A little preparation goes a long way today, as yesterday’s chopped leeks, turnips, and potatoes were ready and waiting for the morning preparation of dinner. This with some stock, a large amount of crushed black pepper and some stewing lamb (neck on the bone) went into the oven which was then set to turn itself on for four hours at a low heat and finish in time for myself and Mrs M to get home. Easy.
Mrs M scored it 7 out of 10, commenting that it would have been better if it had had pearl barley in it.
We invested in Raymond Blanc’s Simple French Cookery for more recipe inspiration, we picked this dish to eat last Friday. Lamb neck fillets were defrosted over night to provide the basis for this dish. Unlike Raymond I am all about convenience, so a tin of butterbeans (rather than the soaking the dried version) were acquired from the cupboard. We already had some garlicky Saucisson in the fridge. Garlic, tomatoes from the garden, streaky smoked bacon, seasoning and bouquet garni were the only other ingredients required.
After braising the lamb, I deglazed the pan with a dash of water and poured the juices over the lamb fillets. The tomatoes and whole peeled garlic cloves were also added to the pan. Water was added to cover the lamb, this was then cooked for an hour on the hob on a gentle simmer. After an hour of cooking the beans, bacon and sausage were added with the bouquet garni for a final hours cooking.
The resulting dish contained tender nuggets of lamb in a gently orange sauce and butterbeans nestled in amongst pink chunks of bacon and sausage. It had a softly smoked flavour, with the beans countering the slight fattiness of the lamb. Served with beans and jacket potatoes this was a hearty meal to end the week on and created a nice warm spot in my belly as the nights start to draw in and the air takes on an autumnal chill.
Mr M gave it a measly 7.5, I shall have to work harder to impress!
A short post tonight as my swiftkey keyboard is still on strike and it takes too long to type without its genius predictions!
A good meal and similar in flavour to one of the tagines we had in Morrocan month. Slow cooked lamb in a broth flavoured with cinnamon and all spice, a smokey hint from the chestnuts and some sweetness from the shallots. Another good Claudia recipe, Mr M says 8.5.
A delicious waft of roasting lamb is currently assaulting my nostrils, Mr M is making lamb with couscous and a date/almond stuffing.
Back to the topics of this blog. As the meat cigars only called for half a pack of mince Mr M industriously made the remainder into kifte (small meatballs). Flavoured with garlic and cumin they were the meat element of the mansaf I made the next day. This was a departure from our Moroccan theme, according to our Moro cookbook its Jordanian, but very nice too. The meatballs are lightly browned with onions, then lots of almonds and pine nuts are toasted. The liquid of. The soup is stock, heavily flavoured with saffron. At the end of cooking yogurt (with egg and cornflour to stabilise it) is added.
The result is a flavour packed, creamy soup. 8 we agreed.
Next day. We are almost out of lamb, but Mr M diced a half shoulder to provide the meat for our tagine with chestnuts. Pretty similar to the other lamb ravines we have made, tender slow cooked lamb, flavoured with cinnamon, ginger and saffron. We added a few prunes to help goo out the sauce. The chestnuts added a smokiness and a pleasant textural contrast to the melting lamb. Another 8 we think.
No pics at present, phone is hiding them in its unique fashion…
So last week was bad for blogging. No Moroccan food at the weekend and just 2 days during the week (well 3 if you include the leftovers of this we ate on Fri).
This was a really yummy dish with an unctuous sauce from the reduced prunes. Lamb shanks were slow cooked in a broth with cinnamon and ginger for a couple of hours. Then prunes and a little honey were bubbled into the sauce. It was garnished with almonds and served with Couscous. 8.5 a good effort 🙂
A slight variation on the recipe given by Claudia, as I had some tasty little cutlets for my solo dinner that it seemed a shame not to roast. So I flavoured them with cinnamon, ginger and a clove on each chop. I also added some diced shallots.
I also made the couscous with extra care. Measuring the water, waiting ten minutes, adding a little oil, then fluffing with my finger tips. Ten minutes before serving it went in the oven to get steamy hot. Then butter was melted through and the grains refluffed. Definitely worth it, so much better than the usual claggy mush.
