lamb

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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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slow cooked lamb roast [pending]

Imagine if you could to a full day of driving around visiting wineries and such and then come home to find your roast waiting for you like an expectant puppy. Imagine no more. Enter the amazing world of slow roasting.

I’ve been doing a lot of slow roasting recently as a respite from the ‘is it ready yet?’ world of skewer checking. This particular one was cooked for about 7 hours in a gas-fired pizza oven the lowest setting of around 130C.

The prep for the meat is unsurprising and involves making deep cuts into the lamb with a butchers (or paring) knife to make pockets for a sprig of rosemary, a piece of garlic, and a salted caper. Rub liberally with olive oil and season.

Put a cup of chicken stock and/or white wine in the pan and cover with a lid (or foil). You might like to lift the lamb of the base and out of the liquids with a sliced root vegetable, a leek or a rack, but I didn’t bother. The size of the roasting pan keeps things nice and shallow.

Leave in the pizza oven undisturbed. Keep a lazy eye on the fluid levels but as the lid sealed well and the meat does chuck out a good level of juice itself, it wasn’t necessary.

Allow to rest and then carve. And by carve, I mean flake. It’s more like meat from a confit.

As a bit of a bonus, I made a sort of barigoule with it. About half an hour from finish, I popped in some chunks of fennel, capsicum, zucchini, and whole cherry tomatoes with a bit more EVOO splashed OTT. These cooked away for another half an hour while the meat rested.

Make a sauce with it of course.

Dessert was pears, poached in red wine in the pizza oven while we ate. A good piece of advice for poached pears is to make sure you really do reduce the poaching liquid to a thick syrup for an intense flavour – just keep the pears warm and to one side.

If you were wondering about the trip. I stayed at a friend’s house that he’d just built himself (he’s a builder so it wasn’t like one of the less successful efforts on Grand Designs) in Busselton on a canal. The indoor-outdoor kitchen is a really handy combo and I’m trying to bag myself some more cooking there. I’m sold on outdoor pizza ovens and gas just seems so much less hassle than wood. True, it lacks the wood-fired cred and moniker but gains in likelihood of use. Pizza’s made the night before easily passed the droop test and were churned out in quick succession. Need to see if a goat will fit in there.

A bit on the quiet side in Margaret River for the school hols. Lovely lunch at Xanadu and picked up a great bottle of chardy and one of their catering sized bottles of dry red at the always good Cape Mentelle.

Next day was Pemberton – super good bottle of pinot and a chat about Valiant utes at Salitage, marron dinner at the pub, visit to an espalier orchard being built, bit of German V8 hooning and getting stuck on logging roads. Tasty pork pie at taste of Balingup, a visit to the world’s biggest playground when you’re 18 months in Donnybrook and then back home

ash and moo's pad

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macadamia crusted lamb


Clean-up of pantry (2006 was a busy year for shopping apparently) yielded a bag of macadamia nuts and hence.

Crust is equal parts macadamia nuts and breadcrumbs with some chopped parsley tossed in. Just press on top. You can brown, as I did, the rack beforehand if you like. Marinade is EVOO red wine vinegar, rosemary and smoked paprika.

Minikin is stuffed with couscous, butter, chicken stock, dried raisins, macadamia nuts and pepitas. Mixed together and placed in the cavity. As a handy hint; use a round biscuit cutter to cut a lid out of the minkin.

Underneath the lamb is slices of field mushroom and red onion.

All cooked in 180C oven for 25 minutes*. Rest the lamb rack for 5 minutes. Toss the snow pea shoots in some EVOO and good salt. Serve.

I was really just using stuff I had but it worked together nicely.

*Actually 25 minutes is more of an averaging, the pumpkins could go up to thirty and the lamb could get down to 15-17 if you were after something closer to rare.

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farm lamb sunday roast

It’s been quite a big fortnight for me and I mean quite big in the same way that a werewolf Sean Connery would be quite hairy (although not on top, which would raise the possibility of a combover werewolf; terrifying yet also funny in a sad kind of way. “You know you’re not fooling anyone…aiiiieeeeeeee”)

Anyway two weeks ago Eva was born and it does not so much turn your life upside down as create its own space in your brain that squashes everything else out of the way. Although not in a way that creates a large bulge in my forehead and the urgent need to take a piss every thirty minutes. She’s also absolutely adorable and makes me laugh, which are great qualities to start life with.

