Food & Drink

Shredded shoulder of lamb with mint and pomegranate

Northern Living - Shredded shoulder of lamb with mint and pomegranateI think this was possibly a Nigella Lawson recipe once. But it's become quite a family favourite and has probably undergone some changes and additions. My mother seldom cooks the same recipe more than once, but this is one of those invisible elastic band recipes. Once threatened or should I say promised it's guaranteed to get everybody around the table.

Ingredients:-

1 shoulder of lamb (approx 2 1/2 kg / 5 1/2 lb)

4 shallots (halved not peeled)

6 cloves garlic

1 carrot (peeled and halved)

Salt

500 ml boiling water

1 small handful freshly chopped fresh mint

1 pomegranate

Method:-

1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1/275ºF.

2. On the hob, brown the lamb, fat-side down, in a large roasting tin. Remove when nicely browned across its middle (you won't get much more than this) and set aside while you fry the vegetables briefly. You won't need to add any more fat , sprinkled with the salt, cook gently for a couple of minutes. Pour the water over and then replace the lamb, this time fat-side up. Let the liquid in the pan come to a bubble, then cover with foil and put in the preheated oven.

3. Now just leave it while you do whatever else you had planned for the day. Or even pop it in the oven in the evening and let it cook over night. But the point is, at this temperature, nothing's going to go wrong with the lamb.

4. If you want to cook the lamb the day you're going to eat it, heat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/325ºF and give it 5 hours or so. 

5. About an hour before you want to eat, remove the lamb from the tin to a large plate or carving board - not that it needs carving; the deal here is that it's unfashionably overcooked, falling to tender shreds at the touch of a fork. This is the best way to deal with shoulder of lamb.

6. To finish the lamb salad, simply pull it to pieces with a couple of forks on a large plate. Sprinkle with more  salt and some freshly chopped mint, then cut the pomegranate in half and dot with the seeds from one half. 

7. Take the other half and squeeze the pink juices over the warm shredded meat. Take to the table and serve.

Hot lamb and Quince Salad

Northern Living - Hot lamb and quince saladIn centuries past, in any English garden with even just a few fruit trees, one of them was sure to be a quince. Then they almost disappeared – or at least became a rare exotic, an enthusiast's talking point, at best. Happily, they seem to be enjoying something of a revival, with more and more people planting their own. I say happily, because they are a true culinary gem. A quince tree in fruit is a beautiful thing, too, with those downy, golden orbs hanging temptingly amid generous oval leaves, brightening truculent autumn skies. Quinces are not easy to buy, either, so that's all the more reason to grow your own in order to enjoy their tangy, perfumed sweetness in savoury and sweet dishes throughout the cooler months. Quince trees originated in the Caucasus. They're part of the rose family, a relative of apples and pears, and have a long and exalted history. The "apples" referred to in the story of Adam and Eve, and in the Song of Solomon, were almost certainly quinces. It's highly likely the golden apple of Hesperides, which Paris gave to Aphrodite, was also a quince. In classical legend, it's the fruit of love, marriage and fertility.

More recently they have been planted in gardens for their decorative red flowers, glossy foliage and attractive autumn fruits.

The zingy sweetness of the quince goes beautifully with the rosy lamb. If you like, add a handful of rocket and/or coriander leaves to the salad, but it's delicious just as it is. Serves four as a starter, two as a main.

1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Zest of 1 orange
¼-½ tsp chilli flakes
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
500g lamb leg steak, butterflied (ask the butcher to do this for you), trimmed of excess fat
1 large quince, washed but unpeeled
2 tbsp runny honey
Juice of 1 lemon
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

(1) In a small, dry frying pan over a medium heat, toast the coriander and cumin seeds until just fragrant – about a minute. Grind roughly with a pestle and mortar, and combine in a bowl with the orange zest, chilli flakes and oil. Add the lamb, rubbing the marinade well into the surface; cover and marinate for two to four hours, turning over once or twice.

