Easter came and went in a haze of chocolate! My god the Easter bunny totally went for it this year. It was so cold I told the girls I was postponing any the egg hunt until the temperature rises above freezing! We are still waiting.
Three children house bound due to freezing temperatures and high on chocolate. Oh how relaxing and stress free this Easter was. Pavilina (my children’s Nanny and my saviour) hugged me goodbye on Friday and wished me luck. I needed it.
Lola and Tilda are at the age where they literally bicker and argue over everything and I mean everything. Then, when I get involved they both gang up on me and are best friends. But still at least I have The Ru. He is still too young to truly realise the house of cards he is living in….
Every Easter I cook lamb, I know the whole world does but I rarely cook red meat (as you may have realised). I probably cook lamb about three times a year. I usually opt for the shoulder cut. It is reasonably cheap and when slow roasted, sublime. The recipe I pretty much always do is based on the Sky Gyngell’s. It involves anchovies, lemon rind, oiive oil, rosemary and garlic all mashed up in a mortar and pestle and smothered over the joint then covered and slow roasted for about three hours.
This year I opted for lamb shanks. Again the same principal as the shoulder, they need a long slow roast. I braised them with red wine, tomatoes, rosemary, lemon rind, whole garlic and baby onions and seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. In a large cast iron dish, lid on, oven 170C 3 hours. Bloody hell its delicious!
I also made my traditional chocolate easter cake. It is based on the Nigella, cloud cake. I use a butter cream icing dolloped on top and then decorate with baby chicks and easter eggs. I took great pleasure this year in decapitating one of the chicks and shoving its wiry neck into a chiselled out chocolate egg! Stressed me? No not at all..
I leave you with some pics and my recipe for lamb shanks..
Happy half term to ya’ll
Braised Lamb Shanks
A bit of prep and then just chuck it in the oven. A perfect meal when you have guests.
- 4-6 lamb shanks
- 4-5 small onions
- 8 anchovies
- 6 whole cloves of garlic (peeled)
- Rind of 1 lemon
- Large sprig of rosemary (finely chopped)
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 large glass of red wine (for the pot and for you too)
- Olive oil (for browning the lamb
- Salt and pepper
Serves 4/5 people
Turn the oven on to 170C.
Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy oven proof pan which has a lid. Turn the heat to medium and season the lamb shanks liberally with salt and pepper. Brown the shanks in the pan sealing all sides and remove.
After you have browned all the lamb. Add a little more oil if need be and throw in onion, garlic, rosemary, lemon peel. Toss in the oil for a few minutes until fragrant. Pour in the glass of wine and tomatoes and really scrape the bottom of the pan so all the meat flavour is incorporated into the sauce. Add the lamb shanks and toss them in the sauce. Put the lid on and place in the oven for 3 hours. Check after 2 hours and give them a little stir. I then leave the lid off for the last half an hour to reduce the sauce a bit.
Serve with you sides of choice. I served mine with roasted cauliflower with paprika and roast potatoes.