Friday, 20 June 2008

That Cookbook Thing II: Julia's Sauce au Cari stars in a Rather Unusual Brunch!

This is my first contribution to That Cookbook Thing II... this time featuring: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I'm so excited to have been asked to take part!! French cooking is not an area I'm familiar with, so it's great to have the impetus to try something new.

The other members of the Thing are:

The recipe selection for this month was the Sauce au Cari - that's light curry sauce to us plebs! I don't eat very much cream, and generally like my curries hot and tangy. So thinking up something to make with a light creamy curry sauce was something of a challenge. It wasn't until I considered that it was basically a spiced bechamel that an idea began to take hold... also in thinking that egg would go well with the creamy curriness of it all...

And I've often liked the idea of spicy foods for breakfast, though the closest I've really come is some barely spiced kegeree... and leftover hot n' spicy pizza after a girl's night in! Bingo - spicy brunch it was, baked eggs with asparagus and Sauce au Cari*!

But, later that week I started planning a roti recipe for Srivalli's Roti Mela, and another idea began to form...

Thick spears of asparagus in a fenugreek spiced roti, served with a soft poached egg and as much Sauce au Curi as you can shake a stick at!

I am so chuffed with the results! The curry sauce was creamy - but because I used stock rather than milk, I didn't feel it was too heavy or rich. It also had just enough spice for a brunch! (Although people less inclined towards chili than me may disagree on this point... ;) The roti were quite heavily spiced, but the creamy sauce, yolk of the egg and crisp asparagus balanced them really well.

I would definitely make this again, either as a brunch or light supper - the whole thing took me less than an hour - including the roti!

A Rather Unusual Brunch: Spicy Roti with Asparagus, Egg and Curry!

Serves 4
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp madras curry powder (Rajah variety - my personal favourite when I'm too lazy to grind it all up myself!)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (for colour!)
  • 1 cup hot vegetable bouillion
  • 1/2 large onion, grated
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 16 thick spears of asparagus
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 roti
  • Cilantro to garnish

Prepare the Sauce...

My take on the curry sauce, adapted from the Julia Child recipe:
  1. I used ghee instead of butter - mostly because I have ghee in the fridge!
  2. I grated the onion instead of finely chopping it - I wanted a smooth finish
  3. I added some mustard seeds, just for fun
  4. Some of the other reviewers had noticed that the sauce was very thick - so I only used a tbsp of flour
Melt the ghee in a small saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and fry for a minute or so. Add the grated onion and any onion juice. Continue to fry on a very low heat for 10 minutes.

Add the curry powder, turmeric and flour to the mix and cook out for 2/3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and slowly blend in the bouillion and a squeeze of lemon juice. I did a quick seasoning check here and added a touch of salt - the bouillion added quite a bit of seasoning though.

Cook for a further 15 minutes at the lowest possible heat, stirring regularly.

Before serving, stir in the cream, taste and add more lemon juice or salt to taste.

Put the Dish Together...

Take one roti per person and pour a little of the curry sauce inside. Place some lightly steamed asparagus onto the roti and fold in half. Place a lightly poached egg on top of the fold and pour over more curry sauce. Finish with a garnish of cilantro.

* I did briefly consider adding smoked haddock into the mix in a weird French-Indo-Scots fusion... but fear of the wrath of the Greek stayed my wandering mind and I limited myself to a simple two way fusion ;)

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Taste and Create: Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

Now this is food blogging commitment! It's almost midnight and I've just finished packing to go on holiday tomorrow. Earlier today I realised that the deadline for Taste and Create is whilst I'm away... Q mad kittie rush to find a recipe that a) I can make in less than an hour and 2) I can make with all the ingredients I already have at home. The fact that 3) it tasted great was a fantastic bonus!!

My challenge was easier in that I was paired with KJ from A Cracking Good Egg - who was my match last time I joined in! So I had already had a good look through her blog! The thing I really wanted to make - crumpets - was outside of my time possibilities, so instead I chose these gorgeous Cinnamon Donut Muffins. They are so tasty - I've just devoured two with a cuppa - the perfect wind down after a manic evening!

Following KJ tip I adjusted the baking powder down to 1 heaped teaspoon. And as I was out of brown sugar I used white. And the results were well worth the rush! Moist, squidgey muffin with a crunchy cinnamon topping. All in 25 minutes - and hardly any washing up!

