Sunday, February 22, 2015

Recipe: Leerdammer and Roasted Red Pepper Spirali Bake

Goodness, this is one of the best pasta bakes I have ever made! There are certain elements you need in a pasta bake- you want a nice, unctuous, creamy sauce to coat everything, a good mix of tasty ingredients mixed in with the pasta, it needs to be nice and rich but not too overpoweringly creamy,and with a nice crunchy baked topping. This has got all of that- and it's really nice garnishing it with chopped spring onions, adds a real zing!

Leerdammer and Roasted Red Pepper Spirali Bake (serves 3)

300g Spirali pasta
45g butter
40g flour
600ml skimmed milk
225g Leerdammer, grated
250g diced flame roasted red pepper (the type you get pre-roasted in jars/tins)
200g ham, finely chopped
125g spinach
2 generous tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
30g spring onions, finely sliced

1)      Preheat oven to 200C. Cook the Spirali according to packet instructions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter, and add the flour. Gradually add the milk to this mixture (thus making a white sauce).
2)      Add 2/3rds of the Leerdammer, red pepper, ham, spinach and mustard. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted, the cheese has melted, the sauce has thickened nicely. 
3)      Season the sauce to taste, and mix in the pasta. Pour this mix into a large baking dish, top with the remaining Leerdammer, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and garnish with the spring onion. Serve!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Recipe: Bel Tartiflette

A tartiflette is a traditional French dish- thickly sliced potatoes, layered with bacon, onions, and cheese, finished off with cream and baked in the oven. In layman's terms it's essentially like a "pimped up" dauphinoise! The differences being much thicker potatoes, incorporating bacon, and using a generous amount of cheese. Traditionally you would use a camembert or a good reblochon, but I have used port salut, as I very happily have received another batch of products from Bel for recipe development- now that i've got all that surplus of lamb in the freezer, expect a lot of cheese recipes coming you way!!! I have served this with salad, although traditionally I think it's served with French bread and pickles (e.g. gherkins and mini pickled onions).

Bel Tartiflette (serves 3)

1.1kg potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
1 tbsp butter (plus a little extra for greasing)
3 white onions, finely sliced
180g thinly sliced smoked bacon
2 x 185g wedges port salut, rind cut off and sliced
250g boursin cuisine garlic and herb
125ml skimmed milk
Salt and pepper
Salad to serve (optional)

1)      Preheat oven to 190C. Par boil the sliced potatoes for about 7 minutes, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, fry the onions and bacon in the butter with some salt and pepper for 15 minutes, stirring often.
2)      Grease a baking dish with some softened butter. Layer half of the potatoes in the dish and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the bacon/onion mixture on top, and half of the port salut. Cover with the rest of the sliced potatoes, some more salt and pepper, and the other half of the sliced port salut.
3)      Mix together the boursin and the milk until smooth, and pour over the potato cheese bake. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, and serve with salad or as desired. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Recipe: Greek Shepherds Pie with Sauteed Courgettes

Another lovely lamb fusion dish- a traditionally British shepherd's pie, given a Mediterranean twist by adding olives to the mince, and feta to the mash, OPA! A nice little dish to get me in the mood for my holiday to Rhodes this year (to be fair it's not until, any excuse to make myself a greedy meal!), I'm not going to lie, I ate this all by myself! It would probably feed two normal people I suppose.

Greek Shepherd’s Pie with sautéed courgettes (serves 1 massively, or 2 normally!)

15g butter
180g lamb mince
½ white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
15g sundried tomato paste
200ml chicken stock
Juice of quarter lemon
80g green olives, halved
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

400g potatoes, peeled and halved
80g feta cheese, crumbled
Knob of butter
Salt and pepper

15g butter
2 courgettes, sliced thickly diagonally
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp dried dill
Juice of quarter lemon
20g capers
30ml water
Salt and pepper to taste

1)      Preheat oven to 180C. In a saucepan, fry the courgettes, garlic, dill, lemon juice, capers and water on a medium heat, for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in an ovenproof casserole, fry the lamb mince, onion, garlic, oregano and tomato paste for 10 minutes, stirring often.
2)      Add the stock, lemon juice and olives and cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste, and set aside. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water until soft enough to mash (about 25 minutes), drain, and mash with the feta, butter and seasoning.
3)      Season the mince and the mash to taste. Smooth the mash on top of the mince, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, season the courgettes to taste, and serve the pie with the courgettes. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Recipe: Shepherd's Pie Pie! with Parsnip Mash

