Lamb (or mutton) siniyah

We are working our way through the winter mutton that we got from a crofter in West Gerinish. Two nights ago, we defrosted the best end of neck, which I boned out to get some tasty meat for this stew, and I made stock with the bones. I tried this recipe from Ottolenghi’s book ‘Simple’ – but found that I needed to cook the meat for longer to get it tender. Best end of neck is full of flavour, but it does require a longer cooking time. I also used slight variations in quantity, to fit what we could buy locally or online. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Olive oil – about 60ml
  • 2 small onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp baharat spice mix from ‘Seasoned Pioneers’
  • 1 kg lamb, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 can of chopped tomatos, or around 500g fresh tomatos, peeled and chopped, if available
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 60g pinenuts, toasted
  • 40g parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper 
  • 200g light tahini paste – stir well before weighing this out
  • Juice from 1/2 a small lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic

METHOD:

  • Add a splash of oil to a large casserole pan with a lid, and heat to low/medium. Cook the onions and celery for ten minutes, until soft. 
  • Add the tomato paste and the baharat spice mix, and cook for a futher two minutes. Put the mixture into a large bowl. 
  • Meanwhile, season the lamb with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. 
  • In the same pan, add a little more oil, turn up the heat a little to medium, and add the lamb to brown it. Make sure you only put in a single layer, cooking the lamb in three or four batches. Add the lamb to the bowl with the onions, before browning the next batch. If you need to, add a little oil before each batch. I found that I didn’t really need to do this. 
  • Once all of the lamb is cooked, return the lamb and onions to the pan, and stir in the tomatoes and paprika and bring to a simmer. Check for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if required.
  • Cover and simmer for around two hours for mutton best end of neck, could be less for shoulder of lamb. The meat should be tender. If the sauce is not thick enough at the end of cooking, take of the lid and simmer so that it thickens up. This is important; if the sauce is runny, the topping doesn’t stay on the top.  
  • While the lamb is cooking, blend together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, a generous pinch of salt and around 150 to 200ml water. The consistency you are aiming for is like double cream. 
  • Heat the oven to fan 180C or 190C if you don’t have a fan oven. 
  • When the stew is ready, stir in the toasted pine nuts and the parsley, and even over the surface of the stew so it is quite level. 
  • Pour over the tahini topping, replace the lid and bake in the oven for 20 minutes to set the tahini sauce. 
  • Remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes to brown the top of the tahini sauce to a delicious crust. 
  • Remove from the oven and rest for around five minutes. 

I served this with a pilau of bulgar wheat and broad beans. 

 
 

Shoulder of lamb with mint and cumin

I made this for a large weekend meal, and it was delicious. It takes a bit of prep the day before, and is a long time cooking. It is not a weeknight event. It was delicious and I would make it again. It helped that I had the main ingredients in the garden, or in the freezer. The recipe comes from Ottolenghi ‘Simple’. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lemon – grated rind and juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic for the marinade
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 15g mint leaves
  • 15g coriander leaves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 boned shoulder of lamb weighing around 1kg
  • 1 celeriac (about 400g) cut into 2cm chunks
  • 3 carrots (about 300g) cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 head of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves. 
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Put the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, 2/4 tsp salt, black pepper spices and herbs in a small spice grinder or small blender, and blitz into a paste. 
  • Put the lamb into a large bowl and stab it at least 20 times. Rub in the spice mixture, wrap in a plastic bag or similar, and refrigerate overnight. 
  • Start cooking after lunch. Heat the oven to 170C. Put the marinaded lamb into a casserole dish, cover and put it in the oven for an hour. 
  • Reduce the temperature to 160C, add all of the vegetables including all of the unpeeled garlic cloves. Return to the oven. I found that I needed to add small amounts of water to keep everything moist during cooking, checking every hour or so. I cooked this way for four hours. 
  • Add another small splash of water, remove the lid and return to the oven for another hour. Prepare anything else you need, such as mashed potatoes, greens, etcetera. 

I had a boned shoulder of lamb, but you could use bone-in lamb, and keep the joint in the oven until the meat is falling off the bone. 