We also managed to get issue 10 of SPICE off to the printers. Well when I say we, I mean everyone else and me distractedly checking commas and apostrophes and asking if it’d kill us if we got it out on the 7th instead of the 1st.

The other thing was the family farm’s clearing sale, last Friday. A clearing sale is a kind of garage sale but with heavy machinery and drinks afterwards. It also means that the family farm is sold and so ends my father’s forty years on a wheat and sheep farm and my family’s 80 year ownership of the wheatbelt property.I grew up there and it was as a good a childhood as anyone could want – I was rarely priveleged. By my teens, the appeal had waned; it became holiday farm work through uni; and by my twenties I’d supplanted my home town of twenty with the 14 million person megalopolis of Tokyo. Although things changed on the farm there was always something I could relate that linked to some part of my life. On the day, most of theses things were lain out in straight lines in the paddock and all that was left in the workshop were the neatly painted labels of where the tools once went.

It was a hot day, the wind blew with dust all day, my first car struggled to raise $50, and I’ve never enjoyed a can(s) of mid-strength beer so much. The sale went well beyond all expectations, I only got one ‘why didn’t you take over the farm’ question, and a lot of people weren’t shy in saying how they’d miss my Dad.

I took two things with me; the Cramphorne wool bale stencils and a leg of lamb from the freezer. This was from one of the sheep on the farm and, as they aren’t there anymore, it’s the last of the lamb. I roasted it old-style with garlic and rosemary stuffed into slits in the meat and we had our Sunday roast together. Eva didn’t quite make it up to the farm and she’s a few months away from solids but whatever Toni eats, she gets eventually. And so in an odd, indirect way, the farm became part of her.

filing cabinet farm lamb

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lamb tagine

Sorry for the not very exciting pic but this is really very good and one of the best things I’ve made for a while. It’s a combination of a few different recipes and techniques. I’ve been working through my half a dorper lamb from Dorper Lamb (same place I got my NYE wagyu from) and the rolled roast leg was very nice, reminded me more of venison. I’m also working my way through the Pickled Pink range I got given and am using now the photos are done (also really good, available at Tarts in Northbridge – the cafe, not just any old tart, and Sayers in Leederville). There was a jar of baharat and not knowing what it was, suspected it was Middle Easterny and found out it can be used for tagines – similar to ras al hanout.

Here’s the recipe in a very convincing recipe like form -

1kg lamb neck (or shanks)
2 cups chicken stock
olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tins chopped tomatoes – drained with juice reserved
2 pieces of lemon rind
1.5 tablespoons Baharat
4 fresh apricots, cut into large chunks
10 dates, seeded and halved
1 tbs honey
salt and pepper
2 tins of canelli beans (or similar), drained

Trim the lamb of excess fat and brown the meat in a frypan. Place lamb in a tagine or casserole. Deglaze the frypan with the tomato juice and add to the lamb. Add the stock and the lemon rind. Top with water to not quite cover the meat (remember the other ingredients). Get to a boil and the reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, fry the onion and the garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the baharat and stir through until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and stir through until heated. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the beans.

Place the lid on and cook gently on the stove top or in an oven at 150C for an hour and a half. Add the beans and cook for another hour or until the meat is tender. Add water if necessary or remove lid to allow sauce to reduce. Season and you can also add a little more baharat to taste.

I served it with rice which was a bit of a bodge together of basmati cooked in chicken stock with a cinnamon stick and then fried onion, garlic, cardamom seeds, and hot chilli sauce sauteed together and finely chopped lemon rind all mixed into the rice.

Entree was the lamb kofte here served on a bed of rocket, parsley and mint with a lemon and EVOO dressing.

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pork terrine


Duck Liver and Pork Terrine

A terrine is a nice enough way to get back into cooking and it gave me a good reason to give my 70′s moulinex a bit of a run. Porky joy yes and I decided to partner it with apples (sauce) and figs (always nice with prosciutto). Pork belly because it needs some fat. Duck liver because there wasn’t any pork liver available.

mincer

Ingredients are approximate: 500gm of pork belly; 500gm of pork meat (taken from chops); 500gm of duck liver; 1 cup of bread; 2 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and finely chopped); 5 dried figs (soaked in 1/3 cup of calvados) – not fresh sadly; 1/2 cup cream; a few chives and a few sage leaves (finely chopped); salt and pepper. 8 rashers of bacon. Sprig of thyme for non sequitur garnish.

