Saturday, 28 March 2015

Slow cooked leg of lamb

I made this recipe with a half leg of lamb the other day, which was a little more than two people could eat. The next day, we heated up the leftovers and the resulting stew was almost better. This time, I doubled the ingredients so I can freeze some of the leftovers. However, there wasn't enough room in the roasting tray for all the veg so some of them were roasted separately.

The actual dish is the result of a number of recipes I found on the internet. The seasoning is based Nigel Slater's recipe here.

Cooking time: 4 hours

(serves 8)

1 leg of lamb (approx. 2.3 kg)
4 cloves of garlic
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp toasted cumin seeds
1 tsp sweet paprika
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 aubergines
4 sweet red peppers
1.2 kg potatoes
3-4 courgettes
extra virgin olive oi
1/2 bottle of red wine
2 tsp flour

Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/160°C.

Grind the cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar, remove and set aside for a couple of minutes. Crush the garlic with some sea salt in the pestle and mortar. Add the cumin, thyme, pepper, paprika and mix with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Spread over the meat, place into a roasting tray and put into the oven for about 30 minutes. Then add the red wine.

Roast for about another 2 hours. In the meantime, cut the potatoes and vegetables into large chunks. Season with a little pepper and salt and drizzle with oil. Add the potatoes and aubergines to the roasting tray. Cover with tin foil and cook for 30 minutes before adding the remaining vegetables. Cook for one more hour. By then the meat should be really tender.

Remove the meat, cover and rest. Transfer all the vegetables into a warmed bowl. Dissolve the flour in a little cold water and stir into the cooking liquids to make a gravy. Place the roasting tin onto the hob and let the gravy come to the boil and thicken. Check the seasoning, then pour into a serving dish.

Serve the leg of lamb on a warmed platter surrounded by all the veg.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Hummus with Cumin, Paprika and Fresh Coriander

There already is a basic hummus recipe in this blog but I do like this version so much I decided it deserved its own entry.

1 440 ml tin of chickpeas in water
3-4 tbsp tahini
juice of a lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground toasted cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 garlic clove, squeezed through a garlic press

Drain the chickpeas but catch the liquor. You'll need about one-third of it to ensure the hummus is creamy rather than dry.

Place all the ingredients into the beaker that comes with your hand blender or into the food processor. Whizz and check the flavour.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Beetroot, Carrot and Strawberry Salad

We eat salad year round but I am looking forward to the warmer months when salad as a main dish is irresistable.

Today at the supermarket, I couldn't resist the shiny, plump looking strawberries from Spain but I should have shown some restraint. They taste only faintly of strawberries. Ach well, as we say in Scotland. I'm not going to waste them. Some of them, I spontaneously added to a side salad tonight.

I think that some toasted chopped walnuts would go well with this. For a non-vegan version, add chunks of buffalo mozzarella or goats cheese.

1 carrot
1 raw beetroot
1 handful of strawberries
1-2 tbsp fresh basil
1-2 tbsp fresh parsley
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
2 tbsp balsamic
4 tbsp extra virgine olive oil
juice of half an orange

Peel the carrot and beetroot, then coarsely shred. Chop the herbs. Half the strawberries lengthways and slice. Mix the veg, herbs and fruit. Make the dressing and toss the salad. Leave to marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Cooked vegetable salad with mozzarella and croutons

1 head of broccoli
frozen or fresh green beans
frozen or fresh peas
1 (buffalo) mozzarella
1 bunch of basil
2 tbsp red onion
olive oil

Cut the broccoli into florets and steam for 5 minutes. Steam the beans and peas for 3-5 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Drain and pat dry. Place into a serving bowl and dress with a generous amount of vinaigrette.

Finely chop the onion. Tear the basil and break the mozzarella into bite-sized chunks. Scatter over the vegetables and toss the salad.

Cut the bread into bite-sized pieces. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and fry the bread until golden. Drain on kitchen paper. Top the salad with the croutons.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Fast(ish) Pizza

We love home made pizza but making a proper yeast dough takes time, even in the breadmaker. My other half runs a cooking group at work but there's no time to make a "proper" dough, cook and eat within 2 hours. Somewhere on the internet she found an alternative recipe. In fact, it's similar to a recipe for a Flammkuchen base I brought back from my last visit in Germany. So lately, we've been making a lovely, crusty pizza base with baking powder. We like it so much we're having pizza once a week these days.

With regards to the topping, we use a "standard" method: drained chopped tomatoes out of a tin and sautéd vegetables. We vary the veg, the cheeses, the meats (see the picture legends for details). I do recommend using drained tinned tomatoes rather than tomato purée which IMHO is vile as a pizza "sauce". Plus, it goes black in those areas that aren't covered with topping.

The recipe below is from a couple of days ago. Feel free to get creative or check out the photos and captions at the end of this post, which I keep adding.

BTW, for two servings we use just 300 g of flour but roll it out very thinly so it still covers most of the tin.

400 g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt (the original recipe calls for 1 tsp of salt, which we find far too much)
2 tsp baking powder
150 ml water
olive oil for brushing

1 tin of chopped tomatoes, drained of all the juice
freshly ground pepper
grated garlic
1/2 chili, deseeded
dried herbs (basil, oregano or Herbes de Provence)
1/2 courgette, cored and cut into strips
1/2 aubergine, cut into strips
1 pointed red pepper, cut into strips
1 bunch of spring onions, but into 4 cm pieces
1/2 chili, sliced
garlic, grated
freshly ground pepper
sea salt
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 mozzarella, cut into thin slices
1 kabanossi sausage, thinly sliced
parmesan shavings
olive oil

Mix flour, salt, baking powder and water until most of the water is absorbred. Then put on a floured worktop and knead until just workable and spreadable. This takes about 2 minutes. Add a little more water, if necessary, to achieve the desired consistency

Roll out on a floured surface and line your baking tray. Brush the dough with some olive oil to prevent the tomatoes from soaking in.

Sauté the courgette, aubergine, pepper, spring onion, garlic and chili in a little olive oil for about 10 minutes at a medium heat.

Mix the tomatoes, garlic and chili and season with pepper. Spread onto the base. Place the mozzarella slices on top of the tomatoes, then scatter the sautéd vegetables, kabanossi and sliced avocado over the mozzarella. Bake at 220 °C/gas mark 7 for 15 minutes. Scatter the parmesan over the top and bake for another 5 minutes.

Sautéd red onion and mushrooms, mozzarella slices and feta, chopped up cooked ham/ham sausage/Schinkenwurst, uncooked green asparagus, halved lengthways, drizzled with oil and seasoned with a touch of salt and pepper.
Sautéd red onion, pointed red and yellow peppers, salami slices (quartered), crumbled feta cheese.
Thinly spread tomato sauce, sautéd onion, red onion, red pointed pepper, quartered slices of salami-style chorizo, gorgonzola, fresh, finely chopped rosemary