Pot roast lamb with rosemary

Sometimes when it comes to food simplicity is a wonderful thing. When you have beautiful ingredients you really don’t need to fuss. With this in mind this recipe for pot roast lamb is a dream for any meat lover. The flavours of the lamb, rosemary and garlic really come through and its so simple to make that even people who are less confident in the kitchen can produce this for hungry guest – I made this for Sunday dinner last week when my parents visited me and it went down a storm.

You can make pot roasts in a slow cooker or in the oven. You will need a good sized casserole dish that is oven safe. You can use other cuts of lamb in this recipe but make sure it’s one that is best cooked slowly for a long time. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as when the meat you have cooked falls off the bone.

To make your own pot roast you will need:

Lamb shoulder (make sure it fits in your casserole dish)

2 cloves garlic

Olive oil

Fresh rosemary

100ml stock

1 glass white wine

Sea salt

 

Roughly chop the garlic. Use a sharp knife to pierce holes in your lamb and put the pieces of garlic in the holes with small sprigs of rosemary. Rub the lamb with the sea salt and olive oil.

2014-02-16 11.15.36

Heat a large frying pan and place your lamb in it fatty side down with any remaining garlic (add oil if there isn’t a particularly fatty side). Turn your lamb to ensure that it’s more or less browned all over. Place in your casserole dish or slow cooker. Cover with the stock and white wine and cook for 6-8 hours with a lid on your slow cooker/casserole dish. If you’re using the oven you want the oven around 100°C; if using the slow cooker it should be on low.

P1040642

As usual with slowly cooked meat it doesn’t look at its best after this point.

2014-02-16 18.13.38

A few minutes before you plan on serving this remove your lamb from the pot and pull apart the meat to make it easier to serve. Cover with some of the liquid that you cooked the lamb in it, but not so that the lamb in swimming in it.

2014-02-16 18.40.50

I serve mine with roast Mediterranean vegetables, potatoes and homemade pitta but it also works well as a traditional British Sunday lunch.

I was certainly pretty popular with my parents and a certain somebody. I onlty wish I had taken a photo of all the food I made on the table.

Slow cooked lamb braised in white wine

This recipe is based on Jarret d’agneau a French braised lamb recipe. I couldn’t actually claim absolute authenticity as I don’t know the exact recipe.

I absolutely adore slow cooked lamb shanks. The lamb comes out so tender it’s almost butter soft. The meat just falls off the bone. This recipe using white wine tastes wonderful and is the perfect comfort food as the weather gets colder and more miserable. The garlic tomato topping is pretty damn good too. I made this recipe for my family and we were all practically licking our plates.

To make this recipe you will need:

3 large lamb shanks

Plain flour

2 onions

3 cloves of garlic

30g butter

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 large carrot

250ml white wine (approx 1 glass)

200ml chicken stock (approx)

The zest and juice of 1 orange

A good splash of olive oil

3 large vine tomatoes

Salt and pepper

1 sprig of rosemary

Serves 4 hungry people

 

Preheat your slow cooker. Peel and chop your onion and carrot. Dust your lamb shanks in the flour.

DSCN1563

DSCN1564

Heat the butter and oil in a pan and brown the lamb on each side. If your lamb won’t all fit in the pan cook in batches. Remove the lamb from the pan and put in the slow cooker.

DSCN1568

Remove all but approx 1 tbsp of the oil from the pan. Add the onion and carrot and 2 cloves of the garlic (crushed) and fry on a gentle heat until soft.

DSCN1569

Add the wine and simmer to reduce the volume of the wine by half.

DSCN1572

Season with the salt and pepper. Add the orange zest and juice. Add this all to the slow cooker.

DSCN1575

DSCN1576

Top the lamb/vegetable mixture with the chicken stock. Cover and cook on a low heat for 6-8 hours (or high for 3-4 hours).

DSCN1577

DSCN1579

Just before serving crush your rosemary, your remaining garlic and 1tsp olive oil. Finely chop your tomatoes.

