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For dinner parties or Sunday roasts the best option for me is often slow-cooked food. Food that takes a little bit to prepare, but then you just bang it in the oven, set your timer and go about your day.

At first I was craving lamb chops for dinner with friends, and a griddled vegetable salad with feta. However – the size and price of the lamb chops deterred me. Then – in the butcher counter I saw a nice lamb shoulder. I’ve never cooked this before, but I know it is inexpensive, tasty and takes a while in the oven. Perfect. A quick Google search to find a suitable recipe resulted in James Martin’s shoulder of lamb with anchovy and rosemary

Not everyone is keen on lamb or mutton, but I was assured it tasted great. My advise is to cover the lamb with foil for the first hour, as the result was lovely, albeit a bit too dark on top. I didn’t have any lemons, so used oranges, and replaced the white wine with rose.

Prep time is 10 minutes and cook time about 4 hours.

  

Ingredients:

• 1½ kg shoulder of lamb, on the bone (I used about 1 kg)

• 4 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed

• 4 garlic cloves, crushed

• 1 tbsp. capers, finely chopped

• 3 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 2 whole lemons

• 2 red onions, cut into wedges

• Small glass white wine

  

Method:

1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Finely chop the rosemary, then mix with the garlic, capers, anchovies, olive oil and zest and juice of 1 lemon, reserving the used lemon halves. Make 3-4 slashes across the top of the shoulder, then rub the rosemary mixture all over the lamb. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Scatter the onion into the base of a large roasting tin, cut the remaining lemon in half, squeeze the juices into the tin, and place all the used lemon halves in the tin with the onions. Place the lamb on top and roast for 1 hour on the bottom shelf. *Then loosely fit some foil on top of the lamb. 

Remove the foil and pour in the wine and roast for a further 3 hours. until the meat is tender. 

Leave to rest for 15 mins then serve, pulled into chunks rather than carved, with any pan juices.

  

Obviously, I couldn’t just serve the lamb on its own, so I also baked some sweet potatoes and griddled some vegetables. I bought some flatbreads to soak up the juices, but promptly forgot to stick them in the oven due to a few glasses of bubbles!

Thanks, Charlie! Was so good to see you xx

 

Love,

Natasja

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This recipe is taken from the Guardian’s food pages (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/oct/30/traditional-british-soup-recipes), where you will find other British classics such as London particular, Mulligatawny, and Cock-a-leekie by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. You have got to love the British language!

“Though this is very simple to make, you need to start cooking the soup the day before you want to serve it, so you can remove the layer of fat from the stock once it’s cooled. Serves eight.

• 70g butter

• 1.5kg oxtail, cut into pieces and trimmed of excess fat

• 2 celery stalks, sliced

• 1 onion, stuck with 3 cloves

• 2 carrots, sliced

• 1 small turnip, peeled, quartered and sliced *I used two parsnips

• 1 leek, roughly chopped *I skipped this

• 1 bouquet garni *These can now be bought in handy ‘teabags’

• 10 black peppercorns

• 300ml red wine *I skipped this

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 60-80ml sherry *I skipped this

• 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley *I used the green of the celery

Warm the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and brown the oxtail pieces, in batches if necessary, until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan, set aside and sweat the vegetables in the meat juices for five minutes.

Return the meat to the pan, along with the bouquet garni, peppercorns, and 1 ½ – 2 litres of water. Season, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until the meat is very tender and just about falling off the bones – about three to four hours.

Strain the liquid into a bowl, cool and refrigerate. Discard the veg, peppercorns and bouquet garni. Pull the meat from the bones, discarding any skin and fat. Place in a bowl, season and refrigerate.

Next day, remove the solid layer of fat that will have formed on the top of the stock, pour the stock into a pan, add the meat and bring just to a simmer. Adjust the seasoning to taste, and simmer very gently for five minutes. Serve in warmed bowls, scattered with parsley.”
Verdict: I love this soup. It’s a bit greasy to make, and time consuming. The layer of fat is rather off-putting, but the flavours are lovely, and the soup a real winter warmer. As this was made for someone else, I skipped the wine and sherry, and also because I didn’t have any in the house

So enjoy! And thanks, Hugh!

Love,

Natasja

 

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With the left overs of bramley apples, I made a very simple apple sauce. You can eat this on toast, but it goes really well with pork. Try it! You’ll see.

Below is how to make it. Please keep in mind that I didn’t follow a recipe, just used 4 large cooking apples. Some recipes require butter, but personally I can’t see the need for it.

