Tag Archives: lamb

One Pot Lamb Steaks

I saw Irish lamb steaks recently in my supermarket.  Yum.  So off to conjure a suitable back drop to such a delicious and lean cut of meat.  Easy peasy. Lamb in Ireland is probably the best and healthiest meat you can eat.  Our grass is second to none, and those sheep scamper over mountains and moorland every day.  Therefore you have the right amount of fat to fibre ratio.  With most of the local sheep around here being grazed on land that’s never even seen a fertiliser truck, never mind being fertilised. And they are ostly left to fend for themselves.  No interaction with antibiotics or growth hormones.  Win win.  Grassfed lamb is an excellent source of Vitamin B12.  Something the Irish have found lacking in their diet.

Just for the record, a  lamb is a sheep until it reaches it’s first birthday.  Then it becomes a hogget. Until it reaches it’s second birthday.  That’s when we have mutton.  All equally delicious.  Thought not all as easy to get.

Lamb benefits from a slightly longer cook, at a slightly lower temperature, then you would cook say, pork at.  In this dish I use steaks, but you could use loin, or some good quality chops also.  Save the joint pieces and rack for the Sunday dinners.

Lamb

One Pot Lamb Steaks

Ingredients:

Lamb steaks, if there are small allow 1 and 1/2 per person

2 Onions, peeled and chopped into quarters

2 Peppers, you  preference for colour.

2 Courgettes, or aubergines, sliced

1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into chip size slices

1/2 head of garlic, squashed, but not peeled

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Sprig of mint

Method

Splash some of the oil into a heavy roasting pan, add the onions and the butternut squash “chips”.

Season with salt and pepper and roast in a medium oven for 20 minutes.
Lamb

Next add the other vegetables, tossing everything together to coat with oil, and roast this for a further 15 minutes.

Next put the steaks on top, and season these well.  Adding the mint also.
Lamb
Roast for a further 30 minutes until the meat is golden and cooked through.  Although I like my lamb a little pink, in this case it’s nice fully cooked.  Remove from the oven and leave to rest, covered for 10 minutes for the juices to mingle.

Serve as is, lots of vegetables beautifully roasted and some fabulous lamb.  East AND divine.
Lamb
 

This isn’t a review- its a thank you

I couldn’t wait to visit Blairscove Restaurant near Durrus.  Chris Woodward, son in law of the owners Philippe and Sabine De Mey, attended the Ballymaloe Cookery Course at the same time as me, and I had promised him, and his wife Anne that we would visit.  So we did.  To be fair a Bank Holiday in West Cork is always a busy place, but we got the booking in early, and arrived hungry after a days orienteering.

The view when you park is worth stopping for.  That evening the weather was stormy, but dry, and the true spirit of the sea was evident! No picture as was too hungry.

Anne is renowned for her cocktails, so it would have been rude not to partake… Who doesn’t love a glass of Elderflower Royale?

Cocktail time

Cocktail time

The starter buffet was always going to be a winner.  Amy introduced everything to us, and it was almost impossible to decide.  I was very restrained, unlike some others I could mention.  Star dish of the buffet for me were the oysters.

The starter buffet- love the clam shell

The starter buffet- love the clam shell

We had each ordered something different for main course.  And it took quite a while to decide.  Blairscove are famous for grilling the local produce on the roaring fire grill in the dining room, it didn’t disappoint.  My lamb was so tender, and the unusual sounding aubergine cheesecake accompaniment gave a touch of bitterness to the sweet lamb. I had seen the first of the lambs running around in the Spring when I visited for the first time, and the lovely layer of fat is testament to the lush grass of the area.

Local lamb at Blairscove

Local lamb at Blairscove

Robert made an excellent choice in the turbot, and it was served on a really beautiful dish, lucky for Anne I had only a small handbag with me….

The turbot maincourse

The turbot maincourse

Nigel had the sticky pork belly, lightly spiced, it lost none of its pork flavour.

Sticky pork Belly

Sticky pork Belly

And then dessert, our server introduced all the delights, and then we had to choose.

The dessert trolley

The dessert trolley

I have to admit, my eyes were bigger than my belly. But really, how could you resist?  There was a distinct quiet at the table while the sweet delicacies were being “inhaled”.  My nephew said it was the best rice pudding he’d ever had.  Praise indeed from a child who’s mother cooks a rice pudding to die for.

Robert thought it was one of the best meals he’d ever had.  This is from the guy who has eaten in the Fat Duck.

Nigel said any restaurant that had the buffet of that calibre for the starter was a winner in his eyes.

