Scribble

Found a scribbled note today, that said "black pudding with pear and blue cheese salad". Sounds intriguing, but could be over salty if not careful.

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Orange Rice

Went really well with spiced lamb, better with a plainer meat than a rich sauce or casserole.

In a heavy pan (preferably one that has a lid for later), fry in a little oil:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 2 inch stick of cinnamon
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cut mixed peel (or diced citron, or shredded tangerine peel)
  • 2 handfuls carrot batons

When it's all soft and smelling spicy, stir in a cup or so of preferred rice (tonight was easy cook brown Italian), and cover with boiling water, some chicken stock concentrate or salt to taste.

Cook slowly-ish, for about half an hour, with a lid on. In the last few minutes, nibble a grain or two of rice to check it's cooked, add a little fat (butter, or fat off the meat if you're having it with a roast), and raise the heat to boil off the liquid.

Take the cinnamon stick out, and warn people about the cloves and peppercorns.

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Spicy Crusted Lamb Shoulder

I have a kilo of lamb shouder, the blade half with the bone in. I'm marinating it and plan to cook it without added liquid, in foil, very long and very slow until it falls apart. The marinade at the moment consists of:

  • a small tub of organic greek yoghourt
  • grated peel of one unwaxed lemon
  • 2 teaspoons pureed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chiplotle chilli powder

Roasted together:

  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seed
  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 2 tablespoons whole brown small mustard seed

The lamb should be sweet itself, no need to add honey or anything like that. The yoghourt and the lemon will tenderise it even more. There's a bit of heat from the chilli and the mustard (although mustard does fade on cooking). Some genial warmth and more scent from the coriander and cumin. A little sharpness and aniseed from the fennel,.

I'm tempted to add some more mid-tone warmth, ginger for example. I shall think on that. I could just introduce that in a ginger and cinnamon biriani to go with it.

THE NEXT DAY: the yoghourt was so good and thick that it has made a crust on the meat, so I have put it as is into a low oven, Gas 2.5. It's had about an hour so far and I can smell the coriander.

IN THE END: about 5 hours in the oven. The crust was dark brown, spicy and crunchy, the meat underneath was rich, moist, tender, fell off the bone, and was gently scented. We've scoffed the lot, with a wet rice with orange, ginger and warm spices. (Recipe coming in a bit.)

The key is the quality of the yoghourt, the thick Greek stuff holds together as a paste, the ordinary thinner stuff would be a marinading liquid and would cook away.

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Discoveries – Spring 08

My grandfather didn't smoke and didn't drink (until after his militantly temperance wife died), but had his own ideas about what constituted an illicit treat. He and my dad used to let me stay up late with them watching old films on the telly – Bogart, Greenstreet, Lorre -  raiding the pantry for snacks of strong cheese and crunchy pickled onions.  People now can't understand why that was such a treat, the spread of the Ploughman's Lunch and supermarket Snack Box has created a terrible acceptance of plastic cheese and bland pickles. We put that right yesterday with a crusty brown loaf, a wedge of Collier's cheddar and some Barry Norman Pickled Onions. The cheese has that slightly gritty mouthfeel, strong and salty flavour, and not too crumbly but definitely not plasticine texture. The onions are magnificent, the closest to home-made I think I've bought (in a regular store, anyway). Dark brown, spicy, crunchy, those little green flecks that look like some poisonous metallic deposit. Brilliant. Just the thing to eat with a classic movie. Barry Norman understands.

Champagne Marmite – not sure about this. The Guinness one is yummy, quite sweet. This one is sourer, and sharper, like dry white wine left open for a day or two. Pleasant enough, but not one to search out.

The iron_trash community over on LiveJournal.

Konnyaku noodles, little bundles with appendages, boingy and springy.

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