DSCN1586

Add this mixture to your tomatoes and drizzle over a bit more oil.

DSCN1587

DSCN1588

Remove your lamb from the slow cooker to a serving dish.

DSCN1590

Top with the tomato mixture and serve with some form of potato and vegetables.

DSCN1593

I adore casseroles and stews in Autumn!

Roast harissa poussin with giant cous cous, brocolli and courgette

Roast harissa poussin with giant cous cous, brocolli and courgette

This recipe is a really lovely one when you want to spend a little more time on cooking a tasty meal that looks lovely and impressive. If you would prefer the recipe can be done for more people with a chicken or with chicken thighs. However, I do think meat on the bone works best in this recipe as it stays juicy. (Mum and dad, if you’re reading this I apologise for putting this in my post, I promise I’m still horribly bad at picking meat off bones!) Anyway, I made this for J last Friday and he really enjoyed it.

To make this you will need:

1 poussin

1 teaspoon harissa

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon ras al hout

Chicken stock (approx 1/2 pint)

200g giant cous cous

1 courgette

A handful of pumpkin seeds

Tenderstem or purple sprouting brocolli (about 3 stems each)

1/2 a lemon

(serves 2)

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Spatch your poussin. I can offer you no better advice that looking on this blog post.

DSCN1036
Pre spatch
DSCN1038
Post spatch

Drizzle olive oil over your poussin, crush over some garlic and spoon over your harissa. Rub onto the poussin well until the whole bird is covered. Wash your hands after handling raw chicken. Roast the bird for 45 minutes.

DSCN1041
I was going to caption this picture “spread em!” until I remembered my mum might be reading this…..

After the poussin has been cooking for around 30 minutes heat the garlic and a good slosh of olive oil in a large frying pan.

DSCN1043

Once the garlic is soft add the cous cous, stock and ras al hanout to the pan.

DSCN1044
Cous cous
DSCN1045
Spice is nice

Add the brocolli to the pan and keep stirring. If the cous cous starts to dry out add more stock or water.

DSCN1046

Remove the poussin from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes.

DSCN1047
Lovely and crispy

Slice the courgette and add to the pan along with the pumpkin seeds.

DSCN1048
Looking very green
DSCN1050
You’ll be reaping in some serious vitamins and minerals with this meal

When the cous cous and vegetables are cooked add the lemon juice to the pan and stir in. Half the poussin and add to the pan. You don’t have to do this but it makes the dish look seriously impressive.

DSCN1052

Serve to a very hungry person. For some reason I find dishes cooked with chicken stock extremely comforting.

DSCN1054

Enjoy your meal that is both hearty and healthy.

Easy ratatouille

Now, first of all I would like to offer an apology to my father in this post. He makes pretty epic ratatouille and I didn’t actually get chance to ask him how he makes his. Anyway, ratatouille is a pretty amazing way of eating a lot of vegetables in one meal. As with nearly all tomato based sauces the flavour develops over time so the leftovers will almost certainly taste better than it does fresh from the pot (it’s still pretty nice freshly made). In addition, its nice with a lot of things – cheesy things, roast meat, grilled chicken, steak. It’s also a vegan and vegetarian friendly recipe.

To make this you will need:

2 cans tomatoes

A large red onion or 2 smaller onions

2 peppers (any colour you like but its a good way of using up green peppers if you dislike them)

A clove of garlic

1 tsp olive oil

2 medium courgettes (unfortunately my ratatouille was lacking these due to their absence from my local Co-op)

1 aubergine

2/3 pack of mushrooms (I used chestnuts, but white ones are fine)

2 peppers

1 teaspoon dried basil

A good slosh of red wine or balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sugar

A pinch salt

(This makes a rather large amount of ratatouille, at least 4 servings)

Wash and quarter your mushrooms, dice the aubergine, slice and quarter the courgettes, remove the seeds and chop up the peppers. Put the vegetables to one side. Peel the onion/onions. Dice one half of the onion(s) and slice the other half. Crush the garlic. Heat the oil in a deep pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft.