No, it isn't s typo, this is a shepherd's pie pie, meaning that all the typical ingredients you would find in a shepherds pie- e.g. lamb, onions, carrots, potatoes, WITHIN a puff pastry pie. I have the funniest ideas sometimes! I just figured if you get meat and potato pies then this would work, and it does! Was so nice with the parsnip mash too- parsnips are in season now and lovely and sweet. I feel like this pie is moist enough without gravy, but feel free to make some if you want. You can make this recipe with shortcrust pastry as well- but you would need to brush the top with egg wash, and it would end up being a drier pie too.

Shepherd’s Pie Pie! with parsnip mash (serves 2)

200g new potatoes
Knob of butter
½ white onion diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
180g lamb mince
15g sundried tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh parsley
80g diced carrots
200ml beef stock
20ml Worcestershire sauce
1 x sheet ready rolled puff pastry

1kg parsnips, peeled and diced
30g butter
Salt and pepper to taste

1)      Preheat the oven to 200C. Cook the new potatoes for about 20 minutes, allow to cool, dice, and set aside.
2)      Fry the onions, garlic, lamb, tomato paste, parsley and carrots for 9 minutes. Add the stock, Worcestershire sauce and reserved potatoes, and cook for a further 8 minutes, or until all the sauce has been soaked up. Season to taste and put in the fridge to allow the filling to cool a bit.
3)      Meanwhile, boil the parsnips for 25 minutes, drain, and mash with the butter and seasoning. Meanwhile, cut the puff pastry sheet in half. On one half, pile the filling on top, and then put the other sheet and top, crimping the edges to seal all the filling in (the pie should be quite full!). Cut a couple of holes in the top to allow any steam to come out. Line a tray with greaseproof paper and bake the pie in the oven for 25 minutes.
4)      Serve the pie with the mash! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Recipe: Satay Chicken with Stir Fried Vegetable Sticky Rice

This is the lovely and really rather scrummy meal my boyfriend cooked me for Valentines day! Absolutely right up my street- I love Chinese inspired food and satay sauce is just so yummy. He's very good with Asian food- he worked with a fusion chinese/british michelin starred chef when he worked at a hotel in Malta and I think he picked up a few useful hints and tips! He used this stir fry oil that they sell in the co-op, which is a mix of sunflower oil, toasted sesame oil and garlic oil, rather lovely. I've had his permission to put this up here, and I suppose if I win any competitions with it, is shall have to go halvsies on the prize, haha!

Satay Chicken with Stir Fried Vegetable Sticky Rice

2 large chicken breasts, sliced into strips
300ml white wine
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp Kikkoman teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
Black pepper
100g self raising flour
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp stir fry oil

180g basmati rice
1 tbsp stir fry oil
80g spring onions, diced
1 tsp crushed ginger
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g mixed stir fry veg (he used a mix of sugarsnap peas, baby corn, cabbage, peppers and beansprouts)
Soy sauce and pepper to taste

170g smooth peanut butter
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp teriyaki
Hot water
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

1)      Marinade the chicken breasts in the wine, garlic, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and some black pepper, for at least half an hour. Meanwhile, soak the basmati rice, again for at least half an hour.
2)      Drain and rinse the rice, and cook in the drained marinade from the chicken, and 400ml boiling water, for about 12 minutes. Drain (if necessary), and place in a dish in the fridge until cold.
3)      In a large frying pan, heat the 2 tbsp stir fry oil in a large frying pan. Coat the marinated chicken strips in a mixture of flour, Chinese 5 spice and seasoning, and fry these (in batches if necessary) on all sides until the chicken is brown and crispy, and fully cooked.
4)      Meanwhile, in a wok, heat up the 1 tbsp of oil until hot. Stir fry the spring onions, ginger, garlic and stir fry veg for 5 minutes. Add the cold rice and some soy sauce and fry for a further 4 minutes (add a little more oil if it sticks too much).
5)      Mix together the peanut butter, lime, teriyaki with a bit of salt and pepper, and add water gradually until a thick sauce consistency is achieved. Serve the crispy 5 spice chicken with the stir fried sticky rice and the satay sauce on top.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Recipe: Morrocan Lamb and Chickpea Stew

They cook a lot of lamb/goat in Morocco, and they tend to like to cook it with sweet spices, like cinnamon and cumin. This is a delicious Moorish (and moreish, hah!)  stew recipe, only taking about half an hour to make- really scrummy and really healthy too. I served it with plain mini naans- you can serve it with simple bread and butter but I like to keep the whole middle eastern theme going.

