A dish for spring:
Falling apart in the pot…
A Mallorcan recipe of melting lamb in a reduction of wine, thyme and rosemary.
This is the perfect hot-pot to serve guests at a dinner party because you will have left it to cook in the oven all night and therefore only need to reheat and serve – leaving you lots of time to : A/lay a really lovely table, B/concentrate on pudding or C/ do your nails and get yourself pretty!
Spring is the new lamb season so this dish really comes into his own now but do check with your butcher that he is giving you a spring lamb and not anything he’s had in the freezer for a while. Though you can also try this with a tougher goat or kid joint and it would be just as delicious and tender.
- A shoulder of lamb (with bone in)
- A bottle of spanish Rioja or Mallorcan red (some body and flavour!)
- A mix of diced carrots, onion and celery (or other root veg) to flavour the juices
- A bundle of thyme and rosemary, tied in a string, with bay leaf optional
- Salt and pepper to season (always towards the end)
- OPTIONAL: Add 6 to 8 dry or fresh figs towards the end – you will love this!!!
Rinse and pat dry your joint.
Make a pretty bundle with the herbs, tie in string.
Brush and chop the vegetables. I do not tend to peel them. It is easier and healthier with skin on so why bother…
Put the ingredients in a large pot with a lid and pour the wine over. The liquid should be at two third of the meat. Add some water if needed.
Leave to cook, covered, in the oven for at least 8 hours at 160°. I put it around 11pm when I go to bed and stop it when I get up at 7:30.
Season with sea salt and black pepper. Leave it to cool, then remove the fatty blob bits that solidify at the surface – it is worth doing this if you have the time, to get a leaner dish.Taste then reheat just before serving, leaving the dish uncovered.
I promise you the house will smell like the farmhouse restaurant, lost in the hills of Mallorca, where I first tasted that dish. It was generously soaked in the rich wine juice and tasted as if the meat had been infused in thyme and grape juice for a long long time – which it had!
“Gato” means cat in Spanish but here it is Mallorquin for “cake”, after the french “Gateau”! We love it because it brings nice holiday memories of bringing back a “gató” from a shopping excursion into Palma and sharing it on the terrace with a cup of steaming tea while planning the next day trip. It is so light that you almost don’t think you are indulging. It only takes three ingredients and all you need is a whisk…
Gato Mallorquin, as in Palma de Mallorca
Take three ingredients:
- Eggs, 9
- Caster Sugar, 300g
- Ground almond, 300g
Separate the eggs and whip the whites until firm. Then start adding the sugar slowly until you get a ‘meringue’ style mixture.
Beat the yolks together and start adding to the mix.
Then start blending in the ground almonds, but very delicately and this time with a spatula. Keep turning the mix inwards until all is included without ‘breaking’ the whites too much. Most good bakeries seem to be adding a good teaspoon of cinnamon but this is not compulsory – unless of course you love the scent as much as I do…
Put in a warm oven for 30 minutes at 170°, using a large flat tin, such as a quiche one. Be careful to line it with greased paper so the cake is easy to take out. Anything with that amount of meringue can be quite sticky! And if you still think this is indulgence, think that at least you are going flour and fat-free… Serve it for tea and cake time or with a scoop of cinnamon ice-cream to end a smart dinner party. Decorate with icing sugar and try stencilling a star, as is tradition.
The recipe in Spanish in my sketchbook.
Ready to take to a coffee morning!
Few dishes are better suited to the beach than the simplest one of
all: a thick slab of bread dressed with olive oil and any tasty
topping! In my bit of the mediterranean coast we call it pan bagna,
drenched in red pepper juice and anchovies in oil; in Mallorca they
call it pan amb oli and in Corsica we served it tonight dressed with
goat cheese and honey. The best possible matching for the creaminess
and sweetness of this was a dry, beautifully aged white with brioche
Ingredients list: for one
Thick slab of country bread
1 crushed tomato
Two slices of soft goat cheese
A few nuts
A drizzle of corsican honey
A breathtaking view of the sea and some very good friends to share it all with! I had it all!
Drizzle the olive oil on the bread. Dress each slice with the crushed tomatoes (roughly done in a blender) then put the sliced cheese and nuts on top before grilling for a few minutes.
Serve warm with a good swirl of runny honey over it. Delicious !