Ingredients:

  • 225g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped

  • Lemon juice, to taste

  • Half a cup of water

  • Sugar or syrup, to taste
  1. Put the apples in a saucepan with the lemon juice, water and sugar/ and water. Cover and cook over a low heat until they are soft and mushy.
  2.  Take off the heat, stir until a smooth paste. Cool and pour into jars.

IMG_1900IMG_1887

Love,
Natasja

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If you are lucky enough to have your own orchard, or just a few apple trees, this years yield seem to be a good one! And as autumn is upon us, with the clocks going back, the time has come to create some deliciousness of your apples..

Toffee apple jam is more like a dessert, and you can enjoy it any way you like. It is sweet and tangy, and very easy to make.

Ingredients:

Toffee sauce

  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 100g of light Muscadvo sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 4 tbsp double cream

Apple jam

  • 600g Bramley apples (once cored and peeled)
  • 100ml water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 250g white granulated cane sugar flavoured
  • 1 vanilla pod with seeds taken out
  • 2 x 260g jars

Method:

  1. Firstly, melt the sugar, syrup and butter in a small pan and bring slowly to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes or so until thick. Stir in the cream and remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Secondly, place the apples, water, vanilla pods and lemon juice in a separate pan and cook down until soft and fluffy – this will take about 15-20minutes. Once the apples have become soft, add the sugar over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Then crank up the heat and bring to a simmering boil for approximately 4-5 minutes. The apple jam should be lovely and thick.
  3. Now the fun begins – add a layer of toffee sauce to the bottom of the jar and then a layer of apple jam and continue layering until you reach the top of the jar.

FullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRender

Love,
Natasja

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Ingredients

8 cups strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons flour

Topping
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup finely ground almonds

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, gently toss the strawberries with the granulated sugar, and flour.

Pour strawberry mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, ground almonds and butter until crumbs form.

Distribute crumb topping evenly over strawberries.

Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.

Original Strawberry Crumble Recipe Recipe found at Grandmothers Kitchen Recipes.

I will definitely try this with blackberry too 🙂

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If you must know one thing about me, then know that I am not a great dessert or cake person. I do enjoy a slice of cake from time to time, but nothing too sweet or creamy. However, a tangy lemon drizzle cake is one of my favourite, and while reading Mary Berry’s autobiography I came across the below recipe. Mary suggests in her book to; always follow the recipe the first time you make something, then make your alterations. So I did, and the cake was lovely, albeit a bit too sweet for me and not quite lemony enough. I suggest replacing *6 tablespoons of milk with lemon juice, and also reduce the amount of *sugar in the icing. I might even try to add some lime rind too.

Cuts into about 24 pieces

175g soft butter
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons milk*
Grated rind of 2 lemons

For the icing
Juice of 2 lemons
175g granulated sugar*

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas 4

Grease and line the base if a 30 x 23 x 4cm traybake or roasting tin with non-stick baking paper.

Measure all ingredients in a large bowl and beat well for 2 minute until well blended. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level on top. I normally smooth it out with a spatula.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden.

To make the icing, mix together the lemon juice and sugar to give a runny consistency. Spread out evenly over the warm cake and leave to set.

Yummy with a nice cup of tea!

Enjoy,
Natasja x

 

 

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It’s already June and the weather is pretty grim, so what better than to wrap up warm in a nice blanket and enjoy some comfort food. Fish finger sandwiches are such a quintessential British thing, and I have never eaten this anywhere else. However, I can strongly recommend them for a fast and easy snack.

 

You need:

 

2 slices of wholemeal bread

4 fish fingers

2 slices of cheese

English mustard

Mayonnaise or salad cream

Rocket or other salad leaves

 

1. Take the fish fingers from the freezer and grill on each side until crispy and golden. The instructions are on the packet.

2. Lightly toast the bread. Spread a thin layer of mustard and mayo on both pieces of bread, and layer one side with the cheese and rocket.

3. Place the cooked fish fingers on top and cut the sandwich diagonally.

 

Enjoy with a nice cup of tea!

 

 

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I might have a fish finger sandwich again tonight and will post a picture. Maybe….. Got the house to myself for a few hours tonight, so running around the house naked is on the cards…. 😉 Kidding, of course!

 

Also check this article from the Guardian

 

PS I have just been ‘told off’ by a colleague….. You need crusty, white bread for this sandwich. And not the horrible, sliced kind.  I stand corrected. John!

Love,
Natasja

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