Hunger Games: Plum Stew for Katniss – An Alternative!

I loved reading the Hunger Games – I think if you’re a foodie, you’ll really enjoy the descriptions that author Suzanne Collins put into her books. One of the dishes that stands out is the lamb stew that Katniss enjoys so much from the Capitol, and I’ve seen loads of recipes online which replicate it. However, I’m not a huge fan of sweet and savoury mixed together – unless there’s a whole bunch of spice added in! With that in mind, I really wanted to try a tagine version of this, since lamb and prunes is a fairly common combination. But then I was flicking through 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi, and found a plum and lamb curry! Now, this is made with fresh plums, not dried, but the flavour is so delicious that I don’t think anyone will be complaining about accuracy! Here is the recipe, which I have adapted slightly to reduce the calories. The original called for more oil, more lamb, and more plums – I think it would be better with less, hence my changes.

This stew is spicy and rich, and the sharp, sour taste of the plums really balances against the savouriness of the lamb. You can eat this with rice, or naan bread if you prefer. I’m planning on serving this at a Hunger Games-themed party I’m having next month, but you don’t really need an excuse to eat this – it’s great, and not too high in calories, either! Just make sure that you go easy on the oil, and that the lamb is very lean and trimmed of all excess fat.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 x 1/2 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon
  • 3 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 500g lean stewing lamb
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 to 1 cup finely chopped ripe plums with skin on
  • 3 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 225ml lamb stock


  • Heat oil in a deep pan and add the onions, frying until they’re golden brown – around 10-15 mins. Add the garlic, ginger, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, and green chillies. After one minute, add in the turmeric, coriander and chilli powder, and stir well.
  • Add the lamb to your spiced, aromatic mixture, and fry for five minutes. Then, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the lamb is semi-dry. Stir well to make sure everything is coated and beginning to go golden brown.
  • Add the plums and stir. Follow with 2 tbsp of coriander leaves, and the lamb stock, then simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  • Serve sprinkled with additional coriander, and serve with rice.

You can freeze this recipe, which serves four! The calories work out at 312 per serving.

End of summer: Crispy Panzanella

Grape tomatoes.

Image via Wikipedia

Well, it’s officially nearing the end of the summer, and that means that it’s our last chance to make use of some seasonal produce before… well, let’s not kid ourselves – pretty much everything from the summer is still available all winter round, albeit at a price. But my late summer favourites are strawberries, tomatoes and corn on the cob, and it’s now that these babies come into their own. All of these are on sale at supermarkets, but if you get yourself to a farmers’ market, you can get them even cheaper. Punnets of strawberries for a couple of quid, tubs of cherry tomatoes for 70p, I even bought five ears of corn for a pound a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s a great recipe I found in a foodie magazine ages back, for a crispy crouton and spicy tomato salad. Although it’s called Panzanella in my recipe folder, panzanella is usually made with bread that’s a bit soggier than the stuff you’ll find here. This recipe gives you fresh tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, drizzled with a spicy, garlicy dressing, and pepped up with crunchy, crispy croutons. It’s one of my favourites, and you can make it all year round thanks to the supermarkets. But why not make it now, when everything’s at its cheapest and best?

Recipe for Crispy Panzanella


  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • One red chilli
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 200ml olive oil
  • Small red onion
  • 450g tomatoes
  • Black olives
  • Half a cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 very small loaf, torn into small chunks
  • Handful of basil leaves


  • Turn the oven onto medium heat and drizzle some of the olive oil over your bread chunks. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and bake in the oven until crunchy and golden brown.
  • Cut your salad ingredients (pepper, cucumber, tomato, onion).
  • Crush the garlic and chilli together in a pestle and mortar with some sea salt until you get a pungent paste.
  • Mix the vinegar, sugar and olive oil together, and whisk in your chili, garlic and sea salt.
  • Mix together the dressing with the vegetables, and allow them to sit for around an hour.
  • Wait until just before serving to pour the veggies and sauce over your croutons, to keep them crispy and fresh. Tear over the basil leaves and serve.