Run the meat, liver, and bread through the mincer. Finish with the bread, it doesn’t make cleaning any easier but it does mean you don’t have to scrape out bits of viscera. Actually best keep the whole thing a bit quiet, I had it all packed up by the time Toni got back. Liver looks the mincer had an unfortunate incident involving some surprisingly cheap seafood.
Mix all the ingredients together. Line a bread tin (or a terrine if you’ve got one) with foil and then give it a good oiling. Line the tin widthways with strips of bacon, fill with the mix and then drape the strips over. Cover with baking paper – greased with butter.
Cook in a steam bath in a 180C oven for two hours.
To make a steam bath, get a roasting pan and fill it with warm water so it reaches 2/3 of the way up the terrine. Fergus Henderson has a nice hint to place a teatowel on the bottom of the roasting tin so the bottom of the terrine isn’t in direct contact with the oven heat.
Take it out, place a weight on it and leave for 2-3 days (yes you’ll have to wait).

Very rich, the amount of liver brought it close to being pate. There was room to be a bit bolder with the amount of fig. A very filling entree that will keep guest happy for an hour. Served with local Pickled Pink Apple and Roasted Beetroot Relish, which is very nice and offset the terrine nicely – too nicely in fact, you don’t want the thing you didn’t make outshining the thing you did.

lunch
Arrosto di Agnello al Ginepro

There is lamb and then there’s lamb. According to Marcella Hazan, my 80′s authority on Italian cooking, there the spring lamb, abbachio, taken straight from the teat and the there’s your regular ‘mature’ lamb which we usually have. For mutton, it must feel like not only somebody not knowing your fave ever band but then realising they hadn’t even been born – shoot me now.
So for the mature lamb, it gets the casserole in her recipe for Arrosto di Agnello al Ginepro – lamb roasted with juniper berries. Juniper berries seem quite the thing, or at least they were when I last checked. Anyway, this recipe is, as they say in Italian, unfuckupableio.

1 leg of lamb; 1 tbs chopped carrot; 2 tbs of chopped onion; 1 tbs chopped celery; 250ml dry white wine; 2 crushed cloves of garlic; sprig of fresh rosemary; 2 tsp juniper berries; salt and pepper.

Put everything into a heavy casserole and simmer covered on a low heat for 2 hours. Turn the leg every 45 minutes. Then increase the heat slightly, put the lid askew and simmer for another 90 minutes. The juices should reduce down to a nice thick jus and the meat should be cooked and very tender.
Let the leg rest under foil.
Spoon off as much fat as possible, strain the jus, and then you can extend it a bit by returning it to the casserole after you’ve deglazed the casserole with a glass of red.
Very tender and very understated on the juniper.

Served with sausage and black eyed beans and a salad.
The sausage and blacked eye beans is just the onion/celery/carrot/garlic mirepoix upstairs – sauteed in olive oil in a casserole dish. Tin of tomatoes added with juice and simmered for 20 minutes. Then 4 or 5 pricked continental sausages added and simmered for a further 15 minutes. Then 4-5 cups of black eyed beans. Top up with water, bring to a simmer, cover and leave in a 180C oven for 90 minutes – check liquid levels occasionally. Season.

dessert

Crostata di Uva

Thank you Mrs Medici – my 90′s authority on Italian cooking. A very uncomplicated tart – even the custard doesn’t bother with vanilla. Very dependent on getting beautiful fresh crisp and cool white grapes. Just a sweet shortcrust pastry made with the zest of one lemon and cooked into a tart shell. Then make a three yolk custard, adding a tablespoon of flour to the milk as a thickener. Pour the cooled custard into the chilled tart shell then fill with grapes

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lamb rack


Rosemary, fresh red chili, anchovy, capers, garlic, and olive oil. Chopped and given a once over in a mortar and pestle.

It’s actually very good, adjust amounts accordingly to your tastes. Lamb gets seared, finished in a hot oven and sliced. Served on a bed of couscous, not an actual bed.

List of Kitchen Stuff Used
Non-stick frying pan – for searing the lamb rack. Roasting pan for lamb. Two chopping boards – one for raw meat. Chef’s knife – for chopping. Boning Knife – for carving. Ceramic knife- for the butter. Two small stainless steel bain marie tins – for chopped ingredients. Orange zester. Saucepan – for couscous. Bowl – for scraps. Fork – for fluffing.

No particular reason, just seemed quite a few things.

