The Tale of Jon Ali-Borresen and The Efreet

Monday 20/12/2004

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Diary and Notes

A long time ago, during the reign of Sultan Ali Al-Tagine Hassan, a handsome and mysterious man from the West was drawing water at an oasis, deep in the desert sea.

He had just finished filling his water skins when he was visited by a huge and powerful efreet from the fabled City of Brass. The efreet's gigantic fiery frame stood four and thirty metres from the sand and he spoke in a powerful, booming voice.

"Yo, white boy!" For twas a hip-hop loving efreet. "I have been sent to give you beats for taxin' camels from the nomads here. 'Less you cook me the phattist meal from all the lands of Arabia, I's gonna get all Ozymandius on you ass." And he prepared to smite our hero with his giant fiery axe.

"Oh great and mighty efreet." Replied the wily, yet devillishly seductive, occidental, "Please do not cleave me in twain with your mighty weapon, for 'tis not my bag. I will take on your challenge and cook for you a dish from all Arabia to delight your most discerning palate."

"But nothing too spicy. We efreets like plain and simple food, meat and two veg, you know the deal."

Jon Ali-Borresen thought hard then nodded in agreement, secretly he planned to trick the demon. "I shall need ingredients for the feast, for I have not catered for a thirty tonne monster turning up unnanounced demanding grub."

Instantly the efreet dissapeared and returned but a moment later with three Tesco carrier bags filled with cheap joints of lamb, some root vegetables and a pot of salt. Jon Ali-Borresen thought hard and smiled, for hidden in the saddlebags of his stolen camels were spices from the East and a huge tub of extra hot harissa paste.

"Get cookin' chump." And with these words the efreet dissapeared.

Our hero laboured hard and long. Chopping, peeling and preparing a delicately flavoured dish that would charm the houris from the halls of the righteous, but when he was finished, on the side of the giant plate of food he poured the spicy harissa.

"I's back, batty boy." The efreet's language was getting cruder. "Now what have we here?" and the efreet began to pile the food into its giant mouth. "Mmm, not bad, not bad at all, but I don't think that your attempt is good enough, you should have cooked this in a tagine, not a sauce..." And then it stoppped still, its mouth filled with the spicy red paste and unable to speak. The monster's fiery red body became white hot and steam blasted from its ears. "W-w-water, water!" it shouted "Must have water." And with this it dived into the oasis where its fire was instantly extinguished and it became powerless and was forced to return home for a cup of warm cocoa and a sit down in front of the fire.

Cake Blog

Genoa Cake: A light fruit cake. Needed booze!
"I sent my wife to Italy for a holiday."
"No, all women are strangers to me."


  • Lamb Tagine
  • Minted Bulgar Wheat
  • Pitta Bread


  • Tagine: Lamb Shoulder, Olive Oil, Onions, Garlic, Cinnamon, Ground Coriander, Carrots, Green Beans, Potatoes, Dried Apricots, Raisins, Tomato Puree, Lemon Juice, Black Pepper, Salt, Fresh Parsley, Harissa Paste.
  • Bulgar Wheat: Bulgar Wheat, Mint, Butter, Salt, Black Pepper.


  • Cut the meat off the lamb shoulder. Heat a little olive oil in a big pan and add the shoulder bone. Brown all over, turn down the heat, add the chopped lamb meat, onions, garlic, the roughly chopped vegetables and dried fruit, the spices, a squirt of tomato puree, a good squeeze of lemon and a little water. Cover and simmer for two hours. Add water if it begins to over thicken. When cooked, remove the bone, season and serve covered in chopped parsley and a little harissa on the side.
  • Bulgar Wheat: Place the wheat into a saucepan with some dried mint and black pepper. Pour over boiling water. Leave to simmer gently for 15 minutes. Stir in some butter and season with salt.