Tag Archives: pot luck

Lamb shoulder in red wine and thyme like in Mallorca

A dish for spring:

Falling apart in the pot...

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.

Ingredients list:

  • 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!

Spring lambs

Spring lambs

Nostalgia pudding: clafoutis aux cerises noires et chocolat

This season, I am rediscovering “clafoutis”! Now that might mean nothing to you but to me this word is brim-full of soft fruit, delicate flavours and comforting memories. 

Clafoutis is a baked fruit pudding with a milk and egg base. The combinations are limitless but my current favourites are:
Cherries and chocolate – dark and seductive!
Rhubarb with raspberry – love the tartness…

Ingredients list for the Black Cherry and Chocolate clafoutis:
  • Black cherries 500g
  • 3 eggs
  • Rice flour 50g
  • Flour (gluten free mix is fine here) 50g
  • Milk 100ml
  • Single cream 100 ml
  • Sugar 100g
  • Vanilla essence ½ capful
  • Optional Bitter almond oil  ½ capful
  • Grated dark chocolate for topping
  • Butter for the dish

Wash the fruit. Do not take the stones out of the cherries or they will bleed in the batter and I like a cream coloured base. It looks prettier.

Mix the flours and sugar.

Beat the three eggs into the milk and cream.
Add to the flour and beat until blended.
Butter your gratin or earthenware dish.
Lay the fruit and cover with the batter.
Bake for 25 to 30 min max in a warm oven- 180°. When it comes out, grated a little very dark chocolate on top.

The dough must be still soft and creamy so don’t over-bake or you will end up with an unfortunate, heavy looking dish. To add to the creaminess, you want to serve this pudding warm with a little jug of cold cream.

fruity jumble

Second flavour: For the rhubarb variation, just chop up a couple of stalks, add some sugar in a pan and let it go soft for a few minutes on low heat. Then lay the rhubarb, pour the batter in and decorate with a few scattered raspberries before baking.

The traditional recipes only call for milk but do try it with cream – it is so much more moorish and decadently lushful! Certainly worth a revival.

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…

>A Cook Someday: Reine de Saba Cake – Julia Child

>A Cook Someday: Reine de Saba Cake – Julia Child

Wild boar roast in chocolate and cranberry sauce with poached pears


Perhaps you read Asterix like me when you were younger and perhaps you too did dream of the famous feasts under the oak tree after beating up a few Romans… Anyhow… You don’t have to own up but you might enjoy this most civilised version of the old boar roast!
I served it for Christmas lunch and it was such a success, Cacophonix might have belted out one of his songs afterwards- if only he’d been there!
Remember to get your butcher to prepare a nice rolled up roast-beef style joint, two days before.
Ingredients list:
Wild boar 2 kg
Sugar 200g
Pears 3
Fresh cranberries 150g
Beef stock or cube with water 500ml
Cinnamon sticks
Olive oil
Butter 30g
Dark chocolate 50g
For the marinade, the day before:
Red wine 750 ml/ 1 bottle
Shallots 3 
Garlic clove 1
Black pepper 1 tsp
Bouquet garni
24h before roasting, prepare the marinade and cover the meat in a shallow dish. Cover and reserve in the fridge. Turn it once or twice after this.
On the day, pour 200ml of water in a large pan and stir in 150g of sugar. When it reaches bubbling, poach the quartered pears into it for a few minutes.
In a small pan, add 50g of sugar to some water and cook the cranberries until soft.
Drain the marinade into a third (!) saucepan, add the stock and the cinnamon stick and let it boil then simmer for about 40 min until reduced by at least half! Check the seasoning.
Put aside and you will add the chocolate and cooking juice right at the point of serving.
Preheat the oven to 180°. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and brown the rolled joint in it for a few minutes. Transfer to a roasting tin, put the butter on top and roast for 40min or until the juices run clear but the meat is still pink and tender! Once I overcooked it, waiting for my guests, and it is such a shame because boar becomes very tough very quickly… 
As with all meat, let it rest a few minutes, covered in foil before carving. Add the sliced pears around the meat, ready to serve.
Pour the cooking juices into the reserved sauce with the chocolate: check for flavour! This dish has to have big and strong flavours- add chocolate or seasoning if necessary- Think Obelix! Heat up and whisk before pouring onto the sliced roast. Decorate with the cranberries.
The bold and great mix of flavours is irresistible but not for the faint hearted or anyone afflicted with a modest appetite… Choose your audience!
Recipe inspired by Trish Deseine in her book Nobody does it better.