I followed the recipe to make the caramelised onion and raising topping. Onions were boiled for 20 minutes, until no liquid was left, then butter was mixed in until they were golden. Finally soaked raisins and honey were added and caramelised to make a tasty sweet topping that I slathered over the chops and couscous. I give it an 8!
This was very rich. Partly due to the slow cooked lamb shoulder chunks and partly due to the soaked dried apricots coated in honey and butter.
Mr M kindly diced up half a lamb shoulder and browned it in a little oil. I added some chopped onion and water and let it simmer for an hour or so. Just a few teaspoons of cinnamon and ginger flavoured the meat. After simmering gently for an hour, I took the lid off and increased the heat until the brothers was reduced to a rich sauce.
I soaked apricots for half an hour then boiled them for another half an hour before coating them in honey and butter. I let them get hot and sticky, and slightly caramelised. They smelt amazing! Reminded me of Greek kitchens of my Mum’s cousins, I guess they used a lot of honey and butter to male things taste good!
Apricots and almonds were scattered over the meat before serving with some pitta bread. According to Claudia Roden, Moroccan’s tend to have bread with a tagine and not couscous, we didn’t have any proper bread but the pitta was nice. Mr M voted 7.5 out of 10, I agree for once. This was nice, but not amazing, it could have done with more flavour and I found the whole thing a little oily. Our lamb was tender, but a bit fatty!
Morocco seemed like a good choice as we still have a freezer full of lamb to use. Plus I love Moroccan flavours and have a stash of delicious ingredients from my honeymoon, Ras el Hanout, Orange Blossom water and thanks to hubby’s shopping we now have lots of dried fruit.
I have a beautiful ceramic tagine that I hope to use extensively this month, although I was organised enough to have soaked it today, so a heavy le creuset pan served instead to make this casserole (I think technically its only called a tagine after the pot)…
We started the month with this dish to use up some of the wonderfully seasonal new potatoes we had in the cupboard. This was a pretty simple dish, but it takes a while to cook. Mr M softened onions and garlic with ginger powder. Then browned the meat. A little water was added and then the mix was cooked for an hour to make it tender. Peeled new potatoes were then added, cooked for 20 minutes. To finish peas, parsley, chopped green olives and a diced preserved lemon went in for 5 minutes cooking before serving with bread.
This was packed full of flavour, sharp lemon tang, savoury olives, meaty lamb and sweet peas. The potatoes added their own delicate edge and a lovely textural contrast. We both agreed 8 out of 10. A good start to the month.
This was the first meal we made with the lamb than we acquired from from Mr M’s family. In celebration of Greek month we bought a half lamb from Devon which was lovingly butchered, by his brother.
The chops were simply roasted with rosemary, thyme, lemon juice and some shallots.
To accompany them we made a Buckwheat pilaf (ish). According to my mother in Greek cooking any random selection of ingredients can be referred to as a Pilaf, ours had raisins, almonds, the roasted shallots and a glug of oil. Served with some fresh green veg, this was Greek inspired rather than dictated.
The pilaf was nutty, but lacked herbs. The lamb was ace. Mr M says 8.
It has been a few years since our last attempt to make a meal with polenta as that didn’t go too well! It was ready made polenta which should apparently be sliced and fried. Unfortunately this resulted in polenta and oil spitting all over and wasn’t the best. We decided to be brave and give polenta another chance in this recipe, cooked soft rather than firm and combined with a generous amount of grana padano cheese.
We boned and chopped up a half shoulder of lamb which was browned off with a few chopped cloves of garlic. To this was added a large glass of wine, some flour and stock. This reduced with a large glug of passata, extra seasoning and bay leaves. Meanwhile a couple of red and orange peppers were roasted in the oven before being peeled and sliced and added to the sauce.
Mrs M scored it 8 out of 10. Even with the cheese, the polenta was pretty bland, although it was a novel alternative to pasta or potato. Nice to have lamb again and the accompanying sauce was good.