My lover told me to make something special for Easter. I wanted to make rabbit in honour of the Easter bunny, but that was banned. The kill joy.
I’ve had this book on my shelf for years and I’ve never been able to use it. Gordon Ramsey’s Fast Food – it’s even written in an angry font…
This year Easter has crept up on me, but I’d had my eye on this recipe for a while; waiting for this season’s lamb. In New Zealand that season is autumn.
I’ve only ever done lamb twice before, first was lamb shanks, the second time was the lamb lollipops a few weeks ago (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/week-17-lamb-lollipops/) so I was intrigued by the idea of poaching it. I’d mastered eggs, how hard could a bit of sheep be?
Pretty hard actually.
To cook this for four you will need: 4 rumps of lamb (about 140g each), 800ml chicken stock, thyme, a bay leaf, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, 300g fresh peas, olive oil, chopped oregano, salt and pepper. As usual I was just cooking for me and him so halved the amount of lamb, peas and olive oil; but I used the same quantities for the stock.
First put the lamb in a cooking pot/pan in the stock with the peppercorns, coriander, bay leaf or thyme. Listen up ‘cos this is where I went wrong. Bring it just to the boil and turn it immediately down and simmer for 8 minutes. If you take your eye off it – like I did, and accidentally let it boil for longer then the meat will turn white and go rubbery.
A big draw to this recipe wasn’t just being able to swear like a trooper, I got to use my whizzy new processor while cussing in the kitchen. Boon! Blanch/thaw the peas (blanch the fresh, thaw the frozen) and put them in the blender. Pulse the peas to crush them slightly, not too much.
Fish the lamb out of the stock and place on a warm plate to rest for 10 minutes. I need a warmer plate, because mine was pretty much cold by the time I came to eat it, even wrapped in tin foil.
Put the peas in a pan with some olive oil and the chopped oregano and warm it through, then spoon the peas onto the plates. Gordon suggests spooning them into a ring so you can pretend to be eating somewhere posh… so I whipped out a pastry cutter and gave it a bash:
Chop the lamb, sprinkle with salt, pepper, olive oil, rude words, and more oregano and serve.
Would I make it again? Yes I would, just to see if I could get it right. I’d have to make it for myself, my lover was put off by the cold, rubbery, white meat and told me I could do the peas again but not the rest.
Gordon Ramsey’s Fast Food, by Gordon Ramsey (Quadrille Publishing 2007, ISBN 978 1844004539)
I did it again, I reached for the 15 Minute Meals book. Like last time there was a lot of mess, a massive panic, and the need to scrub my entire kitchen.
I’ve had my eye on this recipe since I got the book, and it took a bit of work gathering all the ingredients, but I finally got everything together. To feed four the recipe calls for: 300g basmati rice, 8 cloves, 40g red lentils, 300g peas, 8 lamb cutlets, 1 tbsp garam masala, 4 spring onions, a red chilli, a thumb sized bit of ginger, 4 jarred red peppers, 1 tsp runny honey, splash balsamic vinegar, 1 tin coconut milk, and 2 tbsp Patak’s korma paste.
I feel just like a Blue Peter presenter when I spread all the ingredients out, but I found with the Lamb Meatballs (Week 11 https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/week-11-lamb-meatballs-chop-salad-harissa-yoghurt/ ) that for the timings to work, everything needs to be ready to throw in. Of course, what I should have done was made sure the chilli, ginger, peppers and spring onions were chopped before I started – and so should you 😉
Firstly, put two frying pans on the heat and then put the rice in a saucepan with two mugs full of boiling water and the cloves. Add a pinch of salt and put the lid on the pan. Rub the shanks with salt, pepper, and the garam masala, bash them flat and put them in one of the frying pans with a tablespoon of olive oil.
In the other frying pan stir together the coconut milk, korma paste and the juice of half a lemon (pre-juice the lemon or you’ll read that and panic like I did) bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
Mix the lentils in with the rice then two or three minutes later (the time that Jamie thinks you can chop up the spring onions, chilli, ginger and peppers) toss the spring onions, chilli, ginger and peppers in with the lamb, then stir the peas into the rice.
