Monday, 28 January 2013

Week 4 - Baked Lamb Shanks

I was very excited to give this recipe a try, purely for the fact it was so simple! Just cut up some veg, pop the meat on the top and let time do the rest. Shanks always inspire that home cooked, wintery, warming, under a doona kind of feeling. Since summer had decided to desert us for a week I was craving this sort of meal. Even preparing the dish was making me feel all warm and fuzzy. Fresh herbs, onion.. it was all coming together.

Apart from the cooking time, I really think I only spent around 5 minutes prepping.. for something so delicious you can't do any better!

I had planned to serve these with some creamy mash but found we had no potato, or sweet potato, or pumpkin or anything to mash! All we had that could be used was tomatoes, so I stuffed them with breadcrumbs, basil, onion and garlic and roasted for 20min. It all turned out well and complemented each other nicely.

Stuffing the shanks with herby butter

Big pile of yum

Three little piggies (not really but that what they reminded me of!)

The finished product

Book: Cook with Jamie

Recipe: Incredible Baked Lamb Shanks


Serves 4

6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
150g cold butter
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
15 fresh sage leaves
sea salt ad freshly ground pepper
4 lamb shanks
12 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2 large carrots, peeled and finely sliced
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 leek, washed, halved and finely sliced
olive oil
white wine


Preheat oven to 180°C. Pick the leaves off two sprigs of rosemary, whiz them with the butter, most of the sage and the thyme in a food processor and season with salt and pepper. Using a small knife take one of the shanks and cut between the meat and the bone from the base upwards. You want to create a pocket. Once done to all the shanks divide the butter between them and push into the pockets. This will give a wonderful flavour to the heart of the shanks.

Tear off four arm length pieces of foil and fold in half to give you four A3 sizes. Divide the garlic and veg between them, making a pile in the middle of the foil. Season the shanks with oil, salt and pepper and place each on top of a pile and top with a sprig of rosemary and a few fresh sage leaves. Carefully pull up the sides of the foil around the shank and pour a swig of wine on top. Gather the foil around the bone, pinching it together tightly. Repeat for all shanks, then place the parcels on a baking tray with the bones facing up. Put in the preheated oven for 2½ hours or until the meat is as tender as can be. Serve the parcels in the middle of the table so that your guests can open them up themselves.

Changes Made: I did not bother french trimming my shanks, yes they look pretty, but more flavour was what I was going for. 

Results: Once again a winner, Jamie can you ever do wrong? So easy and tasted amazing. They were different from my usual slow cooker as there was less juice. The shanks dried out a little, but it was kind of good, as it was more.. meatier. 

Next Time: More wine in each parcel, I skimped a little on this one, thinking there might be too much liquid in there but really could have used the half a glass he suggested. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Week 3 - 6 Hour Shoulder of Pork with Red Cabbage

Double Jamie recipe this week, including the one that inspired it all; 6 hour shoulder of pork. This was a dish that I cooked Christmas day and while being a great success taste wise it was also very easy to cook.. score! Pretty much just salting the pork, crackling up the skin, then let it roast all day with the end product being more like pulled pork than a roast. 

The one major hick up while cooking that was after turning the oven down after crackling the skin.. it turned itself off! I noticed an hour lately and it only meant that it took even longer to cook and we did not get to eat it until the next day. Be organised.. you have been warned (and do not sit around and book holidays to Thailand when you are supposed to put meat in the oven).

Adding the balsamic

After an hour of cooking

My huge shoulder just coming out of the oven

Meat just falling apart

The finished product!

Book: Pork is from and the Cabbage from Cook with Jamie.

Recipe: 6 Hour Shoulder of Pork with Red Cabbage braised with apple, bacon and balsamic vinegar


Pork - Serves 4 - 6

2kg bone-in shoulder of pork, skin on
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cabbage - serves 4

olive oil
250g bacon, finely sliced
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, bashed
1 onoin, peeled and sliced
2 good eating apples, peeled and chopped into 2.5cm pieces
1 red cabbage, outer leaves and core removed, chopped into irregular chunks
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
150ml balsamic vinegar
a knob of butter
a handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley



Preheat oven to 220°C. Place pork on a clean work surface, skin side up. Get a small sharp knife and make scores about a centimetre apart through the skin into the fat, but not so deep you cut into the meat.  Rub salt into the scores.

