Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Moroccan Lamb

Just looking back through some old photos (at some point in the past I thought I would start keeping a photo record of what I cooked, but that didn't last for long) and found some nice shots of a Moroccan lamb recipe that I did some time ago. For once I actually remembered to do before and after pictures:

(you can see the chef has had a sneaky glass of wine already)

This leg of lamb was marinated overnight in lemon and saffron, plus others spices and oils, and I served it with spinach:

I'm a sucker for dishes like this - more or less one pot cooking, with everything pretty much ready in one dish, and loads of great flavours melding together into one. That lamb may look a little dry but believe me it wasn't, and the juices from the cooking made for an instant gravy.

A lot of recipes with legs of lamb suggest puncturing the meat and inserting slices or garlic or rosemary, which I've never been happy about doing and have stopped now, especially after one particularly dry result. I can't think of a better way to dry out a piece of meat than stick a knife all over it, and fail to see the point - you can get plenty of flavour on your plate without this technique. And why just lamb? You don't see anyone recommending it for beef, chicken or pork now. I think it's just become a habit, and to my mind can easily make a nice piece of meat far too garlic and herb ridden. OK, rant over!

Another recipe very similar to this one is the old English way of taking a leg of mutton to the butchers of a Sunday morning, and there's an Italian variant too - but more of them another time.

Beef Wellington

Not some recent cooking - this was Beef Wellington for Boxing day a couple of years ago. I just had to share this picture though - how fab does that look? To be honest whilst it was good it wasn't great - looked better than it tasted in the end, and I think my mum in particular would have liked it perhaps just a little more cooked ... !

It's a real pleasure to make though, and a nice challenge as it's quite hard to get everything just right. I always feel that recipes like this are the best type, simple yet complex, and are the best judge of a cooks skill.

Carbonara is another example - a simple dish that's very hard to do well. I used to cook it all the time when I was young, and thought it was great, then I had it in a restaurant in Padova when I was about 22 and realised how bloody awful mine was! I think I've finally got it working again now, although sometimes it can be a little bitter (which I think is me overdoing the pancetta). This is the recipe I like to choose when visting a new resturant to see just how good the chef is.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Now that's what I call a lasagne! A favourite in most people's houses I'm sure, although I'm getting fussier and fussier about mine. Now it's not good enough unless it's been made with left over from a roast rib of beef and freshly made pasta sheets. I find you just can't get enough flavour into the pasta unless you make it yourself, plus that way you can get just the thickness you want - and I like mine with lots of thick sheets and not much sugo but loads of bechamel ...
Posted by Picasa

Chicken time again

Bit of a favourite, chicken, and this recipe too. I tend to go for Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's herb roast chicken recipe, although as ever I put it together in my own particular way.

This time around it was parsely, sage, rosemary and thyme (isn't that a song?) all chopped up finely and mashed together with a good lump of butter, some black pepper and a garlic clove. Smear that lot all over the chicken (local free range, of course - mine come from Ottery St Mary, just down the road) and then I stuck half a lemon, a bay leaf and some seasoning inside.

That goes into my preheated (fan) oven at 180°C, and this time around I put it in the rack within the roasting pan, which is the first time I've tried it. I tend to do my chicken's for 15 mins per pound plus 15 mins these days, although even that is a bit much I reckon - partly because my new oven (a Smeg) is a bit powerful.

And with it, well good old dauphinois potatoes again. Say what you like but I think they're fab, especially with this dish. And cabbage with bacon for a veg (fry bacon first till crispy, then in goes shredded cabbage and maybe a splash of water, and let it steam till juicy). Loads of gravy made from chicken stock and scrapings from the pan of course. Oh, and a nice Chilean Chardonnay.

So what was the verdict? Pretty tasty on the whole. Still think my dauphinois could have a just a tiny bit more salt, and the gravy (whilst delicious) was a bit of the thick side - not exactly classy! Probably won't use the roasting rack again, as I don't think it added anything, and made it very tricky to baste the bird during cooking. Plus I didn't get as many crusty bits on the bottom of the roasting pan to add flavour.

A picture of the leftovers, from the Monday after - still bloody good!

Back for more

I really don't post it here very often do I? Not so much a blog as an accident.

Well I'll try and change that. Need somewhere to start going on about education and technology, so maybe this isn't a bad space to record some thoughts.

-- change of plan: think this is going to be the place for tales about my Sunday Roasting!


Related Posts with Thumbnails