Monthly Archives: June 2011


I enjoy life’s pleasures as much as the next person – OK! Maybe a little more… But I also enjoy looking after my health and a regular detox is how I take care of the future and invest in a … Continue reading

Easy-peasy steamed shoulder of lamb

July is a month for joyful family events (namely our anniversary…) and all kinds of end of exams celebrations, and in anticipation of all that rumpus, I wanted to share my favourite and most seasonal celebration lunch menu:

  • Steamed shoulder of lamb
  • Spinach, rocket and feta salad with pine nuts
  • Homemade pommes allumettes
  • Raspberry crumble
  • Clementine and almond cake

Now for the meat recipe: Select a nice plump shoulder of lamb with your butcher.You will cook it slow so it needs a fair bit of fat on.

Rub it with oiled hands smothered in salt, pepper, cumin, oregano or any favourite herbs.

With the tip of a knife, slit the flesh in two places and wedge in each a big garlic clove.

Put in a steamer, tighly sealed in foil, for 3 to four hours, depending on size. I put a wedge of lemon and a sprig of thyme in the water. So that the whole house is beautifully fragrances in the process! This needs to steam on a slow hob, not too fast. You know it is ready when the meat almost falls off the bone by itself.

My grand mother then transfers it to a roasting pan, smothers butter on top and puts it for 10/15 min under a grill to finish off. Put some more unpeeled garlic cloves around in the roasting pan where they will bake “en chemise”!

a great sunday lunch requires a perfect setting

The fat is crispy, the flesh moist and lean ; ready to serve just by pushing a fork through. Eat with couscous and roasted vegetables for a sublime family lunch…

Proper English muffins

Proper English muffins

Light puff balls of flour and milk

This is the English version of the classic muffin recipe : a light, raised bun with no more than a hint of sugar and saffron.

This week, I am starting to feel almost at home in our house and baking for me is definitely part of the journey! The kitchen is indeed the trickiest room to take ownership of and the last one to let itself strip of its strangeness and awkwardness.

This is why it is so fiendishly difficult to cook in another person’s kitchen.

This one reminds me constantly that it is somebody else’s kitchen and I have not made it mine yet ; but if I keep filling it with recipes, with flavours and ideas, with guests and chatter, then I probably will. The rest of the house feels a little alien too: its sounds, its smells, the way the sun rises differently on the walls and the manner in which the garden sounds under the rain…

It’s still all a little bit strange and foreign- like a new place in a new country ! So to shake off the oddity of that “freshly moved in” feeling, I try baking a version of the classic muffin. As soon as the smell of baking pervades the upstairs room and beckons you into the kitchen, you know you’ve arrived “home”…

Ingredients list :

Egg 1

Pinch of salt

Pinch of saffron

Plain flour 230g

Milk 200ml

Sugar 1 tsp

Raising powder 1/1 tsp

Rapeseed oil 1 tsp

Mix the flour with the salt and shape into a cone.

Warm the milk. Sprinkle a pinch of saffron.

Mix the sugar and raising powder into the warm milk.

Add the beaten egg and the flour, scoop by scoop.

Add the oil.  Beat the mix a little with a hook or a whisk. The dough should be soft but firm and only a little sticky.

Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for one hour until the dough has doubled in volume.

Knead the dough on a floured surface.

Add a little flour and shape into rounds or cut up with a round cutter.

Cover once again and leave to raise for ½ hour on the oven tray.Bake in the oven at 180〫for 15 minutes.

These puff rolls are delicious with a bit of butter and jam. Bread and jam is such a perfect indulgence and some days, in this uncertain world, the simplest of dishes are the best choices.

The blue door to our new home

The simple smell of saffron will transport me anytime into my grandmother’s lacquered orange kitchen – a place where I felt very safe and happy.