Moroccan Lamb and Chickpea Soup (serves 2)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6g ginger paste
12g sundried tomato paste
¼ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cumin
2 bay leaves
700ml beef or lamb stock
1 tin tomatoes
15g fresh parsley (plus extra for garnish)
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
200g cooked (or leftover roast) lamb, diced
Juice of quarter a lemon
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
Naan bread to serve (optional)

1) Fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the ginger and tomato paste, and fry a further 2 minutes. Add the paprika, mixed spice, cumin, bay leaves, stock, tinned tomatoes, parsley, and chickpeas, and cook for a further 10 minutes.
2) Add the lamb and cook for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste, and serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt on top, some extra chopped parsley, and with naan breads to dip if desired! 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Recipe: Quick Lamb Tagine with Toasted Almond Rice

Made so many "Mmmmm" noises whilst I was eating this my fella was laughing at me, haha. A tagine is normally a slow cooked thing, like a Morrocan casserole, but I didn't have too much time on my hands, and i have a truck load of already slow cooked diced lamb in the fridge/freezer, so I thought I'd make a quick tagine up. Great way of using leftover roast lamb after a Sunday dinner. Feel free to make this with couscous instead of rice if you want- I just have a massive bag of basmati in the cupboard to be using up.

Lamb Tagine with Mint and Toasted Almond Rice (serves 1 GENEROUSLY!)

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp mixed spice
1 tsp turmeric
70g tikka masala paste
15g ginger paste
10g fresh coriander, chopped
200ml beef stock
½ tin chopped tomatoes
25g honey
40g sultanas
150g leftover roast lamb/ cooked lamb, diced
Salt and pepper

70g basmati rice
15g fresh mint, finely chopped (plus a spring extra for garnish)
30g almond flakes, toasted
Knob of butter
Salt and pepper

1)      Fry the onion, garlic, paprika, mixed spice and turmeric for 5 minutes. Add the tikka paste and ginger and fry for a further 3 minutes. Add the fresh coriander, stock, tomatoes, honey, sultanas, and lamb, and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2)      Meanwhile, bring a small pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the rice according to instructions. Drain, and mix with the mint, almonds, butter, and seasoning. Season the lamb to taste and serve with the rice, with extra mint on top for presentation if desired. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Recipe: Lamb Biryani with Butternut Squash Curry

A biryani is an Indian rice dish, similar to a paella, cooked traditionally with either lamb, chicken, rice, onions, ghee and spices. It is a dry dish, and so usually served along-side a vegetable curry of some sort. The word "biryani" supposedly comes from the Persian word "birinj" for rice. It is one of my favourite Indian dishes- a dish I often order in my local curry house. A "Cartouche" is just a posh French word for a circle of greaseproof paper- oh, it brings me back to my catering college days!!

Lamb Biryani with Butternut Squash Curry (serves 2)

60g butter or ghee
2 white onions, finely sliced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 cardamom pods (keep the seeds, throw away the “pods”)
½ tsp mixed spice
1 tsp turmeric
6 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
180g basmati rice
100g natural yogurt
500ml lamb stock (or chicken stock)
300g dice cooked lamb
Salt and pepper
25g ginger paste

20g butter
1 white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp turmeric
10g fresh coriander (plus extra chopped coriander for garnish)
150g tikka curry paste
700g diced butternut squash (about 1 medium sized squash)
1 tin coconut milk
100ml pineapple juice
Salt and pepper

