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This was an absolute winner!
I’m quite a fan of lamb breast, a very underused and under rated cut of meat.
I think a lot of people are put off by the appearance (there appears to be very little meat) and they don’t know how to cook it.
I normally roll it with a nice stuffing to soak up the juices and make it go a bit further.
On this occasion I remembered seeing a recipe where the breast was cooked without being rolled so that it went nice and crispy, so I thought I’d give it a go with a nice spicy coating.
‘Ome Made Spicy Crispy Lamb Breast.
We were not disappointed! I used three lamb breasts which did me, Kit and the four hungry Kids and then there was some leftover for lunches.
It does reheat really well and goes even crispier!
The recipe below is for one lamb breast so double it for two or treble for three… There’s nothing like stating the obvious is there, sorry!
Lamb breast needs to be cooked slow to render the fat down and give you tender meat so this was cooked in two stages the first with the marinated meat cooked in a low oven, wrapped in tinfoil. The oven temperature was then turned up and the lamb finished off uncovered.
Before you cook the lamb breast you need to remove the thin bit of film that covers the inside of the ribs as it tends to be a bit tough. If your not confident about doing this ask the butcher to do it.
Talking of ribs the breast can be cooked with or without them.
Our Kids love the ribs when they are removed after the meat is cooked!
As far as flavourings you could use any mixture you like. I stuck with cumin, which goes fabulously with lamb, chilli and garlic as the main focus.
Of course you could use a ready bought mixture from the shop such as Ras el Hanout or of course any of the ‘Ome Made seasonings and rubs!
Spicy Crispy Lamb Breast
1 Lamb breast
splash of lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
lots of ground black pepper
A little oil of your choosing
Prepare the lamb breast removing the film and any big lumps of fat. lightly score the meat (SEVERRRN!… Sorry!) and any fat to help the marinade penetrate the lamb. Splash a little lemon juice over the lamb and rub in. Put the crushed garlic, spices and seasoning in a bowl and add enough oil to make a paste. Cover the Lamb Breast with the paste and give it a good rub in. leave to marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours if you have the time, however the meat can be cooked straight away and still taste good! When ready to cook wrap the lamb breast in a couple pieces of tin foil and place in a roasting dish. Place in a preheated oven at 145°C/125°C Fan for around 3 hours.
After this time the meat should be cooked and tender and the soft fat will have rendered down giving incredibly moist, tasty lamb.
Turn your oven up to 200°C/180°C Fan.
Remove the lamb from the tin foil and place on a wire rack (if possible, will be fine if not) in a roasting pan.
Once the oven has come up to temperature put the meat back in. After 15 minutes turn the meat over and leave for another 10 – 15 minutes or until you have a nice crispy finish to your lamb.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 15- 20 minutes before slicing into strips to serve.
We served the crispy strips of lamb breast with some mashed potato and garlicky sautéed cabbage… Winner!
Easter Thai Time!
So for Easter Sunday this year we decided to have Thai.
We were having friends and Family around for Dinner so we decided to keep it simple.
So of course it had to be Thai Fishcakes and the ubiquitous Thai Green Chicken Curry. These were complimented by some nice crunchy pickled vegetables, cucumber sauce and Thai sweet chilli sauce.
The fishcakes were made a couple of days beforehand and re-heated in the oven for 35 minutes beforehand, they reheated really well and saved time on the day. The Thai green curry paste was also made in advance to save time.
Unfortunately there are no pictures of the Thai Green Chicken Curry (I’ve put one in of a previous creation) but I’ve included the recipe anyway for anyone that wants a go.
First up the pastes. These will make more than you need but if you fry them in some oil and put them in sterilised jars they will keep in the fridge for six weeks or so. By the way if you’re one of those Veggie or Vegan types you can omit the shrimp paste.
