The fourth stage of lamb: leftovers

So after last weekend,  there were obviously lamb leftovers, and we obviously ate them.  Some of the lamb was eaten adhoc – off the bone or in sourdough sandwiches with feta and olive spread (yum!).  Some of it was eaten in delicious but fairly standard salads (tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce – it kept me in lunch for a couple of days at least) and some of it was turned into lamb cous cous:

Lamb cous cous

I actually got the idea for lamb cous cous from a free food magazine from Coles.  Serendipitously, the mag had a double page spread on using left over lamb! Their idea of cous cous, however,  was not to my liking: make up the cous cous, as per packet instructions but with orange juice, and then garnish with lamb and red onion (raw – i don’t like raw onion).  My cous cous started by frying up caremelized onion and lamb in a saucepan,  then adding red capsicum, apple, cous cous (duh) and morrocan spices (McCormick mild chermoula style). I might have used orange juice for the liquid (otherwise I  used water), but to be honest I can’t remember (It sounds like a good idea to me now). I really like cous cous when it has a sweet edge to it – and the apple delivered that well.  I had considered adding dates as well, but I now think that might have been overkill.

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Cabbage Salad (And I don't mean coleslaw)

I really don’t like coleslaw.  Actually, to be fair,  it’s been such a long time since I had coleslaw that it is conceivable that I would like it if I tried it. However,  I’m not planning to try it because in my mind,  I don’t like coleslaw.

However,  I love this salad:

Cabbage Salad

This cabbage salad is delicious!  And very easy to make too.  I guess, technically,  it could be called an Asian coleslaw – and that’s fine if you want to go that way. I’m not sure,  but I may have made this recipe up – which is not to say that it’s completely new and original because I’m sure others have made similar.  However, I checked last night and the place where I thought I got the recipe does not have anything even remotely resembling it. Anyway, did I mention this was very easy? The bowl I made up last night included:

1 large carrot, grated (to be fair it probably could have had a bit more),

About 1/4 red cabbage shredded

1 large is red capsicum, finely sliced

A couple of handfuls of bean shoots

This was mixed with a few splashes of sesame oil, a dessert spoon of sesame seeds, and as much soy sayuce as you want. I’d probably rate this as the deluxe version – I’ve made an approximation with just the carrot and cabbage in the past and that’s fine too (though I do love the combination of purple, orange, red and white here). Cashews make a nice addition too, if you have them (I often do that for lunch). Last night we had this salad alongside some really lovely steak – our first barbecue of the season!

Useful things to do with leftover risotto #43

Arancini.

I’ve considered doing these for entertaining purposes on a couple of occasions (they sound fun!)  but the idea of rolling! flouring! crumbing! deep frying! just seems like too much effort. However when I found myself on Friday night with leftover risotto*, and people coming over Saturday,  I started thinking of ways to feed my guest’s my leftover dinner – surely there’s some way to make these without deep frying!

And, of course, there is. A quick google search led me to come across this page,  where arancini are pan fried after being coated in flour (so no breadcrumbing either).  I took this as my model,  got myself some provolone dolce (in absence of good mozzarella), and set up a workstation that produce a dozen odd arancini ready for frying in 5-10 minutes. Easy peasy!

Arancini

Now, I don’t know how traditional these are – nor did they stay very round. I suspect the bread crumbing and deep frying are needed for that.  But they were delicious, particularly hot from the pan – and the perfect excuse to make double quantities of risotto from now on.

*A fairly simple,  but delicious butternut pumpkin risotto using onion, garlic, chicken stock and parmesan.  And rice.

The Three Stages of Lamb

Lamb - ready to go Lamb - park cooked Lamb - finished
When entertaining friends last night,  I decided to do a roast. I don’t normally roast.  Indeed,  I’m not sure I’ve actually roasted anything other than a chicken before!  (Actually I’ve done duck – change that to poultry).

Part of my inspriation to try lamb was Gordon Ramsay’s Cider and Honey Roast Leg of Lamb, in October 2008 Edition of Austrlian Good Food.  It seemed easy, and a bit different, given the absence of mint or rosemary.  Here’s the recipe. I used sundowner apples and Mercury Special Dry Cider. THe main point of issue I had was the difference in suggested cooking times between Gordon (12-15 minutes per 450g) and the instructions on the leg I bought (30-35 mins per 500 g).  I started out following Gordon’s adivce, which for a 1.7 kg joint was just under an hour. I reckon all up it was cooking for 1 hr 20, about 24 mins per 500g. The meat was still on the rare side – really delicious but I probably wouldn’t have wanted it any rarer.