By this time it should all be pretty much cooked… having said that I had managed to pretty much boil the rice onto the pan because I’m a slow chopper. Fluff up the rice and – depending on how you want to serve it – plate it up or put it in a serving bowl, the same goes for the curry sauce.
Toss the lamb with the honey and a splash of balsamic and serve. Jamie recommended serving with a scatter of coriander leaves, scrunched up poppadoms and natural fat free yoghurt… but I ignored him.
The rice was delicious, I’ve never used a lentil without glitter and glue before, but I think they really added to the flavour – I’ll make the rice again with other meals.
The bit I would change is the cut of meat used. Cutlets are really tricky to eat, there was a lot of rice on the floor by the time I’d finished and I ended up eating loads of the fat and still ended up leaving loads stuck to be bones. Also, my lover hates meat on the bone and eating fat, so maybe cutlets wasn’t the best choice for dinner!
I would definitely make it again, just not with cutlets.
Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (Penguin 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15780-7)
Oof… Happy New Year Y’all!
Welcome to the first weekly installment of New Recipe Night – from now on, every Friday!
It also marks the first recipe made from the first cookery book I’ve bought in six months – only because it was on offer when I bought my mum one for Christmas. It was rude not to buy it really. The book is Lorraine Pascale’s Fast Fresh and Easy food:
To serve four, the recipe uses Vegetable Oil, 5 Cardamom Pods, 2 tsp Garam Masala, 2 tsp Ground Tumeric, 1tsp Ground Cumin, 1 tsp Chilli Powder, a bunch of Spring Onions, 500g Lamb Chump Steak, 350g Basmati Rice, a tin of Coconut Milk, 100g Sundried Tomatoes, 50g Raisins and 25g Toasted Flaked Almonds.
I halved the quantities to make it for two people. Splitting it worked really well, with the added bonus that I can make it the day after Nigella’s Curry in a Hurry (see week 8: https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/week-8-curry-in-a-hurry/) using the left-over coconut milk. However, this is one recipe I wouldn’t make then freeze – just because I’m a bit gun-shy about freezing rice, but it’s really quick to make so it’s OK.
Unfortunately, with it being the last Saturday before Christmas when I made it, the butcher didn’t have lamb so I used beef instead.
It went together really easily and I was surprised just how straight forward the recipe was, especially after the Jamie Oliver recipe last week!
To start, heat a bit of oil in a pan, slam the cardamom pods open and put them in a pan with all the spices for 3 or 4 minutes. While this is cooks finely slice the spring onions, and cut the lamb into bite-size pieces (although my lovely butcher did this for me)
Turn the heat up and lob in the lamb and onions, with a little more oil, and brown the meat for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the rice, coconut milk and 100ml of water. Fit the lid, bring it up to the boil and then turn it down to a very gentle simmer and leave it for the amount of time the rice takes to cook (it says it on the packet)
When its done, you take off the lid and it should look like this (preferably better than this) and it will be just like Christmas!
While its cooking cut up the sundried tomatoes, some coriander (or mint) and stir them into the biryani when the rice is done, along with the raisins, and heat for a couple of minutes.
Season it with some salt and pepper, maybe stir in a knob of butter if you want your biryani to be extra creamy (I didn’t) and plate it up. Artfully sprinke some more coriander/mint and the toasted flaked almonds over it and serve it to admiring diners (who will shower you with compliments and maybe wash up)
The only thing I would change if I used beef again would be the cut of beef. When I told the butcher I was doing biryani he selected a cut of stewing beef, and as this recipe is really quick to cook the beef was pretty chewy. Delicious, but chewy.
Lorraine Pascale’s instructions are much clearer than mine, so I reckon this book is a must have for your kitchen (and its always really cheap in Smiths’)
Fast Fresh and Easy Food by Lorraine Pascale (Harper Collins 2012 ISBN: 978-0-00-793482-9)
Available here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lorraine-Pascales-Fast-Fresh-Easy/dp/0007489668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388749392&sr=1-1&keywords=lorraine+pascale+fast+fresh+and+easy+food or on 2 for £10/3 for £12.50 at WHSmith.