Friday, 29 March 2013

Slow Roast Shoulder of Lamb and more...

These are some dishes I cooked a while ago, but for some reason never got around to post them.  And with Easter approaching in a couple of days time, and you still don't know what you'll be cooking, here are some delicious ideas.  

When I think of a roast for Easter Sunday, I immediately think of lamb.  I adore lamb and my favourite cut is the shoulder.  The reason being is it's cheaper than the leg... Yes, shoulder of lamb is a tougher cut, but slow-roasting it makes it so, so tender...

I marinated the shoulder of lamb in a mixture of all-things-that-are-delicious-with-lamb, such as lemon, garlic, chillies, rosemary, anchovies and olive oil.  A proof that too much of a good things can be wonderful indeed.  Simply whiz all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and massage it to the lamb.  Let all the flavours marry overnight in the fridge.

The next day, the lamb would have absorbed all those wonderful flavours.  Take the lamb out of the fridge about an hour before cooking to come to room temperature.  Chop one red onion into wedges and throw them in the roasting tin, along with few cloves of garlic, unpeeled.  Season with generous amounts of sea salt and freshly grated black pepper.  Then it can go into a hot oven for half an hour or so to get the colour going.  Then take it out and cover it with tin foil, and put it back in the over, lowering the oven temperature.  Three hours later, you will get this absolutely delicious, tender roast lamb... I am salivating just thinking about this dish...  When the lamb is out of the oven, let it rest for a few minutes, covering with foil to keep warm while you prepare all the trimmings.

Not that it needs it to be honest, but I quite like the idea of having a refreshing dip/sauce to go with the roast lamb.  I love tzatziki and it goes beautifully with lamb.  In a bowl, simply mix Greek yoghurt, diced cucumber, minced garlic, lots of finely chopped fresh mint leaves and fresh coriander/cilantro and lemon juice, a little salt and pepper, and that's it.  You can definitely make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.  I actually like my tzatziki fridge cold and with the hot lamb... heaven!

Now salad, again very easy... It's Greek inspired cherry tomatoes, olives and feta salad with red onions and parsley, which I simply dressed with red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and dried oregano. 

And last but not least, dessert.  I don't have a sweet tooth (that is one big huge fat lie...), but most of my friends always insist on something sweet at the end of the meal, and I am very happy to accommodate their needs.  My vanilla and lemon curd tart is super easy to make, especially if you use good-quality store bought shortcrust pastry.  Make this ahead of time, in the morning or even the day before and just keep it in the fridge until when you and your friends are ready...

And I have a video too when I make the roast lamb, tzatziki and the salad.  So I hope you enjoy it :) And the recipe for the vanilla and lemon curd tart can be found below.

Happy Easter weekend everyone! x

Vanilla and Lemon Curd Tart
Serves 4 - 6 (I managed to cut it into ten slices)

375 gr ready-made shortcrust pastry
Zest and juice of 4 lemons
200 gr caster sugar
100 gr unsalted butter, cut into little cubes
4 eggs, lightly beaten
The seeds from 1 vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

If you are using ready-made shortcrust pastry, bake it in a 26 - 28 cm tart tin according to the packet's instruction.  Though if you're feeling adventurous and want to make your own pastry, find the recipe and instruction, here.

To make the vanilla and lemon curd, put the lemon zest, juice, sugar and butter into a heatproof glass bowl.  Sit the bowl over a pan of simmering water and do make sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.  Stir the mixture until the butter has melted.

Add the eggs and the vanilla seeds to the buttery lemon mixture and whisk to combine.  Then cook for ten minutes or so.  At first the mixture will look wet, but I promise it will thicken.

Pour the vanilla and lemon curd to the pastry case.  Let the curd cool a bit before putting it in the fridge to set for 4 - 6 hours or overnight.  And you know what to do next...   

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Tuna in Spicy Kaffir Lime Leaves Sambal

One of the things that I have been doing whilst home is testing and stealing mom's recipes.  This is another one of her recipe that I absolutely love and I think you will too.

I love tuna fish and when it's cooked in this spicy, but at the same time, refreshing sambal, it is out of this world.  The tuna is first fried in some vegetable oil and then shredded.  Just use regular tuna here please; don't waste your money and getting the grade A tuna or often called sushi/sashimi grade tuna which are best enjoyed rare. 

Now, the all important spicy kaffir lime sambal.  Start with basic sambal mixture of red chillies, garlic, shallots and tomatoes; and to that add some galangal.  Put all of them in a blender to create a smooth paste.  If you haven't come across galangal before, it looks almost like ginger (they could be cousin) and it has a mild, peppery flavour.

Cook this paste in some vegetable oil in a pan big enough to hold the shredded tuna later.  To that add a couple of stalks of lemongrass which need to be bruised a bit to release its flavour; and the magic ingredient, lots of kaffir lime leaves which I like to snip into little pieces so that they disperse in the sambal.  The combination of the aromatic citrus of the kaffir lime leaves with the sambal is just beautiful.  You may need to add a bit of water if the sambal looks like it's drying out.  Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and sugar.  For this particular sambal, I like it quite zingy, and this is my own addition, lime juice.  

When the sambal is cooked, throw in the shredded tuna and toss it around so that it's all coated with the sambal.  Serve over hot white rice.  Yum...

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Chicken Liver and Potato Sambal

Sambal is a staple at all Indonesian tables.  This chilli based sauce is the condiment of choice for almost any dishes.  And with so many varieties of sambal in Indonesia, I don't think there is one, single authentic traditional recipe for a sambal.  Depending on the dish you make, or different regions in Indonesia, and even in different households will have their own way of making sambal. 

One of my favourite dishes using sambal is chicken liver and potato sambal.  Often if I can get it, I would add chicken gizzards too.  Yum. I know it's not for everyone, but I happen to I love offals...     

In Indonesia, potatoes are eaten as a side dish/vegetables rather than a main source of carbohydrates.  So eating this potato sambal with white rice is perfectly common.  And I do love a double-carbohydrate moment. 

There's no such recipe here, because whenever I make this, I don't measure the ingredients.  But this is how I make my sambal.  In a blender, I put in some peeled shallots, garlic, red chillies and tomatoes and blend until smooth.

Heat some vegetable oil in a pan and fry the chilli mixture.  I then add ground cumin and ground coriander for extra spice.  And for balance and also because I don't want my sambal too spicy, I add palm sugar or light brown sugar.  Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.  I often add some chopped tomatoes as well for texture.  Cook for a few minutes and stir until the colour turns darker.

For the potatoes, I simply peel and cut them into little cubes, fry and set aside.  Fry the chicken livers as well (and gizzards, if using).  When you have all the components ready, mix all of them together so that the sambal coats everything nicely.  Serve with rice.