Thursday, 16 April 2009

Herby Baked Lamb in Tomato Sauce

I love the Easter tradition of having Lamb for lunch, but wanted something a little different this year, and with my love of one pot dishes this recipe found n the May issue of BBC Good Food sounded perfect.

Herby Baked Lamb in Tomato Sauce

1.8Kg/4lb Shoulder of lamb
2 tbsp olive oil
3 oregano sprigs, leaves stripped from 2
3 rosemary sprigs, leaves tripped from 2
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
600ml/1pt red wine
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp sugar.

Heat the oven to 220oc. Mix the oil, oregano, rosemary and garlic in a food processor until a paste (I bashed mine in a pestle and mortar, not quite paste like but not far off) Rub all over the lamb. Roast lamb in a large heavy bottomed ovenproof pan for 20 mins.
Cover and lower the oven temp to 150oc. and roast for a further 3 hours.
Remove the lamb from the oven and spoon off the fat, leaving the meat juices. Pour over the wine and tomatoes and toss in the remaining herbs. Return to oven uncovered for a further 40 mins.

Spoon the wine and tomato sauce into another pan, skimming off any excess fat, re-cover the lamb and let it rest. Heat up the sauce until bubbling and then simmer for 10-15 mins until thick and saucy. season with sugar and some S&P, then pour back around the lamb and serve.

I love shoulder of lamb recipes, it is one of the most satisfying cuts to cook, I love that the slow cooking brings out the most tasty flavours and that it is tender enough to pull part with forks. I served this with roast potatoes and a selection of peas and cabbage. Ultra scrummy, the wine and tomato sauce a rich treat.

There was enough left over that the following day I shredded the meat and heated it along with the sauce, threw in a handful of frozen peas and served as a ragu sauce over fresh tagliatelle pasta. It is a shame that my picture does not do this dish justice.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Beer Marinade Pork Ribs

With the promise of good weather to come (hopefully) I figure it is time to get to grips with my BBQ skills and dishes, so having found a very reasonable rack of pork ribs and armed with my Ainsley Harriot Big Cook Out book I tried his Dodg'em and Down'em Cowboy Ribs.

330ml strong lager
grated rind & juice of a lime
2 garlic cloves - crushed
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tbls dark muscavado sugar
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 sheet of pork ribs approx 750g

Mix all the ingredients (except pork) together.

Add the ribs to the mixture and marinate for 8-24 hours.

Cook over a medium BBQ, turning occasionally for 25-35 mins.

The weather still not being clement enough to drag out the BBQ I cooked them in the oven at 200oc for the same amount of time, turning halfway.

They came out wonderfully brown and crispy on the outside, but so tender and tasty, and being a non-sticky marinade they were not messy to eat.

To go with the ribs I made a simple potato salad with a finely sliced shallot & parsley and a beef tomato, mozzarella and basil salad.
Now I know the recipe is a winner I cannot wait for the glorious warm and sunny days of summer (!??!)

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Sort of Chicken Giouvetsi

Whilst perusing my blogroll I came across this recipe from Kevin at Closet Cooking for Chicken Giouvetsi and while I did not have all the correct ingredients in the cupboard I thought I would give it a go with what I did have and make some similar substitutions. I am a huge fan of one pot cooking - in fact looking back over my recipes most of them are one pots and this is another one to be added to the list.

4 Chicken Thighs, skin on.
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
250g Riccioli pasta
400ml chicken stock
Big dollop tomato puree
salt and pepper

Pre-cook pasta in boiling water for 7 or so mins, so it is still on the firm side of al dente - drain.
Heat oil in a deep pan, fry the chicken pieces until the skin is crispy and brown. Put to one side. Fry the onion and pepper until tender, then add the pasta, stock, tomato puree and seasoning. Place the chicken on top, pop in oven for 40 mins at 200oc until the stock is absorbed.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Indonesian Pork & Rice

My sister in law is the most wonderful cook, she specialises in Indonesian food which she has learnt from her father who is also a really skilled cook learning all from his Indonesian heritage. One of my favourite recipes that I have learnt from them and altered to suit is a dish usually made from pork mince, cooked with garlic and chili and sweet soy sauce all cooked together. I cannot remember the original recipe as I have been playing with it for years and the ingredients change. This time I used Belly Pork Slices and made the sauce separately.
500g Pack Belly Pork Slices - with skin on.