Brush any excess salt off the surface then turn over and season the underside. Place your port skin side up in a roasting tray and pop into the oven. Roast for about 30minutes or until the skin is bubbling and crackling. At this point turn the oven down to 170°C , cover with a double layer of foil and pop back in and roast for another 4 and a half hours.

Take out of the oven, take foil off and baste meat with the fat in the bottom of the tray, if you want this is a good time to add root vegetables. Just take the pork out and add the vegetables and place the pork back on top. Continue roasting for another hour.

Carefully move the pork to a serving tray, cover and let it rest. Feel free to now use the pan juices to make a nice gravy, just add water or stock and stir on the stovetop. 


Pour a good glug of olive oil into a saucepan, get it hot and add the bacon and fennel seeds. Cook until golden then add the onion and continue to cook, with the lid on, for a few more minutes until golden and sticky. Add the apple, followed by the cabbage chunks, salt and pepper and the vinegar, and stir everything together well. Put the lid on and continue to cook on a low heat for an hour, checking and stirring every so often. Pop the butter on the top, sprinkle over the parsley and your done!

Changes Made: When preparing my ingredients I realised the herb that I thought was fennel was in fact cumin seeds, which is also good with pork and actually worked out quite well with the cabbage. Unfortunately one apple bought turned bad, not the greatest time for them! 2 would have been better. No parsley as I forgot, but for me, it is often an afterthought anyway.

Results: Once again this pork was amazing, even though both times I have cooked it something went wrong the end result was great. And the cabbage.. oh my goodness, this dish was so simple and I think will become a regular side dish to many things. It was sticky and sweet but not too overpowering as to eat with a roast.

Next Time: The cabbage could have been cut smaller in order to reduce a little more. Once again.. be prepared! Don't let your oven turn off and do not book holidays when it's cooking time.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Week 2 - Cajun Steak

This week's recipe was picked by my lovely OH (Other Half) who naturally, like many men out there love's his meat! I just knew flicking through my Jamie books that this was one he would go for pretty quickly and low and behold it's week 2!

Baked beans are one of those things that sit in your cupboard for months or even years and while we don't mind eating they are just a little... boring. I love the idea of taking this family staple and turning it into something special and cannot wait to see how it turns out. 

This will also be my first 15 minute meal since buying the book so I am really interested in how long it takes to cook and will be timing myself.

Note: due to oncoming headache this weeks photo's are not so good.. my bad!

mmm.. Beans
Fresh from the oven all cheesy and gooey
Seasoned sirloin
Frying off the steak
The finished dish

Book: Jamie's 15 Minute Meals

Recipe: Cajun Steak with Smoky Baked Beans & Collard Greens


Serves 4

2 rashers pancetta
olive oil
1 big bunch of mixed fresh herbs, such as bay, thyme and rosemary
1 carrot
4 spring onion
½ bunch of radishes
1 chicken stock cube

2 x 400g tins of mixed beans
350g passata
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco
2 tablespoon Tomato sauce
2 tablespoon HP sauce
1 teaspoon runny honey
1 heaped teaspoon english mustard
40g cheddar cheese

2 x 250g sirloin steaks, fat removed
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 tsp dried thyme

Chilli Vinegar
1 fresh chilli
1 bottle white wine vinegar


Before you start it is recommended (in order to complete in 15 minutes) that the ingredients are out, kettle boiled, oven at full whack 240°C, large lidded pan at medium-hgh heat, medium ovenproof fry pan medium heat, large fry pan high heat.

Start the pancetta, out it into the lidded pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, then pick in the herb leaves. Trim, finely slice and add the carrot, spring onions and radishes, stirring regularly. Drain and rinse the bans and put into the medium frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil to fry and crisp up. 

Slice the kale (if needed) and add to the lidded pan, crumble in the stock cube and pour over 300ml of boiling water, then put the lid on. Stir the remaining bean ingredients (except the cheese) into the beans pan and bring to the boil. Grate over cheddar then place into the oven until golden and sizzling. 