Thai Green Curry Paste
2 teaspoons coriander seeds (or two level teaspoons ground coriander)
18 small, hot green chilli peppers
2 stems of lemongrass
3 tablespoon galangal sliced (or ginger)
1 tablespoon kaffir (if you can get them, normal if not) lime zest
30g/1oz coriander (if you can get it with the root on add that too)
6 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
60g/2oz shallots or onion chopped
1 tablespoon shrimp paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground white pepper (yes you can substitute black but white gives a truer and better flavour)
Add all the ingredients (starting with the hardest first) into a food processor or wet grinder and blitz to a smooth paste adding a little oil if necessary.
Thai Red Curry Paste
10 – 15 dried red chillies (soaked in hot water for twenty minutes or so)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 stems lemongrass sliced
6 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
60g/2oz shallots or onion sliced
3 tablespoon galangal or ginger sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon shrimp paste
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
add all the ingredients into a food processor or wet grinder and blitz to a smooth paste as above.
Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Man Pla)
this makes approximately 22
375g/13oz white fish (haddock, cod, Pollock!)
1 large squid tube
1/4 portion of red curry paste (roughly a tablespoon)
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon softened palm sugar or dark brown sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves soaked in hot water
55g/2oz yard-long beans (or any round green bean) cut into thin slices
1 small egg beaten
Prepare the fish and squid taking the bones and skin off the fish and removing the backbone, beak and intestines from the squid then rinsing. Roughly chop and process the fish in batches into a smooth paste. CurlyE was helping me with this – “Urgghhh! that looks like snot!” to be fair he was right! Mix in the other ingredients with just enough egg to bind without being sloppy.
Form the mixture into balls using about a dessert spoon of mixture for each one (having a bowl of cold water and keeping your hands wet will stop the mixture sticking to your hands). Flatten your balls into disks about 5mm thick.
place the fishcakes on greaseproof paper on a tray (if all the ingredients were fresh and not previously frozen they can be flash frozen at this stage).
To cook from fresh deep fry for approximately 3 minutes, from frozen give them about 4 – 5 minutes.
We love pickled vegetables in our house. They make a lovely side dish to all South East Asian food. Even a bit of poached chicken on some plain boiled rice is livened up and made into a tasty refreshing dish with the addition of them.
The choice of vegetable is up to you. In this instance we used baby sweet corn, onion, carrot strips, white cabbage and some green beans. We also did one jar with some sliced chilli in, some like it hot! The pickling liquor is quite light, so these will not keep for months but they should keep for a couple weeks in the fridge.
To make your pickling liquor you want roughly 50/50 vinegar to water, some sugar to taste and some bits n bobs in it to flavour (Lemongrass trimmings, coriander seeds, garlic, ginger or whatever takes your fancy).
Simmer the mixture for 20 – 30 minutes until the sugar has melted and the flavours have infused the liquor.
Prepare your veg and place in a colander over a bowl. sprinkle with salt, give it a toss and leave for 20 minutes to draw some of the water out. after twenty minutes give the veg a rinse, drain and then put in clean jars (sterilised if not using within a week). Strain your vinegar liquor while still hot and pour over the vegetables to cover. It will be ready after 24 hours.
Sorry it’s not much of a recipe but it’s just one of those things I do on the fly!
Sweet Chilli/Cucumber sauce
In a pan put 175ml/6 fl oz water, 250g/9 oz sugar, 2 teaspoons salt and 175ml/6 fl oz white vinegar. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the sugar has dissolved.
Put 1/2 of the above mixture in a serving bowl, add a dash of fish sauce and light soy sauce. Finely dice some cucumber and add to the sauce. And that’s the cucumber sauce done.
To the remaining vinegar mix in the pan add 2 teaspoons of dried chilli flakes or a couple of finely diced fresh red chillies and two teaspoons of strawberry or raspberry jam. Bring to the simmer again and cook until the jam has dissolved, that’s your sweet chilli done.
