Pot Roasted Lamb with Braised Shallots

lamb and leek flower sauce

 

It’s absolutely freezing right now, the snow is falling and it’s time to raid the freezer for something that will gently braise away filling the cottage with warm hunger pang inducing scents. At the back of the freezer, much to my surprise I found a big hunk of lamb leg that I must have bought a good 6 months ago and completely forgotten about it hidden away behind the frozen elderflower syrups. I marinated it in a warming blend of garlic, rosemary and thyme whilst it defrosted then simply popped it in a big roasting pot with some peeled pickling onions, lamb stock and sherry. In Summer I tend to serve lamb with fresh mint sauce but colder days mean sturdier stuff so I opt for leek flower sauce which is an incredibly potent blend of leek flowers, salt and seasoning and packs a real flavour punch.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic, few sprigs rosemary, small bunch thyme, olive oil
  • lamb leg joint
  • 6 pickling onions, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons Essential Cuisine lamb stock powder
  • 300ml amontillado sherry
  • 3 bay leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper and Halen Môn salt

To serve:

Roasted veg, steamed savoy cabbage and leek flower sauce.

Method:

  1. Blitz the first four ingredients to make your marinade then rub it all over your lamb and leave for 24 hours.
  2. Put everything in a pot, cover then roast in the oven at 180C for about 1 1/2 hours then remove meat to rest covered with tin foil and tea towels whilst you reduce the liquid by about half to make the gravy.
Advertisements

Cider and Cheese Fondue for BBC Radio Leicester’s Food friday

mmm melty cheesy boozy goodness…

So last Friday was my turn to do BBC Radio Leicester’s Food Friday piece with the fabulous Ben Jackson and what better way to kickstart my morning than cider and cheese. I was a *touch* hungover after an unexpected but very much welcome few glasses of wine the night before and as it turns out, cider cheese fondue is in fact a seriously good hangover cure!

I always have a blast when Ben comes to visit, he is so passionate about food, cooking and particularly local food that we spend most of our time swapping food news, stories, new food finds/cookbooks we’ve found and basically just immersing ourselves in a month’s worth of goings on. Then I cook, we laugh, I usually add lots of booze to something and we eat, good times.

Here we are making cider and cheese fondue (1hr40mins into the show) where I actually use the phrase: “Hey it’s Winter, lets get our booze on”, yeah thats me with a hangover, yeah I have no shame.

Good local cider and ace cheese are the solid foundations to a heavenly gooey dish, fancy giving it a go? Here’s how (you could even cook along to us making it by clicking on the blue link above, totally interactive, so techno hip):

Cheese and Cider Fondue:

Ingredients:

  • 500g grated cheese (I used 100g Emmental, 200g Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, 200g Smoked Lincolnshire Poacher)
  •  1 tablespoon corn flour
  • 450ml cider (I used local Scrambler sparkling cider)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch dried thyme
  • few slivers garlic, fresh or dried
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion granules
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Calvados
  • 1 heaped teaspoon porcini powder
  • pinch dried chilli flakes
Method:
  1. Grate your cheese into a bowl, add the corn flour and mix well.
  2. Combine cider, thyme, garlic and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to boil. When boiling reduce heat and add a handful of cheese. Stir in until its melted.
  3.  Keep adding cheese one handful at a time, stirring constantly until all the cheese is used.
  4.  Add your onion granules, nutmeg, black pepper, porcini mushroom powder and chilli flakes then stir in your calvados.
  5. Serve hot with chunks of crusty bread, boiled new potatoes, crisps, chunks of ham, chips, whatever takes your fancy!

Pudding Club and Chocolate Sex Pots

Booze, caramel, cream, chocolate, yeah it doesn’t get much better than that

Have you heard about Pudding Club yet? You haven’t? Well then where the hell have you been? Pudding Club ROCKS. Pudding Club was created by the awesome Domestic Sluts because quite frankly, there is a big pudding club shaped hole in our lives that needed to be filled (with mountains of pudding obviously). Can you tell I’m feeling the love for pudding right now?

You look like you need more pudding in your life too so I highly advise you get involved. Its dead simple too! Here are their guidelines for Pudding Club: (from DomesticSluttery.com)

  • Each month, we’ll announce a different pudding theme and we’ll share an awesome pudding recipe with you.
  • If you want to get involved, you make your pudding and blog the recipe and photos, linking back to us  and mentioning the pudding club.
  • You can either email us to tell us about your recipe, leave us a link in the comments on this post or use the Twitter hashtag #SlutteryPuddingClub so we can find it (we may miss them on Facebook). We’ll try any retweet any mentions throughout the month so people can see what you’re up to.
  • On the first Monday of every month, we’ll do a round up of all of your amazing recipes and link to them all so readers and other pudding club members can try them out for themselves

See it’s dead easy!

Now when it comes to dessert I can’t be arsed faffing about, I want something that can be thrown together in under 10 minutes that looks and tastes amazing and basically makes me want to bathe in it. I’ve gone one further here and made one that not only ticks all those boxes but you can carry around in your handbag too for all those pesky pudding emergencies, or just throw a few in your bag and take them round your mate’s house for a Pudding Party (I need more of those in my life).

This little dessert kicks serious ass, it’s really indulgent and contains all my favourite things. I’ve used Amaretto in this one  and Golden Syrup sponge but I often make it with golden rum and ginger sponge which is divine.