Quick restaurant review
Riverbank Estate Winery in the Swan Valley for lunch. Makes a lot of sense. Fabulous food, chef’s great, and you pay cellar door prices for their wine. Green space, sunshine, turkeys and ducks – have a look.

riverbank tasting plate

Photo review
Top photo has distracting motion blur from low light. Bottom picture is too cold and needs to be colour balanced.

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tain provencal

Fack! A perfectly good post down the cyberhole after a frozen firefox. I think I’ll go and sulk and fill in the bits later when I get a moment/cheer up.

Scallop and asparagus tart with saffron sauce


Scallop and Asparagus Tart with Saffron Sauce


Leg of lamb medallions with garlic and tarragon cream sauce

Butterflied Leg of Lamb Medallions with Garlic and Tarragon Cream Sauce.
Served with a Tian Provençal (up top)

This was going to be a saddle of lamb trimmed into noisettes but a “didn’t have” became a “how about” and and I came back with a large piece of butterflied leg of lamb (the bone is cut out and the meat opened out, great for quick cooking after marinating). I trimmed it a bit and made some O in an OK sized rolls which I tied up with string. Seasoned, seared in a pan, cooked in a very hot oven to rare, and rested.
The sauce was made by roasting two heads of garlic then adding the pulp to double cream in a saucepan and reduced with fresh tarragon added. Roasting removes much of the garlic’s pungency and accentuates its sweetness.

This was served with a Tian Provençal which is kind of like a rataouille pie but without the capsicum, which is fine by me. It is also completely vegan, which is rather special. The eggplant is peeled into strips and blanched to make the lattice and fried strips of eggplant make up the sides of and the base. The filling is small cubes of zucchini sauteed with finely chopped onion, garlic and mint. A bit of baking paper in the base of the cake tin (or a tian if you’ve got one and then cooked covered with foil, like a creme brulee, in a water bath for 20 minutes in a hot oven. For a cooking note you might want to consider the effects of having a water bath while roasting something else. No? Inverted onto a plate. The topping is skinned and deseeded tomatoes and finely chopped spring onions cooked in a frypan until thick with the liquid gone. It looks a little like a chocolate cake which makes it perfect for disappointing children.

pear tart with fig and brandy ice cream

Red Extravaganza Pear Tart with Fig and Brandy Ice Cream

Jules in comments asks how I did the ice-cream. Righty ho then, by the looks of it, Jules knows her way around a kitchen but I’ll make a kind of general publicky kind of explanation. Custard was never meant to be the lumpy shite from a packet that you had on apple turnover but the starting point for ice-cream.

Creme anglais + ice-cream maker = ice-cream.

The inspiration for this came from J and her Macadamia Tart. As is quite clear, I wasn’t inspired, obviously enough, to make an immaculately presented dessert but noticed that if I made a batch of custard, I could use it for the the tart and then use the rest for the ice cream and save myself a valuable bit of arsing about time.
To make a creme anglais you split a vanilla pod down the middle, let it simmer in a cup of milk in a saucepan. Meanwhile whisk two egg yolks with 100grams (yeah yeah I bought a scale) of sugar until “it forms ribbons when lifted”. Take out the vanilla pod and then add the milk to the yolks in a steady stream stirring constantly. Put it all back in a saucepan and heat gently until it thickens “until you can draw a finger down the back of a spoon and leave a clean line”, stir constantly. If you don’t, and it never ever has, and you get some lumps, just run it through a sieve. That’s your custard/creme anglais.
Add a cup of thick cream and put in the fridge. If it’s cold it’ll work more quickly in the ice cream maker. Now for the brandy fig bit. Chop up two ripe figs and macerate them in enough brandy to cover for a few hours. You can then work off the alcohol by bringing the mix up to the boil in a fry pan. Add this to the creme anglais in the ice cream maker and watch it go round until ice creamy. You don’t have to watch it, but it is kind of compelling – more so than Dancing with the Stars.

The tarts… ahh pate sucree, bit of custard, chopped pear, in the oven blah blah blah.

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Lamb Rack with potato salad, slow roasted tomatoes, onion jam, and jus


Fucking great, really great. Yes it was.