Thai Green Chicken Curry
Enough for 6 – 8 people
30g/1oz fresh coriander
1 generous tablespoon green curry paste
4 kaffir lime leaves (soaked in water if dried) shredded
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 400ml can coconut milk
6 – 8 chicken breasts sliced (roughly 1 kilo/2.2lb)
1 heaped teaspoon dark brown sugar or a couple lumps of palm sugar
a dash of soy sauce
a dash of fish sauce
some Thai basil leaves shredded
2 Thai red chillies thinly sliced
juice of two limes
Blitz the fresh coriander in a food processor. Heat some oil in a large pan and add the curry paste, fresh coriander, lime leaves and the spices. Fry for a couple of minutes, stirring so the mixture doesn’t burn. Add the coconut milk, bring to a simmer and cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and if necessary enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring to the simmer and cook gently, covered for approximately 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Serve with some plain rice or noodles and a little pickled veg and mango salad on the side.
Dice a whole mango and place in a serving bowl. Add a dash of vinegar, black pepper, a sliced red chilli and a sprinkling of soft dark brown sugar. Top with some toasted and crushed cashew nuts before serving.
So that was our Easter Sunday Dinner. It might not have been traditional but it was damn good!
Oh… yes there was dessert but it was just a boring old trifle… and erm…. the custard didn’t set… whoops!
The trifle was a bit sloppy but that wasn’t going to stop me!
Here’s a traditional English dish given an ‘Ome Made twist, to be fair it was Kits idea. I was just going to do the plain English dish of lamb shoulder baked on top of layers of potato and onion, which in it’s own right is delicious. Add some spice, herbs and a curry sauce though and it takes the dish to a completely different level… This really was scrumptious! This is a fantastic dish to prepare the day before so that you can bang it in the oven the next day, forget about it and get on with all those things you need to catch up on, take the kids out or… go to the pub!
It really is simple. You will need a full or 1/2 shoulder of lamb. Some White potatoes, onions and garlic. I also used some dried mint, fresh coriander and some red chillies.
First of all slice some potatoes (skin on) thinly and some onions. These need to be layered in a deep buttered baking dish. I did about four layers adding seasoning as I went along. On the middle layer I put a heap of chopped fresh coriander, a couple of chopped red chillies and some dried mint. On the top layer I sprinkled some more mint and some black cumin seeds.
I then fried some mild curry masala in a little oil and added some chicken stock and let this cook for twenty minutes or so. Next prepare the lamb. With a sharp knife make a few slits in the meat and push in some pieces of garlic. Now rub the lamb all over with some Kashmiri Chilli powder and some ground cumin. Sit the lamb on top of the layered potatoes and onions and give it a good grind of black pepper and a good sprinkling of salt. Pour your curry sauce into the corners of the baking dish. You want enough so that it comes about 1/2 way up your potato and onion layer. Now cover the whole baking dish with a double layer of foil, creating a tight seal. When your ready to cook pre heat your oven to 200°c. Put the lamb in the oven and then turn the temperature down to 165°c Which means the lamb will be ready after about four hours (but should be fine up to six). If you want to cook it for longer (or your having a really long session in the pub!) then you can cook the lamb on 145°c. The lamb will then be ready after six hours but be even better after around eight hours. To finish the dish off, remove the baking dish from the oven. Carefully remove the lamb to a warmed plate or dish. The meat should be falling off the bone. The layered potatoes then need to go back in a hot oven to brown and start to crisp up. If the liquid is above the potatoes just spoon some off ’till you can see the top layer. Put the baking dish back in the oven for about twenty minutes.
To serve, pull apart the lamb, spoon out some potato into a dish and place the lamb on top, spoon a bit more of the curry sauce over. A nice dollop of natural yoghurt goes nicely with the dish but that’s all it really needs. A tasty, warming and comforting dish for a lovely lazy Sunday. Give it a go!
I’ve already done a post on making your own curry masala. I thought it was about time I did one on making a curry sauce.
If you’ve had a go at making your own curry masala that’s great but if not then this can be made with curry powder, paste or a basic mix of spices that I will put in the recipe.
One of the most important processes in making a good curry sauce is the cooking of the onions. The idea is to cook as much water out of the onions as possible.
