Thursday, 1 January 2015

New years dinner

Happy and peaceful New Year to everyone!!!

It is going to be a very busy year ahead but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for lots of great new  healthy recipes. I, like many, will be going on a health surge in January and hope to continue it through the other 11 months of 2015. And of course there will be some very indulgent recipes thrown in there too, we can't be good all the time!!!

This is what I'm cooking up today for myself and Amy, and we will be joined by my eldest sister Michele, my other sister Louise and her husband and 2 kids... and of course Benny and Lexi will be on the hunt for leftovers!

Roast Leg of Lamb Stab-stuffed with Garlic Rosemary and Anchovy
Lamb is my meat of choice right now. The flavours that come of a leg roasted like this is second to none! Rosemary and garlic are classic flavours with lamb but the addition of the anchovy just brings an extra sweetness and salty spike.

Serves 4:
1x2.5kg leg of lamb
2 large onions
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
50g tin of drained anchovies
7-8 cloves of garlic
Few sprigs of rosemary
Olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper

 Remove the leg of lamb from the fridge a half hour before you start. Preheat oven to 180°c. Peel and cut the onion into thick wedges and roughly chop the carrots and celery, set aside.
Pat dry an anchovy fillet and wrap it around a halved garlic clove and a cut piece of rosemary then stab the lamb and push it into the hole. Do this all over about 15 times.
Drizzle over a little olive oil and season well, place in roasting tray with the selected vegetables and bung into the oven for 1 hour- 1 hour 15 minutes basting once or twice, until meat is tender.

Let it rest out of the oven for 15-20 minutes before carving, there is no real technique to carving. I stand it up holding the bone and cut off in thin slices.

My Holy Trinity Gravy
Now just in case anyone thinks that The Father, Son and Holy Spirit came up with this… they didn't, they only wish they did! But no, what I mean by ‘Holy Trinity’ is the 3 sauces I add to my gravy to make it ‘blow your socks off’. This technique works for any roast dinner so give it a try next Sunday. Any roast dish you make, always throw some vegetables in under and around the roast, these are not to eat but rather to help keep the roast moist and of course for flavour, then when the roast is done they are used for the gravy. Give this method a go… it is consistently amazing!

Tip: if you have no wine to use then use your imagination… cider, port, sherry, apple juice, orange juice etc. anything like this will do and if worse comes to worst just use the stock and add a squeeze of lemon.

Serves 4-6:
1 tablespoon of flour
A glass of wine (your choice)
1 litre of vegetable, chicken or beef stock
Black pepper
The Holy Trinity:
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
Knob of butter
Once you take your roast out and leave it to rest, spoon off the fat from the roasting dish then sprinkle the flour over the vegetables in the tray and mash them all together with a potato masher and stir well.
Pour in the wine of your choice and bung back into the hot oven (or if your tray is hob proof place it on a hot hob). Let the wine reduce then add your hot stock and allow to bubble for a little while.
Now carefully sieve the contents of the tray into a saucepan and place onto a hot hob, bring to the boil and add in ‘The Holy Trinity’. Reduce to a steady simmer until it thickens, season with black pepper, the soy should be salty enough.
When ready to serve up, take it off the heat and add a knob of butter and stir to dissolve, this will make it nice and shiny and silky smooth. Serve it up in a nice big gravy boat; you won’t have a drop left!

Roast Carrots with Orange and Cumin
This is one of my favourite dishes that come fresh from my garden. I use young summer carrots, if they are from your own garden, don’t peel them just give them a good scrub. Any slightly thicker ones just slice down the center. I mean you can use any kind of carrot but try and cut them to roughly the same size so they will cook at the same time. This works well with any roast dinner.

Serves 4
Olive oil
A knob of butter
600g of carrots
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
Sea salt & black pepper
Grated zest of 1 orange plus some juice

Pour some olive oil and knob of butter into an oven dish and place into an oven preheated to 190°c. Prepare the carrots as said above.
Remove the tray insuring that the butter has melted and place the carrots in, sprinkle over the cumin seeds and season well. Place into the oven for around 30 mins covered with foil.
Remove from oven and remove the foil. Add in the grated orange zest and a good squeeze of juice. Stir all around and place back into oven for 20 mins.
Remove and serve right away.

Roast butternut squash with chilli, rosemary and garlic.
Butternut squash was something I never tasted until I grew my own. It’s a very versatile vegetable. It can beef up any meal plus it stores really well. This dish goes well with chicken, pork or fish and is a great substitute for potatoes.

1 large or 2 small butternut squash (1kg)
6-8 cloves of garlic
1 red chilli
Few sprigs of rosemary
Olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper
Juice of half a lemon


Slice the squash length ways in half then in half again. Cut out the seeds section with a knife or scoop out with a spoon. Peel of the skin as it can be a little tough and cut the squash into wedges or chunks and place it a small roasting tray.
Put the cloves of garlic onto a chopping board and bash with the flat of a knife. Add them into dish along with a finely chopped chilli and the rosemary. Run some oil over, season with some salt and black pepper and toss it all about together. Roast in a preheated oven at 190°c for about 45 mins.
When finished roasting squeeze the juice of a half a lemon over the top and serve.

Potato, Garlic and Chive Mash
Roasted garlic is sweet and full of flavour; this is the perfect mash to accompany any roast dinner.

Serves 4
1 medium whole bulb of garlic
Olive oil
800g floury potatoes
150ml whole milk
A knob of butter
Sea salt
Black pepper
Small snippet of chives

On a sheet of tinfoil, drizzle the garlic bulb with olive oil then wrap it up in the foil and roast in the oven at 180c for 1 hour.
Peel and cut the potatoes into large similar sized chunks. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water and add a pinch of salt. Bring the saucepan to the boil on a hot hob and cook for a further 15 mins until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork. Drain them into a colander in the sink and place back into the saucepan, cover the top of the saucepan with a clean tea towel and firm the lid back on. Allow to steam dry for 5-10 mins so the fluff up.
Gently heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan. Mash the potatoes in the saucepan with some seasoning the pour in the warmed milk. Mash this thoroughly until lump free. Cut the garlic bulb in half and squeeze out the lovely fragrant soft garlic flesh into the potatoes. Rapidly stir this into the potatoes and transfer to a serving dish, top with some fresh chopped chives.

And of course there will be roast potatoes but I just can't place my recipe... it will follow shortly

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