We’re definitely heading in to autumn and while I still have some light summery dishes on the menu my mind is moving towards comfort and hearty food. So I started the week off with a leaner than usual lamb hotpot from the excellent Hairy Bikers diet cookbook, and then I just went crazy with a knock out roast rib of beef and trimmings!
Saturday: Lean lamb hotpot
Sunday: Rib of beef w/ porcini, tarragon and port gravy, Yorkshire puddings, roast pots and veg
Monday: Roasted veg couscous
Tuesday: Wasabi coated salmon w/ cucumber and soy spinach
Wednesday: Bacon, leek and pea farfalle
Thursday: Vegetable Moo Shu w/ brown rice
Friday: Chargrilled steak w/ beer mustard and watercress salad
Lean lamb hotpot
700g well-trimmed lamb leg meat (or leg steaks)
2 tsp sunﬂower oil
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
5 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced (about 300g prepared weight)
3 tbsp plain ﬂour
600ml lamb stock, made with 1 lamb stock cube
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or ½ tsp dried thyme
1 rosemary stalk or ½ tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Flaked sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 medium potatoes (about 500g)
Trim any visible fat from the lamb and cut the meat into rough 3cm chunks. Season generously all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the lamb in 2 batches over a medium-high heat until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer the browned meat to a medium casserole dish– it will need to hold about 2.5 litres.
Tip the onions and carrots into the pan with the lamb and sprinkle with the ﬂour. Toss everything together well, then pour over the stock and add the thyme leaves, rosemary and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas 3½. Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices about 5mm thick. Arrange the slices on top of the lamb, overlapping and layering them as you go. Season with ground black pepper and cover with a tight-ﬁtting lid.
Bake the hotpot for 1 hour, then remove the lid and bake for a further 45 minutes or until the potatoes are nicely browned and the lamb is tender. Check by poking with the point of a knife into the centre of the lamb ﬁlling – if the meat is done the knife should slide in easily. Serve with freshly cooked greens.
Rib of beef w/ porcini, tarragon and port gravy, Yorkshire puddings, roast pots and veg
3-bone rib of British beef (about 3.5kg)
Vegetable oil for rubbing
2 red onions, roughly sliced
1.2 litres quality fresh beef stock (in the chilled beef section usually)
6 fresh tarragon sprigs
10g dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp flour
150ml port, plus extra to finish
Splash of red wine vinegar
140g plain flour
sunflower oil, for cooking
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5. Rub the beef all over with oil and season. Put the onions in a big roasting tin, then sit the beef on top. Pour in half the stock, then add 4 tarragon sprigs. Roast for 25 minutes, then turn the heat to 170°C/ gas 3½ and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes for medium rare (add 20 minutes for medium). If using a meat thermometer, it should read 55°C in the middle for medium rare (65°C for medium). Don’t let the tin dry out – keep adding splashes of stock.
To make the Yorkshires, tip 140g plain flour into a bowl and beat in four eggs until smooth. Gradually add 200ml milk and carry on beating until the mix is completely lump-free. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the batter into a jug, and set aside for 10 mins.
Meanwhile, soak the porcini in 300ml boiling water for 30 minutes, then drain, chop and set aside, reserving the soaking juice.
Remove the beef from the oven and put it on a lipped board, very loosely covered with foil. Allow to rest in a nice warm area for at least 20 mins (time it takes the Yorkies to cook).
Increase the oven to 230C/gas 8. Drizzle a little sunflower oil evenly into 2 x 4-hole Yorkshire pudding tins or a 12-hole non- stick muffin tin and place in the oven to heat through. Remove the hot tins from the oven. Carefully and evenly pour the batter into the holes. Place the tins back in the oven and leave undisturbed for 20-25 mins until the puddings have puffed up and browned.
Strain the juices from the tin, then skim off the fat, reserving 2 tbsp. Heat the fat in a pan, then stir in the flour and cook until it smells biscuity. Add the 150ml port, stirring, and bubble until the alcohol smell has gone. Strain in the roasting juices and porcini juice, stirring to a glossy gravy that just coats the back of a spoon (add the rest of the beef stock if you wish). Stir in the porcini, then add an extra splash of port, the vinegar and the remaining tarragon, chopped. Check the seasoning, then transfer to a jug ready for serving.
Carve your meat and serve with your Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, peas, carrots and the amazing port gravy. *Tip: The Yorkshire puddings can be frozen after cooking and cooling for up to 1 month. So why not make some when you have time and stash them in the freezer for a mid week Yorkshire pudding treat!
Roasted veg couscous
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, halved and deseeded
½ butternut squash
2 courgettes, thickly sliced
4 garlic cloves, leave skin on
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thickly sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp harissa paste
50g whole blanched almonds
300ml hot vegetable stock
zest and juice 1 lemon
20g pack mint, roughly chopped
Heat oven to 200C/gas 6. Cut peppers and squash into bite-size pieces (leave skin on the squash). Tip all the veg into a baking tray, add garlic, 2 tbsp oil and seasoning, then mix and roast for 20 mins. Add onion, cumin, harissa and almonds. Roast for another 20 mins, then cool.
