Mechoui Lamb

This makes for succulent, spice-crusted lamb that falls off the bone. Makes the whole house smell delicious too.

Ingredients
1 leg of lamb
70g butter
3 cloves of garlic
2 tea spoon cumin
1 tea spoon paprika
3 tea spoon coriander
1/4 tea spoon salt
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat oven to 425F
Grind the spices and combine with the butter.
butter1

2. Crush the garlic and add to the butter. Mix until smooth and incorporated.
butter2

3. With a small sharp knife, make little incisions into the lamb all over, making little pockets.
meat1

4. Rub the butter mixture all over, making sure some goes into those pockets. Place on a grill in a roasting pan. Cover with aluminum foil.
meat2

5. Put in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Baste the meat and lower the oven to 315F. Cook for an other hour, hour and a half, basting every 30 minutes. The roast is done when the meat pulls easily from the bone (or starts to fall apart, if you have a boneless roast).
meat3

6. Slice and serve.
serve

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Chai Masala Macarons

Because I had a day off and wanted a project. Chai Masala Macarons, with garam masala spices in the cookies and salted caramel as the filling. You get a punch of black pepper to offset the sweetness and the other spices round it up.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
85g butter, in small cubes
1/2 tea spoon fleur de sel
140g egg whites
90g sugar, two times
160g almond powder
160g icing sugar
1 tea spoon garam masala
gel food coloring
ingredients

***

1. In a large, thick bottom pot, combine the sugar and water. Try to avoid the sugar getting on the sides.
sugar1

2. Turn the heat on medium and let the sugar bubble away. Gently swirl the pan if needed, but leave it mostly alone. It will bubble up and thicken.
sugar2

3. Then it will go from light yellow to amber to copper. The second it reaches copper, remove from the heat.
sugar3

4. Drop in the butter and whisk it in. The sugar will foam and bubble up. Add the cream and whisk it in. Stir in the fleur de sel. Transfer to a heat proof vessel and set aside to cool.
caramel

5. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
prep

6. For the spices, you want to grind them finely.
spices1

7. But remove the cardamom pods.
spices2

8. In a food processor, combine the almond powder, icing sugar, and spices.
dry1

9. Pulse until blended. Set aside.
dry2

10. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, pour the egg whites.
egg1

11. On low speed, beat until foamy. Add the first 90g of sugar. Increase the speed and beat for a further 2 minutes.
egg2

12. When it gets shiny and more opaque, add the remaining sugar. Increase the speed again and beat for an other minute or two.
egg3

13. Add the food coloring of your choice (I used yellow).
egg4

14. Beat until stiff peaks form. Remove from mixer.
egg5

15. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl.
combine1

16. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the eggs.
combine2

17. Keep folding, from the outside in and going underneath the mixture until it becomes more supple, and ribbons slowly, slowly meld back into the mass.
combine3

18. Transfer to a piping bag. If you have someone to help you have them hold the bag. if not, a mason jar will do.
piping

19. Pipe cookies of about equal sizes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bang tray on the counter top a few times to let air bubbles out. Set aside so the outer shell dries (about 15-30 minutes)
bang

20. Heat the oven to 290F. Bake the shells 15 minutes.
cookies1

21. Allow to cool fully on a cooling rack. Then smear one cookie with caramel and sandwich with another. Transfer, uncovered, to the fridge for 24h. Cookies will keep, covered, for about a week.
assemble

 

Chickpea and sweet potato curry

An easy, tasty and lazy weeknight meal. Warm and spicy and filling.

Ingredients
2 small onions (or 1 larger one), diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
an inch (or so) of ginger, grated
1 table spoon curry mix of your choice, ground
1 can chickpeas
1 large sweet potato, cubed
1 cup water
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup diced tomatoes
basmati rice, to serve
1 table spoon peanut oil
ingredients

***

1. In a thick bottomed saucepan warm the oil. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring often, until translucent.
onions

2. Add the garlic, the ginger, and the curry spices. Cook the aromatics with the onions until fragrant.
aromates

3. Rinse the chickpeas and add to the pot. Peel the sweet potato and cut roughly into cubes. Add it to the pot as well.
veggies1

4. Add the coconut milk and the water.
Mix well and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sweet potato cubes are tender.
liquids

5. Stir in the frozen peas.
peas

6. And the tomatoes.
Once the peas and tomatoes are heated through the curry is ready.
tomatoes

7. Serve with the basmati rice.
serve

Lazy Jambalaya

Wholly inaccurate, but easy enough on a weekday. A satisfying one-pot meal with plenty of leftovers for lunches. Leftover portions freeze rather well, so that is always a bonus.