There’s not anything particularly original or new here but I liked how a lot of different things came together making it a very personal dinner party menu for two good friends from England. Tasty too.

dhufish in phyllo


This is the dhufish wrapped in phyllo pastry. Jo gets Gourmet Traveller and didn’t know what dhufish, which is a great shame, so I chose this for the entree. I like it with just butter but this recipe fancies it up without overwhelming the fresh sweet taste. The recipe is pretty much taken straight out of the Second Simple Cookbook by Athol Thomas. The book has been a great help in cooking Western Australian seafood.

Make a herb butter out of 125gm of butter with one tablespoon of green peppercorns and the juice of one lemon. Place the butter on each fillet and wrap each one with a sheet of phyllo pastry, sealing underneath with some melted butter. Put in a well buttered baking tray and cook for 15 minutes at 200C.

The sauce is a reduction of white wine with a tablespoon of tarragon and then whisked some cream in. I’d made a bisque earlier that day (like you do) and added a tablespoon to the sauce and then added a few small pieces of butter.

Lamb Rack with potato salad, slow roasted tomatoes, onion jam, and jus


I revisted this recipefor the lamb rack. I left out the mushrooms as being summer something cooler would be nice. To accompany it I made a warm pea and potato salad with a tarragon, parsley, and chive two yolk mayonnaise. Thinking of bernaise sauce, I briefly boiled the vinegar for the mayonnaise with a tablespoon of tarragon before adding it to the egg yolks. Once the mayonnaise was made I added a tablespoon of the parsley and the chives. The kipfler potatoes were cut into small cubish shapes, they do this at Jacksons with a higher order of precision but it’s a good idea. Several smaller pieces will have more surface ares than one larger area [I'm sure there's some way of working out how much more but ermm help - no wait if it was four cubes it would be the existing area plus the addition of two sides of area for the horizontal and vertical cut so additional area=a x (n-2) where a=the area of one of the original sides and n=the number of new pieces] and this means more area for the mayonnaise to rest on. The size also balances nicely with the peas. Peas are in season at the moment so I shelled and cooked them until cooked without being soft and refreshed under cold water. [ Slight digression I made a nice pasta sauce for rigatoni the other night with freshly shelled peas, pancetta, EVOO, asparagus, garlic, and plum tomatoes] Alll Mixed together with a couple of chopped spring onions.

Instead of cooking the red onions with the lamb, I made a relish out of it. Cook the onion until golden and add 3tbs of raw sugar and 3 tbs of white wine vinegar and cook, stirring, until thick.

The cherry tomatoes were cooked with EVOO, salt, and rosemary in a 200C oven for 10 minutes and then cooked at 150c.

The sauce is a mix of beef stock, red wine, and a little cream whisked in for colour.

For cooking the rack, sear the sides in duck fat and then roast in an oven at 180C for 12 minutes on each side. This allowed it to be cooked evenly through but cut back to maybe 20 minutes for a rare finish. Allow to rest in foil for 10 minutes.

Watermelon Mojito Sorbet


A break from ice-cream due to non dairy dessert preferencing guests. Get about four cups of watermelon, puree it and take a cup and heat it with a third of a cup of sugar and a tablespoon of basil. Heat until the sugar had melted and strain. Add to the rest of the puree with the finely chopped rind and juice of two limes and a third of a cup of white rum (I’m not sure how much exactly – just what was left in the bottle). Popped in the ice-cream maker until nice and frosty. You can alternatively use the freeze stir and bash method. The alcohol is what gives it a bit of mushiness, maybe a little too, no just right.

Apparently in England, if you hit an animal with your car you can’t claim it, but the following car can.

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lamb rack

Yes yes “Nice Rack”. Tsk, Saffy.

This is a great marinade worked from Penelope Casa’s ¡Delicioso! (earlier ) and shouldn’t be too hard to vary with what’s available. I used used a rack of lamb instead of chops and roasted it. The rack is a little harder to judge doneness with, but looks better when served and there’s pleasure to be had in the juicy pink revelation of the centre.

1 rack of lamb chops; 3/4cup EVOO; 2tbs minced parsely; 1tsp sweet paprika; salt; ground pepper; one slivered small onion; 6 widely sliced field mushrooms

1. Slice down a third of the way between each rib. This allows better penetration by the marinade and allows you check doneness a little more easily.
2. Place all the ingredients in a freezer bag and leave in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.*
3. Heat the oven to 180C and place everything except the mushrooms in the tray, giving the lamb a head start. The mushrooms can go in 10 minutes later. Roast the lamb racks until done. If you’re unsure, test with a skewer until the juices run clear.
4. Remove the lamb and allow it to rest, covered in foil, for 10 minutes.