My method for doing this is to puree the onions, along with the garlic and ginger, in a liquidizer or food processor before they are cooked. If you haven’t got a liquidizer or food processor the onions, garlic and ginger can be cooked and then a hand blender can be used to puree your sauce at a later stage. If you have none of the above appliances you can still make a good curry, it just won’t have that texture of an Indian restaurant cooked curry.
With the following recipe don’t worry about exact quantities, it’s more about the technique and I’m sure most people will customise the recipe to their own taste.
Once the sauce is made it’s up to you what you want to serve in it. I will also give some pointers on how to turn this basic curry sauce into your favourite Indian curry.
Basic Curry Sauce (enough to feed four people with about 1lb/500g of main ingredient)
1 large onion (or 2 medium) roughly chopped (finely chopped if you have no way of pureeing).
3 big fat cloves of garlic (or more if you’re a real garlic fan) chopped roughly
2oz fresh ginger (a piece as big as your thumb) chopped
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 level tablespoon of curry masala/powder/paste (or 1 level teaspoon of ground cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, ground ginger and chilli powder)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 240g tin chopped tomatoes
1lb/500g of main ingredient (chicken, lamb, beef, prawn or vegetables)
Chopped fresh coriander to finish the curry off (and some turmeric, allspice, dried mint and garam masala)
In a liquidizer/food processor/blender puree your onion garlic and ginger (they can be mixed)
In a large pan put about 6 tablespoons of oil (not olive or anything else strong flavoured). If you have ghee that’s even better.
Gently heat the oil and add the whole spices. Fry for about 30 seconds.
Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Fry gently for about 10 minutes.
Add your masala/curry powder/paste and fry gently for a minute or so adding a splash of water if it’s catching.
Stir in the tomato puree and again cook for a minute.
Add the salt and sugar.
Now add some water to the pan (about 500ml). Bring to the simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the mixture has reduced and quite thick again.
If you didn’t puree your mixture earlier then you can puree the sauce now using a hand blender.
The chopped tomatoes can now be added (if you want a really smooth sauce you can blend again).
The sauce should be a nice thick consistency, if it’s too thick add a bit more water or stock.
Bring the sauce to the simmer and add your main ingredient.
Diced chicken will take around 20 – 30 minutes to cook. Diced lamb wants to cook for a good 75 – 90 minutes. If you are doing a vegetable curry I would par-cook the vegetables and then finish them off in the sauce for the last 20 minutes.
20 minutes before your curry is ready add the chopped coriander and a pinch of all spice, turmeric and dried mint and a teaspoon of garam masala.
Check for seasoning and add a little more salt if needed.
If the sauce is a little runny finish the curry off on the hob without the lid on.
I have to mention at this point that as I am writing this Kit is preparing some onions for a curry tonight. I also have to mention that Kit has forgotten to put the lid on the blender when pureeing the onions… I don’t think I have to mention that the kitchen is now covered with onions!
Anyway, where was I… Yes cook for a further 20 minutes and your curry will be ready.
The above recipe makes a medium strength curry but it’s easy to adapt and add other ingredients to make different variations.
For a Madras add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (fresh or bottled), 1 tablespoon of ground almonds and 2 teaspoons of chilli powder 20 minutes from the end of cooking.
For a Korma add 1 tablespoon ground almonds, 3 tablespoons of cream and 2 teaspoons of sugar 20 minutes from the end of cooking.
For a Dupiaza fry 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, 1 roughly chopped onion until caramelised add to the curry 20 minutes before the end of cooking.
For a Rogan Josh toast some flaked almonds, roughly chop 4 large tomatoes and add to the curry 20 minutes before the end of cooking.
For a Jalfrezi add 4 roughly chopped tomatoes, 6 chillies roughly sliced and two teaspoons of turmeric 20 minutes before the end of cooking.
For a Tikka Massala add 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup, 2 tablespoons of cream and 1 teaspoon of sugar 20 minutes from the end of cooking.
Or of course you can experiment with your own ‘add ins’!