Spiced Apple Cake

I made this a while back and forgot to post it here – I used apples from Dr Johnson’s garden. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 130g butter, cubed
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs. lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 200g sour cream
  • 2 large cooking apples (Bramley) peeled cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 crisp eating apple (Granny Smith) peeled cored and cut into wedges
  • 130g demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 160C, and grease and line a 23cm round tin
  • Beat the butter into the caster sugar until light and fluffy
  • Slowly add the eggs and vanilla, beating in as you go
  • Add the flour and salt in batches, alternating with the soured cream. Beat just enough to mix all the ingredients, and then spoon the batter into the cake tin. 
  • Put all of the apple slices into a bowl and coat with demerara sugar and mixed spice. Spoon them onto the top of the cake mixture. 
  • Bake for 60 to 65 minutes until the cake mixture is cooked through. 
  • Cool in the tin for around 30 minutes before removing it. This cake is best served still warm, or at room temperature. It is not that easy to cut, so use a serrated knife. 

Beetroot, caraway and goat’s cheese soda-bread

This is a delicious Ottolenghi recipe from SIMPLE. It is so rich and full of flavour, you don’t need to add anything much. It is great sliced and spread with butter, or with a thin slice of smoked salmon. I made it as part of a mega cooking session so that I had lots of food that was good with salad, as this certainly is. I had to adapt a bit to fit with locally available ingredients. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50g rolled oats
  • 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 200g grated raw beetroot
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80ml sunflower oil
  • 80g soured cream
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 20g grated parmesan
  • 120g goat’s cheese
  • Salt

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C fan. Grease and line a loaf tin. 
  • Mix the oats, thyme, pumpkin, caraway, and nigella seeds in a small bowl. 
  • In a medium bowl, mix the flours and the baking powder and baking soda, along with 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk together to aerate, then add the grated beetroot and all but one tbsp of the oat mixture
  • In another bowl, lightly whisk the eggs together and beat in the oil, soured cream, honey and parmesan. 
  • Mix the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, and fold in the crumbled goat’s cheese. 
  • Pour the mixture into the tin, and add the remaining oat mixture to the top. 
  • Bake for 40 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for another 40 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven, and set to cool for around 5 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling on a rack. It needs to be cooled for at least 20 minutes before slicing. 

 

 

Bulgar wheat with mushrooms and feta cheese.

From SIMPLE. The book says it serves 2, but it fed two of us for two nights. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 150g bulgar wheat
  • 250ml boiling water or light stock
  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 punnets of mushrooms, preferably mixed, around 500g – sliced to about 5mm thick. 
  • 2 tsp dried thyme, or 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dill seeds
  • around 100g feta (half a block)
  • 1 tsp mild chilli flakes 
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Rinse the bulgar wheat, add a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and add the boiling water or stock. Cover the bowl and set aside while everything else is sorted out. 
  • Put 2 tbsp oil in a large frying or saute pan, heat to medium, and add the onion. Cook for 7 minutes, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown. Add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp dill seeds, and continue to fry for another couple of minutes. Keep stirring to ensure that nothing sticks or burns. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. 
  • Add another 2 tbsp of oil to the pan. raise the heat, and then add the mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, and fry for 7 minutes, stirring until the mushrooms are browned and soft.
  • Add the rest of the cumin seeds, and the thyme and continue to cook for another minute
  • Add the balsamic vinegar, and cook until the liquid has almost disappeared. 
  • Mix in the bulgar wheat, onions, feta cheese and chilli flakes and heat through. 

Serve garnished with fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Kale with mint, garlic, cumin and lime

I’m just getting to the end of the curly kale from last year. What a great vegetable to grow, it survives cabbage root fly, is edible through the winter and early spring, and Alex’s chickens will get a good feed off the old plants when I root them up. 

We’ve had a lot of stir-fried kale this winter, often with garlic and chilli flakes. If you haven’t enough kale, you can bulk it out with broccoli. This recipe comes from SIMPLE by Ottolenghi. He also sells a range of the ingredients from the book – cunning marketing. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g – 600g prepared kale tops or a mix of kale and broccoli
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 to 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 10g mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • salt

METHOD:

  • Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When it boils, add the kale and cook for 90 seconds before draining and rinsing in cold water. You may need to do this in batches. Do the same for any broccoli
  • In a large wok or sauté pan, heat the oil and fry the garlic and cumin for a minute or two, until the garlic is browning. Fish the garlic out and set it aside. 
  • Add the kale and fry for around 3 minutes. Add half the chilli flakes, and a good pinch of salt, broccoli and keep cooking for another minute. 
  • Mix through the remaining chilli flakes, lime juice and mint, and garnish with the fried garlic slices. 