Cook some tagliatelle and mix the contents of the roasting tray in with it when cooked. Reserve a little of the juices to pour over the meat. Cut the rack in half and place one half on each plate. Eat.

*Just a friendly warning like update: You obviously don’t want raw meat juices splashing or dripping onto other food, especially things that won’t be cooked. So keep the bag in a tray or on a plate and on the bottom shelf. Can’t be banishing people to the small room.

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lamb a la aragonesa

If you find making gravy an anticlimactic chore after the thrill of pulling the roast from the oven to rest, this recipe harmonises roasting and gravy making in one action. It’s from the cookbook of Spanish food, ¡Delicioso! by Penelope Casas. Penelope happens to kind of look like the former model wife on DH that was doing the Lawrence on her hired hand. Her real appeal is being like a seasoned Japanese bar hostess in telling tired worker cooks what they want to hear after a long day. The misunderstood man is understood. Rabbit, she says, so few people appreciate it, I! do, of course you do. “The good news is that recent studies show pork fat to have many of the healthful qualities of olive oil” do they really? but so much of the flavour is lost in industrialised processing. I’m in a world where my glass is never empty and my cigarette is never unlit. I trust her implicitly, yet cannot surrender completely to what she says.

The basic principle here is that the lamb is cooked over a roasting pan with chicken stock in it, the stock then has the baste added to it along with the juices from the meat. This becomes your gravy. The meat requires a rub and a baste and here’s the rub:
3 cloves of garlic; 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme and rosemary; 2tbs of olive oil; salt and pepper. Mash in a mortar and pestle.

and here’s the baste:
2 tablespoons of olive oil; 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley; 4 cloves of garlic; 6 tablespoons of white wine (truffles and brandy couldn’t make it). Puree with a blender.

And now for the meat:
1 leg of lamb. You might want to do what I did and bone it. This has two advantages; the rub is on two sides and it’ll cook quicker.
Rub the lamb all over with the rub and put in on a roasting rack (or it’ll stew) in a roasting tray. Pour 1 cup of chicken stock into the roasating pan along with any trimmings from the lamb. Place it in an 180C oven for 15 minutes and then pour the baste over the lamb. Continue roasting until the lamb is done. I use a combination of poking the meat to get a rough idea and then checking to see if the juices run clear when skewered. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes.

Firstly an apology to Ian Cross for this and now the couscous:
1 onion and 1 red chili chopped and sauteed add 3 chopped baby zucchini pour in 2 cups of combined stock, wine, and or some of the pan juices (extracted with a baster), bring to boil, add 2 cups of couscous, turn off the heat, cover for 5 minutes and them fluff with a fork, adding a little olive oil.

Carve the meat into slices and place on a plate on the couscous and pour the pan juices over it all. And serve.

Superb, though the local Moondah Brook Estate 2004 Verdelho (a Portugese variety – Iberian enough) was like being smacked on the tongue with a pineapple. I was also very happy with the way the picture turned out, meat is one of the most dissatisying things to photograph and this captured the glorious juiciness that might even melt the heart of a vegan.

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lambchopsandvegetablething

Not by way of nudge but more food blogging world’s rich tapestry, I just don’t get Sugar High Friday. Fridays press many buttons but not coming home and making sugared treats ones, no, nothing, no feeling, numb, algebra problems maybe, but sugar no. Animal fat. Yes. Friday is nosh.

Starting point was the fridge, as ever. Four lamb chops. Pumpkin and zucchini in the crisper, spuds and onions in the pantry. A vegetable layer thing seemed a good idea so thinly sliced potatoes and pumpkin. Saute thinly sliced onions with garlic, chilli and the zucchini thinly sliced. Made a layer of potato in a baking tin, greased with butter and duck fat, layer again with pumpkin, pour over the saute and layer again with pumpkin and potato. It would dry out in the oven so I placed bacon rashers on the top and covered with foil before putting it in a 180C oven for 40 minutes. Finished uncovered.

The lamb was waiting with some EVOO, pepper, and rosemary. I cooked them gently in EVOO and garlic until they were coloured and put a lid on the frypan to finish, turning off when very rare, and then allowing them to rest.

Onto a plate with the vegetables, big glass of red and it was nice.

vegetablething

Next Morning Postscript: That first paragraph, still seems a bit snarky. Hmmm. Must resolve dessert issues.