Thanks for another great recipe KJ!

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

Look at these - how much will my workmates love me tomorrow!!

But this one was all mine!

Spicy Roti with Fenugreek and Cilantro

Srivalli at Cooking 4 All Seasons is hosting a fabulous event: Roti Mela! Apparently it's on the back of the huge success of dosa mela - which I missed, but love the round ups!

As you may have guessed by the name, the event is to round up everyone's roti recipes - definitely a roundup to be bookmarked I reckon! Rotis are something which I had never really tried until recently - I think they fell into my fear of yeast/baking category.... yes yes, I know they are generally neither yeasted or baked... I was living in roti-free ignorance!

Then I fell out of my comfort zone when I made Coconut Rotis for my Sri Lankan cookery course. I was astonished that something could taste so nice and match the curry so perfectly... and be so easy to do. Not to mention that they let me to eat with my hands, slurp ;)

So here is another roti attempt from me. Having tried layered paratha last month, I fancied doing some with quite a lot of flavour going on. I'd hoped to have enough time to do a stuffed one too - but that was not to be :(

So here is my third roti attempt:

Spicy Roti with Fenugreek and Cilantro

Makes 4
  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • handful chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 thai red chili, finely chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp aesofotida
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp melted ghee + more ghee for frying

Prepare the Dough...
Mix the flour, spices, salt, chili, ginger, garlic and cilantro together in a bowl. Slowly add warm water until the dough is soft but not too sticky.
Knead for a few minutes until the dough feels springy, then add the tbsp of ghee and knead well to incorporate.

Wrap in film and set aside for half an hour.

Cook the Rotis...
Heat a heavy frying pan to high.

Divide the mixture into 4, and roll one of them into a smooth ball. (Keep the other ones covered to stop them drying out!) Gently roll it out into a circle (or weird misshapen blob if your rolling skills are anything like mine ;)

Drop a wee bit of ghee into the pan and swirl it about with the back of a spoon (ok, so I *know* that isn't authentic - but I was starving and it worked for me!) Lay the roti into the pan and cook for a minute or two, or until you can see it's mostly changed colour, then flip... Now this is how I know it wasn't authentic - mid-flip, when it was balanced on my spatula, I reached under and swirl a bit more ghee on the pan!!

Meh - whatever, it worked!

Fry for a minute or two until browned and crispy at the edges.

Serve with whatever you like! They are quite flavourful, so would probably work with tarka dhal, plain chana masala or something similar. I used mine as part of a somewhat unusual breakfast dish... I'll be posting it soon!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Pan-fried Dover Sole with Bean Salad

Just thought I write up a quick post to show you what I served with the bean salad I put together for No Croutons Required!

I was down at my fishmongers* and they had the most gorgeous sole - I picked up this beaut for £2!!! Bargaineous! ;)

What with all the flavours going on in the salad I figured the best treatment of this delicate fish was to keep it simple. A quick dredging of the skinned fish with flour, salt and pepper, then frying it in a medium heat pan with a good glug of olive oil for 4/5 minutes each side. Just before the first side was finished I melted in a knob of butter... Easy, tasty, perfect!

I tried something a bit different when preparing the fish this time - dover sole is notorious for getting rid of all the wee bones along the fins... so this time I left the fins on whilst cooking, then when it was cooked, used the side of the fish slice to gently pull the side fins away. Woo hoo - They came away in tact, with no little bones left to catch me out! I don't know if that was a fluke, but it definitely seemed easier than when I've left them whole in the past!

Pan-fried Dover Sole with Bean Salad

* oooo, excitement for kittie! It was the first time I'd been there in a week or so... and they've had a redesign... Now, in addition to the 'normal' fish I buy, they have a tank of live lobsters and crabs. I can't wait to try them - I've never prepared live lobster or crab before! Any tips or tricks will be much appreciated :)

Monday, 16 June 2008

Think Spice: Wasabi Fried Beef with Ginger Crisps

This month Think Spice is hosted by Krishna of Cooking from A to Z and features wasabi. It's a great choice - I can't wait to see the different dishes that come out of the round up! Since the first time I ate sushi I've loved wasabi - but I've never really used it in cooking. Krishna gave us a couple of vital wasabi hometruths:

Wasabi isn't horseradish!
I did know that one! Although... it is from the same family (the Brassicaceae if you're interested) and is often called Japanese horseradish!

