Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Roast Lamb

Until this year, I hardly ever cooked meat for myself at university. In my first two years I lived in nominally kosher places and therefore could only buy and cook kosher meat, which is both expensive and hard to get hold of. Most of the meat I ate was part of leftovers brought up from home. And then after that, meat was still expensive, and I like vegetarian food. And a lot of my leftovers from home were still meat. But this year things have changed. And the key to that change is the boyfriend. We eat together a lot of the time, and he likes meat. So, I eat more meat. There is also the fact that I have a smaller freezer, and can rely less on mum's cooking!

This weekend, Marks and Spencers were doing a £15 deal - a meal for four involving meat, a side dish, a dessert and wine. There were 5 of us for dinner - including 3 hungry boys (well men, I guess) - so we opted to get two. We bought two shoulders of lamb, with roast potatoes, mixed veg, chocolate pudding and an apple and pear tart. And wine, obviously. I actually thought that, whilst most of it was good value, the side dishes were a bit lacking - we needed more vegetables. But anyway, it was a lovely meal - and all of my housemates were in for the first time which was particularly nice. And we definitely got through more than those 2 bottles of wine!

We had a decent sized piece of lamb left over, and I decided to use that up last night. I had some mashed roast butternut squash as well, left over from home, so thought I'd so some kind of vaguely Moroccan style curry.

Chopped leftover lamb - apologies, photo is from my iphone

First I chopped and fried an onion, some garlic and some ginger paste.
I added some cumin seeds.
Then I added mushrooms (a handful) and the squash.
Then tomato puree (two tablespoons) and some water
Then I added spices: ground corriander, paprika, salt and pepper, ras-al-hanout, cinnamon and some honey.
I cooked that for a few minutes before adding the lamb, because I didn't want the lamb to be over cooked - I like it quite rare.
It was really good, but needed some more squash I think.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Hooray for cooking time

Sadly I can't make my camera talk to my computer at the moment, but I'm working on that...

Anyway, tonight was designated cooking night. It was very satisfying to be in the kitchen again, and to sit and eat a nice meal. However, I spent most of the day completely uninspired as to what I wanted to cook. I literally had no idea, but I knew it needed to involve vegetables. Eventually, I just went to Sainsbury's (now my nearest supermarket - I prefer Tescos) and hoped to be inspired there....

First stop, reduced to clear veg. I found leeks and mushrooms, two of my favourites. My immediate thought was miso soup, but an intensive search of the supermarket proved miso-less. New plan....

Looked for reduced fish. Nothing...

Went to meat. Bingo! I found four huge chicken legs for 1.25 pounds (I still cant find a pound symbol on my mac!). The plan was formulated: honey mustard chicken with mushrooms, butternut squash mash and creamed leeks.

So, my first step was to roast the squash. I don't bother attempting to cut it while it's raw, I just stab it all over with a sharp knife, drizzle with olive oil and stick it on a baking tray in the oven. It always takes ages! As soon as it's soft enough, cut it in half so it cooks quicker. And when it's very soft, remove and discard the seeds, then scoop the flesh out of the skin and mash. No need to add anything, it's soft enough already. (And the crispy skin tastes pretty good too!).

Meanwhile - the chicken. First I made the sauce in a pan: I combined honey, grainy mustard, and some spices - normally I use curry powder but we didn't have any so I settled for paprika and ground cumin. Heat until it bubbles. I then chopped an onion and some mushrooms and put them in a large oven-proof dish, and laid the chicken on top, before covering with the sauce. It just goes in the oven for about 45 minutes - check the chicken is cooked.

Lastly, leeks. Very simple. Chop, and saute in butter in a pan, When cooked, season and add a tablespoon or two of mayo.

I made far too much tonight so have at least two meals left over. I may even produce a photo eventually!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Normal Service....

.... Will be resumed once Fresher's Week is over and I have time to cook again!