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parmesanlambchops

Tim Dunlop had a fevered pricey lamb chop encounter epic stateside a little while back. Sharp, perceptive man, could strip apart a kilo of guff-stuffed neo-colonial expedition jingoprop in the time it’d take me to peel a carrot, but failed to mention how he cooked said chops. Maybe he stuffed them under the griller and wandered off to ponder something Wolfowitz said. I’m hoping in EVOO with a sprinkle of pepper but who knows?

Racks of lamb are great for roasty goodness and slicing it into little juicy pink centred chops is a great pleasure. However, friday night, I’d been having a few so simple and quick it was. The recipe comes from the 30 year old The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan. How good is it? A sample from this lovely matriarch:

Mayonnaise can make or break any recipe of which it is a part. The commercial variety is so sugary and watery that it is beneath discussion.[emphasis mine]

I’d pay good money for that kind of a culinary spanking so I could obviously trust her for a lamb chop recipe and here we go.

Slice the rack into chops and then it’s coated in three stages

  1. finely grated parmesan cheese
  2. beaten free-range eggs (shake excess)
  3. fresh breadcrumbs (shake excess)

This can all be done in advance. I defrost meat in my oven with just the fan on, a few slices of bread in there at the same time, gets the bread stale enough, to make good breadcrumbs. I make the breadcrumbs in batches in a blender.

Heated 5mm of canola oil to a medium heat in a frypan. You need to get the coating nice and golden while at the same time have the meat cooked. Adjust as necessary and if it does end up being a little hot, the “presentation side” hides a multitude of sins. Just before you flip the chop over, season it with salt and pepper, flip and then season the cooked side. Keep the chops warm in the oven while you do the others.

Hot cheesey crunch on the outside, juicy lamb morsel on the in. They’d be great for an outdoors lunch but we just ate them as was with a bottle of Caitlan Lenaghan Trust Fund Red and couldn’t have enjoyed them more.

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Never made a terrine before and I think it has something to do with the reason I don’t make many cakes, the intrinsic fussiness of presentation. On the plus side, the variety of possible ingredients allows a large range of thematic interpretations. I had considered doing one that resembled the layers of the earth but decided that I’d make an Irish one for an Irish friend’s 30th and work over an old favourite. The party was postponed a week but the terrine went on.

To tell the truth, I can’t be arsed writing everything down but here’s a sketch – if you want more details, you know where to find me.

Beef and Guiness Stew as here but without the spuds and the addition of the aromatics – leek (ermm Celtic heritage), carrots and celery. No red wine (not irish) or beef stock (didn’t want to use commercial stock).

The spuds were to make their own layer and were thinly sliced and steamed above the bubbling stock above. The idea was the fumes would infuse into the potatoes like damp smoke. Did it work? Exceeeeeeeeeeeedingly subtle.

Lamb and Kidneys

Oven roasted slowly and moistened with the above stock. Shredded when done.

Aspic

French jiggery pokery that I couldn’t really see the point of but when Le Cordon Blue at Home says do it, then you do it. The stew was strained and the beef shredded and the stock returned with a new round of aromatics and egge whites that were to capture rogue impurities. Strained after half and hour and still bits, so it was all twice strained through a tea towel. Reheated later with 1 tbs of gelatine.

Assembly

Had a great plan to pipe a mashed potato Celtic design but this was downgraded to the famous and much toasted, I’m sure, Ley Line Following Potato Circles of County Cork with a green, sweated-in-butter leek background. Then the lamb and kidney, a layer of potatoes, and then the beef, and filled with aspic (barely enough).

Eating

Taken over for Sunday arvo beers. I was impressed with the dots against the green even thought they’d somewhat randomised. Carving was a disaster and I think it may have called for some kind of drop saw or high tech laser. THIS WAS NOT HOW IT WAS MEANT TO BE. The taste, fine but not knock your socks off, maybe a few veal bones in the soup may have helped. Enjoyable. yep that’s it. Looked at the residual pile of meat and jelly and it made me not think of the Emerald Isles but Pal. Presentation – pah!

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Been reading Richard Olney’s Simple French Food, and while he’s no Major Les he does make for a good read as an inspring blend of bile, obsession, and love. Though I’m yet to find the point where he dots the “i” and realises the common trend of appropriation, softening and santisation as culture moves upwards in the social hierarchy (see Rock, Roll and; Ball, Foot). Anyway most of the dishes started there.

