This Month's Recipes...
April – Starter – Blood orange and onion salad
From page 342 of The New English Kitchen.
In Sicily the cold winter nights followed by the mellow days develop the anthocyanin in these unique oranges – the pigment that gives them their colour. Try to find very mild, sweet shallots for this salad, which is lovely served with cold duck leftovers.
4 blood oranges
4 sweet pink shallots
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peel and slice the oranges, removing any pips, and put them in a dish. Peel the shallots and slice them as thinly as you can. Mix with the oranges, then shake the oil on top. Throw over a little sea salt and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Main – Roast Lamb
From page 199 of The New English Kitchen.
I like cooking roast lamb the French way, over a layer of chopped vegetables, then chucking in a little water or stock near the end of cooking. You end up with juicy lamb that is pink in the centre, plus a rich, clear, russet gravy. Raymond Blanc cooks lamb this way in his book, Cooking for Friends (Headline, 1991), a second-hand copy of which is well worth seeking out for its wonderful recipes for home cooking.
Suitable roasting joints include a leg or half leg of lamb, or a boned and rolled shoulder.
4 tablespoons of olive oil
a few lamb bones (the butcher should be only too happy to give them to you)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2kg leg of lamb
a large pinch of dried rosemary, or 1 sprig fresh rosemary
a large pinch of dried thyme
3 tomatoes, chopped
600ml water or meat stock
1 glass of white wine (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Heat the oil in a roasting tin on the hob and brown the lamb bones in it. Add the vegetables and garlic and mix well with the oil. Rub the lamb with a little more oil and place it on top of the bones and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and scatter the rosemary and thyme over everything.
Transfer to the oven and roast for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, tilt the roasting tin and spoon out any excess fat. Add the tomatoes, water or stock and the wine, if using, and return the tin to the oven. Reduce the heat to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and cook for a further 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, put the lamb in a dish and leave to rest in a warm place for 20 minutes, covered with foil.
Strain the juices from the roasting tin into a warm jug, discarding the vegetables and bones. Add any juices that seep from the resting joint of lamb. Serve the lamb with the juices.
Dessert – Pudding in a Pan
From page 181 of Kitchenella.
Faced with the task of producing something sweet in no time, there is a simple solution with a bunch of bananas and a couple of oranges. Split the bananas lengthways and sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon. Heat 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar in a pan with 2 tablespoons butter and add 2 cardamom pods (if you wish). Add about 3 tablespoons orange juice.
Bring to the boil; cook until you have a thick syrup then poach the bananas in it until soft. Remember to pick out and discard the cardamom before you serve the bananas, with crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream.