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Always In The Back Of My Mind

I’m sitting outside a little cafe in Islington, with the dog asleep at my feet drinking some very lovely Fentiman’s Ginger Beer, trying to figure out where to begin with the last two weeks of work and life. I have been juggling designing wedding flowers, recipes and helping organise and working on ScandiFeast. What a wonderful weekend that was. I will be posting photos very shortly.

From time to time I am invited to foodie events. I try to pick and choose the ones which I feel I have a strong interest in. Also childcare is obviously a factor so if I am going to go out of an evening, it pretty much has to be something that I can justify forking out for childcare.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Cafe Spice Namaste to spend an evening with Cyrus Todiwalla. Now I am not going to turn that down! Cyrus and his wife are wonderful hosts. They always make you feel like you are eating in their home. Cyrus spent the evening demoing and feeding us Lamb dishes. He talked about the small hold farms where he sources the lamb from and we also met an Irish now farming in the midlands sheep farmer and he gave a brilliant talk about the typical day of a sheep farmer. You could tell he totally loved his work.

One of the things I learnt was that lamb sales were lower then chicken, pig and cow. Oh and also its a generation thing. If you are over 40 then you would quite easily make lamb your meat choice but the younger generations don’t know how to cook it! That I found weird. Shoulder of Lamb, rub with olive oil, garlic and rosemary, shove in the oven for a few hours…Dinner!

Cyrus made the most delicious canapés with cuts of the lamb that you wouldn’t necessarily choose. Lamb breast was so tender and delicious. Oh and he made burgers with lamb mince and stuffed a piece of blue cheese inside before frying. He also seasoned the lamb mince and invited us to eat, lamb tartare. I cannot explain how delicious the raw meat was. So sweet and perfectly seasoned. He flash fried in minutes cubes of simply spiced lamb loin. It was tender and pink and blew away any myths that lamb has to be cooked for a long time.

I left stuffed and vowing to quiz my butcher about all the different cuts he can supply.

I leave you with a Cyrus recipe for blue cheese stuffed lamb burger and also a diagram showing you all the different cuts of Lamb and how to cook them. I found it really useful I hope you do too. I’m heading off to get some cuts of Lamb for the BBQ tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

BlueCheeseStuffedLambBurger LambSheekKebabswithFruitWalnuts

BLUE CHEESE STUFFED LAMB BURGER

By Cyrus Todiwala

“Burgers might be an American invention or creation but the Kebab or Kavaab is very Indian, Persian, Turkish, Lebanese and so on. In India the burger would be actually a kebab of sorts.

I simply had to devise a burger with spices. It is simple to put together and just shows what you can do if you think just a little bit differently. So be brave and create – perhaps you will make many more combinations and bring out the best in the lamb you buy. Enjoy!”
Makes 6 burgers
Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  • 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.

 

By Cyrus Todiwala 2015 for www.tastyeasylamb.co.uk


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Friendly Pressure

My kids are being supremely wonderful this week. I know, I know, what the hell is going on? Tilda the “spanky one” keeps telling me that I look like Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and she told me that I was the prettiest mommy in the whole world. Ok you, what the hell are you after? Lola has decided that she is in charge of all the tidying of the bedroom. It is spotless, she even took all the clothes out of the drawers and refolded them and put them back, oh and sorted out the winter, summer clothes and put the summer clothes away! Ok that sounds a bit OCD. Should I be worried?

Its become a little easier in the last few months having all of them, The Ru has definitely turned into a little boy. Wants to be self sufficient, won’t allow me to help him out, unless under dire circumstances. When my children are getting on so well, I tend to want to spend more time with them. I know its stating the obvious and I know I am their sole carer (well I have Pav their nanny of course) but it just makes me want to treat them for being so bloody bearable. How do I do that?

Well they choose all the meals at the weekends and I make it so. Oh and my new, not very expensive at all and totally wonderful treat. Tad Restaurant which is literally in our front garden. My god how did I not go there before now? The food is really really good, fresh, healthy, beautifully grilled meats, the salads are divine. They do this roast onion salad, its big chunks of roast onion, in a pomegranate and a turkish sauce thing called Shaldam. Its a bitter, sweet, vegetable based sauce, or drink. I am not sure really, but after harrasing one of the waiters to get the recipe. I tried to remake it. It wasn’t right. I need to talk to the chef. I am so going there and refusing to leave until I get the right recipe. It is so good, If you are ever in Hackney. Go there, The Calimari is sublime. All the food is really really good. The staff are wonderful and the best bit. It is so bloody cheap. My kids eat the entire left side of the menu, 2 portions of calamari, a giant pizza, greek salad, a grilled meat dish, rice and then lots of side salads. I have one (really I do) glass of wine, the kids have a round of lemonades. £35 tops! Brilliant. So good.

