Tag Archives: milk

Roast leg of lamb – Heston Blumenthal style

I’m a huge fan of Heston Blumenthal‘s food, oft for the shear entertainment factor as for the ability to recreate his recipes at home. Imagine my delight then when I stumbled on Heston Blumenthal at Home at the local Exclusive Books store. The How to cook like Heston TV series also had us glued to the television on Thursday evenings.

Hands up if you’ve ever wanted to perfect the art of poaching an egg or making melt in your mouth steak. Then this cookbook is for you.

Fast forward to today, a cold wintery and misty day in Johannesburg. Real comfort food weather.
I already had a roast leg of lamb in my mind, but wanted to try something different. Perhaps not the recipe as such, but the cooking method. So I paged through Heston’s book and found his roast leg of lamb with anchovy, garlic and rosemary recipe.

At first most people may think anchovies with lamb? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. The anchovies don’t bring a fishiness to the lamb, but rather a nice salty depth to the overall dish.

Unfortunately for me, I used up all our anchovies about two weeks ago when I made an anchovy butter for our pasta. I opted to replace the anchovies with some smoked streaky bacon. Also something that brings a smoky saltiness to the dish.

So on with the details.

Notes before you begin

  • The recipe serves 4 hungry people
  • You will need a meat thermometer
  • Cooking time: 4 hours + 30 mins for resting
  • Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1.8 –2.2kg whole leg of lamb
  • sea salt
  • 3 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 12 anchovies, sliced in half lengthways – I substituted this with 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, halved and de-germed
  • fresh rosemary (4 sprigs)
  • 400ml milk (semi-skimmed / 2%)

For the sauce

  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 500g lamb or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 80 degrees Celsius. Yes, this is right, low and slow.
  2. Season the lamb with salt. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is smoking hot, sear the lamb until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and place in a roasting tray.
  3. Blanch the garlic in 100ml milk four times, using fresh 100ml milk each time.
  4. Cut the blanched garlic into slivers.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the surface of the lamb at regular intervals. Use a small spoon to enlarge the holes and stuff them with the anchovies (or bacon), garlic and the rosemary.
  6. Place the lamb in the oven for approximately 3-4 hours until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 55 degrees Celsius.
  7. When cooked, remove the lamb from the oven, wrap it in foil and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.
  8. While the meat is resting, make the sauce. Place the roasting tray over a medium-high heat. Add the wine and use a spatula to scrape all the delicious bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the liquid to reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and mustard and reduce to a sauce consistency.
  9. Strain and pour into a warm jug to serve with the lamb.

Tips for carving the lamb
Grip the knob of bone that juts out of the meat with your left hand (reverse if left-handed). Keeping the joint flat on the board, rounded side upwards, cut into the meat from the top downwards, until the knife meets bone, in slices of whatever thickness you prefer, all the way along the top of the meat. Then, while still gripping the bone, run the knife horizontally across the meat, just above the bone, separating the slices. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

This method of cutting across the grain actually makes the meat seem more tender as you’re biting into the grain as opposed to across the grain which will be more chewier and tougher.

Heston explains it best by comparing it to chopping a log of wood. Trying to chop the log horizontally will be all near impossible. However, standing the log vertically and chopping into the top following the grain, the log will split more easily and naturally.

Bobotie – the way mom used to make it

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for ages now – Bobotie, the way my mum used to make it.

Bobotie is a classic, traditional South African Cape Malay dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. It is traditionally served with sambal and garnished with coconut, chutney and bananas.

Growing up, bobotie was one of my favourite dishes. Unlike most kids, I actually enjoyed the spicy notes of the curry powder and the cooked raisins. My dad and my sister would always pick out the raisins from this dish – which resulted in my mom often just removing it from the ingredients all together. She would however then substitute them with some chopped apricots. Speaking of substituting ingredients, when the purse got a bit tight in the month, mom would often half the amount of mince and add about a cup of lentils instead.

If you are vegetarian, you could easily cut out the mince all together and replace it with lentils.

To this day though, whenever I find bobotie on a menu I feel compelled to try it out, just to see how it compares with this recipe. I am obviously biased, but I think this one stands up to the best of them.

PS: This is also a great dish to make as a batch and freeze for those nights you just don’t feel like cooking or if you long for that taste of home.

Enough jabber, on with the recipe.

Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves: 8
Traditional Bobotie - the way mom used to make it
Ingredients:
60ml curry powder
30ml ginger
30ml brown sugar
15ml turmeric
2.5ml salt and pepper
170g sultanas (or raisins if you prefer)
30ml apricot jam
30ml vinegar
60ml Worcestershire sauce
60ml chutney
3 big onions (chopped)
2 cloves garlic crushed
375ml milk
2Tbs butter
olive oil for frying
2 eggs
2 slices of crust-less white bread
1kg mince
couple of bay leaves

Method:

  1. Soak bread in milk
  2. Heat oil and butter in large pan and fry onions and garlic
  3. When onions are soft add curry powder, ginger, sugar, turmeric, salt and pepper and mix well
  4. Add sultanas, apricot jam, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and chutney and mix well
  5. Drain and mash bread and reserve milk
  6. Add bread to pan together with mince and cook for approximately 15 minutes until the meat loses its pinkness – this will be a fairly dry mixture, but don’t add water, just make sure the mixture does not burn
  7. Remove from stove and spoon into a greased baking dish and level the top (or divide between smaller dishes for freezing)
  8. Beat eggs with reserved milk, you should have approx. 300ml, pour over meat mixture and put a few bay leaves on top
  9. Stand dish in a larger pan of water to prevent it from drying out
  10. Bake at 180C for 40mins or until set

Serve with some yellow rice and sambal, garnished with coconut, chutney and bananas.

Bread pudding

Bread pudding

Winter is here, and so are all the cravings for warm comfort food. Bread pudding is fantastic for satisfying that craving, and you get to use up some of the food you were about to throw out… just before it gets a life of its own, mind you!

I got my recipe out of the May 2009 Fresh Living magazine (Issue 15), and adapted it according to what we had available.

Ingredients:

3 tbsp (45ml) butter, softened
8 slices stale white bread, crusts removed
2 overripe bananas, peeled and sliced
Pitted dates, cut into small pieces (original recipe calls for 1/4 pack PnP mixed soft jumbo raisins and sultanas)
3 large eggs
2 cups (500ml) milk
3/4 cup (190ml) castor sugar
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla essence
Ground cinnamon to taste (original calls for freshly grated nutmeg to taste)
2 tbsp (30ml) brown sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Lightly grease a 1.5l ovenproof dish.
Butter bread on both sides and cut into quarters.
Lay bread pieces in the dish and scatter with bananas and dates.
Whisk the eggs with the milk, castor sugar and vanilla essence and pour over the bread evenly.
Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until the custard is golden and set. (I baked the pudding with both the top and bottom elements on and let it cook for about 45 minutes until the bottom was slightly overcooked, dark brown and sticky. This makes it slightly toffee-like and chewy).

I could’ve even left the pudding in slighly longer to give it more of a caramelised edge. The dates were also deliciously chewy.

Serve with custard (ultramel in my case) or cream (as suggested in the original recipe).

As you may have noticed this made a huge dish of pudding (it is supposed to serve 6), far too much for the two of us to complete, even after 2 days! I would suggest halving or even quartering the recipe for 2 people.