Overstrand Life - Janet's Diaries

Lamb Casserole

Best end of neck lamb chops – 6
Sunflower oil – for frying
Onion – 1, medium, peeled and sliced
Carrots – 2, large, peeled, cut in half lengthways and then again crossways
Turnip – 1, medium, peeled and cut in half
Celery – 2, sticks, cut in half crossways
Pearl Barley – 1tbsp
Pepper – freshly ground
Water – to cover
Cornflour and water mix – optional

•Brown the chops, preferably in a cast iron griddle pan.
•Gently fry the onion, carrots, turnip and celery in an ovenproof dish or pan for about 5 mins.
•Add the browned chops to the vegetables.
•Sprinkle over the pearl barley and season with salt and pepper.
•Deglaze the griddle pan with a little water and pour over the chops etc.
•Add enough water to cover and bring to a simmer.
•Cover the dish or pan and put in an oven, preheated to Gas 4/180°C and cook for 1½ hours, or until the lamb is cooked through.
•Remove and cool, refrigerate and the following day remove any set fat using a metal spoon.
•Reheat, thickening if required, with a little cornflour mixed with water.

Notes: Remove the chops when reheated and keep warm. Add suet dumplings and cook for a further 20-30 mins., by which time the dumplings will have risen. Serve the chops on plates, spoon the vegetables and liquor over with the dumplings to one side.

Serves: 2

Macaroni Cheese with Leeks

Leek – 1, large, trimmed and washed
Macaroni – 60g
Butter – 25g
Plain Flour – 35g
Mustard Powder – ½ teaspoon
Milk – enough to make a thick sauce
Cheddar Cheese – 140g, grated
Ground Black Pepper

•Slice the leek lengthways and then across into 1cm half rounds. Boil in salted water for 5 mins, drain and when cool tip onto about three layers of kitchen towel and pat with more kitchen towel, until almost dry.
•Boil the macaroni, as per the instructions on the packet and drain when cooked.
•Put the butter into a saucepan and melt over a low heat. Add the flour and mustard and mix to form a paste (roux). Heat this, stirring all the time, for a about half a minute to cook the flour.
•Gradually add the milk in stages. Allow the sauce to thicken each time milk is added to the pan. When the sauce is thick, add 120grams of the cheese and let this melt into the sauce. Season with pepper.
•Stir in the leek and pour the mixture into a dish. Top with the remaining cheese and put in an oven preheated to Gas5/190ºC on a high shelf for about 15-20 mins when the top should be brown and bubbling.

Notes: As the cheese is salty, I don’t add salt to the sauce. This can be cooked in advance and reheated for about 30 minutes. Soured cream helps enhance the cheese flavour - reduce milk accordingly.

Serving Suggestions: Some crispy grilled smoked streaky bacon.

Serves: 2

Meat Balls with Chunky Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti

Meat Balls
Pork, 400g, lean, minced
White Breadcrumbs, 50g
Thyme, ½tsp, dried
Pepper, black, freshly ground
Egg, 1, beaten
Olive Oil, for frying

Olive Oil, for frying
Onion, 1 medium, sliced
Garlic, I large clove, sliced
Tin Tomatoes, 400g tin, chopped
Green Pepper, ¼, deseeded and sliced
Yellow Pepper, ¼, deseeded and sliced
Oregano, ½tsp, dried
Pepper, black, freshly ground
Water, if necessary

Spaghetti, 200g

Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

• Mix the pork, breadcrumbs, thyme, salt and pepper together.
• Add the egg and mix thoroughly, preferably using your hands, leave in a cool place for about one hour.
• Heat some olive oil in a thick bottomed saucepan and sweat the onion and garlic until soft.
• Add the tomatoes, peppers, oregano and season with salt and pepper.
• Simmer, stirring occasionally until the peppers are cooked but still retain bite. The sauce should be thick and chunky but if it starts to dry and stick to the pan during cooking, add a little water.
• Shape the pork mix into balls, about the size of a walnut.
• Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and cook the meatballs until golden brown.
• Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the spaghetti, cooking for time specified on the pack, usually 12 minutes, strain.
• Add the cooked meatballs to the tomato sauce and stir carefully with a wooden spoon.
• Lift the spaghetti into individual dishes and spoon the sauce over.
• Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Notes: I prefer a thick chunky sauce with pasta, thinner ones tend to drain through the pasta and accumulate at the bottom of the dish.

