Monday, 24 June 2013

Week 22 - Roast Lamb with Chimichurri Sauce

Lamb is such a treat in this household, so when the OH came home with a leg I couldn't wait to find a recipe. Chimichurri is something I have always loved but never attempted. Perhaps as the last time was at a friends barbeque and she did such a great job I just couldn't face it! It has now been 3 years and it was finally time. The mixture of the heat from the chilli and tartness of the vinegar is something that is just so delicious. You can either use chimichurri as a marinade or a dipping sauce, I elected for the sauce and seasoned the lamb as per the recipe. Yay for Sunday night Lamb.

The original lamb recipe had a mint sauce on the side which you can find on Jamie Online. 

Lamb from
Chimichurri from 15 Minute Meals

Recipe: Best Roast Lamb with Chimichurri Sauce


Serves 8

For the Lamb

1 bulb garlic, 3 cloves peeled and crushed, the others left whole
1 small bunch fresh rosemary, half the leaves removed and coarsely chopped, half in sprigs
1 lemon, zest of
olive oil
2 kg quality leg of lamb
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1.5 kg potatoes, peeled and cut in half

For the Chimichurri

4 cloves of garlic
6 spring onions
2 heaped tsp dried oregano
½ a fresh red chilli
1 fresh bay leaf
1 bunch coriander
2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar


For the Lamb

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºC/gas 6 and place a roasting dish for the potatoes on the bottom.

Mix the crushed garlic, chopped rosemary, lemon zest and olive oil together. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and rub the marinade into it. Place on the hot bars of the oven above the tray.

Boil the potatoes, simmer for 10 minutes and scuff the edges. Add the rosemary sprigs and whole garlic cloves, season with salt and pepper and drizzle over a good lug of olive oil. Tip the potatoes into the tray and place under the lamb to catch all the lovely juices.

To make the mint sauce, mix the chopped mint, sugar, salt, hot water and wine vinegar.

Cook the lamb for about an hour and 15 minutes if you want it pink, or an hour and a half if you want it more well done. Take it out of the oven and cover with tinfoil and leave for 15 minutes before serving. Carve and serve with the potatoes and mint sauce.

Tip: Try putting a few parsnips or carrots in with the roast potatoes.

For the Chimichurri

Add all ingredients to a food processor and add a little boiling water and whiz until smooth.
Season to taste and pour into a bowl.

I have omitted the mint sauce recipe as I did not use it, although if mint is more your thing you can find it on

Changes Made: I added some sweet potato along with the potato. As I did not have any new potatoes and mine were quite large I chopped them into wedges. Also, while I am growing to like coriander I don't yet love it, so substituted half for parsley. Also used 2 chillies, not one half.

Results: Yum! The lamb was cooked perfectly and went well with the sauce. 

Next Time: More chilli, but thats just because I am a little obsessed.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Week 21 - English Onion Soup

I have been a little bit obsessed with making french onion soup for a long time now. There is just something about the sweet oniony goodness that I cannot ignore. I loved the idea of 'as many different' types of onions' as possible and it allows for varying taste and texture. I have just recently discovered worcestershire sauce so this was a great opportunity to enjoy it. This recipe was so easy (as usual) but tastes amazing (also as usual), it really is something special and made to share.

5 types of onion

Reduced down and ready for the lid

Book: Jamie at Home

Recipe: English Onion Soup with Sage and Cheddar


Serves 8

Good knob of butter
Olive oil
Handful fresh sage leaves, 8 leaves reserved for garnish
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
5 red onions, peeled and sliced
3 large white onions, peeled and sliced
3 banana shallots, peeled and sliced
300g ounces leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cups good-quality hot beef, chicken or vegetable stock
8 slices good-quality stale bread, 3/4-inch thick
200g ounces freshly grated Cheddar
Worcestershire sauce


Put the butter, 2 glugs of olive oil, the sage and garlic into a heavy bottomed, nonstick pan. Stir everything round and add the onions, shallots and leeks. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place a lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar, and cook slowly for 50 minutes, without coloring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes, the onions will become soft and golden. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the bottom. Having the patience to cook the onions slowly, slowly, gives you an incredible sweetness and an awesome flavor, so don't be tempted to speed this up.

When your onions and leeks are lovely and silky, add the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can skim any fat off the surface if you like, but I prefer to leave it because it adds good flavor.

Preheat the oven or broiler to maximum. Toast your bread on both sides. Correct the seasoning of the soup. When it's perfect, ladle it into individual heatproof serving bowls and place them on a baking sheet. Tear toasted bread over each bowl to t like a lid. Feel free to push and dunk the bread into the soup a bit. Sprinkle with some grated Cheddar and drizzle over a little Worcestershire sauce.

Dress your reserved sage leaves with some olive oil and place 1 on top of each slice of bread. Put the baking sheet into the preheated oven or under the broiler to melt the cheese until bubbling and golden. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't burn! When the cheese is bubbling, very carefully lift out the baking sheet and carry it to the table.

