Coming from New Zealand, where I think most of the world’s tastiest lamb and mutton comes from, I had eaten my fair share of lamb by the time I left, aged 18, to train in Australia. I have to say that I had never eaten a dish like this in my youth, but I like to think I would have loved it. I discovered Israeli cous cous in London in the mid-’90s and was intrigued by it as I’d only ever seen the small granular cous cous so familiar to the North African kitchen. To me it seemed more like a pasta than anything else. A few years later I came across fregola which looked almost identical to Israeli cous cous but which is in fact a toasted pasta from Sardinia. At this point I have to admit to cous cous confusion. Around 2005 we had an Israeli pastry chef, Aner Zalel, come and work with us at The Providores and he showed me how to cook Israeli cous cous, firstly by toasting it and then cooking it almost like a risotto. Since then I’ve played around with it a bit and have found my favourite additions are soy and hijiki or arame seaweed - which give it a lovely texture, taste and colour. The addition of tamarind and ginger in the tomato relish works a treat with the lamb and gives the dish an almost Indian feel to it. Luckily India isn’t known for any cous cous dishes so that saves me from being even more confused! In this recipe you can simply replace the Israeli cous cous with fregola and it will be just the same.