Season them and place on a wire rack and put into the oven approx 200oc from 30 minutes. They skin will become golden and crispy and all the fat will drain away.

For the sauce I use a 50/50 mix of Ketchup Manis - dark sweet soy sauce and Maggi Ein Echte Liquid Seasoning. I get these shipped over from Holland where S-I-L lives, but similar can be found in local supermarkets. I would suggest approx 4 tbls of each and 2 tbls ginger syrup as it is a rich sauce and you only want a few spoonfuls to drizzle over. I had run out of my usual ginger syrup so used stem ginger in syrup and chopped up a couple of pieces. Put these in a saucepan and reduce down a little.

Served the pork on some onion fried rice with some fine beans mixed in. and the sauce over the top.

A firm favourite in our household.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Stuffed Courgettes

Having a love for all things Menorcan I thought I would share one of my favourite Menorcan dishes - Stuffed Courgettes or Carabassons Plens.

2 Medium Courgettes
2 Eggs - beaten
2 Ripe tomatoes - de-seeded and chopped
2 Cloves of garlic - chopped
Small bunch spring onions - White part only chopped.
4 tbls Breadcrumbs
Oil & salt

Cut courgettes in half length ways, scoop out seeds and pulp, leave a wall of 1/2cm all round. Chop the scooping and put to one side.

Heat 4 tbls oil in a pan and lightly fry the garlic and tomato and spring onions. Leave to simmer for 15 mins, then add the chopped courgette pulp and a little salt cook for a further 5 mins.

Cool the vegetables slightly and add 3 tbls of breadcrumbs and mix with the beaten eggs.

Stuff the courgettes with the mixture and sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs over the top, add a small drizzle of oil.

Place in an oven at 160oc and cook for 30 mins.

The stuffing comes out like a firm omelette and the courgette is al dente - for a softer courgette, boil the courgette halves in salted water for 10 mins at the start of the process.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Chocolate Orange & Cinnamon Cake

I have recently taken to baking cakes, something that I have not done for more than a decade. For some reason I had it in my head that it was fiddly, tricky and tiresome to do, how wrong I was.

It started off with me mooching in the kitchen for something sweet to eat - a rare occurrence as I think my sweet tooth had fallen out years ago and pretty much all the cravings I ever get are for savoury dishes. I found that I had the ingredients for a simple orange sponge cake, but I failed at the icing stage as I had never stuck icing on anything before, luckily Hubby with his GCSE in Home Ec came to the rescue. A couple more lemon sponges followed, Hubby taking one to work to share with his colleagues and a Lemon Drizzle Cake.

I then remembered seeing a fab recipe for Nuria at Spanish Recipes for Bizcocho con Chocolate - Chocolate Cake a delicious 2 tone orange chocolate & cinnamon leaf cake (maybe this was what peaked my interest in baking!)

3 Eggs

150g Butter

140g Sugar

190g Self raising Four

3 Tbsp Orange Liquor - I used Cointreau

1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

3/4's tsp C Ground Cinnamon (Nuria's recipe called for 2 tsp, but I felt it was too much for my tastes)

Handful of chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven 180oc.
Whisk the softened butter and flour, gently add the eggs and whisk one at a time. gradually add the sifted flour and whisk.
Divide the mixture in two. Add cocoa powder and Cointreau to one and cinnamon to other half, mixing them well.
Pour the cinnamon mixture into a greased loaf tin, sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips on top then pour the cocoa/orange mixture over the top.
Bake in oven for 50-60mins.

For future recipes I think I will add some grated orange zest to make the choco/orange layer really pop out.