Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Slam in the Lamb... Sunday and Monday May 27th and 28th 2013

Well you will have to do without a picture of the slow roast lamb shoulder, with the crunchy roast potatoes and the roast sweet potatoes and the carrots and broccoli and the smooth, delicious gravy made with Essential lamb stock...

but it looks remarkably like the one I had last April... I would show you a later pic of a roast lamb dinner as served in this house, but sadly it seems to be so delicious I never get to take a photo of it!!

Anyway, just be assured it was very very good. Slow roasting a shoulder renders all the fat away so you just get beautifully tender, soft meat, with a really strong lamb flavour. You honestly can't beat it for lambiness. Not a lot left after the family Sunday dinner, just a handful but enough not to waste, and a jugful of gravy, solidified from all the goodness and gelatine in the meat juices from the lamb.

So Monday's leftovers this week was a lamb pilaf - it was a fasting day (I am following the 5:2 diet) so this was my one meal of the day, and needed to come in under 500 cals.  Sorry, it isn't as pretty as some dishes but it was very yummy and comforting and just what was needed.

I wandered around the web and couldn't find anything particularly definitive, so simply made it up as I went along. Here is what I did..

Heat 1tsp olive oil and a tablespoon of water in a large saucepan.
Chop a medium onion, and grate two two medium carrots, saute gently until soft.
Add the chopped lamb (about 100g ), half tsp each of ground cinnamon, cardamom and cumin, salt and pepper, 75g basmati rice, and stir around until thoroughly coated with the oil. 
Add double the volume of rice in lamb gravy (or lamb stock).
Bring to a boil and stir thoroughly, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Add in 25 grams of something sweet, I used dried sour cherries, but you could use raisins or chopped dried apricots, stir in and put the lid on tightly.
Cook at a very gentle simmer for 15 minutes without removing the lid.
Check the rice is cooked, and stir in 10g of toasted pinenuts and a handful of chopped coriander and parsley.

Serves two, with watercress, spinach and rocket salad on the side.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Italian Job....Saturday May 25th 2013

You know I love Italian food... but I've not got a decent Italian deli in shouting distance.

So when, driving through Finchley, we noticed a rather nice looking deli called Amici which means "friends" in Italian, we decided to stop and raid their shelves. 

We bought Felino salame, mortadella, artichokes, giardinera pickles, soup pasta, savoiardi biscuits for tiramisu, gorgonzola and parmesan.  Today I made some potato salad, and some butter beans plaki, and grabbed some semolina rolls from the freezer.

An Italian feast it is then...

That Was The Week That Was......including the WINNING fish pie.. Saturday to Friday, 18th-25th May 2013

What a busy week!! No time to blog as I went along, but here is a summary.

Some days eating out or ready made things, but some nice home cooked days too:

Saturday: I cooked a small joint of unsmoked gammon in the pressure cooker with cannellini beans and lots of vegetables , served with the first of the Jersey potatoes.

Mmmm gammon stock! Please note I love my gammon fat and don't trim it off.. Also, I finely chop up the soft silky pressure cooked gammon skin and add it back into the stock for extra gelatine and that lovely stickiness you get from real stock... no waste in this house. Mmmmm I love gammon!

Sunday: tapas style dinner... lovely tortilla and tarte flambée  from Unearthed with Sainsbury's TTD coleslaw:

Monday: A 5:2 fasting day. Thick, filling soup with the rest of the gammon, gammon stock, lots more root vegetables, peas and butter beans. So good and under 500 calories! 

Tuesday: quiz night at The Bell, so a Bray's Cottage Pork Pie and the Veggie Board..

Wednesday: Lamb's Heart Stew - with lots of puy lentils and carrots. Cooked in the pressure cooker, so gorgeously tender and melting and delicious.  I know.. it doesn't look much. But beauty is sometimes more than skin-deep, yes?

Thursday:It was announced that I had won a Real Cooking Savoury Pie competition with Essential Cuisine stocks.. A most luxurious fish pie. Hurray!! I love Fish pie ..So in celebration I made one for dinner. Not as luxurious as the winning one.

 Jeremy, the Head Home Chef at Essential cooked ALL the pies in the final 12 of the competition, a major task. He has promised us photos of what he produced from our recipes, so I'll share that with you when I have it. I had only sent him a very  roughed out recipe for the Very Luxurious Fish Pie, trusting to his knowledge for him to fill in the gaps...

"VERY luxury fish pie: In a mixture of white wine and Essential fish stock, poach a mixture of fish to include smoked haddock, salmon, white fish (pollack is good), raw prawns. Remove from stock, retaining stock. Make veloute sauce with fish stock, retaining about a coffee cupful. Enrich stock with double cream, brown crab meat, chopped chives and chopped parsley, add Halen Môn smoked water to add extra smokiness if desired. Add fish and prawns and white crab meat. Pour into pie dish and allow to cool. Top with quartered hard boiled eggs. Steam potatoes and mash using retained stock to loosen, pipe over fish mixture, dot with salted butter bake for half an hour until golden brown. "

Wow! that is some luxury, and I am SO pleased to have won the competition with it.

But today isn't a luxury day, today's Fish Pie is a midweek what fish is in the freezer one. This had smoked haddock, smoked salmon and prawns, poached in milk not white wine today...hard boiled eggs on top, and nice mashed potatoes. The sauce was a bechamel made with the poaching milk , enriched with some double cream and a tablespoon of Halen Môn smoked water *I LOVE that stuff*

Fish pie for midweek is not always pretty, but it is always yummy!

Friday: another 5:2 fast day: Sainsbury's Pennoni pasta with half a pot of stir in tomato and olive sauce, with extra black olives and a couple of drained marinaded artichokes, and a dusting of parmesan... 456 cals ( I find fast days much easier to manage by not eating at all during the day,and allowing myself a substantial meal, I tried last time with a breakfast and small dinner, but felt hungrier than this way.. if you are 5:2 dieting, don't take this as the only way to go! )

So there you have it, a whole week all in one!  I hope you feel full up now...

Friday, 10 May 2013

Grilled Salmon and new potatoes... mmmmmm... fishy.... Thursday May 9th 2013

I am very very partial to a little fishy on a little dishy. Today's fish is salmon, very good for you (lots of Omega 3 oils) and the skin is delicious when nice and crispy.

I started the fish off skin side down in a pan, in a little hot oil, and left it on the skin side until the opaque fish was about half way up the side, and then finished it under the grill just to brown the top. The inside was still deep salmon coral coloured, and not at all dry. And the skin was to die for... (it looks burnt in the photo, but it wasn't just a deep crunchy brown...)

Monday, 6 May 2013

Back up the week a bit....

It's been a funny old week. I've had no energy, no impetus and no desire to cook much.

So we've been eating sausages, and pasta and rice mostly. With salad. Yawn you are saying. I know...sorry....

I've been sorting through to see if I ate anything at all you might find even slightly interesting. I've only found two things - and neither of the photos are amazing. So maybe you would be better off just working back through the better photos from the past month or so!!

Pork tenderloin with an onion gravy, cooked with marsala and veal stock

Chargrilled lamb with fresh pita bread and salad

They did taste good, just not very inspiring! so sorry!