Recipe of the week…………lamb

Roasted lamb shoulder with pumpkin salad

Roast Lamb and Pumpkin Salad

Bored with the same old Sunday roast, well why not get inspired by this delicious alternative? Succulent lamb shoulder rubbed with earthy spices and served with a lovely autumnal pumpkin and toasted almond salad. I far prefer lamb shoulder as it often has more flavour than leg. It’s great for roasting as the fat running through it leaves the meat succulent and tender. Ask your butcher to bone the shoulder for you. This recipe nods it’s head to the flavours of Spain with smoke paprika and sherry vinegar – it is really lovely. I like to serve it with chunky potato wedges and aioli.

Serves: 6

1.5 kg boned lamb shoulder

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

grated zest and juice 1 lemon

4 garlic cloves, grated

2 tbs each chopped fresh rosemary and thyme

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

salad

1 kg wedge pumpkin

1 red onion, thickly sliced

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

75 g un-blanched almonds, toasted

50 g raisins

2 tbs sherry vinegar

1 radicchio, separated into leaves and torn

a few fresh parsley leaves, torn

Preheat oven 200 c. Make a paste with the oil, spices, lemon zest and juice, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and rub all over lamb, cover and leave to marinate for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the salad. Cut the pumpkin into 1 cm wedges leaving the skin on. Combine with the onion, 1 tablespoon of oil and some salt and pepper and place in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning half way through until the pumpkin is charred and tender. Set aside until required. Reduce oven temperature to 180 c.

Place the lamb in a roasting tin and roast on the middle shelf for 1 1/4 to 1/12 hours depending on how you like your meat cooked. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 20 minutes. Drain off as much of the fat from the pan as possible and reserve any lamb juices, keep warm.

Return the pumpkin and onion to the oven for 10 minutes to warm through. Transfer to a platter and top with the almonds, raisins, parsley and radicchio. Whisk together the remaining oil and the sherry vinegar, drizzle over the salad. Slice the lamb and serve with the salad and reserved lamb pan juices.

 

© Recipes Louise Pickford. © Photo Ian Wallace. Image first published in Grazia UK

Recipe of the week…………beef and chocolate!

Winter is most certainly upon us, with frosty mornings and log fires. It is just the time of year when I begin to crave comfort food. This rich beef stew flavoured with cinnamon and chocolate was inspired by a classic Catalan dish Estofado de Ternera a la Catalana. A little dark chocolate is added to the stew towards the end of cooking giving it a unique flavour.  It is likely that the dish originated in Mexico, where chocolate is added to counteract the fiery heat of the chillies in the classic Mexican stew,  Mole poblano.

It can be served with rice, but I love it spooned over potatoes, mashed with olive oil.

Beef stew with chocolate and cinnamon

Beef Stew

Serves: 6

1.5 kg beef chuck steak, cubed

200 g panchetta, diced

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

75 ml red wine vinegar

2 onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

2 cinnamon sticks, crumbled

4 large sprigs fresh thyme

3 strips orange peel

300 ml red wine

750 ml beef stock

4 tbs tomato puree

2 tbs dark 75% or higher chocolate, finely chopped

salt and pepper

flat leaf parsley, to garnish

olive oil mash, to serve

Preheat the oven to 160c. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan and dry fry the panchetta for 2-3 minutes until golden. Transfer to a flame-proof casserole. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and fry the beef in batches for 5 minutes until evenly browned, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer to the casserole.

Pour the wine vinegar into the frying pan and stir over a medium heat to deglaze the pan and reduce slightly. Add to the meat.

Add the remaining oil to the casserole and fry the onions, garlic, carrot and some salt and pepper for 10 minutes. Add to the meat with the cinnamon sticks, thyme and orange peel and then stir in the wine, stock and tomato puree. Place some foil over the pan and then seal with the lid. Bring to the boil, transfer to the oven and cook for 11/2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Place the chocolate in a small bowl and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of the meat juices until smooth. Then stir this back into the stew and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve with olive oil mash.

Tip: Olive oil mash compliments the stew perfectly. Make mash potato in the usual way but substitute a fruity extra virgin olive oil for butter along with a splash of milk for the perfect consistency.

© text and recipe Louise Pickford/© photo Ian Wallace

First published in Grazia UK.

 

Photography & food styling workshop 2018

Introducing a brand new collaboration between Come Cook In France’s food styling and photography workshops and Les Soeurs Anglaises a boutique workshop and accommodation venue in the beautiful Dordogne department in SW France.

Learn the secrets of how to choose, assemble and cook beautiful and memorable food images with myself and husband, food and lifestyle photographer Ian Wallace. Together we will guide you through a 5 day course, enabling you to gain vital knowledge, experience and the confidence to create your own publication ready images, as well as enjoying the lifestyle and food of SW France. For prices and more details of the next course, please clink on the following link  Les Soeurs Anglaises 

The course runs from 6th-12th June 2018.