1) In a casserole pot (with a lid), fry the onions, garlic, cardamom, mixed spice, turmeric, cloves, bay leaves and fennel seeds in the butter (or ghee), for 8 minutes, stirring often. Add the rice, and fry for a further minutes.
2) Add the yoghurt, stock, lamb, ginger, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, and then put on a very low heat. Cover with a cartouche, and put a lid on the pot. Leave to cook for 50 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, in another saucepan, fry the onion, garlic, mixed spice, turmeric and coriander in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the tikka curry paste, and fry for a further 3 minutes. Add all the other ingredients, and cook on a medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4)  Remove the lid from the biryani pot, remove the cartouche and fluff up the rice. Serve the biryani with the curry, with some extra fresh coriander on top!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Recipe: White wine, Orange and Chilli Roasted Lamb Leg

I say lamb leg, I THINK this is a lamb leg joint, with a bone in the middle, you guys may have to correct me if I'm wrong? I got three of these with my big lamb hamper from Welsh Lamb- I cooked one this way, one is in the freezer, and I brought one to work- which I roasted with wholegrain mustard, parsley and cider, for the boys. Well, whatever cut it is, it's certainly delicious and tender cooked with this method. I didn't eat this as a "roast" dinner actually- I've saved the meat, and have been using the meat in curries/ tagines, and I used the spicy lamb stock/ pan juices to make a biriyani yesterday- don't worry, recipes will be following suite!
White wine, Orange and Chilli Roasted Lamb Leg (serves 6)

2kg lamb leg joint (bone-in)
1 orange, zest and juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp hot chilli powder/ chilli flakes
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
400ml white wine

1)      Preheat the oven to 150C. Put the lamb leg in a roasting tray. Mix together the orange juice and zest, olive oil, chilli flakes, fennel seeds, parsley and plenty of salt and pepper. Rub all over the lamb.
2)      Pour the white wine into the roasting tray (and add the orange leftover bits- don’t chuck them away!), double wrap with tin foil, and roast in the oven for 5 hours. Remove from the oven, and flake the meat off the bone.
3)      Use the pan juices as a “jus”, or thicken with some cornflour to turn into a sauce. Serve with desired accompaniments!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Recipe: Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb, with Hasselback Potatoes, Sautéed mushrooms and Red wine gravy

I've never cooked rack of lamb before, this turned out really really nice! You might notice the lamb is very rare- this is because I do like my meat almost raw- "still mooing", or supposedly "still baa-ing" would be more appropriate in this case! Hasselback potatoes, if you've never heard of them, are lovely- they are like little spiky crispy potatoes- my mother in law makes them all the time so I thought I'd give it a go. They are called "Hasselback" potatoes because they were invented in a Swedish restaurant called "Restaurant Hasselbacken". If you fancy "quickening" up this recipe, you CAN (although it is a little fiddly) make baby hasselback potatoes, with new potatoes- they'll take 35 minutes rather than 1 hour 15. Also, whilst eating this, I thought it would also go really well with creamed leeks- will make this next time too!

Herb crusted rack of lamb, with Hasselback potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and Red wine gravy

8 vivaldi potatoes (or small baking potatoes)
20g butter
20ml extra virgin olive oil
Pinch dried basil
Salt and pepper

1 tbsp vegetable oil
8 bone rack of French trimmed lamb
15g Dijon mustard
15g runny honey
10g fresh basil, finely chopped
10g fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

1 red onion, finely chopped
200ml lamb (or beef) stock
200ml red wine
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Cornflour and water to thicken (optional)

20g butter
500g mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp mixed herbs
Salt and pepper

1)      Preheat oven to 180C. Slice straight down into the potato, without cutting them all the way through. Put onto a roasting tray (with enough space to put the lamb on later). Melt the butter and olive oil in a small saucepan. Brush the potatoes with the olive oil and butter, season with plenty of salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. 
2)      In a large frying pan, heat up the vegetable oil until very hot/ at smoking point. Season the rack of lamb with salt and pepper.  Sear the lamb on both sides for 3 minutes each side. Mix together the mustard and honey, and brush all over the rack. Put all the herbs over the rack of lamb (the honey mustard mixture helps it stick). Place the rack of lamb on the roasting tray next to the potatoes. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes (for rare).
3)      In the frying pan that had been used to sear the lamb, fry the red onions for 5 minutes. Add the red wine, stock, salt, pepper and sugar, and cook on a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. If you want a “jus”, do not add cornflour, if you want a “gravy”, 2 minutes prior to plating up, add cornflour mixed with water to thicken.
4)      Meanwhile, fry the mushrooms, garlic, mixed herbs and seasoning in a saucepan for about 15-20 minutes (until the mushrooms are cooked really!). Remove the lamb and potatoes from the oven. Carve the lamb into 8 separate pieces, season the mushrooms and sauce to taste, and serve all of the separate elements together!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Recipe: 4 Hour Slow Roasted Lamb Breast

