Recipe: Slow-roasted lamb shanks

Slow-roasted lamb shanks

I have friends that just can’t get that I actually find cooking a lot of fun. It’s creative, relaxing and extremely satisfying when you produce something that everyone loves. I recently spent a day with my 10-year-old niece Kelly cooking dinner for the family and will always remember her smiling face as we sat around the table eating. She was so happy that she had created this delicious food.

Okay, entertaining can be stressful, so you need to plan carefully and make sure you are very organised. The dishes I most like serving are those that can be all prepared and in the oven before your guests arrive. So you can spend time talking to your friends rather than being confined to the kitchen the whole night.

These slow-roasted lamb shanks are one of those.They do take a bit of preparation but you can do all that ahead – and clean everything up, too. And the dish is absolutely delicious and, I think, rather an indulgent treat.

Working out quantities is also easy – one shank and two onions per person means simple serving – and no wastage either.

Do you have a favourite dish you like to cook for guests? I’d love to hear about it.

Recipe: slow-roasted lamb shanks

The melt-in-the-mouth shanks ready to be served

The ingredients

Serves 6

6 lamb shanks

2 tbsps vegetable oil

12 shallots, peeled

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

4cm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1 bottle dry white wine

2 tsps ground cumin

2 tsps ground coriander

3 tsps ground cinnamon

1 tsp cayenne pepper

300ml water

2 tbsps mint jelly

2 tbsps chutney

How to do it

Turn the oven on to 130C.

Fry the lamb shanks and shallots in the oil until they are browned.

Transfer them to a large roasting dish.

Sprinkle over the chopped garlic and ginger.

Pour the wine into a large container and mix in the cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne. Then pour it over the lamb shanks.

Add the water.

Spread the mint jelly and the chutney evenly through the dish.

Season with salt and pepper.

Tightly cover the dish with tinfoil.

Place in the oven and roast for 5 hours. Check the dish regularly to make sure it is slowly cooking and to spoon some of the liquid over the lamb shanks. Gently turn the shanks over a couple of times during the cooking.

Serve with cumin roasted potatoes and your choice of vegetables.

My star anise carrot puree the perfect accompaniment, you can find the recipe by clicking here.

Recipe: slow-roasted lamb shanks

The browned shanks before the wine and spices are added

And you can find the recipe for the cumin potatoes (very easy and totally irresistible) by clicking here.

Recipe: cumin potatoes

Crispy little potatoes with deep cumin flavours

 

Recipe: Summery chicken casserole

Okay, so the not-so-good British summer limps along with odd sunshine appearances making us briefly happy before plunging us back into the inevitable rain and grey-sky-punctuated days of July. So while I’d love to be lounging in my garden with the barbecue sizzling, practical considerations (barbecues aren’t so much fun when it’s raining) mean that my cooking mind is heading in a different direction…a stew direction.

Today I decided I needed to come up with a satisfying chicken casserole that also has a taste of summer about it. The flavour combination of honey, orange juice and tomatoes is beautifully light and zesty and works perfectly with the tender chicken thighs and creamy butter beans.

HONEY AND ORANGE CHICKEN WITH BUTTER BEANS AND TOMATOES

Serves 6

IMG_4030

The final dish topped with chopped parsley

900g boneless chicken thighs, chopped into generous bite-sized pieces

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

4cm piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

4 tbsp runny honey

Half tsp saffron strands

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes in juice

5 tbsps passata

1 litre chicken stock

2 x 400g cans of butter beans

Juice of 1 orange

Salt and pepper

Two handfuls flat leafed parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based casserole dish or pan on the stove. Fry the onion, garlic and ginger over a medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the honey, saffron, cinnamon, tomatoes, pasta and stock. Bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the chicken pieces. Season to taste. Cook for about 20mins on a low simmer.

Add the orange juice and butter beans and cook for another 15 minutes on low, until the chicken is tender and everything else is thoroughly heated through.

Sprinkle generously with chopped parsley.

Serve with rice and vegetables.

I got my chicken from The Black Farmer. The company was set up by Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones and produces gluten-free products that are also RSPCA assured which means the company has a vision for all farm animals to have a good life and be treated with compassion and respect. The products are also of the highest quality, these thighs were packed with flavour.

TBF_FR_thigh-filletsThe Black Farmer produces a range of sausages, burgers, free range chickens, bacon, eggs and meatballs. Much of the range is available online at Ocado and you’ll also find the beef burgers at Asda and the chickens at selected Budgens.

Find out more at theblackfarmer.com

IMG_4023

The chicken stew simmers on the stove


Recipe: The Black Farmer’s burgers with roast red vegetables

Today I’ve been asked to sample some beef burgers from The Black Farmer. The company was set up by Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones and produces gluten-free products that are also RSPCA assured which means the company has a vision for all farm animals to have a good life and be treated with compassion and respect. Well, I’m all for that.

The beef burgers look beautifully plump and juicy and I decided to think laterally and come up with a different way to cook them. Sometimes my somewhat weird cooking ideas don’t work out quite as I’ve visualised them in my head, but today this dish was even better than I’d expected.

