“Lamb Stuffed Sweet Potato” from “A Year of Good Eating”

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Anna: Well this was perfect for a freezing cold Sunday night in January. Proper comfort food. Pretty easy, though I was a bit suspicious of the additional step required of mixing the cooked potato with the lamb and then popping back in the oven for half an hour or so. But it was really worth it. The potato lid goes crunchy. Parts of the lamb and potato go sticky and caramelised. Which elevates the whole thing. I didn’t entirely follow the recipe to the letter however. Nigel left out a key ingredient. What goes better with lamb and the sweetness of sweet potato then salty feta? You think Nigel would have worked that one out himself! So I recommend you try this recipe. With my secret ingredient.

“Lamb Stuffed Sweet Potato” from “A Year of Good Eating”

“Mejadra” from “Jerusalem”

 

Disaster! I forgot to take a picture of this! Sorry, loyal readers. Suffice it to say, it’s not that photogenic a dish anyway, but it is very tasty.

Maureen: Ottolenghi calls this the ultimate comfort food. Do you agree?

Andrew (14): What’s it called?

Maureen: To be honest, I have no earthly idea how to pronounce it. But it’s spelled m-e-j-a-d-r-a. We could just call it the lentil-rice-fried onion dish.

NIcholas (11): Hmm. Interesting.

Maureen: Good interesting or bad interesting?

Nicholas: I think it’s good interesting, but I’m not 100 percent sure.

Maureen: I think it’s delicious, and given this is the third or fourth time we’ve had it, I think we can call it a success.

Tim: Was it difficult to make?

Maureen: To be honest, Kirstin and Anna don’t call him “Faff-Olonghi” for nothing. This was definitely a bit of a faff, which you don’t really figure out until you’re halfway through making it. I had to fry the onions in batches, which took way longer than I thought it would, in addition to making the lentils and the rice.

Tim: Yes. I remember that was the case the last time I made it.

Maureen: Despite that, though, this is delicious and a good thing for Meat Free Monday. I also know from experience that it’s excellent leftover, too. Another win from Jerusalem.

To make this yourself, find the recipe on the Guardian website by clicking through this sentence.

“Mejadra” from “Jerusalem”

“Goulash with Gnocchi and Soured Cream” from “Easy”

Anna: Mmm. Goulash. I haven’t had goulash since I was working in Prague nearly 2 years ago. And I ate it about five times in 9 days. This actually tastes relatively authentic.

Peter: Is it unusual to have gnocchi with it? You know me, I love a gnocchi.

Anna: Well I think it’s Bill’s nod towards dumplings which goulash would traditionally be served with. And I really think it works.

Peter: This was a very easy second day supper. And there’s more in the freezer too isn’t there?

Anna: Yes. That’s my only criticism of the recipe. The book says it serves 4, but with 1.5kg of beef even four giants would have leftovers. A proof-reading error there I think.

Peter: I don’t mind. I like leftovers.

Anna: And leftovers ye shall have.

“Goulash with Gnocchi and Soured Cream” from “Easy”

“Spaghetti with Tomato & Basil” from “The Family Meal”

Maureen: We have another epic disaster on our hands, boys.

Andrew (12): What do you mean?

Maureen: Well, I know this tomato sauce looks OK now, but that’s only because I had to completely disregard the recipe in the end to make it edible.

Nicholas (8): Oh no. Did it not have enough flour again?

Maureen: This time, it was a case of too much of something, in this case olive oil, rather than too little, like the flour in the chocolate cookies. I wanted to make about a jar’s worth of sauce, so I doubled the amounts for the 230 grams of sauce. Unfortunately, using my higher-level maths skills of doubling amounts, that meant he wanted me to use 240 millilitres of olive oil.

Continue reading ““Spaghetti with Tomato & Basil” from “The Family Meal””

“Spaghetti with Tomato & Basil” from “The Family Meal”

“Pick-Your-Own Minestrone” from “The River Cottage Family Cookbook”

Maureen: Well, we have a number of problems with this recipe, right out of the gate.

Andrew (12): Like what?

Maureen: Well, Hugh wants us to go into our garden and pick our own vegetables for this.

Nicholas (8): But we don’t have a garden!

Andrew: And it’s winter! Even if we had a garden, we wouldn’t be able to go out and pick any of them.

Maureen: Precisely. However, I visited the boys at The Creaky Shed and picked out the vegetables from there. Do you think that counts?

Nicholas: No.

Maureen: Hugh also advises that we should make the vegetable prep a family event. He wants us to gather around our picnic table and each of us prepare a vegetable.

Andrew: Well, that would be a problem, since it’s winter. As already discussed.

Maureen: It’s a nice idea, but I couldn’t see it happening, even in the summer. I think I could find more fun family events than cutting up vegetables.

Continue reading ““Pick-Your-Own Minestrone” from “The River Cottage Family Cookbook””

“Pick-Your-Own Minestrone” from “The River Cottage Family Cookbook”

“Toad in the Hole” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

Or to be more accurate, maybe we should call it, “Deconstructed Toad in the Hole.”

Tim: I thought Toad in the Hole was supposed to have the batter and sausage together.

Maureen: Yes, me too. It doesn’t seem like it would be Toad in the Hole when it’s this way– with the batter separate from the sausages. This seems more like sausages with a side of Yorkshire pudding.

Tim: What’s the point of doing it this way? Maybe it’s to mess up more pans.

Continue reading ““Toad in the Hole” from “Jamie’s Great Britain””

“Toad in the Hole” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

“Slow-Cooked Pork Belly” and “Potatoes Boulangere” from “A Taste of Home”

Ian: This pork tastes really lovely.

Aine: It is so tender. It’s really hard to get pork that isn’t tough.

Ian: I was tortured with dry pork chops as a kid. And I wasn’t allowed to pick them up and eat them with my fingers.

Aine: Pork chops were made to eat with your fingers!

Anna: You have to gnaw at them!

Ian: Well this was lovely. No gnawing required.

Anna: That’s what happens when you cook it for 4 hours. Yum. Pork belly, crackly crackling. One of my favourite things.

Ian: Does it have any spices on it?

Anna: Nope. But it was cooked on a bed of garlic, shallots and herbs so that’s why it might taste as though it does. I have to say this was the easiest pork belly recipe I’ve ever cooked. No peeling of garlic or shallots required. Just smash them, halve them and bung it in the oven. And it’s delicious.

Aine: How did you make the gravy?

Anna: It was just the cooking juices. I forgot to put any on yours Ian.

Aine: The potatoes are lovely and creamy. They go really well with the pork.

Anna: There’s no cream in them, just chicken stock. Potatoes Boulangere….

Peter: Which is?…..

Anna: Well the Boulangerie is where you get croissants. I have no idea.

Peter: Are there any apples in them?

Anna: The sweetness comes from the onions.  I used waxy rather than floury potatoes, I don’t know if that was right. But it’s worked, hasn’t it?  The best thing about this meal, apart from the yumminess of it, was I got to nap in the garden for part of the afternoon. This is my sort of cooking!

“Slow-Cooked Pork Belly” and “Potatoes Boulangere” from “A Taste of Home”