Category Archives: Lamb

Cooking Up In a Storm

Difficult to miss out on a pun with aphorism and descriptor so wittily combined, but then, there’s the gastronomic comedy genius that is adored by my many readers around the world and other people not in my family.

So we had a duck from the rather well named ‘luv-a-duck’ company whose pork, duck and fennel sausages we rather like and the chicken is the current favourite too, so hey, let’s roast.

I’ve always done a good skin blanching with boiling water on most roast with some skin to crisp. so chicken a pork both get a kettle full of boiling water carefully poured over them. However, it’s a bit tricky to find a cool, draughty area to let the skin dry out. A bit of salt maybe helps.

Anyway, this duck got a good smearing of five spice powder and smashed ginger on the inside and was set spinning on the rotisserie as shown. A massive downpour towards the end called for Scottish barbecuing skills, barricading the flames from the water. Overall this was a frustrating effort as the coals just never got hot enough to get a good crisping. The duck wasn’t bad though.

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I did however manage to bake some bread, pushing the envelope of barbecuing. Again, the temperature wasn’t quite high enough, but I reckon it might be possible to make a bread oven if you could put some insulating material over the dome? To explore……..

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Annoying, I turned the lardy bread out and over the coals but this just burnt the lovely crust, darn it.

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The delicious platter above was courtesy of smellycheese.com who deliver very fine cheeses at a great price at great speed. As you can see, there is rather an enormous chunk of stilton in very fine condition. Where’s the port?

Shona’s getting a bit sick of my noodle soups but seems happy enough to scoff laksa. This was one I did on my own with leftover barra, fresh rice noodles, stock of some description, weird Indonesian paste, green pepper and rather successfully, pumpkin. Oh yes, coconut of course.

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Interestingly some locally reared lamb- Dorper Damara (??), a south African cross with middle eastern, leg roasted very nicely and carved very well the next day. Weirdly I had a leek, and felt a kind of kedgeree/ pilau urge.

I cooked the rice with some melted leek (careful not to burn), in butter, fried with some toasted and ground fennel seed, cumin, corriander and turemeric, then basmati rice. To this some lamb stock from the bones. Served as shown with some boiled eggs, (and one salted duck- why not?). A v pleasant luncheon.

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This chicken roasted supremely well. Inspired by Amy, of Amy’s warung whose (possibly enhanced a la MSG) bbq chicken is the finest in the land. I butterflied it down the vertebra, and smeared grated turmeric, galangal, garlic and chili on the ‘inner’ surface. I placed her over some tins containing aubergines and barbecued with the coals either side of the tins, so the chicken wasn’t over the heat, and put a lid on to assist roastage. Oh my, what a divine experience, possibly the best roast chicken I’ve done. I also made some magic green shit- blitzed corrinder (with root), mint and chive shallots woth coconut milk. No green chilis, (the kids….) but limes would be nice. Pawpaw salad and cucumber with plain rice. Very, very fine.

 

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Finally, some muesli. Shona’s been making a lot of this, and there are some terrifically complex combinations out there. I can’t be arsed with spices and vanilla in mine to be honest, and if I want fruit I’ll add my own dates etc, so a quick way is just to chuck in your oats (these are Swedish I think), with choppped nuts and something sweet. Today I used macadamia and almond with a few tablespoons of local honey, stirring every now and then. Even covered it was too hot, and interestingly the macadamias were more susceptible than the almonds.

225C was a bit high, but I was baking bread, note to self……

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French Lessons; it’s ‘SOO-BEEZ’

Maybe it’s the wake of the Tour de France, I’m not sure, but I can’t help but currently nod towards our Gallic friends and neighbours (OK, not currently). And more inspiration from Simon Hopkinson, very much the Englishman, whose ‘ Week in, Week Out’ I just can’t help but slaver over, and a man who respects classic French cuisine.

Some saltbush lamb in the freezer had my friend John’s name on it for some reason- no reason at all really, it just did. And ‘sauce Soubise’  hidden away in a chapter under ‘cheffy type sauces to keep handy’ was mentioned partnering lamb. There are versions with stock, and or a bechamel base, but I can’t imagine they could be better than the cholesterol hit described below. Maybe a lighter version would be better with a fattier cut of meat, say lamb chops?

Arm the spit roast, some driftwood/ charcoal from the beach on the Weber, and away we go.

