Something that probably hasn't come across on this blog before is my love of food, and more specifically my love of cooking. I thought I'd put that right by posting a couple of recent meals I've cooked.
In the kitchen I'm an odd mix. On one side I'm a creature of habits, often returning to the same recipe time and time again. Such is my familiarity with some of these dishes, such as my anglicised Moroccan chicken I can if necessary create it for forty, with no written instructions at all.
On the other side I'm an experimenter, and even on the rare occasions when I follow a recipe, will tweak it and make it my own. Rarely do I have disasters and I like to think that I have a good understanding of how flavours work together.
This weekend I tried two new recipes using up some meat from the freezer. I often have meat from the reduced section in the freezer and although my boyfriend does have a tendency to laugh at me when I scan the aisle for yellow stickers he doesn't complain when we eat as well as we do.
The first was using up a rare luxury, one of two lamb shoulders. I didn't want to over complicate such a good piece of meat so I paired it with the old favourites of garlic and rosemary with an added burst of flavour from lemon.
Lemon, rosemary and garlic lamb.
You'll need a bulb of garlic, a good handful of fresh rosemary and a lemon. And a joint of meat. Mine was about 1.5kg.
Peel the garlic and slice each clove in half length ways. Cut the rosemary in to inch long sprigs. Chop the lemon in to small 2cm pieces.
Now take your joint and make incisions all over it, about 1-2cm deep. I find that the easiest way is to use a small sharp ended knife to make crossed incisions, creating the ideal pocket to stuff in a bit of lemon, rosemary and garlic. Remember to do both sides.
Once you've used up your ingredients place the joint on a roasting tin, skin side up. Season well with salt and pepper and then place in an oven at 200c. I cooked mine for 30 minutes per 500g plus 30 minutes. This cooked it through, if you want it pink just reduce the time slightly.
After an hour I checked on the joint and gave the skin a good lug of olive oil.
I served ours as a full roast dinner but the lemon gives the meat a wonderful freshness and it'd be equally good served in a salad or in pitta with cucumber and yogurt.
Sunday dinner was more frugal, using up some cocktail sausages in a quick and easy sausage casserole. For this I used:
300g cocktail sausages. (any sausage would do though)
1 punnet of chestnut mushrooms, quartered.
1 onion sliced
2 large beef tomatoes (use a can of you prefer but drain the juice off)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half lemon
Large bunch basil
1 mozzarella ball torn into small pieces
Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in a large oven proof dish. Add the sausages and onions and fry for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms, nutmeg and paprika.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and add along with the lemon zest and juice.
Place pan into hot oven for ten minutes. Remove and add basil, mozzarella and a drizzle of balsamic over the top. Return to the oven for five minutes or until sausages are cooked through.
Serve with crusty bread or horseradish mash.