As well as loitering with intent at our local restaurant, I have actually managed to do some cooking this week. Last weekend was a bit of a bake off. I made enough pizza dough to feed an army. I sent pizzas down the road to our neighbours. I turned some of the dough into an olive focaccia. One of my favourite breads to make. I turn the dough into an oval shape and dimple it with my fingers then pour a ton of olive oil on. More then you think is necessary. Keep pouring so the dimples are filled with oil. then dot olives all over the top, add some shards of rosemary and a good generous sprinkle of sea salt.  Turn the oven onto 170C and place the bread on top of the oven loosely covered to prove again. A second rise will make it light and the crumb will be perfect. Place in the oven for 35 minutes or until the bread is lightly golden around the edges and cooked.

Oh and PS I did harass the chef at Tad Restaurant. I have the correct recipe now. I shall practice this week and share next week.

Have a great week

Rachelle x

pizzagordon medpizza kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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I’m Running Catch Up With Me

Ok its been a bit busy over here. I have loads to talk about but will pace myself. The kids haven’t seen much of me in the last couple of weeks. I think that is probably a good thing, you know how absence makes the heart grow fonder and to be honest after half term I think we all needed to take a bit of time out.

My friend Uju and I have not been able to find the time to hang out at all in the last year and now it seems we are at every foodie event together! We were invited to an event hosted by Tribal Media. They were launching a new gluten free range of foods by Ilumi. We were given a cooking demonstration and we tried a selection of their products. I was really impressed. We ate Tom Kha Gai Soup, delicious. I also had gluten free pasta with meatballs in a tomato sauce and for dessert a chocolate brownie made by the Knead Bakery and non dairy vanilla ice-cream. The Brownie was totally delicious and you would not have known it was wheat free…I was totally impressed. Nuff said!!

So, not content with seeing Uju and having a little glass of wine too for that lovely evening. We hook up on the Saturday with the brood to check out Big Apple Hot dogs new venue at Off Broadway on Broadway Market. Her husband owns the company and they have pop ups all over the place. Check them out best hot dogs in town!  The kids were suitably furnished with theirs and Uju and I furnished ourselves with a cocktail or two…Hehe. Abe (Uju’s husband) said that we should come here every Saturday and call it the “Cocktail Creche” I like her husband!

Amongst all my social engagements (Ok two but that is unheard of over here) I did actually do some work. Had a shoot at Rasoi with Lisa Barber for a charity cookbook. One of three shoots that are happening over the next couple of weeks. I also managed to throw together a few half decent meals for the offspring.

Its summer (apparently) and as usual I start thinking about tapas and meze and summer holidays somewhere hot and Spanish food and then I realise I am bloody cold and need to make a stew! So I created a Spanish tapas inspired summery stewy thing. Butter beans, tomatoes, garlic, bratwurst sausages (ok not very Spanish but they were in the fridge). The kids especially Tilda mainlined it!

Its cheap to make and totally perfect for a summers winters day!

Have a good one y’all!

Rachelle X

Rasoi copy GlutenFreeMeet GF Brownie copy tilda2 copy TessaKiros Butterbeansausage

Bean and Sausage Casserole

As you can see from the photo I added eggs to this. You don’t have to. I would and did have this for breakfast well more of a brunch thing. I think I gathered inspiration from about 3 popular spanish dishes and then merged them. I soak an entire bag of butter beans to cook but please use a can if you wish. I just think the tinned ones don’t hold their shape as well. Plus when you cook your own beans you can add a load of flavour to the beans.

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of butter beans (or use a can if you wish)
  • I can of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 bratwurst sausages (or any cured sausage of your choice the most obvious being chorizo)
  • I onion (roughly chopped)
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • Squirt of tomato puree or ketchup
  • 4 eggs (optional)
  • A handful of parsley (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

Directions

I soak a whole bag of beans the night before then cook them as per instructions adding a chopped onion, bay, peppercorns, a carrot whatever herbs I have to hand. Then I store them in the fridge thoroughly dressed in olive oil and lemon juice. You can then use them as and when you feel. I chuck a handful in a salad, or they are great with roast chicken throw them in the roasting dish about 20 minutes before you take the chicken out.

Take a deep heavy pan with a lid and on a medium heat  add olive oil and  then chopped onion with a big fat pinch of sea salt. When the onion is translucent after 5 mins of so of cooking add the garlic, cook for another minute or two, then add the beans tomatoes, chopped up sausage, and tomato paste (or ketchup) stir and simmer gently with the lid on for about 20 mins until the tomatoes have lost their rawness and the sausage is totally warmed through.

Then crack your eggs onto the stew and season with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and cook for a further 8 mins with the lid on. When the eggs are cooked sprinkle the parsley on top and serve with warm butter bread..I want to make this again now!

 

 


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