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


signature

Maybe I Think Too Much

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

Rachelle X
lambprep2

lamb

cauliflower

chks

eastercake chk

Braised Lamb Shanks

A bit of prep and then just chuck it in the oven. A perfect meal when  you have guests.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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.

 


signature