And not only isn't wasabi horseradish - often it isn't even wasabi!! The worst of the pretenders (supermarket tubes!) is no more than a mix of horseradish+mustard+food colouring - and even the restaurants generally cheat away from the real thing.
Nice! I did not know that!! Apparently it's because wasabi loses its potency very quickly - so horseradish is added to give the 'nasal burn'... And true enough - I check my wasabi powder - only 10% real!!

I have another wasabi fact to add to the mix:

Wasabi is neturalised by ginger.
Yep, so you can get a huge lump of it, mix it in with your sushi and soy and feel your brains explode for as many seconds as you can bare... Through streaming eyes, find a few slices of pickled ginger and ease them past your burning lips. Chew, relax and feel the wave of ginger juice calm the burn!

So the next time you're eating sushi - don't add the ginger to the sushi 'bundle', but use it as a palette cleanser between pieces!

Anyway, with this month's offering I couldn't resist a return to my deep fryer. Beef marinated in ginger, mirin and soy, with a crunchy wasabi coating. Served with crispy ginger slices to protect against the wasabi! (Not that it was needed - I think next time I'd probably double the wasabi powder used... But I do like my food hot, so let personal taste drive your choice on this one!)

This made a great appetiser - but would also work well as a light lunch with a salad!

Wasabi Fried Beef with Ginger Crisps

  • 4 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp wasabi powder
  • 200g thick beef steak
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1" fresh root - very finely sliced
Mix the marinade...
In a bowl big enough to take the steak, mix together the mirin, soy, sesame oil and ginger

Prepare the steak...
Slice the steak against the grain into slices about 5mm each. Add the beef slices to the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Lovely steak!

In a food bag, mix together the two flours and the wasabi powder. Once the steak has marinated, strain the beef to remove the excess marinade (I was happy leaving the grated ginger in the meat - feel free to get rid of it if you want :)

Put the strained beef strips into the bag and mix thoroughly so that the meat is completely covered with the flour wasabi mix. Shake off the excess and leave the beef to sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the flours to bind with the marinade.

Heat the Oil...
Eeek! I don't have a real deep fryer, or a thermometer... so I can't give you an exact temperature. You want it really pretty hot though - ideally we are just crisping up the corn flour mix - not cooking the beef through!

Make the Ginger Crisps...
Carefully drop the ginger slices into the hot oil. Watch for them to turn golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oil and set onto some kitchen roll to drain.

Fry up the Beef...
Cook the beef in two batches to ensure there is enough space for it. Gently drop the beef into the hot oil, stirring immediately to separate the slices. Cook for 30-40 seconds - until the flour is crispy, remove from the heat and drain on kitchen roll. Give the oil a minute to come back up to heat before going the second batch. Don't over cook these - as they will continue to colour when drained... But if you *really* hate pink meat then give them up to a minute to ensure brownness!

Serve with the ginger crisps scattered on top. I didn't feel that they needed dipping sauce, but if you really want to then keep it simple - there are already a lot of strong flavours going on in there!

Friday, 13 June 2008

NCR: Bright & Beautiful Bean Salad with Capers & Oregano

Well, this is a first for me - sat in on a Friday night writing my blog! I never thought I'd see the day... But I've made it to the end of my first week at new work - and it's been a good one. Going to catch up on some of my reading tomorrow - I've been missing my daily blog-fix!

Anyway, I'm going to keep this entry short and sweet - it's 9pm and I'm far from ready to go out.

This is my month's entry to No Croutons Required. It was perfect timing for tonight really - healthy, tangy salad, with a hint of heat... ideal to prepare the body and soul for a good night out!

Bean Salad with Capers & Oregano

  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped into large chunks
  • 100g dwarf beans, lightly steamed, refreshed in ice water and chopped into bitesize chunks
  • 1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, fine chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano - plus extra to garnish
  • half a cup of vegetable bouillion
  • olive oil to fry

Prepare the Kidney Beans...
Heat a glug of olive oil to a medium heat - then fry the garlic for a minute. Toss in the kidney beans and half of the chili. Fry for a minute, keeping it moving, then add half a cup of vegetable bouillion. I like my beans quite soft - so I allow this to boil away for a few minutes - alternatively leave it to sit to absorb the flavours for a bit.

Make the Dressing...
Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil and the lemon juice, and mix in the capers and chopped oregano. Season to taste.