Lamb

One nice looking leg of Cramphorne Edge of Civillisation Saltbush-Fed lamb. It’s always good to adjust a few things to see the effects of changing ingredients but I got out to the herb garden and went mad with the secateurs.

Trimmed most of the fat off and then made finger sized pockets in the roast. I let it marinade in some EVOO, leftover sangiovese, and a splash of sherry.

Next I filled the holes with the herb mix – finely minced rosemary, garlic, parsely, thyme, green peppercorns, and a little sage with a bit of EVOO mixed in. Rubbed a little salt and oil over the roast and then placed it on a bed of quartered leek and lavender. In it went at 190C for 20 minutes and then down to 170C. Continued to baste over the course of the cooking and adding some of the reserved marinade as necessary.

Minikins

Pumpkins the size of a baby’s fist, made a few vents in the top and chucked them in with the roast, making sure they got a good basting.

Du Puy Lentils

Previous story on these is here . Rinsed and then cooked in enough water to cover with a bacon bone, a bay leaf, and a sprig of parsley. Simmered for 25 minutes.

Braised Fennel

Stalks chopped off, quartered, gently browned in some EVOO with four unpeeled garlic cloves for 30 minutes then placed in a small saucepan with some salt and 2/3 cup of water, covered and left to simmer until the water has reduced to a caramelized syrup.

Potato Paillasson

Thinly slicing some potatoes on the slicer for this and then that feeling of having done something very wrong and looking down at my right ring finger to see a patch of skin missing. Off to the sink to lose a bit of blood and then sitting down with a nonstick dressing and a paper towel wrapped around it. Assistant chefs took over under close unnerving supervision. Potato slices washed and dried then spread in a frypan with some duck fat in it. Covered and cooked until golden underneath and then flipped.

Finishing Up

Roast took a shade under two hours and was rested for 20 minutes under some foil. A quick and easy jus made with a splash of wine and some of the liquid from the lentils. Roast carved and served.

Meat was nicely pale and subtly flavoured by the herbs and well complemented by the veges and lentils. Did the lamb a great justice and the finger will be OK.

Not forgetting drinks. Started with beers including a quite sweet Caledonian Golden Promise organic beer Had a 2001 Mc William’s Hanwood Estate Cab Sav which had a hint of dark caramelly sherbert that I love, did I detect the ghost of a sherry in there as well?

Conversation drifted inevitably to the November elections. Pork gets fork.

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Listen All of Y’all it’s a Pinotage

Listen All of Y’all it’s a Pinotage

Jeanne of Cook sister, has been horse whispering and lured me away from local wine and into trying a South African one – she’s right, think hemispherically. Check out Henley Wine Fair and realise why I’m more than happy to humbly take her advice. Always on the lookout for something new, a Pinotage (Hermitage and Pinot Noir) captured my interest.

To do it justice, I got a leg of lamb from the freezer. My Dad’s gone soft and become less of a mutton purist in his old age, Pah! Still, with him and a good friend up in Muntadgin – a steady supply of meat has been assured. Fear that lamb may become a specialist meat in the future, they’re hard work, the shearers aren’t there, there are other ways of restoring the soil (ploughing crops in) so more and more farmers are getting out of sheep.

Leg was done in a new marinade inspied by the simple but trusty “Best Backyard BBQ Cookbook”. The recipe called for a butterfly, but I was feeling proper Sunday Roasty. Cleaned up the fat and skin- cross scored it and coverered it with the marinade for one hour.

Marinade

2tbs Jingilli olive oil, 1tbs of green peppercorns – crushed, 3 cloves of garlic- minced, 2tbs of fresh mint mashed together in a mortar.

Veges

Three tubers of Jerusalem Artichoke, Sweet Potato, and Royal Blue Potatoes. All parboiled and roasted, with the late addition of some Broccolini splashed with olive oil.

Eating and Drinking

Loved the roast – served with a simple red wine jus. JA’s could have been more thinly sliced. Broccolini florets dry out very quickly. I often double cook the roast, just cooking the outside half and finishing the inside for later in the oven. I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with this – it means I get the right balance of doneness. Then again, it does scream too fast cooking and potential food poisoning.

The wine was very pleasant. It was much softer than I’d been warned and liked the non-jamminess…erm self-conscious alert. I’ll stop there and will promise to look West more often for my wines (as you Easterners should).

No pics I’m afraid- camera ate my memory card.

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