Rub the steaks with salt, pepper, paprika and thyme. Put them into the really hot large fry pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, turning every minute until cooked to your liking. Slice the chilli and add to the bottle of vinegar with a couple of bay leaves then add a drizzle to the greens before serving. Carve the steaks on a board at the table and serve with the beans, greens and a splurge of mustard. 

Changes Made: Could not find kale, not even sure if we can get it here is Australia and after some research found pak choy to be an adequate substitute, not really in the cajun theme but oh well! Also BBQ sauce in place of HP.

Results: Delish! This dish worked really well and just goes to show how good baked beans can be! The collard greens ended up a bit soupy but the flavour was really good. 

Unfortunately a head ache made me forget to time myself but I think it would have been close to 25min. Jamie recommended to have all ingredients out and ready to go, which I did not, and wanted you to have 3 separate pans on the go to begin with which I don't even own. Overall I think this is a totally doable weeknight dinner and one the men will love. 

Next Time: Use mustard, not hot english mustard as my baked beans had quite a kick! Also less water for the greens. Not much to change on a simply good meal.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Week 1 - Moroccan Fish and Chips

I wanted to begin with something a little ambitious but after cooking the whole Christmas lunch I think I may have scaled down those ambitions, for the first week anyway. The week ahead in Adelaide boasts numerous days above 40° so I instantly thought... Seafood. 

This recipe is a fancy take on fish and chips and looks delicious. Fish is a fairly new ingredient that I have learnt to enjoy and can't wait to give it a go!

Book: Jamie Does...

Recipe: Moroccan Fish and Chips

Marinating the Fish

Fish after being pan fried

The Finished Product.. Delish!
Not to forget.. my little helper for the evening, waiting patiently until I drop some food.


Serves 4

600 grams Monkfish tails, skin off, trimmed and cut into 5cm pieces
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1kg baking potatoes, scrubbed clean
2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ a small cucumber, halved and sliced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 tablespoon capers, drained
a small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked
4 Arab-style breads or flatbread
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
natural yoghurt, to serve

For the Marinade:
½ tablespoon paprica
½ tablespoon turmeric
½ tablespoon ground ginger
½ tablespoon ground coriander
a small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put your fish into a bowl with all the marinade ingredients, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a nice big pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well so that the monkfish gets evenly coated, then cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into 1cm chips and spread out in a single layer on 2 large roasting trays. Drizzle over a few lugs of olive pol, season, and toss the chips until coated. Roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through crisp and lightly golden. Halfway through the cooking time swap trays around and give a good shake so all the chips cook evenly.

Put a griddle pan or large non-stick fry pan on a high heat to get really hot. Make your salad by mixing the tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, capers and coriander together in a bowl. 

About 10 minutes before your chips are ready, put fish pieces into the screaming hot pan and cook, turning every couple of minutes for 5 to 7 minutes, until firm and cooked through. You'll need to do this in two batches if in a small pan. Warm breads in a hot dry pan for 30 seconds each side, or wrap in foil and pop them into the oven for a few minutes. Dress the salad with the white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper and toss. 

Tear your warm breads in half and slit them open with a knife. Stuff the pockets with a small haldful of salad, a few monkfish chunks and a dollop of yoghurt. Sprinkle a little paprika over your chips and serve on the side. 

Changes Made: As I have never heard to Monkfish I went in search for a firm white fish, Basa is what I decided on. A cheap, delicious fish that held its shape and worked well. I also hate coriander so substituted it for basil which went well, although I still used ground coriander as I feel its taste is not as strong. 

Results: What a great way to start the year! As being someone who has never cooked fish before I was a little sceptical as to how hard this recipe would be.. it was so simple and so delicious... which is so Jamie. I love eating with my hands and this dish allowed me to do what I love. The idea of putting everything in a pocket was great. On a hot summer night this is just what you want. 

The salad crunchiness was just what you need with a soft white fish and surprisingly my little pita's didn't fall apart! The biggest issue was the marinade/fish sticking to the pan, not sure what happened here but it was an issue as I had to wash the pan in-between the batches of fish causing the fish to cool down before serving. It was a bit hit overall and something I would definitely do again.

Next Time: The yogurt could have done with some garlic and lemon added to it just to bring everything together. I would also look for a thicker flatbread.