Put couscous into a large bowl, pour over the stock, cover, then set aside for 10 mins. Fluff up with a fork. In a bowl, mix zest, juice and remaining oil. Squeeze garlic pulp from skins into the bowl, mash well and fold in the mint. Pour over the veg, then toss with the couscous.
Wasabi coated salmon w/ cucumber and soy spinach
2 x 125g salmon fillets
1 tbsp wasabi paste
½ small cucumber
1 small red chilli, cut into rings
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp golden caster sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp poppy seeds
For the spinach:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 garlic clove
200g bag spinach
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Rub both sides of the salmon with a tiny bit of oil, and then the wasabi paste. Split the cucumber in half lenthways and deseed. Cut into large diagonal chunks and put in a bowl. Add the chilli, rice vinegar, salt, sugar, poppyseeds and a bit of pepper. Mix well until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Grill the fish for 5-6 minutes depending on the thickness.
For the spinach, heat the oil in a pan and cook the garlic for a few secs. Tip in the spinach and cook for 2 mins, stirring often until just beginning to wilt. Drizzle over the soy sauce, toss through and scatter with sesame seeds.
Serve your salmon with the salad and spinach on the side.
Bacon, leek and pea farfalle
200g farfalle pasta
6 smoked streaky bacon rashers, chopped
200g Garden Peas, cooked until tender
1 medium sized leek, sliced and sautéed in a little butter until soft
1 small bag spinach, washed and just wilted in a pan with a splash of water.
150ml double cream
1 large free-range egg
2 tbsp grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
Small handful fresh mint leaves, finely shredded
Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions until al dente. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a small saucepan over a medium heat until crisp, then add the leeks, peas and spinach to the pan with the bacon. Mix the double cream, egg and Parmesan in a jug and season with salt and black pepper.
When the pasta is cooked, drain well (saving a little of the cooking water), then add to the pan with the bacon and vegetables. Quickly add the cream mixture and stir well. (The egg in the cream mix will cook in the hot pasta and make a creamy sauce.) Add a little of the cooking water to loosen the sauce if necessary. Stir through the shredded mint, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve with lots of extra Parmesan grated over the top.
Vegetable Moo Shu
3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 12-ounce bag shredded mixed vegetables, such as “rainbow salad” or “broccoli slaw”
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 bunch scallions, sliced, divided
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
Brown or wild rice to serve
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add eggs; cook, stirring gently, until set, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.
Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, 1 minute. Add shredded vegetables, bean sprouts, half the sliced scallions, chilli, soy sauce and vinegar. Stir to combine. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved eggs and hoisin; cook, uncovered, stirring and breaking up the scrambled eggs, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining scallions and remove from the heat. Serve on top of rice.
Chargrilled steak w/ beer mustard and watercress salad
For the beer mustard
150ml cider vinegar
5 tbsp caster sugar
60g yellow mustard seeds
25g brown mustard seeds
2 tbsp English mustard powder
110ml oz beer
For the steak
2 x 250g ribeye steaks
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
½ small wholegrain loaf, cut into 3in cubes
2 tsp cider vinegar
1½ tbsp rapeseed oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch watercress, leaves only
For the beer mustard, place the vinegar and sugar into a non-reactive pan and bring to a simmer. Add the yellow and brown mustard seeds and the mustard powder and stir well. Simmer over a high heat for three minutes, until the volume of liquid has reduced by half and the seeds have softened slightly. Pour the mustard mixture into the bowl of a food processor and blend to a purée. It will take a few minutes for the seeds to break down and the mustard to become creamy. Add the beer to the mustard mixture and blend once more. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Use immediately or spoon into jars, seal and stash in the fridge.
For the steak, heat a griddle pan until hot. Rub the steaks with one tablespoon of the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the steaks onto the hot griddle and cook without moving for 1-2 minutes, then turn 90 degrees with tongs and cook for a further minute, to give the steaks a lattice pattern of griddle marks. Turn the steaks over and repeat the process on the other side. Remove the steaks from the pan and place onto a plate to rest, keep warm.
Meanwhile, for the salad, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan, add the bread cubes and fry for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden-brown. Remove the croûtons with a slotted spoon, drain onto kitchen paper and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place one teaspoon of the homemade mustard into a large bowl. Add the cider vinegar, whisk in the rapeseed oil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the croutons and watercress and mix well.
Serve, cut the steaks into thick slices and spoon the mustard into 2 small pots. Pile the salad onto the centre of each plate. Lay the steak over the salad and serve with a mustard pot on the side
(Credits: Delicious magazine, James Martin, Hairy Bikers, GoodFood Magazine, Olive Magazine, JJMoola’s Kitchen)