  • 4 medium onions, chopped and slowly cooked 30mins in a knob of butter
  • A decent grind of white pepper

Then add

  • 50ml of vinegar (tarragon cider vinegar here), and reduce until no liquid,
  • 100ml white wine (reduce until almost no liquid), then
  • 300ml double cream  and
  • 1 bay leaf

Simmer for 20mins. Remove the bay leaf and whizz up in a blender, et voila.

Now, I must confess here that I completely under-cooked the lamb and had to resort to the highly risky option of microwaving (don’t do this at home kids, and if you must, don’t go above 50% power and check every couple of minutes).  There were four hungry children to feed so the pressure was on.

In the meantime the poor wee critters were so undernourished that my eldest started passing the naked shin bone (the only bit cooked), around with a straw into the marrow like some primeval childrens peace offering. A proud moment indeed. Roast potatoes in the pan underneath the meat, and glazed carrots with parsley.

It was a sheer delight watching the kids wolf this down followed by an apple and quince Tarte Tatin (with a smidgeon of cream). Oh joy.


Goose Green, Goose Red

Acoustic exaggeration of size in birds via tracheal elongation: comparative and theoretical analyses W. T. Fitch

My landlord is a fine chap. Not only is he happy to mend holes in the plaster made by fowl children, but he delivers the odd feathered fowl as shown here, a Magpie Goose. Last year I spent over 2 hours feathering the little plucker, and could have done with a pheasant pluckers son……Unsurprisingly, there is little fat on a wild tropical goose, so the skin is not the crispy holy grail of a fattened raised bird. They are also quite small, the effort/reward ratio is rather high. I decided just to skin this one. Strung up by the legs and a slit through skin over breast bone.

The skin peels away like a jacket over the wings, but you have to be careful as you take it off the abdominal wall. You need to dissect around the anus or you end up with crap everywhere.

Once you’ve done that, you can draw out the guts, and keep the tasty liver, kidney, heart and lungs for making into forcemeat balls.

I really underestimated the extra time required for cooking on the bone with this rack of lamb which wasn’t too different in weight to the beef fillet I did the other day. So on carving the entire eye was raw, thank god the only customers were the family. So, Lamb chops instead after turning up the bbq to 11 and cutting along the bone. Lot of spring onion and some skinny aubergine around the edge to cook slowly.

This is becoming a staple risotto round these parts. Risotto, like most things, isn’t difficult to do well, but easy to blaspheme.

1 Onion, finely cut and fried in

1 oz butter and tbs olive oil (apprx = slug of/ chunk of)

When translucent, mix in

250g risotto rice (usually I do 330g as this is a 1/3 of a pack, fancy stuff shown only 500g)

600ml chicken stock, add 100ml or so at a time, keep stirring every few minutes.

then, when the rice is almost done (so about 2/3 stock) add

1/2 roast butternut squash, skin removed.

Stir regularly, this is vital to get the creamy texture of risotto.

Lots of parmesan to serve, salt/ pepper as required.


Meat Porn

Variance on a theme by c. sativa

Well I might get a few more readers with that title, though I may get reported for misleading non- ‘mature’ content. Only mature thing around here is my receeding hairline. Anyway, the above dish was a freezer special, I had stewed some meats together, chicken, beef rib and chorizo with some frozen lobster stock left from Christmas (not ideal) and then kept for a rainy day. The beef ribs are often sold for the barbecue, but they are way too tough and are far better stewed.

The rains been a long time coming, but in with the Calasparra rice and saffron. Some yard long beans as shown, but no more seafood. I think this still comes under the paella umbrella. Come to think of it, I’ve never done the traditional Spanish rabbit based paella. I must make a note of that omission as they’ve got them at Meat Direct.

Pink lamb and Burghul wheat

To be honest I cant remember how I cooked this lamb. I think I smeared the last of my very delicious Massaman Thai paste  over it and rotisseried. It is also very good either in a chicken or on it deep fried, ‘Southern style’. Some soaked burghul wheat with some barbecued aubergines, olive oil. Some green beans and tomatoes, obviously.

Sweet soy belly pork

Shona made this with belly pork this time, not pork ribs. The soft and unctuous skin is rather good, though the bones do add, well, boneyness.  This is great for the slow cooker. It’s worth doing as many shallots as patience will allow. The ones you get here require Angelic levels of it; they are frigging tiny. Whole star anise, cinnamon stick, soy sauce, and palm sugar and a chili or two, children allowing. Yum, yum, yummity yum.

Not doing well with the cutting down on the dead animals.