 

 

From jewels to jellies…….

Finally I have gotten around to making crab apple jelly! One of my earliest culinary memories is of my mum stirring a bubbling volcano of sweet juiciness, which miraculously ended up on my toast. I thought jelly went with ice cream (well of course this one could I guess?) but I was just as happy with my teatime treat. I am not totally convinced that at that young age, I truly appreciated the wonderful flavour of crab apples, but I certainly do now. So I wanted to share my weekends work in the kitchen and take you through the process from tree to table.

In spring our tree is covered in the most stunning, vibrant pink and white blossoms and then as we come to harvesting, the fruit has transformed into red and yellow, cherry-sized crab apples, hanging in jewel-like clusters on the laden branches. Here we can see the different shades of the apples from red and orange through to a soft yellow colour.

Literally pick as many as you want, discard any that have started to rot and don’t be tempted to pick from the ground, as it is likely that these will have begun to deteriorate. So far I have picked over 8 kilos. I think it will be jelly and crab apple cheese this year. Once picked, discard leaves, stalks and any spoiled fruit. Rinse really well and transfer to a large saucepan.

Add enough cold water to just cover the fruit. Bring to a fast simmer and cook for about 50 minutes, or until the fruit is pulpy. Pour the fruit and all the liquid through a sieve, lined with a double layer of muslin (or large jelly bag) into a large bowl or bowls. Very carefully tie up the muslin to make a bag and find a good place to hang them overnight, over the bowls, to catch all the juices.

Remove the muslin bags and discard the fruit (the muslin can be washed out and re-used). Be very careful as you do this and do not press on the pulp as the liquid will be too cloudy. It should be a delicate, slightly milky pink, which will clear as it is boiled up with the sugar. Because the crab apples do not contain quite enough pectin (the agent that helps set the jelly) I am adding lemon juice, to help the process along. Pour the liquid into a large, clean saucepan, adding the sugar and lemon juice. * At this stage it is really important to sterilise the jars you are going to use. Wash them in hot, soapy water and place in a preheated oven 100c. and leave them there to dry until you are ready to use them – the jars should be hot when filled.

Stir the liquid over a high heat until it reaches a rolling boil. At this point pop a tablespoon into the freezer to get really cold. Continue to boil the liquid, skimming off the scum that rises to the top, for at least 30 minutes. Remove your chilled spoon and pour a tiny amount of the jelly onto the frozen spoon. Leave for a few seconds and then test with your finger – the jelly is ready if it starts to wrinkle and set. Cook for longer if it is not yet ready.

Very carefully pour or ladle the jelly into the hot, sterilised jam jars, taking them straight from the oven. Wear oven gloves as they will be hot, as will the jelly. As soon as you have used up your jelly and filled your jars, top each one with a clear plastic disc making sure it covers the surface of the jelly and then seal the jars.

Leave the jelly to cool before adding a label – if you try to do this now, the label will not stick to the hot jar. Store the jam in a cool, dark cupboard until required. It will last for several years, but if you do get any mould appear on the top of the jelly, discard it.

And now for the recipe.

Crab Apple Jelly

Makes: 6-7 x 500ml jars

4kg crab apples

1.5-2kg granulated sugar

juice 11/2 lemons

Wash the crab apples, discarding stalks, any leaves and any rotten or damaged fruit. Place in a large saucepan (or 2 smaller ones) and add just enough water to cover the fruit. Bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat for 45-50 minutes, or until the fruit is pulpy.

Cool slightly and then carefully transfer to 2 large sieves lined with a double layer of muslin, or jelly bags, over 2 large bowls. Tie up securely to enclose the fruit. Hang the bags up over the bowls and leave to drain overnight.

The next day very carefully remove the bags, making sure you don’t squeeze at all, or the resulting jelly will be cloudy. Measure the apple liquid and transfer to a large saucepan, adding 7 parts sugar to 10 parts liquid (1 had 2.75 litres of liquid and added 1.75kg sugar) Add the lemon juice, and heat gently, stirring over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Bring the liquid to a rolling bowl and cook for about 30 minutes, carefully removing the scum on the surface as it appears. Meanwhile, place a tablespoon into the freezer to chill. After 30 minutes test the jelly to see if it ha reached the setting stage. Pour a drizzle of the syrup onto the chilled tablespoon and leave for a few seconds. Using a finger push the jelly, which will wrinkle and separate if set.

Using a ladle, spoon the hot jelly into the sterilised jars, top with a clear plastic jelly disc and sell with the lids. Allow to cool before adding the labels.