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!
Falafel are great… or can be if they’re made right! The thing is you need to put bags of flavour in there. You need serious amounts of garlic, lemon juice, pepper and salt. And then of course there’s the spices. For me it has to be heavy on the cumin, probably my favourite spice and a little paprika and ginger help give an extra zing to the proceedings. A good handful of fresh herbs give the finishing touch.
Falafel are surprisingly easy to make. The main ingredient, chickpeas, are incredibly cheap too!
I like to have Falafel just as they are accompanied by a nice salad, maybe some Tabbouleh and lashings of Tzatziki… Oops, I’m beginning to sound like a vegetarian!
Once cooked they can also be warmed in a sauce, a nice rich tomato sauce works well. They’re almost like a vegetarian version of a meatballs.
So here’s a recipe you can follow to make your own. It uses dried chickpeas which have to be soaked overnight. I’m sure if you wanted you could cheat and use tinned, if you do you’ll want about double the amount of dried.
‘Ome Made Falafel
You will need:
- 500g dried chickpeas
- 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chilli
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
Soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain and rinse the chickpeas then grind to a course pulp in a food processor.
Mix in all the other ingredients using your hands to really work the mixture together.
Form into 4cm balls and place on greaseproof paper on a tray in a single layer.
To cook the Falafel are best deep fried or shallow fried and then finished off in an oven.If deep frying the oil wants to be around 160°C so that they will cook through without the outside getting too well done Take the Falafel out of the oil when they are firmed up and just starting to colour. The Falafel can be par cooked like this and then cooled and refrigerated or frozen. The Falafel can then just be popped into an oven to finish cooking.
Alternatively the Falafel can just be deep or shallow fried.
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!
Soup… We absolutely love it in our house. Not the tinned variety of course. It has to be ‘Ome-made! And it’s so easy to make. You take your favourite ingredients sweat them off in some butter add some stock, cook for a bit and then blitz. Not leek and potato soup though, that can’t be blitzed. That’s completely breaking the rules, that has to be… ‘lumpy’.
If you make your own stock it’s even better. Even if it’s chucking the bones from the leftover roast chicken in a pot and boiling for an hour, you will be left with a nice base for a soup. Of course if your one of those non-meat eating types you can make a stock from those manky left over carrots at the back of the fridge any veg trimmings and some onion. If you roast the veg for 20 minutes or so you’ll get more flavour and a deeper colour to your stock too.
So heres a recipe for a soup I made the other day along with a recipe for some cumin, ginger and garlic croutons. If you don’t have the croutons with this soup I suggest putting the spices used to flavour them in the soup. Although this recipe has chillies and spices in it it is no way spicy. If you prefer it spicier just up the amount of red chili in the recipe.
Sweet Potato & Red Chili Soup
1 medium onion roughly sliced
2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
200g (a large baker) potato cubed
700g sweet potatoes (4 small or 3 medium)cubed
1 large carrot diced
1 teaspoon ground white pepper (or extra black if you haven’t)
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaped teaspoon mild curry massala (or curry powder)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 litre of stock
2 medium sized red chillies deseeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
Ground black pepper and salt to taste
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Gently fry the onion and garlic for about 10 minutes.
Add both types of potato and carrot to the pan along with the white pepper, salt, curry massala, allspice and thyme. Gently sweat all the veg off for a further 10 minutes stirring so the spices don’t stick and burn.
Add your stock which should just cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately forty minutes or until all the veg is cooked through and soft. Take off the heat and carefully blitz with a hand blender, blender or food processor.
Put back on the heat and add the remaining ingredients. The soup will be ready after 20 minutes.
Cumin Ginger & Garlic Croutons
8 slices white bread
2 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and black pepper
Cut the bread into cubes and put in a shallow roasting/baking tin.
Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the garlic, cumin and ginger. Give the croutons a good toss and then sprinkle a little more olive oil on them and toss them again.
Put in an oven preheated to 165°C on fan setting (185°C for conventional)the croutons will take 30 – 40 minutes but you need to regularly check on them and give them a shake or turn every 10 minutes or so.
Once the croutons are cooked they can be used straight away. Once the croutons are completely cool they can be put in a sealed container where they should be good for up to five days.
Happy soup making!
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!