beans

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7 day lamb

It looks a bit wrinkly but it's really very good and if you look carefully you can see the adjustment bolts on my hibachi cradle which are not at all a result of poor measuring. It's also a shoulder rather than your classic gigot.

This is a Michel Roux Jr recipe that I’ve removed a couple of minor convolutions from and kept the basic principles. One useful tool is a vacuum sealer because a piece of meat sitting in a bowl in a fridge for a week isn’t ideal for household harmony

- The marinade is your classic French marinade of onion, celery, and carrot (all in big chunks) and then some rosemary, peppercorns, and half a bottle of dry red wine and splash of brandy. Place it in the bad bag with the lamb shoulder, seal and leave in the fridge for a week.
- Separate the lamb, the vegetable and the marinade. Sear the lamb in butter and remove; then brown the vegetables with some chopped bacon; and then return the lamb with the marinade. Top with stock – I used chicken and white verjuice instead of veal. Bring to the boil and skim.
- Cover and cook in a 140C oven for seven hours or until the meat is flaking off.
- Allow the meat to cool in the juices. Here you would let it sit for another day but I just chilled it to the point where the fat had set on top of the liquid and I could just skim it off.
- Remove the meat, carefully strain the liquids and toss the vegetables out.
- Reheat the meat in the liquids, which are by now a lovely rich jus. Once heated the jus can be seasoned and/or reduced to taste.

I served the meat on polenta cooked in half water-half milk and ‘carved’ the meat with tongs.

Fig and Mozarella Salad
This is hiding behind the roast. Figs are gorgeous at the moment – soft, sweet and fleshy – and are quartered and combined with rocket and buffalo mozzarella. I’m not the biggest fan of pre-made dressings but Maloufs Pomegranate Dressing is just brilliant.

Right at the back are some steamed beans with chopped tomatoes, EVOO and sea salt.

Bottle of slightly chilled MyattsField ’08 Tempranillo hit the spot for red meat on a hot day conundrum.

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veal cooked in milk

I’ve just been painting the nursery (no not the one with the lamps) with this natural paint that’s entirely mineral based and cuts down on the associated non-biodegradable toxic waste. Unfortunately it’s like painting with coffee. It flies everywhere and after two coats it still looks like an undercoat (it takes three). I’ve often wondered what painting in the 17th century was like, now I know. On the plus side it avoids the speckled history of the paint industry, washes off easily enough, and doesn’t smell.

Much easier is this veal dish I made a couple of weeks ago. Not only is it easy, but it’s about as close to a perfect meal you could hope for. It’s a big call I know, but it uses a few simple ingredients that compliment the feature ingredient, is unfuckuppable and you get that elusive feeling of a really special meal without having tried to hard.

There was one minor hitch. It was in a French magazine that I get every quarter in a swap with Gracianne. It means bodgy translation from French by me and this time I found out that Cocos de Paimpol, wasn’t ‘something coconut’ but a kind of white bean from Paimpol and my friends were saved from veal cooked in coconut milk.

The veal is non-bastard veal from White Rocks Veal and cooked as one piece.

two onions
one stick of celery
six button mushrooms
1 litre full cream milk
600ml cream
rack of four veal chops

250 gm dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
three sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf

Brown the veal in a little hot oil – to the brown that you’d like to serve it at..
Sautee the onions, celery and mushrooms in a little oil in a heavy casserole. Add the rack of veal and then filled with the milk and the cream to cover. Allow to very gently simmer, covered for one hour.

Take out the veal to allow it to rest. Strain the cooking liquid and then reduce it to a sauce/one-coat roll on paint like consistency. Reducing in a wide frying pan will hasten things.

The recipe suggests cooking the beans in water for about half an hour. I thought of adding them to the casserole dish at the 25-minutes-from-finish point but ended up finishing the beans in some of the cooking liquid.

Carve the chops and serve on the beans with the sauce. See if you can manage, unlike me, to get the garnish in the middle.

Tastes fabulous, cooks perfectly, and is really only about half and hour of actual kitchen work. Don’t forget the bread.

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