Put the salad together!
Mix together the tomatoes, remaining chili and dwarf beans. Strain off the remaining bouillion from the kidney beans and add them to the mix. Pour over the dressing and mix well.

Give it 10 minutes to let the flavours get to know each other. This will equalise the heat from the kidney beans and the cold items - best served at room temperature I reckon!


Thursday, 12 June 2008

Balsamic-Caramelised Echalion Pasta with Meatballs!

Well, it's Day Four of Kittie's new job - and it's going well so far! I'm missing not being too busy to check out as many blogs as I would like - not to mention posting here. But hopefully it will settle down over the next few days and I'll work out a new routine!

Update! Since my last edit (it was originally Day Three!), I have been told I am going to be moved onto another new project - to make better use of my talents... I didn't realise you got IT Project Cooks!! ;)

In the little time I have today, I thought I would pass on this great pasta dish. As you may have guessed, I've had a bit of a thing about caramelized onions recently - I keep making up big lots of them then chucking them into various dishes! Nom nom nom... my favourite so far was the chicken and caramelized onion risotto... nom nom nom!

This started out as a what-can-I-make-without-leaving-the-flat dish... Armed with a bag of Ikea meatballs, a bag of banana/ echalion shallots, a tin of tomatoes and an excuse to open a lovely bottle of red, I stormed the kitchen, banged together a few pots, and 45 minutes later sat down to a lovely bowl of...

Balsamic-Caramelised Echalion Pasta with Meatballs

Add meatballs/ pasta to stretch this up to 4!

Woo hoo - two weeks in a row! This is my effort for this week's Presto Pasta Night - hosted by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast. Hang on - oh no it isn't... This week it is instead being hosted by Kevin at Closet Cooking!!
  • Ikea meatballs (ok then, make 'em from scratch if you're feeling energetic!)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml red wine
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 echalion shallots, caramelized with a touch of balsamic - see here for details!
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Fresh oregano, chopped (from my garden!)
  • 2 Bay leaves (Also from my garden - it survived the snails!)
  • pasta to serve - I used some barollo linguine (which is why is looks a funny colour!) but I didn't enjoy it too much and won't buy it again!
Prepare the Sauce...
In a pan, heat a glug of olive oil and lightly fry the garlic for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes, wine, oregano, bay leaves and bell pepper.

Simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has deepened to a dark red, and the raw tomatoey smell has gone.

Season to taste

Finish the Sauce...
Add the meatballs and continue to cook until they are cooked/heated through.

Add in the caramelised onions and combine well.

With a sprig of fresh oregano and the pasta of your choice!

Friday, 6 June 2008

Something for the Weekend: Corned Beef Hash with Hot Caramelised Onions

Phew - what a hectic week!

I found out this week that I am to start a new position in a new office on Monday - so things have been a little hectic here. I'm looking forward to the change, but I think life is going to be a bit different from now on!

So I'm really looking forward to a relaxing weekend, and was planning out tomorrow's brunch (watch this space!) when I remembered this - the last brunch I made!

Question. What do you do when you are starving hungry on a Sunday morning, there's no bread or milk in the house and you're too lazy to get dressed to go to the shops?


Corned Beef Hash with Hot Caramelised Onions

No quantities here - just make up as much as you like!
  • Left over boiled new jersey royal potatoes (They don't have to be left overs - you could always cook them when the onions are caramelising!)
  • corned beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small/medium onion per person
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • oil to fry
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 1 soft poached egg per portion
Caramelise the Onions...
Half the onions, and slice pretty finely.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a heavy based frying pan, keeping the temperature low. Add the onions, sugar and a pinch of salt (the salt stops them burning). Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring often. If they get too dry add a splash of water. They're ready when sticky, sweet and brown. Add as much hot sauce as you like - I added about 1/6 tsp per onion - it's hot stuff!!! Continue to cook for another minute or so and set aside.

Prepare the Potatoes...
Cut up the cooked potatoes, and fry in a hot pan with a little oil/butter until they are browned and crispy at the edges.

Put it Together...
Once the potatoes are crispy, add the onions into the potato pan and stir to mix. Add the corned beef and combine well - the corned beef will start to break up a little in the heat.

Serve with a soft-poached egg on the top and tuck in!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Another Simple Snack: Edamame with Salt n' Chili

I'm in a rush, so I just thought I would quickly share with you one of my favourite quick snacks! Did you know that edamame are baby soybeans? How cute!