2013-04-29 19.01.48
Purpley onions

Once the onions and garlic are soft, add the other vegetables and fry for about 5 minutes.

2013-04-29 19.04.50
That old Weebl and Bob song about badgers and mushrooms is in my head after looking at this

Add the canned tomatoes, the sugar, salt, vinegar and basil.

2013-04-29 19.08.25

Mix thoroughly and cover for about 20 minutes on a low heat. You can cook it for slightly longer if you wish.

2013-04-29 19.13.44

2013-04-29 19.26.56
Nice vegetable stew

Serve with whatever you fancy.

2013-04-29 19.28.22
Yum yum yum

Now this recipe is really easy for a weeknight, or if you find it difficult to find time to cook when you’re busy you could make a big batch of this up to reheat as you need it.

Quick recipe – chicken stock

Now stock for most people conjures up images of crumbling Oxo cubes into a simmering pan. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with using ready made stock cubes most of the time its great to have some stock in the freezer and chicken stock is stupidly easy to make. Once you have it in your freezer its great to have in reserve to make stews and soups. It adds a certain richness to both that you don’t generally find in stock cubes, plus if you or someone you live with has a cold it can provide great comfort to whip up a batch of quick chicken noodle soup. In addition, its great if you need to watch your salt intake as you can make it salt free.

To make a small batch of chicken stock you will need:

Chicken bones (leftover roast chicken)

A stick of celery

A small carrot

An onion

Cold water

Pick the bones clean of any remaining chicken you want to eat. Keep back skin (if you like skin, I personally don’t) as this adds some flavour.

2013-02-06 19.03.15

Peel and chop the onion and carrot and trim the celery. Add to the pan with the cold water.

2013-02-06 19.07.07 2013-02-06 19.09.10

Switch hob on a medium low heat and allow to simmer for about an hour and a half to 2 hours depending on how the flavour is coming on. Occasionally add a bit of water to make sure it doesn’t dry up. But you can mostly relax and ignore the pan.

2013-02-06 21.37.27 2013-02-06 22.19.50

When you think the stock is tasty and ready use a sieve to strain the liquid from the chicken bones and vegetables into your desired container. Leave to cool and skim the far from the top.

Not the most glamourous recipe ever but one you won’t regret learning, especially if you’re thrifty and like getting the most out of your food.

Slow cooked lamb stew

Stew is like a hug when you drive through some fog home on a dark night (which is incidentally how I spent my 15 minute drive home from the gym after work). Especially when its been in the slow cooker for nearly 12 hours and the meat just breaks apart…..

Anyway, I’d say if you’re not altogether confident in your cooking abilities but want to come home to delicious homemade food instead of ready meals this recipe is for you. I’d recommend getting a slow cooker to anybody for the simple reason that it makes cheap cuts of meat taste really tender and delicious. There really is no point putting something like a fillet steak in there when it cooks beef skirt to perfection.

As a fluke my lamb, tomato and red wine stew ended up tasting very much like the goulash my dad makes. For this particular recipe I used:

A packet of lamb neck fillets (chops are amazing in this but I got the neck fillet purely because I wanted to make use of a 2 for £7 offer in Asda)

2 shallots (or 1 onion)

Half a leek

A can of tomatoes (I actually used Asda Smartprice and they worked really well)

A clove of garlic

A green pepper

Approx 1/4 pint of stock

A good splash of Henderson’s relish (you can use Worcester sauce if that’s what’s in your cupboard)

A glass of red wine

A teaspoon of paprika

1/2 a teaspoon of cumin

A bay leaf

A knob of butter

Vegetable oil

(This makes enough for 2 – 3 people).

The night before you plan to eat the stew chop your shallots/onions (I cried my eye make-up off doing this bit and spent the rest of my evening looking racoon-esque), slice your garlic and leeks. Chop your lamb into pieces; you can leave it whole if you want though, when I use lamb chops I don’t cut them up. Heat the oil and butter, fry the shallots, leek and garlic until soft and throw in the lamb and fry just long enough so that the lamb browns to add some flavour.