I was talking about lamb cuts earlier, when I got this delivered I thought it might be some sort of tied shoulder joint, but once I cooked it I realised it was a rolled breast joint. I wont lie to you, lamb breast is a fairly fatty cut- but that's why it needs slow cooking, so that once you've removed it from the oven and allowed it to rest, it's nice and easy to separate the fat from the meat- and then the meat is well soft and delicious. I served this with potatoes and stir fried mix veg.

4 Hour Slow Roasted Lamb Breast (serves 6)

2.25kg rolled tied lamb breast
Juice of 1 lemon
10g fresh parsley, chopped
15g fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
300ml chicken or lamb stock
Salt and pepper
Cornflour mixed with a little water to thicken sauce (if desired)

1) Preheat the oven to 150C. Put the lamb breast in a roasting tray. Mix together the lemon juice (don’t throw the lemon ends in the bin- chuck em in the roasting tray!), parsley, coriander, oregano, garlic, olive oil and red onion. Rub all over the lamb. Season well with salt and pepper.
2) Pour the chicken or lamb stock into the roasting tin, and wrap tin with double layers of tin foil. Roast in the oven for 3 hours 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the foil, and increase the oven temperature to 180C. Put back in the oven for 30 minutes.
3) Remove from the oven, remove the lamb from the pan juices, and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes prior to carving. Pour the juices into a saucepan, and boil for about 7 minutes, until reduced, skimming any fat off the surface. If you want a thin “jus”, do not add cornflour, but if you want a “proper gravy”, thicken this sauce with cornflour. Serve with desired accompaniments. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Recipe: Rich Lamb, Aubergine and Tomato Casserole

Yes, so I told you you'd be getting plenty of lamb recipes! Whilst certain cuts of lamb are lovely served nice and rare, other cuts need slow cooking in order to bring out delicious textures and flavours. Neck fillets are a good cut- little bit of fat marbling but not too much, and within an hour you have beautiful tender stewed meat. This is sort of an Italian style recipe, so I served it with pasta, but it's also very nice with mash.

Rich Lamb, Aubergine and Tomato Casserole (serves 3)

20g butter
1 red onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
550g diced lamb neck
¼ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 dried Kashmiri chilli, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
200ml red wine
1 tbsp sundried tomato paste
1 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 aubergine, diced
1 tin tomatoes
200ml beef stock
100ml milk
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped (plus extra for garnish)
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

1)      Fry the onion, garlic and lamb in a large saucepan or casserole pot, for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the mixed spice, paprika, chilli, bay leaves, red wine, tomato paste, and vinegar, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
2)      Add all the other ingredients, and cook on a medium heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Season to taste, and serve, garnished with extra parsley.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Competition: LambSoc's Lambassador Competition

Hey everyone! Yes that's right, MORE LAMB!! I have won another lamb-based competition, this time from LambSoc (aka The Lamb Appreciation Soceity). I have been posting various lamb recipes (and am continuing to do so) with the hashtag #Lambup, with the hope of becoming a Lambassador. Well, my Keema Matar recipe won me the title of Lambassador, as well as £20, and a kilo of lovely lamb mince. Not only that, but I am now in with the chance of winning the other prizes in the competition- 3rd prize being £100, 2nd prize £200, and first prize being a whopping great holiday to Marrakesh! So fingers crossed!
I thought i'd also show off my lamb delivery and my Baafta trophy! £100 worth of welsh lamb (it looks like theyve delivered me a whole sheep!! my fridge now looks like a butcher's shop window!). Can't believe i actually get a physical trophy too, haha, so cool. Expect a lot of delicious lamb recipes to come over the next month, i'm going to be living off it for a while me-thinks! Baaaaa!