And they're even good for you - so crack on in there and enjoy!

Edamame with Salt n' Chili

Ah, go on - d'you really need a recipe?? I use frozen ones - I don't even know how long you'd need to cook fresh!

Cook the edamame according to the packet, drain, then whilst they're still damp sprinkle on flaky sea salt and chilli flakes.

Eat by putting the pod in your mouth and squeezing the beans out with your teeth!

Feel smug.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Drunken Hobnobs... One Nibble, I was Nobbled!

Guess what? There's no booze in my hobnobs... although I was almost persuaded to add cherry brandy to them! So as you can probably tell, it was I who was drunken - not actually the hobnobs!

What are hobnobs? I hear you ask. (Well at least the non Brits! Or have Hobnobs made they're way across the seas yet??)

Hobnobs are basically a brand of oat biscuit* especially designed for dunking into tea without collapsing. I found this recipe on a forum ages ago, and they have pretty much been the only sweet thing I've made until recently! It isn't an exact replication - but it's pretty good - and some even say better - than the originals. But don't tell McVities that ;)

And why drunken? You persist. Well, [blush] a swift after-work drink turned into a long chat in the pub... and several more drinks... and then a couple more for good measure. So when I left at 10pm, insisting that I was, indeed, going to bake hobnobs to take to work the next day I was widely disbelieved. But bake them I did - and escaped pretty much unscathed**! They only lasted about 10 minutes at work this morning, so can't have been that bad ;) One of my workmates even asked for the recipe!

* read this great post by Joanna regarding the difference between biscuits, cookies and scones!

** I did make one silly mistake - adding two lots of bicarbonate of soda - one to the dry, then the proper one in the butter. They puffed up more than normal - but settled just fine. I've written the recipe as it should be though - I'm not sure I would have trusted these in my tea!

Kittie's Drunken Hobnobs!

Makes 24 hobnobs!
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups porridge oats
  • 250g butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven to 180c.

Mix flour, oats and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.
Melt the butter, syrup and water in a pan - once melted stir in the bicarbonate of soda.
Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients, and combine well.

Make smallish balls - about the size of a large unshelled walnut! Place it on a greased tray and flatten slightly.

Bake at 180oc for about 12 mins - they should be golden, not brown.

Allow them to cool on the tray.
If you put them on foil, you can transfer the foil to a wire rack... then they cool down more quickly... and then you can chow down even quicker! Bonus!

One of the pictures I took the next day - not too hungover - yay!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Quick and Easy Hot Shrimp and Edamame Udon Soup

I absolutely love making soup - and recently especially so if it contains noodles, seafood and chillies... it's more of a pasta dish than a soup really. Yet I get to feel smug that I've only had soup for dinner!

The soup below takes about 15 minutes to prepare if you have all the ingredients prepared - perfect for a healthy mid week dinner.

Its been a while since I've taken part (or at least it feels like it!) so I'm sending this over to Presto Pasta Night - hosted by the lovely Ruth at Once Upon a Feast.

Hot Shrimp and Edamame Udon Soup

Serves 2 big bowls, or four as a starter!
  • 1" piece grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tom yum paste - eek, I cheated! You could probably use whatever paste you wanted here - or even none at all, it still has a load of flavour!
  • 1 pt chicken stock
  • 1 pack udon noodles
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 handfuls raw shrimp (apologies for vague quantities - I pulled them out of my box of frozen shrimp in the freezer... doesn't matter anyway - add as much or as little as you fancy! Oh, and I add mine from frozen :)
  • 1 handful shelled edamame beans (see above!)
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced into large bits
  • 1 small tin of coconut milk
  • A couple of drop of roasted sesame oil (if you have it... gives a lovely deep flavour)
  • Light soy sauce, to taste
  • Lime juice, to taste
  • shredded scallions, sliced thai chillies and cilantro to garnish!

Par-boil the Noodles...
I reckon this gets rid of the starchiness and gives a cleaner soup - but I haven't done a side to side comparison with the same brand of udon, so could possibly be talking out of my proverbial!
Put the noodles into a pot of boiling water and simmer for one minute - until they have just lost their brittleness. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Prepare the Base...
Heat a glug of nut oil in your hot wok and add the ginger, garlic and paste if you're using it and fry for up to a minute, until sizzling! Add the chicken stock and fish sauce and bring to the boil.

