Sous Vide Lamb

 

I’m grinning from ear to ear, as a thank you for cat sitting my parents took note of my persistent hints and bought me a sous vide supreme. I can’t begin to tell you how much I have longed for this glorious machine.

So what to cook first? I’ve had a glut of beef and pork recently and lamb deserved some overdue attention. I have never quite been able to get the cooking of boneless lamb loin spot on – the loin is just so small that the faintest whiff of oven heat turns it well done on the outsides.

What a revelation, just 2 hours at 59C and I had meltingly tender pink lamb. As the lamb was cooking in its own juices the flavour was simply divine – much stronger than normal, but still without being overpowering. There was not even a hint of overcooked ends and edges.

 

 

I’ve paired the lamb with a take on petit pois à la française – adding some redcurrants at the end of cooking for some acidity. This is served with a potato fondant.

I was pushed for time a little so I part-cooked the vegetables and potatoes in the water bath, as opposed to fully cooking, finishing them off conventionally. I will give you this recipe as the result was fantastic.

Safe to say the beast has lived up to expectations!

Sous Vide Lamb, Fondant Potato & Redcurrant Petit Pois à la Française

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Lamb: 2 Boneless Lamb Loins, 2 Tbsp Thyme & Rosemary Compound Butter (Made by combining softened butter with a chopped handful of each of the other ingredients)

For the Potatoes: 4 Large Potatoes, 50g Butter, 2 Bay Leaves, 2 Thyme Sprigs, 1 Bashed Garlic Clove, 1 Pint Vegetable Stock

For the Petit Pois: 250g Fresh Peas, 50g Sliced Pancetta, Handful of Button Onions (Peeled), 25g Butter, Small Handful of Mint (Chopped), 1 Small Punnet Redcurrants

Method:

1) Pre-heat the water bath to 59C. Seal the lamb loins together with the compound butter in a vacuum bag and place in the water bath.

2) For the fondants; cut four fondant shapes from the potatoes which are around one inch thick. Seal the potatoes in a vacuum bag together with the butter, bay leaves, thyme, garlic and some salt and pepper. Place the potatoes in the water bath.

3) For the peas; seal them in a vacuum bag with the butter, baby onions and some salt and pepper.

4) Cook the above preparations in the water bath for two hours. Before final serving follow the steps below to finish.

5) Take the potatoes out of the bath first. Unseal the bag and place the contents in a sauce pan with the vegetable stock. Cook over a medium heat until the stock has boiled away and the potatoes begin to fry in the butter, turn the heat down and turn occasionally to achieve an even brownness.

6) After the stock has boiled from the potatoes, take the lamb out the bag and seal all over in a hot griddle pan. Be careful not to seal for long or the beautifully pink meat will become overdone around the edges.

7) Whilst the lamb is cooking, prepare the peas by frying the pancetta in a little olive oil. Once browned, add the contents of the pea preparation from the water bath with a little splash of water. Once the peas have warmed, add the chopped mint and redcurrants, tossing to finish.

8) To serve, slice the lamb and serve atop the fondant potato, surround with the petit pois à la française.

You can easily make the preparations ready for the water bath up to two days in advance, leaving them in the fridge until you are ready to use. Of course, you need only cook the meat in the water bath, preparing the other elements in the traditional fashion. However, I found the vegetables to be perfectly al dente when cooked this way.

No doubt there will be plenty more sous vide adventures to come!

Pork and Cherries

 

 

 

 

Looking for some recipe inspiration I stumbled across Bon Appétit’s recipe section – although I am a subscriber I never think to check their back catalogue. Big regret, there is an abundance of fantastic recipes just waiting, begging to be tried.

Big regret number two – never putting pork and cherries together before now. What a glorious couple. The marinade for the pork holds its weight with the sweet and sour salsa and when coupled with some watercress (fresh from the garden) the lime really sings through.

I think the marinade alone would work wonders on bbq chicken. And the salsa? Get a big bowl, a big spoon and tuck in. Delicious!

Pork & Cherries 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 Pork Fillets, Chain Removed, Halved

1 Large Handful Chopped Coriander, Quantity Divided in Two

6 Minced Shallots, Quantity Divided in Two

6 Tbsp Lime Juice, Quantity Divided in Two

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

250 g Cherries, De-stoned, Halved

1 Red Chilli, Cut on Diagonal

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Method:

1) Marinade the pork for at least 15 minutes in half the coriander and shallots, 4 tbsp lime juice and vegetable oil.

2) Meanwhile, make the salsa. Combine the remainder of the coriander, shallots, lime juice with the cherries, chili and olive oil in a bowl. Season lightly and allow to settle.

3) Grill the fillets until cooked to your liking or alternatively seal on all sides and transfer to a hot oven until cooked. The lime juice in the marinade will caramelize quickly, so maybe best to use the second method.

4) Once cooked allow the fillet to rest for 10 mins, covered.

5) To serve, slice the meat and cover with the salsa. I served the pork with home-grown watercress which added a delicious peppery freshness.