I can especially recommend a curry made with the leftover Christmas turkey, cranberry sauce and cream… to be honest I think it went down better than the Christmas dinner itself!
Speaking of Christmas… I still haven’t done the cake or pudding!
Our Butcher sometimes gets some very nice wild venison in. When he does we always make sure that we get some venison neck in, we usually buy quite a bit for the freezer. Venison neck when cooked long and slow is great. It makes fantastic curries but this was a first for us. I can honestly say though that this chilli was one of the finest I’ve ever tasted!
We put this in the oven at 165 C and then turned it straight down to 115 C and there it stayed for a good eight hours! I don’t see why it couldn’t be cooked for less time on a higher heat though? I would say that at 165 C for four hours would be fine, any less I would expect the venison not to be quite so melt in the mouth.
This recipe gives a medium (to us!) heat level. Although our kids like spicy, too hot and they start to grumble. Kit and myself simply added some ‘Ome-Made Chilli Sauce to ours.
If you can’t get venison neck you could always do this recipe with chuck steak or even beef shin would give a good result. There is no reason why you can’t even stick to the traditional minced beef.
You will notice that the recipe makes a lot but if your going to have the oven on for that amount of time you may as well do extra! It freezes and reheats well so gives some hassle free meals in the future.
Venison Chilli (makes approximately 12 portions)
1 kilo/2lb Diced venison (or meat of your choice)
500g/1lb dried beans (I used red Kidney beans and pinto beans) soaked over night or couple tins of beans of your choice
4 big fat cloves of garlic, chopped
3 medium onions
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons chilli powder (I used 1 standard hot, 1 new Mexico and 1/2 of bhut jolokia but not everyone has these hanging about in there cupboards)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 large glass of red wine (or anything else ‘moist’, beer, lager or even cola), don’t forget one for yourself too!
2 tins (280g in total…ish) tomato puree
1 400g tin chopped tomato
2 tablespoon sugar (granulated will do)
3 beef stock cubes or 1 tablespoon beef bouillon or some strong beef stock (approximately 1/2pint/280ml)
50g of seriously dark chocolate (at least 70% but I used 85%)
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
Drain and rinse the soaked beans put in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil for ten minutes then drain.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan
Fry the garlic and onion until soft
Add the spices and continue to fry for a couple minutes, if they are catching add a splash of water.
Add your meat to the pan and brown, stir in the oregano and season with salt and pepper.
Add your wine or beer (if you haven’t drunk it all yet!) and whack the heat up to reduce the liquid to a nice thick consistency.
Reduce the heat and add your tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes or so now add your tomatoes, sugar, stock cubes (or stock) and par-cooked beans (if using tinned add an hour before serving) and enough water to cover everything + 1/2 inch, bring to the simmer
Break your chocolate up roughly (remembering to taste to check for quality!) and sit on top of the chilli, let it melt slowly before stirring it into the liquid. now put a lid on the pan and put into a pre-heated oven at 165 C/330 F and then turn down to 115 C/240 F where it will stay for eight hours (or less if you decide to cook on a higher temperature, see above)
Go and enjoy the rest of your day knowing that all you have to do for tea now is cook a bit of rice!
We hadn’t seen a friend of ours (an old neighbour) for a while, and we still had half a bottle of Pimms in the pantry that he had bought up on his last visit!
We seemed to be having a good run of weather so we thought it was time to invite him round for Pimms and a bit of decent nosh.
We decided to do slow roasted lamb, Middle Eastern style with Turkish salad, Tzatziki, ‘Ome Made Chilli Sauce and pitta breads.
I started the lamb off in the oven but finished it off in the smoker which gives it an incredible flavour. There’s a video on the Blog and You Tube (OmeMadeByUs) of me preparing the lamb (if you want a chuckle!)
We also had lots of Pimms which was great because we had plenty of fresh Borage leaves and flowers to put in (so much better than cucumber!)