Bringing it all Together...
This bit depends a bit on the cooking time of the udon noodles, and what state the shrimp are in. My shrimp were large and frozen - so I gave them 8 minutes. The udon noodle pack recommended 7-8 minutes, so I chucked em in a couple of minutes after that. The edamame beans and pepper went in 3 minutes before the end, along with the coconut milk.

Use a pasta server to scoop out a portion of noodles into each bowl, top with the remaining shrimp and veg, then ladle over the remaining broth.
Add a drop of sesame oil on to each.
Serve with the scallions, chillies and cilantro, soy sauce and lime juice on the side, to allow each eater to adjust to taste!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Slow-Cooked Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes, Garlic and Rosemary

This is a really unusual dish for me... yet still one of my favourites that I return to over and over. Take a look... count the ingredients.... six. Yep, six! Or maybe even just five if you exclude the seasoning. Not a chili or spice in sight!

If I saw this recipe, I would immediately be thinking: hmmm that sounds nice... now if I add a bit of smoked paprika, and maybe a touch of dried chillies... or maybe the teeniest pinch of coriander... but somehow with this dish I have always abstained. The lamb falls from the bone, it shreds as you try to cut it, so no huge lumps of meat here. The garlic and rosemary infuse both the lamb and the tomatoes; the wine and the tomatoes reduce down to a gorgeously rich sauce. This is by no means an uninteresting dish - despite the minimal ingredients... and preparation!

It was first cooked for me years ago by a friend of my parents - and it was actually the first time I really enjoyed eating lamb - up until then it had been too strong a flavour for me. (Except for teeny lamb chops - I've always loved those... drool!)

It is a quick and easy dish to prepare... just make sure you leave enough time for the cooking and resting.

I usually serve this with crispy, garlicky roast potatoes and asparagus, broccoli, or whatever other veg is in season. I couldn't find any decent 'roasty' tatties when I was making this though, so instead served it with fennel-infused rice (basically this without the saffron or turmeric). It worked well, though I probably preferred it with roast potatoes. I always try to make sure I have extra when I make this as it is great for next-day dinners. The flavours develop and mellow - and now is when you can dress it up a bit! Depending on your ratio of meat to sauce, either turn it into a pasta sauce or stuff it into a pita bread with lettuce, red onion, chillies and a sharp cheese.

Apparently simple sometimes is best!

Slow-Cooked Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes, Garlic and Rosemary

Serves 8 - though depends on the size of the leg!
  • 1 leg of lamb
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, cut into thick slivers
  • sprig rosemary
  • 1/2 bottle of white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 180c.

Prepare the Lamb...
Wash the lamb and pat dry. Trim off excess fat. Make regular slits into the lamb, and stuff each slit with a sliver of garlic and a leaf or two of rosemary. (Is it called a leaf? I can't think what else to call it!)

The garlic and rosemary studded lamb!

Pour over the two tins of tomatoes and the bottle of wine. Don't season at this point!

The First Cook...
Cover the lamb tightly with foil and place in the oven for 2 hours. Sometimes I turn the lamb half way through, sometimes I don't - doesn't seem to make such difference!

Stage two!
Take the lamb from the oven, put the leg onto a plate, cover and leave to rest for at least 45 minutes. This is important - not only does it incomparably improve the texture of the meat... it is also a lot easier to handle once slightly cooler!

Once rested, cut the meat from the bone. As I mentioned above, the lamb should be falling apart by this time - so don't worry about regularly sized chunks or slices. I like having some bigger pieces and some smaller bits - but it's up to you!

The Second Cook...
Return the chunked meat to the sauce, and season to taste. Return, uncovered, to the oven and cook until the sauce is suitably reduced. I generally find this takes a further 30 minutes, but don't let it dry out!






Start thinking about dinner...

And I present you with...

Slow Cooked Lamb DAY 2!

  • Left over lamb and sauce
  • one tin cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • A handful vittoria tomatoes - or the smallest cherry toms you can find!
  • Some leftover caramelized onions from another dinner!
In a saucepan, reheat the lamb, pulling the lumps apart with forks until it is all shredded and gorgeous. Add the cherry tomatoes and cannellini beans and cook until the cherry tomatoes are soft but still hold their shape - imagine them popping in your mouth when you eat this - lush! Stir in the caramelised onions and serve with jersey royals and corn on the cob!