I started off by roasting some vegetables. Colour in food is so important to me and when I was trawling around the supermarket choosing my veg, lots of vibrant reds attracted me. So red roast vegetables it is.

For two servings I used:

1 red pepper, cored and sliced

1 red onion, peeled and quartered

12 cherry tomatoes, whole on the vine (I think cooking them on the vine enhances the flavour of the whole dish)

3 tbsps olive oil

Place the pepper and onion in a roasting tray and pour over the olive oil. Make sure they are well coated in the oil.

Place in the oven at 180C for about 20 minutes until they start to soften. Then add the tomatoes.

IMG_3941

A tray of redness to roast

I love the large portobello mushrooms around at the moment and came up with the idea of using them as a base for the burgers instead of a bun.

Add the mushrooms to the roasting tray when you add the tomatoes and drizzle over a little more olive oil. Cook for another 10 mins.

Then place the burgers on top of the mushrooms, return the tray to the oven and cook for 10-15 mins until the burgers are mostly cooked through. I like them very slightly rare in the middle.

IMG_3948

Vegetables sizzle and the burgers cook atop the juicy large mushrooms

Check that your burgers are cooked and serve with mustard mayo. I make the mustard mayo by mixing three large tsps of mayonnaise with one large tsp of Dijon mustard. It’s really delicious and goes equally well with the veggies and the burgers.

The combination of sweet vegetables, earthy mushroom, meat burgers and spicy mayo is fabulous. Give it a try. Do you have any inventive ways of serving burgers? I’d love to hear your recipes, do get in touch.

TBF_Beef_Burgers

The Black Farmer produces a range of sausages, burgers, free range chickens, bacon, eggs and meatballs. Much of the range is available online at Ocado and you’ll also find the beef burgers at Asda and the chickens at selected Budgens.

Find out more at theblackfarmer.com

Recipes: Two tasty dishes using lamb mince

So I’ve been asked to enter the Lamb Recipe Challenge and come up with a tasty, original lamb recipe. Never one to turn down a challenge, I put my mind to creating something deliciously different. I had so many ideas I’ve ended up creating two dishes using lamb mince – so you’ve got double value today! #LoveLambChallenge

Here’s my take on a lamb burger first. I was thinking about putting a different twist on a cheeseburger and came up with the idea of stuffing the burger with a herby goat’s cheese mixture. And that got me to thinking of French flavours which is when I added the Dijon mustard mayo. Along with a large, juicy slice of tomato and a handful of rocket, this is a splendidly mouth-watering combination. The cheese mix keeps the meat beautifully moist and is a lovely surprise when you slice your burger open.

Don’t forget to read on for my spiced kofta kebab recipe with a special secret ingredient.

HERB AND CHEESE LAMB BURGERS

IMG_1778

Add Dijon mustard mayo, tomato and rocket for a dream combo

Makes 4 burgers

500g lamb mince1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 egg, beaten

100g white breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

For the filling

100g soft goats cheese

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

To serve

4 ciabatta rolls

Mayonnaise

Dijon mustard

A large tomato

Rocket

Heat half the oil in a pan and fry the onion over medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft and transluscent. Allow to cool

Mix the cooked onion, lamb, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, salt and pepper together thoroughly.

Divide into four and roll into balls. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mix the goat’s cheese, basil and oregano together thoroughly. Cover and chill for five mins.

When you’re ready to cook, make an indentation in the centre of the lamb ball with your finger (making sure not to pierce the other side). Fill it with a large teaspoon of the goat’s cheese and then make a meatball again around the filling. Flatten it to make a burger.

Heat the remaining oil and cook for 10 mins on each side until nicely browned.

Spread a halved ciabatta roll with a mix of half mayonnaise, half Dijon mustard. Place the burger on top and add a large slice of tomato and a handful of rocket. Serve immediately.

IMG_1776

A substantial burger with a cheesy centre

One of my favourite South African dishes is called bobotie. You can find my recipe for it by clicking here. It’s a kind of lamb mince bake with spices, fruit, eggs and cream added and is truly delicious. So I thought I’d try to produce something similar in the form of a kofta kebab. My special ingredient is the marmalade – make sure you use a chunky one, I used Hartley’s Olde English thick cut marmalade. It adds a lovely sweetness and balance to the spice and really brings out all the flavours. I’ve served it here in a warmed mini naan bread – but these tasty little kebabs would work just as well with a salad or vegetable dish or served as snacks. How’s that for versatile?!

SPICED AND SWEET LAMB KOFTA KEBABS

IMG_1792

Cucumber raita and chutney in the naan complete the delicious parcel

Makes 12 kofta

500g lamb mince

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tsps cumin

2 tsps coriander

2 tsps medium curry powder

2 tbsp thick cut marmalade

1 tbsp sunflower oil

Salt and pepper

To serve

8 mini naan breads

Cucumber and yogurt raita

Chutney

Fry the onion for about 10 minutes until softened.

Mix together all the ingredients well.