So here’s the recipe for the lamb;
Slow Roasted Lamb Middle Eastern Style
1 x whole shoulder of lamb (leg works as well, but I prefer shoulder for slow cooking, you could also get a half shoulder but the leftover meat is great to use in other dishes)
Marinade (don’t be scared to experiment with these ingredients, they’re only a rough guide)
garlic 3 – 6 cloves (depending on taste) finely chopped/crushed
ginger – 1 inch piece finely chopped
chilli powder 1-4 teaspoons (again depends on taste)
Cumin powder 3 teaspoons
cinnamon 1 teaspoon
all spice/pimento 1 teaspoon
dried mint 1 teaspoon
2 teaspoons of salt
lots of black pepper (grind until it hurts!)
Juice from a lemon (and zest) or two table spoons bottled lemon juice
1 tablespoon oil (I tend to use olive for this but anything goes)
Mix all the marinade ingredients together (you can use ready bought Ras el hanout mix instead of the individual spices if you want).
Slash the meat with a sharp knife so the flavours penetrate the meat and then rub in the marinade… vigorously! Go on slap it on! The meat would benefit from being left in the marinade overnight if you have chance to prepare the dish a day in advance.
Put the meat in a roasting pan with a couple tablespoons of water and then cover tightly with tin foil (it’s sometimes a good idea to use two pieces)
Put in the oven at 165 C/330 F to be ready after 6 hours or 145 C/290 F to be ready after 8 hours (either way you could leave it for a couple hours longer and it will still be fine).
This is a great dish to do if you are out for the day or at work and you want to come in to have something practically ready to eat!
This has to be one of our household favourite meals. It’s like an up-market kebab! I don’t remember having Pimms before my late night kebab when I was younger though!
Here’s a recipe for a basic chilli sauce which can be used as a condiment, marinade or flavouring for a sauce. It’s not exactly the same as my own ‘Ome-made chilli sauce as that is a closely guarded secret!
You can use this as a guide and please experiment with the type of chillies you use to get your own custom Home-made Chilli sauce.
I use a combination of fresh chillies and dried. Using dried allows you to get some wonderful flavours into the sauce for instance using chipotles gives a lovely smoky background. If you like it hot make sure you get some fruity Bhut Joloikas in there, just be careful when preparing and either wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
There are plenty of online retailers now that sell exotic dried chillies. You could try www.spicesofindia.co.uk who have a vast, reasonably priced selection.
I tend to bottle my ‘Ome-made chilli sauce in 250ml screw top cordial bottles or 500ml crown capped beer bottles, if you do the latter just make sure it’s clearly labelled to avoid any nasty shocks!
Please experiment and have fun with this recipe. Whatever chillies you use you will end up with something that is not only unique to you but also a far superior product than shop bought chilli sauce.
Not Quite ‘Ome-made Chilli Sauce
18 dried chillies sliced ( Try 8 cayenne as a base and then another mixed 10 from, for example, Amarillo, Chipotle, Passila, Ancho, Bhut Jolokia or you could just use all one type such as cayenne)
12 medium sized fresh red chillies sliced (even better if they’re ‘Ome grown!)
250ml/9fl oz vinegar (I tend to use cider vinegar but it’s your choice)
250ml/9fl oz water
225g/8oz sugar (soft brown works well but any will work. If you like it sweeter add a bit more)
5 medium garlic cloves sliced (or more or less depending on your taste)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and sliced (can be omitted if preferred)
2 teaspoon salt
6 medium tomatoes chopped or 1 400g/14 oz tin of tomatoes
Put everything in a thick bottomed saucepan, bring to the simmer and cook for around 45 minutes (be warned if you have some Bhut Jolokia in there the fumes can be quite pungent)
When cooked allow to cool slightly and then blitz with a hand blender or put in a liquidizer or food processor. Put in sterilised bottles or portion and freeze if you have no bottles.
Once bottled the sauce will keep indefinitely in a cool place. Once opened keep in a fridge and use within 3 weeks.
The sauce will make a really nice, simple chilli con carne. Just fry some onions, garlic, minced beef. Add a good dollop of tomato puree enough water to make a sauce and then your Home-Made Chilli Sauce to taste.