November, 2009

Nov 09

Spicy, slow-cooked lamb


The lamb shank lends itself wonderfully well to slow-cooking and this wintery time of year. This inexpensive cut of meat is perfect for stewing and roasting at low temps and is done so all over the globe, from Morocco to India.

It’s great with good old British root vegetables, or for a Greek twist served with preserved lemons and olives and sprinkled with aromatic oregano before being roasted, or cooked in the tagine.

Lamb shanks are particularly delicious because of their fat content which when cooked slowly breaks down and flavours the meat. They absorb strong flavours very well and for National Curry Week I nipped down to my great friend’s Indian restaurant, Roz Ana, where they do a stunning curry which is well worth trying at home.

Click here for the recipe for Roz Ana’s Lamb Nalli

Nov 09

Childhood favourites – cinder toffee


I made a new purchase this week – one I’ve been meaning to buy for ages and never got round to for some reason or other, usually getting distracted by slightly shinier, jazzier things – a sugar thermometer. It’s an indispensable addition to the sweet toothed cook’s armoury.

I’ve been experimenting and have become completely addicted to cinder toffee, or honeycomb as it’s more widely known. You’ll probably have eaten it hundreds of times as a Crunchie bar but a home-made version is well worth a go with a slightly more grown-up, darker, caramel edge.

It’s delicious dipped in chocolate, as part of Rocky road (with home-made marshmallows!),  scrunched over ice cream, or even better used as a topping sprinkled over icing on a cupcake.

It’s quite a fun thing to make in the kitchen too, a bit of chemistry in the reaction between hot sugar and bicarbonate of soda.

Give this one a go and you’ll be a convert – both to the fun and the flavour!

Click here for the cinder toffee recipe

Nov 09

Seafood supper – scallops with chilli, parsley and tomatoes



I’m a huge seafood fan – razor clams, cherry clams, oysters and the like. Scallops, however, are one of those ingredients whose pleasure utterly escaped me. I just didn’t get it. To me they seemed rather like textured protein – without any redeeming factors!

Then, on two separate occasions these past two weeks, I’ve eaten such exceptional examples that my mind may have been changed.
Scallops in a cep broth at Martin Wishart’s fantastic Edinburgh restaurant were sweet and exquisitely cooked – a perfect golden sheen on the outside providing a welcome depth.

My second encounter was at Theo Randall’s incredible Italian restaurant at The Intercontinental Park Lane, where the quality of ingredients is second to none.

Theo’s cooking is wonderful in its simplicity – using the standard of produce they do, little is needed to let the food sing. For this recipe, try getting hold of the best scallops you can find – track down a local fishmonger if possible. The results will be worth it in the end.

Click here for Theo’s recipe for Cape
Sante – pan fried scallops served in the shell with chilli, parsley, datterini
tomatoes, capers, lemon and lentils di Castelluccio and rocket

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