Shape the mince into sausage shapes on small skewers.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the koftas for around 15 minutes turning regularly to make sure they are evenly cooked.

Spread a dollop of cucumber raita inside a mini naan bread. Slide the kofta off its skewer, place on top of the raita. Add a dollop of chutney and serve.

IMG_1788

Close up to the spiced kofta

Do you have a favourite recipe using lamb mince? Or any other cut of lamb for that matter? I’d love to hear about it, so do get in touch.

The Cook with Biltong Club: Asian-style biltong salad

So today I’m happy to be creating another delicious dish using one of my favourite ingredients: biltong. The Chichester Biltong Company have come out with a new biltong flavour – teriyaki – which I thought would go perfectly in a crisp salad with flavours of the East. And it did. This recipe is quick to prepare and tastes absolutely amazing…your guests will be licking the bowl clean – we did!

IMG_3807

My Asian biltong salad creation

Serves 2

Half a small iceberg lettuce, finely chopped

Half a small cucumber, sliced into batons

4 spring onions, shredded

1 large handful of fresh Thai basil

1 large handful of fresh mint

100g rice noodles, cooked and cooled

35g teriyaki biltong

1 large handful of peanuts

For the dressing

4cm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Juice of two limes

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tsps fish sauce

1 tsp brown sugar

2 small dried chillis, crumbled

Lay all the chopped ingredients out on a platter, starting with a layer of lettuce and finishing with the noodles.

A platter of beautifully fresh greenness

A platter of beautifully fresh greenness

Delicate noodles form the next layer

Delicate noodles form the next layer

Then lay the sliced biltong on top and scatter the peanuts over.

Make the dressing and pour over. Toss the salad and serve.

The tossed salad and its zesty dressing

The tossed salad and its zesty dressing

To order from a wide range of deliciously flavoured biltong including habanero, garlic, barbecue, periperi and of course classic steak, visit Chichester Biltong Company.

IMG_3792

 

 

Recipes: Cooking with lamb

I love cooking with lamb, it’s such a flavoursome meat and as there are so many cuts it’s extremely versatile – you can create some really imaginative dishes.

I recently went to taste some lovely lamb creations at Cyrus Todiwala’s Spice Namaste restaurant which is only a short walk from the magnificent Tower of London. Celebrity chef Cyrus talks with passion about the lamb he cooks with and when you taste his food, you can feel the love.

So I thought I had to  share the recipes with you – they are simple to make and will be a great addition to your weekly menu. Enjoy

Blue cheese stuffed lamb burger

Makes 6 burgers

BlueCheeseStuffedLambBurger (1)

Succulent burgers stuffed with cheese

 

675g lamb mince

1 finely chopped medium onion

2-3 cloves minced garlic

1 x 2inch piece minced fresh ginger

1 slender type minced green chilli (seeds included)

1 tbsp ground cumin powder

1½ tbsp ground coriander powder

2 tbsp tomato purée

3 heaped tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander

1 tsp Garam Masala powder

1-2 tsp salt

1 tsp crushed black pepper

For the stuffing

150g blue cheese, crumbled

2 finely chopped green chillies

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander

2 finely chopped cloves of garlic

Rolls or bread, to serve

In a large bowl gently mix all the burger ingredients together.  Divide into 6 evenly–sized burgers.

In a small bowl blend the stuffing ingredients together and shape into equal-sized balls to stuff the burgers.

Make an indentation in the centre of each burger with your thumb and fill with a ball of the cheese. Make sure the cheese is completely encased when you form the burger.

Cook on a prepared grill or barbecue for 6-8 minutes on each side or until any meat juices run clear.

Serve with your favourite bread or rolls with some sliced tomatoes, onion and lettuce and some relish.

Lamb in chilli, garlic and cinnamon

Serves 6

DicedLambwithChilliGarlicCinnamon2

Beautifully tender and spicy lamb

675g lamb leg, shoulder or neck fillet, cut into 1 inch/2.5cm cubes

5-6 whole red chillies, broken into pieces

1tbsp coriander seeds

1tsp cumin seeds

1 x 2-3inch piece cinnamon stick or cassia bark, broken into pieces

1 x 3inch piece ginger, finely crushed

6 garlic cloves, finely crushed

½tsp ground black pepper

2-3tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil

1tsp salt, to taste

Freshly chopped coriander, to garnish

In a small pan dry roast the spices for a few minutes until they give off a great aroma and become crisp. They will change colour but do not allow to burn. Cool and crush to as near a powder as you can get.

Transfer the spices to a blender or liquidiser with the ginger, garlic and oil then blend to form a smooth paste.  You may need to add 1-2tbsp cold water too.

Spoon into a large bowl, add the lamb and coat in the masala, transfer to a sealable container and chill in the fridge for a few hours.

Either thread the cubes onto small kebab skewers (if using wooden ones soak in warm water for 20 minutes) and cook under a preheated grill or prepared barbecue for 6-8 minutes on each side Garnish with coriander and serve with a cooling raita.

More great lamb ideas coming soon to www.tastyeasylamb.co.uk