Changes Made: I halved the recipe and it was still enough for 3 + a lot of leftovers. 

Results: Devine! This was a really special dish which invoked all sorts of warm and fuzzy emotions. Perfect for an Australian winter day.

Next Time: Nothing, and cannot wait!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Week 20 - Rabbit Stew with Dumplings

I am a long time lover of rabbit but have always been a little scared to give cooking it a go. So many small bones and so many things that could go wrong. I decided to buy my rabbit whole and have a go at jointing it myself. After finding Jamie's How To Joint a Rabbit I realised it really wasn't that hard and had a bit of fun with it. Not for the faint hearted as I know not everyone can handle an animal in its natural form but nice to know I am capable.

One thing I was a little concerned about was the amount of time this stew was being cooked for. Really only about 1 and a half hours which to me sounded like a very short time for rabbit, especially when some of those pieces are quite large. Those concerns were validated in the end result which was tough and a little dry. Everything else was great. I make damper quite a lot so loved the idea of dumpling toppers and have stolen that idea for other recipes since then. So not all bad, but needs a little re-jigging next time.

Book: Cook with Jamie

Recipe: Tender-as-you-like rabbit stew with the best dumplings ever


Serves 6-8

For the Dumplings
400g self raising flour
200g butter
a bunch of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ a nutmeg

For the Stew

2 rabbits jointed and cut into 10 pieces
olive oil
a knob of butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 rashers of streaky bacon, finely sliced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
250g of mushrooms, cleaned and torn
a large handful of baby onions, peeled
2 330ml cans Mackeson's or John Smith's
850ml chicken stock


Preheat the oven to 190°C. To make your dumplings, rub together your flour, butter and tarragon with a good pinch of salt and pepper (you could also do this in a food processor). Using a fork, mix in enough milk to give you an unsticky dough. Bring it together until it's quite stiff, then flour your hands and kneed it into a rough. Roll the dough into a big sausage shape and cut it up into 18 equal sized pieces. Roll these into little balls in your hands, grate over the remaining nutmeg and place on a tray in the fridge.

Get your rabbit pieces and coat each of them with flour, shaking off any excess. Heat a deep ovenproof pot about 30cm in diameter, with a little olive oil and a knob of butter, add the rabbit in batches and cook for about 5 minutes until golden on all sides. After the final batch, return the pieces to the pot and add a good pinch of salt and pepper and the bacon. Carry on cooking for a couple of minutes until the bacon is crispy, keeping the rabbit moving around the pan at the same time. Add the rosemary sprigs, mushrooms and onions an continue frying for another 10 minutes, by which time the meat will be nicely coloured and the veg softened. 

Mix in a tablespoon of flour, pour in the beer and stock, cover and simmer for half an hour. Then put the dumplings on top of the stew with about 1cm between them. They will act as a kind of a lid, allowing the stew to retain moisture and not to boil dry. When perfectly cooked they will crisp up on top and stay bun like and soft on the bottom - delicious! Drizzle them with olive oil and put the pot into the preheated oven for 45 minutes. 

Changes Made: I halved the recipe. We just cannot seem to be able to buy baby onions so I substituted shallots and used VB for the lager beer. 

Results: For all that work it did not turn out like I expected. Maybe it was the time the rabbit cooks for before adding any liquid, or just the overall time in the oven. The meat was dry and tough and I really felt like it needed another 3-4 hours in the oven. But the dumplings were the saving grace, so yummy and went well with the sauce in the stew. 

Next Time: Cook for a lot longer, there will be a next time as I love rabbit and really want to get this one right!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Week 19 - Chicken in Milk

The moment I saw this recipe I was intrigued. Chicken, cinnamon, lemon and milk.. what the. I have heard of chicken in milk before and I think someone did something with it on Masterchef (Australia). It is an interesting idea as I have never before cooked chicken in any kind of liquid.

The results are simply divine and this really is such a special meal. The chicken falls off the bone and the interaction of the milk and lemon means it curdles and turns into a cheese like substance. Unusual but so full of flavour you will soon forget you initial hesitance. Like most roasts it was also very simple to make so could be done any time of the week. Personally I will be saving it for a special occasion.


Recipe: Chicken in Milk


Serves 4-6

1.5 kg higher-welfare chicken
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
½ stick cinnamon
1 good handful fresh sage, leaves picked
zest of 2 lemons
10 cloves garlic, skin left on
565 ml milk


Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5, and find a snug-fitting pot for the chicken. Season it generously all over, and fry it in a little olive oil, turning the chicken to get an even colour all over, until golden. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and throw away the oil left in the pot. This will leave you with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramel flavour later on.

Put your chicken back in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Baste with the cooking juice when you remember. The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce which is absolutely fantastic.

To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it onto your plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Serve with wilted spinach or greens and some mashed potato.

Changes Made: My le creuset was one size too big so I just added a little extra milk.   

Results: Out of this world. The lemony, cinnamonny curds were really something and the chicken was one of my best (and I have cooked many chickens).

Next Time: Nothing and I cannot wait till next time!