Once you are happy that the meat is mostly browned on the outside put it in your slow cooker. Pour in the contents of your can of tomatoes (you might want to chop them up a little first, but don’t go mad), put in your glass of wine, slice your pepper and put in, add your stock and seasons and stir. It will look a tiny bit uninspiring at this point.

Say bye bye Mr Stew!

Then leave overnight. I hope this allows the flavours to develop but in all honesty I prepare it all the night before because I love my bed and don’t want to get up especially early to prepare it.

The following morning switch on your slow cooker to the low heat setting. If yo know you’re the type of person who is more than a little scatterbrained in a morning you could use one of those timer plugs to make sure it switches on. Leave for however long you want to (at least 4 hours).

Still not much prettier but look at the lovely tomatoey colour!

You can leave this cooking while you prepare things to go with this. I had my stew with boiled potatoes and brocoli but it honestly goes well with anything; bread, rice, pasta, cous cous. The beauty of it is that you can leave it heating while you wait for something like brown rice to cook but if you wanted to collapse into a heap it’d be ready quickly enough to serve with crusty bread.

A hearty meal your mother would be proud of

Chicken and roast vegetable tray bake

I’ll admit it, I love a good casserole style meal; especially chicken casserole. Chicken casserole is something my maternal grandmother used to cook me when I was a little girl and even now I find it warming and delicious comfort food.  Now this particular recipe is adapted from something a friend suggested I make a few weeks ago. Basically I adapted it based on the ingredients in my food cupboard and fridge. The beauty of this recipe is that you can change and substitute ingredients based on your preferences and what you have in. Please bear with me, I made this dish a couple of weeks ago now and the details are a tiny bit hazy.

To make this recipe I used:

2 chicken breasts (you can use drumsticks or thighs but they will take a little longer to cook)

2 shallots

2 cloves garlic

Asda Cajun chicken seasoning

Sainsbury’s woodland honey

Light olive oil

Olive oil fry light

2 sweet potatoes

Just over half a pint of chicken stock

Yellow courgette (in hindsight this was very bitter and I’d prefer using green next time)

Smoked paprika

Ground chilli and garlic

A pinch of cumin

Chilli flakes

Mixed herbs

Sainsbury’s apple and boysenberry juice

A pack of cherry tomatoes on the vine

The morning (or night) before you want to cook this dish marinade the chicken in 2 teaspoons Cajun spice and a drizzle of oil and honey. Cover this and store at the fridge until you’re ready to cook everything.

Switch the oven on high.

Peel and chop the sweet potato and shallot, peel and crush the garlic and put into a medium sized roasting tray. Spray with the fry light and sprinkle over a few chilli flakes (don’t go mad unless you really like chilli, you can add them but you can’t remove them later on when your mouth is burning). Put in the oven for about 18 minutes.

Sweet potato, shallots and garlic

In this time chop your courgette. Prepare your stock and add 3 tablespoons of the apple and boysenberry juice (you can add any fruit juice with a tart flavour, or wine), add 1 and a half teaspoons of paprika, approx half a teaspoon of cumin, your herbs.

Remove your roasting tray from the oven and add the courgette, chicken and stock sauce. Place the cherry tomatoes on top with the vine still on, grind on the dried chilli and garlic.

“Pre-oven”

Now to be honest here, I forgot to time this recipe exactly but I think I cooked it at a medium to high temperature for 35 minutes. I checked the chicken was cooked by cutting a little section of it (presentation wasn’t vital as it was only me eating it for tea and for my lunch the next day.

Post cooking
Post cooking again, the tomatoes should be slightly blackened and the chicken should be brown

Now if I were to make this again I’d use a green courgette. I only picked the yellow one from the shop as it looked cool and I found it bitter. I’d probably add a different type of vegetable too to make it into three meals rather than two decent sized meals.

Bon appetit!