout and chicken stock.
  • Mix well and cover. Let the meat mixture simmer for around 20 mins or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Stir in 2 or 3 large pinches of crumbled kaffir lime leaves and leave to cool.



Now while the meat is cooking, make the white sauce topping:

  • Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour. mix well until smooth and then gradually add the milk. You need to keep stirring to get a thick white sauce.
  • Stir in the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  • Leave to cool slightly (I pour the sauce into a plastic bowl to cool quicker).
  • Whisk the eggs then whisk them again into the sauce.
  • Now layer the moussaka. First a layer of fried cucumber, then half the turkey, another layer of cucumber followed by the remaining meat mix. If you have any cucumber left place on the top.
  • Pour over the white sauce and add some paprika and grated nutmeg. It should look something like this.


Bake in the oven at Gas mark 4 (350F/180c) for 45 mins. After time is up turn off the oven but leave the moussaka in the oven for at least another 15 mins.

Serves 4 hungry adults.

Serve with a green salad and some tasty bread. This is a complete meal and reheats beautifully. In fact I think it is like stew and always tastes better the next day…….but perhaps that is because I haven’t just cooked it! For many more tasty turkey recipes please take a look at


We enjoyed our supper with a Hendrick’s gin and tonic, carrying on the cucumber theme. I am sure this is a much healthier moussaka. The cucumber soak up much less oil than aubergines and by swapping minced lamb for turkey the dish is much lighter than usual. It is also a little quicker to cook because you don’t need to salt and dry the aubergine. I would be very interested in hearing from any vegetarians on how this cooks up using Quorn.

Just as a footnote …. here is a photo of the Norfolk Bronze turkeys we hatched at Vanilla Letters HQ about 3 years ago. They couldn’t understand why the cat was allowed in and they weren’t! Very naughty turks.






Let them eat…..Courting Cake

This morning I had a welcome visit from a freegan friend  of ours. The result was 10 punnets of strawberries! Lovely.

I wanted to cook something like a Strawberry Shortcake and found this version in one of my dairy cookbooks. So tonight we are having Courting Cake for pudding.

It was made in the North of England by a young girl for her betrothed and should serve 16 portions. The sponge is quite dense in relation to a Victoria sponge, but needs to be to hold the cream layers.

It goes like this:

8oz butter creamed with 8oz caster sugar

beat in 4 beaten eggs (a little at a time)

fold in 12oz SR flour (using a metal spoon) and add up to 3 tbsp of milk to give a soft dropping consistency.

Divide the sponge mix between 3 cake tins (7 inch diameter/greased and base lined)  I only have two sponge tins so used a cake tin to make up the 3rd

Bake for 25 mins Gas mark 5 190C/375F


They should be well risen and firm to touch. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.




Once cake has cooled, whip/whisk half a pint (10 fl oz) of double cream until it just thickens. Sandwich the cakes together with cream and a layer of sliced strawberries. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with more strawberries. I used approx 8 oz of strawberries so still have lots to use.