Ingredients :
3 Italian sausage (spicy)
1 onion, chopped
3 celery branches, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups rice
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 table spoon cajun spices
1 table spoon paprika
1 lb shrimp
olive oil
ingredients

1. In a large enamel faitout or dutch oven, warm about a table spoon of the oil. Remove the casing from the sausages and add to the pot.
sausage1

2. Break apart into clumps as it cooks.
sausage2

3. Once the meat is almost fully cooked, add the onion, bell pepper and celery.
veggies

4. Stir in and cook for a  minute or two then add the frozen peas.
peas

5. Give the peas a mine to start thawing then add the tomatoes and garlic.
tomatoes

6. Add the rice. Stir it in, to coat the rice.
rice

7. Add the chicken broth, paprika and cajun spices.
stock

8. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes (to get the rice started)
cook1

9. Add the shrimps, still frozen, in a single layer on top.
shrimp

10.  Cover and return to heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the shrimps are nicely pink.
shrimp2

11. Allow to stand for a few minutes (the liquid will be absorbed). Portion out and enjoy!
serve

Pana Cotta

I totally stole this super simple recipe from Ros. It’s is very simple but absolutely fantastic at the same time. The spices are the absolute star of this. Really really recommend giving this blend a try. The rose petal and warmer spices are just right for the very light fresh milk.

Ingredients:
4 cups milk (5% milk if you can get it OR a mix of 10% cream and whole milk)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tea spoon Silk Road spices.
1 1/2 table spoon gelatin
1/4 cup boiling water
ingredients

***

1. In a large pot, combine the milk and sugar. Put the spices in a spice bag or tea infuser and turn the heat on medium-low. Stir to dissolve the sugar and allow the spices to infuse into the milk for a few minutes.
combine1

2. Once the milk is simmering, measure out the gelatin into a bowl.
gelatin1

3. Add the boiling water and stir to dissolve.
gelatin2

4. Remove the spices from the milk and discard. Whisk in the gelatin.
milk2

5. Ladle in to ramekins. Put in the refrigerator for a few hours or until fully cold.
split

6. Serve with the berries of your choice.
eat

Arroz con Pollo

Well, not a traditional version., but close enough. A nice warm and filling casserole of spicy chicken and savory rice. Reheats beautifully for lunches and has enough depth of flavor that you don’t get bored eating it after a few days.

Ingredients:
1 table spoon apple cider vinegar
2 tea spoon red pepper flakes
2 large cloves of garlic
1 tea spoon salt
1/2 tea spoon pepper
6 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on if you want)
1 onion
2 bell peppers
4 cups chicken stock (1 liter)
generous pinch of saffron threads
1 pint diced tomatoes
1 dried yunnan pepper
1/2 tea spoon cumin
2 bay leaves
2 cups rice
ingredients

***

1. Combine the apple cider vinegar, pepper flakes, minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper.
marinade

2. Put the chicken in a large ziploc bag.
chicken1

3. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage to coat the meat. Put in the fridge for 1 hour minimum, up to overnight.
chicken2

4. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, chop the onion and bell peppers.
veggies

5. Pour the chicken stock in a large pot and bring to just under a boil.
broth

6. Warm the oil in a large enamel cast iron pot (Dutch oven or French faitout). Retrieve the marinated chicken and add to pot in a single layer over medium to medium-high heat. Allow to cook for a few minutes, just to get some color.
Don’t breathe in the fumes… vinegar and red pepper flames are hard on sinuses.
meat1

7. Flip and color the other side then set aside.
meat2

8. Your broth should be warm by now. Add the saffron, then turn the heat to low and allow to steep.
broth2

9. Drain excess fat from the pot (especially if you cooked your chicken with the skin on).
Add the vegetables to the pot. use the moisture from the onions to scrape up any tasty stuck bits. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until softened and the onions start turning translucent.
veggies2

10. Add the tomatoes.
tomato

11. Once the tomatoes are bubbling, add the ground cumin.
cumin

12. Add the rice.
rice

13. Stir the rice until it has absorbed the pan juices, about 3-5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot.
rice2

14. Add the saffron broth, bay leaves and crumble in the yunnan pepper.
liquid

15. Bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to a low simmer and cover.
liquid2

16. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. Then turn the heat off and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
cooked

17. Portion out and enjoy!
portion

Roasted Sunchokes

A quick and easy side dish. The sunchokes are slightly sweet so this pairs extremely well with beer braised beef.

Ingredients:
1 lb sunchokes
2 table spoon butter
salt and pepper
ingredients

***

1. Peel the sunchokes. if you get them early in the season you can leave the peel in, it will be thin like a new potato. Just give them a good brushing. The peel is edible, but it gets a tough texture when cooked this way. And it has a lot of inulin, so it might cause some digestive upsets.
peel

2. Add the butter to the pan.
butter

3. Toss to coat in the butter and add salt and pepper to taste.
season

4. Cook in the pan for 5 minutes or so, tossing often, until they just start to take some color.
color

5. Put in a 350F oven for about 1h ou in a 400F oven for 40-45 minutes, until tender and nicely colored (you might want to flip them halfway through).
roasted