Get in my face

Ingredients: (makes about 6 generous servings)

  • Lyle’s Golden syrup cake
  • Amaretto
  • 100g dark chocolate (plus a little but extra to grate for garnish)
  • 500g pot fresh custard, must be nice and cold.
  • 1 x 397g tin Carnation Caramel (or Dulche du Leche)
  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon stem ginger syrup (optional)
  • cherries to garnish

Method:

  1. Slice some of your cake and put it in the bottom of your clean jam jar then pour over your Amaretto (about 25ml for each jar is about right but add more if you want it more boozy)
  2. Break your chocolate into pieces and put it into a glass bowl set above a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the glass bowl. When fully melted remove from the heat and whisk in half of your cold custard.
  3. Spoon a layer of caramel over your booze soaked sponge then top that with a layer of plain custard. Follow this with a layer of your chocolate custard.
  4. Whip your cream. If adding the stem ginger syrup or some more booze then do this before you start whipping. You want it to be quite firmly whipped. Spoon it over the chocolate custard.
  5. Top with a cherry and some more grated chocolate. It can be eaten straight away or pop a lid on it and it will keep happily in your fridge for another day, although I recommend taking them round to your favourite friend’s house and having a Pudding Club party and basically totally making their day.

So thats my chocolate Pudding Club recipe, whats yours?

Roast Chicken with Jerusalem Artichokes and Sherry

Roasting a chicken on a Sunday is one of my favourite things in the world. I know many people like to spend as little time as possible cooking but it’s the opposite for me when it comes to Sunday roast dinner.  Once I’ve returned from the boot sale, where I will have bought my veggies and free range rooster (and lots of other less essential treasures, or as Glen puts it: “more bloody plates, glasses and shit”), I will orchestrate it so I can spend hours pottering away in the kitchen – wine open, Radio 4 on and me doing the occasional little happy dance to myself.

This year I grew Jerusalem Artichokes and whilst I adore their taste I am somewhat less fond of their unfortunate and rather explosive side effects, hence their nickname “fartichokes”.  Glen refuses point blank to eat them anymore and I didn’t want them to go to waste so this recipe was born.  It’s a great way of cooking a chicken as you can leave it happily in the oven for a couple of hours (even 3) and it doesn’t dry out. The chicken takes on all of the wonderful flavours and you get THE most amazing gravy ever. I roast my potatoes in a separate tray in the bottom of the oven then move them up later on.  You don’t have to eat the artichokes, the flavours have infused the chicken, but I can never resist and I always regret it later!

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken/rooster/capon whatever you fancy
  • half a lemon
  • bunch of fresh thyme
  • Jerusalem Artichokes peeled and quartered
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 heaped tablespoon garlic powder
  • 400ml cream sherry
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to its hottest setting, mine is 230C.
  2. Put your lemon and thyme inside the bird’s cavity and put it into a big roasting tray.
  3. surround the chicken with the artichokes and unpeeled garlic cloves.
  4. season the chicken with salt and pepper then sprinkle the garlic powder over the bird  and artichokes.
  5. Pour the sherry into the roasting tray.
  6. Cover with tinfoil making sure there are no gaps for steam to escape then roast for about 2 hours in the top of the oven.  Put your roasties in the bottom for now.
  7. After 2 hours (or longer is fine) remove the tinfoil, drizzle the bird with olive oil and roast uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the skin is nice and brown.  I like my wing tips crispy so always give them a good rub of oil.
  8. Remove the bird and place it on a plate covered in tin foil and a tea towel to rest.
  9. Take your artichokes out of the tray and add them to your roast potato tray which now moves up to where the chicken was to get them all crispy and lovely (or throw them away if you don’t want to be farting furiously later).
  10. The pan juices will taste amazing, just thicken them slightly by making a Buerre Maniè and whisking it into the juices whilst on the hob.

Xmas Cake

Made my Xmas Cake today. When it comes to Xmas cakes I go by Delia’s rule of equal flour, butter and sugar. Todays mix:

16oz each of organic white flour, butter and soft brown sugar and 8 organic free range eggs. Cream butter & sugar, whisk the eggs then add to creamed butter mix gradually. Once all mixed fold in the flour and a couple of pinches of salt.

To this I then add whatever I have in the pantry. Today included handfuls each of chopped prunes, figs, sultanas, walnuts and stem ginger (and a glug of the syrup). A tablespoon of treacle, then the spices: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg/mace are my favourites at Xmas. Grated zest of an orange and lemon and then a few tablespoons of last years extremely boozy mincemeat.  The sugar and booze have preserved it and it is now the most luscious mincemeat ever.  Its ridiculously boozy and contains, as far as I can remember, brandy, rum, port, whisky and some more sloe brandy for good measure. The flavours have had a whole year to develop and mellow together and it is going to be in most of my Xmas concoctions this year.

Butter then line the cake tin with parchment, pour in the cake mixture then stick on the bottom shelf of an oven heated to 140C for about 4 1/2 hours or however long it takes until a skewer comes out from the cake clean. Leave to cool in the tin then wrap in parchment then tin foil and transfer to whatever container your going to be keeping it in (I use a big metal biscuit tin) and feed with brandy as often as you like until Xmas, I usually feed it about once or twice a week.