Monday, 8 September 2014

How to impress the parents: Slow-roast lamb tortillas

Well, hello old friends. This is the first post I've written for a while, but don't worry, the little giraffe has still been getting fed. I would blame my absence on my broken foot, but as I only broke it six weeks ago that would be stretching the truth a little. However, my very own personal recovery nurse (aka best mate Sarah) texted me last night to ask for this recipe, as her parents are coming to stay. She needed something that she could 'throw in the oven and leave' (her words) - but I'm rather hoping it was also because she liked it when I fed it to her back before the broken foot. 

Slow-roast lamb tortillas with roast peppers, bean chili and herby rice

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the lamb.
So here's one of the flamingo on my cast that Nurse
Sarah drew, instead...
Feeds six with a small leg of lamb. Increase amounts for more!

For the lamb leg or shoulder
Cut two large strips of foil and arrange so they make a cross shape. On top of this, place two slighter smaller strips of greaseproof paper in a cross shape. This is what you're going to wrap the lamb in so make sure the strips are big enough to fold over and seal. Pop your lamb in the middle.

Make a paste (or chop stuff really small) with 6 cloves of garlic, the juice and zest from 2 lemons, a tablespoon of preserved lemon (if you have it), 3 chilis, at least a tablespoon each of cumin seeds, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and black pepper, and a big glug of olive oil.

Make little cuts about a centimetre deep all over the lamb and massage the paste into it. Get your hands dirty! Throw on lots of fresh mint, sage and rosemary so that the meat is at least half covered with  herbs. Wrap up in the greaseproof paper and foil, and put in the fridge. The longer you marinate the lamb for, the better - but an hour at the least, overnight if you can.

When you're ready, cook the lamb in a low oven (140c or gas mark 4) for about 4 hours. For the last half an hour open up the parcel and throw a couple of peppers on top of the lamb. 

Rest the lamb for 10 minutes before pulling the meat off the bone in small chunks to serve - it should come away easily. 

Slice the peppers for serving.

For the bean chili...
Gently fry off onion, garlic and fresh chili with cumin seeds, ground coriander, allspice, paprika and cayenne pepper - or whatever you have in the cupboard. Add two tins of beans including the water (I like cannelini and borlotti for this) and a tin of tomatoes. Cook slowly for about 45 minutes or until the water has evaporated and you have a fairly dry chili-like texture. 

For the herby rice...
Cook a mug full of rice according to the packet's instructions and drain thoroughly. Gently fry some onions in butter and add the rice to it. Mix together with lots of chopped parsley and coriander and season well.

Serve with warmed tortillas for stuffing with melt-in-your-mouth lamb, roast peppers and chili beans. Serve the rice on the side with green salad dressed, and enjoy!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Shakespeare turns in his grave: Roast pork and vegetable potage

So the little ginger one and I have just arrived back from holiday in Tenby, on the coast in Wales. When I say the little ginger one, of course I mean the giraffe - not the other half or the cat. Although they are also both ginger which makes me slightly concerned for my own sanity.

Anyhow, the trip was lovely and relaxing and all the usual nondescript holiday nonsense words one might use. It also happened to be Shakespeare's 450th birthday, so as we were in self-catering accommodation the giraffe and I decided we'd have a little celebration. Invitations stamped with the Queen's seal and accompanied by a peasant playing the lute (honest) were delivered to the other residents, namely the other half, my long-suffering parents, and Colin. Yes, Colin is Mum's giraffe, obscurely named after a seagull. Now y'see where I get it from...

I'm not going to bother writing an entire recipe for what is essentially roast pork, apple sauce and a vegetable stew renamed for the occasion (sorry Shakespeare), but I did take a pretty picture or two, and thought I'd share them. Especially as the homemade Chance cards for Monopoly, satsuma-and-bamboo-skewer jousting and make-your-own-Elizabethan-name games were, if George may admit, rather clever...

Roast pork belly with crackling, apple sauce, vegetable potage and white trencher

And no, I didn't use tomatoes or potatoes as they weren't invented yet. Well, not in Europe, anyway.

George wasn't happy about this.
You get the idea...