Variations: Use different herbs, rosemary complements pork well, and basil (dried and fresh) is a good alternative to oregano.

Serves: 2

Mutton Curry

Oil – sunflower, for frying
Onions – 2 large, peeled and sliced
Garlic – 2 cloves, finely chopped
Mutton Neck Fillet – 500g, diced
Turmeric - ½tsp, ground
Cumin - ½tsp, ground
Coriander - ½tsp, ground
Ginger - ½tsp, minced
Chilli Powder - ¼tsp
Cinnamon Stick – 1, small
Coconut – 2tbsp, powder, dissolved in hot water
Tomatoes – tinned, 400g, chopped
Pepper – ground
Water - hot
Yoghurt – 3tbsp, Greek, preferably Total brand
Coriander – 1tbsp, fresh, chopped

• Sweat the onions and garlic in the oil in a frying pan, using a slotted spoon remove to an ovenproof casserole.
• Increase the heat and brown the mutton in the oil in batches, add to the onions and garlic.
• Reduce the heat and add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, chilli and cinnamon stick. Fry lightly for a couple of minutes, to release the flavours.
• Stir the dissolved coconut and tomatoes in with the spices, season, bring to the boil and pour into the casserole with the meat etc.
• Add enough hot water to cover, stir and cook on the middle shelf of an oven preheated to Gas 3/170°C for about 2-2½ hours or until the mutton is tender.
• Just before serving remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the yoghurt, reheat gently if necessary, finally sprinkle over the fresh coriander.

Notes: This curry can be cooked the previous day allowing the flavours of the spices to intensify. If cooking in advance do not add the yoghurt and coriander until after the dish has been reheated.

Variations: Substitute the mutton with lamb or beef and reduce the cooking time to 1½ hours or for a vegetarian option, a mix of squash, sweet potatoes, courgette and peppers reducing the cooking time to an hour.

Serves: 2

Mutton in the Oven

This recipe was given to me by Roger Craske, the Mundesley Butcher. It is so simple, I did not need to write it down and it is now one of our favourite ways of cooking Mutton. The beauty of this dish is you can put it in the oven first thing in the morning and then go out for the day. It needs no attention until about half an hour before serving and with the vegetables cooked with the Mutton it is a true ‘one pot dinner’.

Mutton - ½ a leg or ½ a shoulder
Root Vegetables e.g. Carrots, Potatoes, Swede, Turnips etc. - enough to serve about 6.
Gravy thickener

• Wash, peel and cut the vegetables into good sized chunks.
• Put the Mutton joint into a roasting pan large enough to hold the meat and the vegetables.
• Place the vegetables around the Mutton, add about 6 tablespoons of water.
• Cover the pan with foil making sure you get a good seal; keeping in the moisture.
• Put the covered pan onto the middle shelf in the oven. Set the temperature to slow cook and leave for about 10 hours.
• About half an hour before serving remove the Mutton and keep warm.
• Spoon or tip some of the liquid from the pan into a jug. Cover the vegetables and return to the oven.
• When the liquid has separated into fat and juices, pour off the juices into a small pan and use whatever thickeners you prefer to make a good rich gravy.
• Slice the Mutton or serve in chunks with the vegetables and the gravy poured over.

Notes: Strain off the remaining liquid in the pan and when separated, pour off the juices for using with the leftovers or they can be frozen for later use.

Serves: 6, any leftovers can be minced for rissoles or shepherd’s pie.

© 2017 Overstrand LIfe - Janet's Diaries

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