Tunisian seafood stew with fennel

This is a delicious recipe, you can use it with just about any seafood you like. We made it with some fish that Hector gave us, and some squat lobsters. Any mixture of fillets of white fish, mussels, prawns, etcetera could be used. I started with a recipe in ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. A few adaptations were made – I want to use local fresh seafood, and good cooking tomatoes are not always available. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into thin segmental wedges
  • 1 large firm-fleshed potato such as Maris Piper, or 200g of any waxy potatoes, cut into 1.5cm cubes.
  • 700 ml fish, vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 a medium preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • a pinch of saffron
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • mixed prepared seafood – enough for four people, around 600g
  • 3 tbsp raki or similar spirit
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Put a wide casserole dish over a low heat, and add the olive oil, and gently fry the garlic for a couple of minutes
  • Add the fennel and potato, and cook for a further three to four minutes
  • Add stock, preserved lemon, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 12 minutes, until the potatoes are done. 
  • Add the chilli, tomatoes, paprika, saffron, half the parsley, tarragon, and cook through for another few minutes. Add the raki and bring to the boil.
  • Add the seafood, and enough boiling water to cover, bring back to the boil and cover, cooking fast for three to five minutes, until the fish is just done. 
  • Serve over couscous, garnished with chopped parsley.

The original recipe suggests taking out the seafood once it is cooked , and then adding the raki, reducing the sauce then adding the fish back in. I didn’t have the patience. 

 

Carrots roasted with pomegranate molasses and harissa

We live on a small island, and although our local shops generally do very well for range and price of stock, some ingredients are hard to come by. I have some rather exotic recipe books, and so I have become better at substituting and messing around with recipes to make them fit. 

Pomegranate molasses adds a fruity sharpness to the dish, and helps the dressing to stick to the carrots. The harissa is hot and fragrant at the same time. 

This time, I had some random carrots, so I turned to Ottolenghi’s book, Simple, and adapted one of his ideas, and I made this. I served it with bread, cheese, and an aubergine dish. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rose harissa (or ordinary harissa)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or 50/50 melted butter and oil)
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 400g carrot batons
  • salt
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 220C
  • In a small bowl, mix the cumin, honey, harissa, oil and molasses with a good pinch of salt. It should be the consistency of mayonnaise. 
  • Add the carrot batons, and stir to coat in the mixture
  • Line a baking sheet with tin foil, and spread out the carrots. Roast them for 15 minutes or so, until they are beginning to brown but still have some ‘bite’ to them.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves. 

Braised eggs with leeks, lemon and zahtar

We are about to head off to a family gathering, and so tonight’s supper was composed of items that needed to be eaten. This included a very chunky home-grown leek and some fresh local eggs. This served 3

INGREDIENTS:

  • 30g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, about 500g, sliced into 1/2 cm slices
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped or 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 300ml marigold stock or other simple stock
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 6 large eggs
  • 90g feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp zahtar spice mix
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter into the olive oil in a small braising pan which has a lid that fits well. 
  • When the butter starts to foam, add the chopped leeks and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes or so, until the leeks soften. Season with a little salt and pepper while the leeks are cooking.
  • Add the cumin, lemon and stock, and boil rapidly for 5 minutes or so to reduce the liquid.
  • Add the spinach, and cover, cook for a minute until the spinach has wilted right down. At this point, you can cool the mixture down and put it in the fridge for later if you wish. I froze half of it and used the other half for the two of us, and only used 2 eggs.
  • Use a spoon to make nests for the eggs in the mixture. Break the eggs into these depressions. Sprinkle crumbled feta over the top. Cover with the lid, and braise for 4 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are runny. (I wonder if crowdie would work). 
  • Sprinkle with Zahtar spice mix, and then serve immediately, with fresh bread. 

 

Beetroot dip/spread

I  made this dip from Ottolenghi’s book, Jerusalem. We had it as part of a meal that included a hot bean and leek dish, some salmon, and bread. This was the best bit. The spices I got mail order from Seasoned Pioneers

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium beetroot, about the size of a tennis ball
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 250g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1.5 tbsp date syrup 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp za’atar spice mix
  • 2 spring onions
  • 15g toasted hazelnuts, roughly crushed. 
  • 60g soft goat’s cheese or sheep’s cheese, crumbled. 

METHOD

  • Wash the beetroot, and cook without peeling. I boil them in water for an hour, but you can also bake them for an hour in the oven. 
  • Once they are cooked and cooled, peel them and chop them roughly. 
  • Put the garlic, beetroot, chilli and yoghurt in a blender, and puree. I used a soup wand to do this. 
  • Mix in the date syrup, salt, olive oil and Za’atar. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a serving dish, and garnish with chopped spring onions, goats cheese and toasted hazelnuts. A drizzle of olive oil is good as well. 

This is best served at room temperature, with bread.