Moroccan Lamb Cutlets with Easy Pea-sy Couscous

Our new French foodie obsession is meat from L’Aubrac, the region where PB is from. It’s best known for it’s knife industry (this is where authentic Laguiole knives are produced), as well as their own breed of cow, which produces some of the best beef that  France has to offer. Our main man is butcher Maison Conquet, whose wares are served in the 3 Michelin-starred restaurant headed by Sébastien Bras – if it’s good enough for them, then it’s certainly worth the effort to bring it home to our kitchen!

The region is also known for it’s lamb, and we had some lamb cutlets that were destined for our plates this weekend. Lamb is already a strong tasting meat, but a little bit of spice goes a long way to give it some dimension. I found a recipe which called for a dusting of ground almonds with ras el hanout, a Moroccan spice which basically translates as ‘best of the shop’.

I couldn’t find the spice in the shops so I made a simplified version of it myself, the recipe is below if needed.

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Moroccan Lamb Cutlets à la iphone

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Colourfully Spiced Turmeric Rice!

When I think of rice dishes, my mind wonders to the pilau rice served at one of my favourite weekend foodie getaways here in Hong Kong, Spices Restaurant. This turmeric rice recipe comes in a close second, and went really well with my whole fish marinated in spiced yoghurt. DSC03716 Colourfully Spiced Tumeric Rice!

You’ll need: (serves 4-5)

2 cups of rice
1 lemon
1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsbp olive oil a knob of butter
2 shallots, peels and sliced finely
1 heaped tsp turmeric
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Coriander, for decoration (optional)

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Spiced Yoghurt Baked Whole Fish

When I called Siemens two weeks ago to arrange an inspection for our broken oven, I was told that it was manufactured in 1994 (!!) and due to the fact that it was older than Justin Bieber, there would be a more expensive inspection charge. To be fair, the oven itself technically still worked, but the old school plastic knobs had completely broken so that I didn’t know what the temperature was, what function the oven was on, and the lamps were broken so I couldn’t see what was going on inside the oven – but it still got hot!

Our landlord chose to just buy a new oven rather than muck about, and I was so super excited when our brand new, stainless steel beauty arrived this week. In fact, I realised that I had never used a brand new oven in my life, ever. PB and I started getting really excited, negotiating over who would cook what and when (I know, we’re total food geeks), and who ultimately would be the one to christen it.

Naturally, it was me… 🙂

Since it was a weekday I needed a simple, easy to prepare and fast-cooking recipe. I had recently made a fresh batch of homemade yoghurt (using my nifty Severin yoghurt maker, which I bought for a whopping £22.89 the last time I was in the UK, and it has been a very welcomed addition to the kitchen arsenal) and found an awesome recipe for a yoghurt marinade for baked fish. If you get home after work and don’t have time to marinade the fish, I would just skip that step – I’m sure it will taste just as good!

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I made this recipe using two different fish – a barramundi (top) and a sea bass (bottom)

A whole fish dish definitely benefits from having one large fish rather than two small ones, to maximise the meat and minimise the small bones. Aside from this, I found that the barramundi held together much better when cooking, and had a nicer firm texture than the sea bass. Verdict – the barramundi was the overall winner for this recipe! I’m sure the yoghurt marinade would also work well with a whole butterflied chicken, salmon fillets or maybe even prawns or lamb.DSC03714 Spiced Yoghurt Baked Whole Fish

You’ll need:
(serves 3-4)

1kg whole firm white fish (sea bass, barramundi, snapper)
6-8 branches of fresh coriander, thick stems removed
6-8 branches of mint, leaves only
2 limes, seeded and juiced
2 large chillies, seeded (or 1 tbsp chilli flakes)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1.5″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt Freshly ground pepper
1/2 red onion, finely minced (optional) DSC03711 Continue reading

Slow Roasted Lamb Leg (or Shoulder) with … Anchovy?

Here’s another recipe that’s great for a social dinner party, where time is of the essence and you want to be able to just take it out of the oven and pop it on the table. No one likes to be slaving away in the kitchen whilst the guests are all having fun outside!  What sets this recipe aside? Firstly, the slow cooking and continuous basting may be a labour of love, but it gives you a wonderfully juicy tender meat, with a crispy, salty crust – yum!

And secondly, for all those who turn their nose up at anchovies (like me, yuck!), I have recently discovered with this recipe that they are SUPERB in marinades! They have a salty, rich umami flavour which really complements the flavour of the meat without being the least bit fishy. I made good use of that jar of anchovies that’s been sitting in my fridge for ages, lurking dangerously close to the expiration date. Ok fine, it had already expired, but they’re swimming (pun intended) in olive oil and tasted just fine. I’ll certainly be adding it to a lot more of my marinades from now on!

This recipe was initially intended for a boneless shoulder of lamb, but all they had at Pacific Gourmet was boneless leg of lamb, and I find that they are interchangeable most of the time.

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Slow roasted lamb with a simple couscous and ratatouille

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English Breakfast for Dinner, Hold the Sausage, Add Some Greens

"Iberico Ham, Egg and Peas" at Aberdeen Steet Social

“Iberico Ham, Egg and Peas” at Aberdeen Steet Social

It was PB’s birthday earlier this week and my challenge was to cook up a meal that would wow him, and ultimately make him feel like the man of the hour. In my meal planning, I had remember once mentioning to him a dish that I had eaten for lunch at Aberdeen Street Social. It was a starter that stuck in my mind because it looked beautiful, tasted great, and was simple enough to be something that I could replicate at home.

Whilst the 3 elements of this dish are quite hands on and it’s a challenge for one person to complete and plate in a timely fashion so that it’s still hot when it gets to the table, it should get easier with practice! Preparation takes quite a bit of time as well (especially when you are prepping a main and a dessert at the same time), so when I started panicking that I wouldn’t have dinner on the table in time, my mum came in to help me and it certainly is easier with 4 hands!

Breaded Soft Boiled Egg with Iberico Ham and Smashed Peas

You’ll need:
(serves 4)

For the smashed peas:
300g green peas (petits pois or garden peas)
1/2 onion, peeled and finely diced
275ml chicken stock
50g unsalted butter
1 tsp sugar
a dash of cream (40ml)
a pinch of salt

For the soft boiled egg:
4 good quality eggs + 1 egg
100g plain flour
200g bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Salt and pepper

Garnish: 80g iberico ham
small, crisp salad leaves

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