(2) Halve the quince lengthways, remove the core, then cut each half into four segments. Put these into a small pan with the honey, lemon juice, rosemary and enough water just to cover. Bring to a simmer, partially cover and poach gently until tender – depending on the size of the quince, about 30-45 minutes. Remove from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon and place in the marinade with the lamb. Turn everything over with your hands so the quince slices are well coated.

(3) Warm up a small griddle pan or frying pan over a high heat. Fry the seasoned lamb steak for a couple of minutes a side, then leave on a warmed plate to rest for five minutes while you cook the quince. Griddle or fry the quince segments on both sides until starting to caramelise.

(4) Cut the lamb into thin slices and arrange on plates with the quince. Deglaze the pan with some of the poaching liquid, then pour the pan juices over the meat and fruit, sprinkle on some flaky sea salt and serve immediately.

Rabbit Casserole

Rabbit Casserole  Requested by Jayne Salman, RotherhamRabbit Casserole
Requested by Jayne Salman, Rotherham

Ingredients:-

2 whole rabbits, wild if possible
2 tbsp English mustard powder
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp butter
4 small onions, peeled and halved
2 celery sticks, chopped
10 small carrots, peeled
A few sprigs thyme
1 pint (568ml) pale ale
½ tsp English mustard

Method:-

1. Joint the rabbits or ask the butcher to do it. Cut the shoulders and legs off each rabbit, and cut them in halves at the elbows and knees. Turn each rabbit so its backbone is on the chopping board. Put a chopping knife across the body, just below the ribcage, and whack the back of the knife with a wooden rolling pin. If you’ve done it hard enough, you will have cut the rabbit in two. Do the same thing at the other end to chop the pelvis off. Throw away the rib cages and pelvises. You will be left with a rectangular bit of the rabbit’s back, about 10cm long. Chop that in half, across the spine, giving you 10 pieces from each rabbit.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mustard powder and flour with a few pinches of salt and black pepper. Toss all the rabbit pieces in the seasoning mix until well coated.

3. Melt the butter in a large, shallow sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the rabbit and brown evenly on all sides, adding butter as required. Add the onions, celery, carrots and thyme, and cook gently until soft and fragrant. Pour over the ale, topping up with just enough water to cover. Simmer gently for about
45 minutes, adding water if the liquid gets low. When the meat is tender, simmer the liquid a little to thicken, and stir in the mustard before serving

Fried Beer-Battered Green Lipped Mussels

Fried Beer-Battered Green Lipped MusselsI first came across this dish in a café in Whitby. My mother and myself had decided on an unplanned day out and decided to have a little lunch. I love fish of all sorts but I'd never considered battering and frying mussels before. But why not? It's a fantastic way to seal the fresh sea flavour of the mussels in, ensuring they are moist and tender.

Sauce Ingredients:-

1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons coarse-grained mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Ingredients for fried mussels

8 ounces (1 cup) beer 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
2 pounds of Green Lipped Mussels

Method

Make sauces:

Put 1/2 cup mayonnaise into each of 2 small serving bowls and whisk mustard into 1 bowl. Whisk cilantro, lime juice, and curry powder into other bowl. Season dipping sauces with salt and pepper and keep chilled, covered.

Make batter and fry mussels:

(1) Whisk beer into flour in a bowl until combined well.

(2) Heat oil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until thermometer registers 375°F.

(3) While oil is heating, pat mussels dry between layers of paper towels, pressing lightly.

(4) Dredge 10 mussels in batter, letting excess drip off, and fry in oil, stirring, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer mussels as fried with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, then season with salt. Fry remaining mussels in batches, returning oil to 375°F between batches.

Serve mussels immediately, with dipping sauces.

Spicy Chicken Drumsticks

Northern Living - Spicy Chicken Drumsticks RecipeSpicy chicken drumsticks, ideal for an easy week night dinner or the next time you're expecting a few guests.

Ingredients

10 chicken drumsticks (about 2 pounds total)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin

Method

(1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
(2) Place drumsticks in baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
(3) Bake 30 minutes.
(4) In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Remove drumsticks from oven and pour barbecue sauce mixture over them.
(5)Bake drumsticks 30 more minutes, or until chicken juices run clear and no pink remains.

Serve with Potato wedges and a slice of lemon...

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