A different slant on pork which makes great eating in the summer months.

Celeriac Remoulade

 

 

 

 

I was after a simple side dish to accompany some lamb and oregano patties for a weekday supper – although its a bit early for celeriac I couldn’t resist knocking up some remoulade.

Celeriac’s robust nutty flavour fits fantastically with the tang of wholegrain mustard and lemon, a true classic.

The remoulade is great served on beef sandwiches, in salads, with burgers – it is very versatile and an instant hit. This is my simplified version for a quick midweek supper and will keep in the fridge for a few days.

Celeriac Remoulade

Ingredients:

1 Celeriac

1 Small Tub Crème Fraîche

1 tbsp Wholegrain Mustard

Juice of 1/2 Lemon + Zest

Handful of Chopped Chives

Method:

1) Trim and peel the celeriac then slice thinly and cut into thin matchsticks (time consuming I know, but it is worth it!).

2) Fold the sliced celeriac with the crème fraîche, wholegrain mustard, lemon juice and zest and chives.

3) Serve

It really is that simple! Enjoy.

Christmas Potatoes

A week without internet has been gruelingly difficult – I feel for all the nomads out there.  Thankfully all is fixed now and I will post what has been happening over the past week this weekend!

 

 

I received my shipment of Christmas seed potatoes last week and have been itching to get them planted. Traditionally, potatoes are harvested in spring/summer, this leaves a cavernous gap where home-grown potatoes are unavailable and alternatives must be sought from further afield. However, an increasing number of suppliers are offering select varieties which have been bred to be harvested November/December – just in time for christmas. Most of these varieties produce smaller, waxy potatoes.

If, like me, you do not have any spare space in your planting beds at this time of the year, try growing your potatoes in planting bags. They are cheap, moveable and can be used over and over. Apparently they also help to produce a higher yield – we will wait and see! I have planted fifteen seed potatoes across three planters and they barely take up any space.

Christmas potatoes should be planted early to mid August, with harvest around mid November. They can be left in the ground until Christmas or if dug up earlier can be stored under sand in a covered wooden box.

Prawn Linguine

 

 

 

 

This is a gloriously quick dish to knock up for a delicious supper. With few ingredients to prepare it can be ready in as little as 15 minutes. Using good quality linguine will ensure the sauce clings to the pasta and you don’t lose any.

This is a sure winner for a casual dinner party or family supper and will brighten up those gloomy days.

Prawn Linguine

Serves 2 (Easily Multiplied)

Ingredients:

200g Linguine

1 Packet raw prawns

6 Spring onions – sliced diagonally

Small tub of sun-blushed tomatoes with their oil

Handful of cherry tomatoes – Halved

1 Clove garlic – Chopped

1 Red chilli – De-seeded and chopped

1 Glass dry white wine

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Handful rocket – Chopped

Handful basil – Chopped

Method

1) Put the linguine on to cook in a large pan of boiling salted water. Put a large sauté pan on to medium heat with 3 tbsp olive oil.

2) Once the linguine is half-cooked (around 4 mins) put the chopped garlic, chilli, spring onions, cherry tomatoes and sun-blushed tomatoes into the sauté pan. Allow to fry for 1 min.

3) Add the glass of wine to the pan, followed by the prawns. Turn the heat up high. Cook for 2 mins. By now your pasta should be cooked.

4) Drain the linguine and add to the sauce. Stir in the chopped rocket and basil, tossing the pasta in the pan to coat.

5) Add the lemon juice, toss to mix, then serve.

Equally as tasty without the prawns and with the addition of toasted pine nuts just before serving.

Cold Brew Coffee

 

Iced coffees are traditionally made by brewing coffee in the usual fashion before chilling down, then finally serving chilled with milk or water and a little sugar.

However, more recently there has been an adoption of a new method of brewing iced coffee. Cold brewing. Here, the raw coffee is left to brew for some time with cold water as opposed to brewing quickly with hot before chilling.

Although this method takes far longer, it has some fantastic benefits. The coffee tastes much, much smoother, there is not even a hint of bitterness and it can easily be drunk diluted without sugar. The true flavours of the coffee are also preserved – they are not being scorched by hot water before being chilled. If you have any special coffee beans in the cupboard, now is the time to dig them out! I used blue mountain beans for the following recipe and the results were delicious.

(Please excuse the poor photo, the camera is m.i.a!)

Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

Ingredients:

340g Coffee Beans

1.5l Water

Method:

1) Grind the coffee beans coarsely (this will produce a clear brew) – I used the small bowl of a magimix.

2) Place the coffee in a bowl with the 1.5l of water and stir. Cover with a tea towel and leave to sit for a day.

3) Pour the mixture through a coffee filter or muslin into a container.

4) Store the concentrate in the fridge for up to two weeks.

I use around 1/2 concentrate to 1/2 water or milk, with a little ice. A little brown sugar helps the taste. Other flavourings such as lemon work well.

If you have any concentrate left over it would be fantastic for soaking sponge biscuits for a tiramisu.