And as for me?  I was delighted to catch up with friends, as I knew the food was going to be as good as reported.  We plan to return in September, and hopefully spend more than an evening.  As an aside we had great fun playing “beat the intro”, the pianist, who I believe had been paying there for years, was a real added bonus to the ambience.

Go there. Book it now.  Tell them I sent you.

New Season Lamb. Tasty and local

There’s nothing like a leg of lamb, roasted with garlic and rosemary.

New Season lamb ready for roasting

New Season lamb ready for roasting

For my practical exam at the end of my Ballymaloe Course I cooked a leg of lamb with cumin, and it really was delicious, even if the leg itself was so big it threw my timings a little.  But it was so tender and full of flavour.

New Season Lamb, roasted with rosemary

New Season Lamb, roasted with rosemary

When you buy Irish lamb, you can be almost guaranteed that it has been raised in the near organic conditions of Ireland farming landscape.  Sheepmeat production in Ireland remains largely a traditional farming activity, where small holdings are carefully tended by farmers with a proud tradition of excellence in food production.  And this is the way it should be.

While eating in Ballymaloe House with my father in law, and my eldest, we saw Hogget was on the menu.  This is lamb from the previous season, so it is between 12 and 18 months old, and not yet mutton.  Hogget is often a much better buy due to the size of the animal at this age, and also the developed flavours in the meat.  It is also not as fatty as mutton, and therefore can be substituted easily for lamb.  It has hugely benefited from roaming freely for the extra few months, chomping on heathers, and brackens, and developing better muscle, to give a finer grain to the meat.

Joanna Blythman puts the health benefits of mutton and hogget very succinctly;

“The high-quality protein in hogget and mutton sates the appetite and repairs and maintains our bodies. These meats have every essential amino acid we need, along with high levels of valuable micronutrients, including easily absorbed iron to energise us, zinc to support the immune system, and B vitamins to help us think straight. Since sheep graze on green pastures, the fat in their meat is an excellent source of conjugated linoleic acid, which is heart-healthy and helps protect us against cancer.”

Ireland, in particular, has a history of sheepmeat in the diet.  But historically the meat was only used if the animal was old, or had died.  In a land where sheep were often the primary meat food source, it is not surprising that it became the basis of many traditional dishes like shepherds pie, or the Kerry pie, that was traditionally served at the puck fair in Killorgan, often this type of pie was called a fairing.  Myrtle Allen had investigated this pie over 40 years ago, when she first came across it.

thursday 19 feb 011

Kerry Pie, with a flaky pastry crust

Kerry Pie, with a flaky pastry crust

While we were learning to make these in class, Darina told us of the similarities between these pies and those made in Cornwall, and it is possible that a link goes back to the 1800s when a community of Cornish miners and their families lived in a valley near Allihies in West Cork and worked the copper mines. (Darina Allen)

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect Summer Dinner with Cono Sur Wine

My goal when cooking, like Cono Sur, is to make incredible and inspiring meals.  Although I am not sourcing my ingredients in South America, we are very lucky to live on the family farm where my father in-law grows all our own vegetables.  So the first thing I do when starting the dinner preparation is dig and pick the veg.  We are very lucky here in the south east to have a mostly temperate climate which means our growing season is long and fruitful.  Like Cono Sur, our commitment when growing our produce is to think green.  Our horses provide manure, and our waste goes to feed the chickens and deer also living with us on the farm.

 

Fresh Vegetables from the garden

Fresh Vegetables from the garden

Next marinade the butterflied lamb in an enormous amount of garlic and herbs.  I get my lamb from our local supplier direct, it’s Comeragh Lamb, which I think gives a full flavour that stands up to the strong marinade well.

 

Butterflied leg of lamb after two days in the marinade

Butterflied leg of lamb after two days in the marinade

Bake the freshly dug and washed spuds,  adding the lamb to the hot oven for about an hour, adding a dash of olive oil.

Scrub and slice the beetroot into a oven dish lined with tinfoil, add a head of peeled garlic and lots of olive oil, salt & pepper.  Wrap the parcel up tight and place in the oven alongside the potatoes and lamb.  This also needs about an hour, add a splash of balsamic vinegar half way through cooking

Leave both to rest while preparing the salads.

Chill the Cono Sur Sauvignon wine to the perfect temperature.

Slice the lamb, drizzle with the fresh pesto.  Add the fluffy baked potato, the beans, beetroot and serve with the tomato and lettuce salads.

The Perfect Summer Dinner

The Perfect Summer Dinner