For sides we had crispy baked new potatoes (skin on), and steamed carrot, courgette (zucchini) and button squash. A good time was had by all.

Cash and Carry: A Magical Fairytale Land

Have you ever looked in the fridge and wished that you had more food? Say, for example, a 25L bucket of mayonnaise? Or 3L of fine quality french mustard?

No?

Actually neither had I – that is until I visited the hallowed halls of Cash and Carry WA!

Cash and Carry is a wholesale food store, with stores in Canning Vale, Balcatta and Bunbury. However,  while they do have the giant (seriously) 25 L tubs of mayonnaise and such, they also have aisle and aisles of normal sized groceries and most at prices cheaper than what you would pay in the supermarket.*

No veges, but they had a small but quality section of meat, a huge selection of frozen foods and, i think, very good value prices on washing powder and the like.

Now, normally you need some sort of card or membership to be able to shop at Cash and Carry.  I’m not sure of the details. However, if you are an RAC member, you can use your RAC card to get in too.  This is how I got in and, indeed, how I found out about it.

We managed to spend 2 hours in the store (it *is* Bunnings Warehouse scale), and about $200. The largest scale I went was a 2.5 kg jar of polish sauerkraut for my father, though I was seriously swayed by the 3kg mustard (I went for 2 normal size jars in the end.)

I am almost certain we’ll be back before Christmas to stock up – they had a pretty good selection of Christmas paraphernalia – not to mention a giant cool room full of hams.  The experience has also left me with the serious desire to do some large scale catering so I can buy some of the ridiculous sized tins. I need to have a party!!!

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*Though you do need to be careful here.  I reckon that things on special in the supermarket are probably cheaper – and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the idea that it’s all so cheap that it’s practically free, as you throw item after item in the trolley

High Fat Chocolate Cakes

And, in the interest of balanced reporting (and because I have pictures), here are two other chocolate cakes I can recommend, both from Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame in Feast.

Chocolate, orange, and gluten free

The Chocolate Orange Cake doesn’t actually have any butter/oil in it (it does have 6 eggs and almond meal though – it’s gluten free), and the use of whole boiled oranges (blended up) makes it seem positively healthy and very moist. I’m still in awe of just how beautifully it rose. Recipe here.

Cake for breakfast

The Chocolate Guinness Cake sounds like a novelty cake, but it’s very good indeed. If you don’t die from cardiac arrest while you watch the butter and sugar melt into the Guinness, the you’ll probably live long enough to enjoy this dense and muddy cake (*really* enjoy). I can confirm that the slices pictured here were eaten for breakfast. Recipe here.

Low Fat Chocolate Cake

Yes,  I know this sounds like an oxymoron, but on the weekend I made a chocolate cake that was not only low fat, but also deliciously moist and muddy. I’m not normally into substituting high fat foods with a low fat version.  The low fat versions are rarely as satisfying and in the extreme can lead to side effects like anal leakage. (I’m fairly confident this cake won’t do that to you).

However, this cake sounded interesting and possibly delicious in it’s own right so I thought I’d give it a try.  The recipe is from the November 2008 edition of Australian Good Food, which I have a subscription to thanks to a competition I won involving cheese (yay cheese). As normal I was unable to follow the recipe as intended because I’m just not built that way.  My deviations and comments are in pink.

Chocolate cherry cake

100g good quality dark chocolate, chopped (Lindt 85% was on special in Coles)
1 cup (220 g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (50 g) cocoa
1/2 cup (125 mL) boiling water
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup (100 g) wholemeal plain flour (I used spelt flour cos that’s what I had)
4 egg whites (I had 4 frozen egg whites in my freezer and so replaced the 2 egg yolks above with one whole egg. If that makes sense…)
2 1/2 cups (310g) pitted fresh or frozen cherries (I used a 325g tin of black cherries, drained*)
1 apple grated (
I was undecided but took skin off)

Preheat oven to 180 deg C or 160 deg C fan. Line base and sides of 20 cm square pan with baking paper (I lined bottom, but wouldn’t bother next time). Place chocolate, sugar, cocoa and boiling water in a bowl. Stir, set aside for 2 minutes, then stir again until smooth (I merely broke my chocolate up into large flat squares because I am lazy and therefore had trouble getting it to melt.  Please chop yours up smaller). Whisk in egg yolks (in my case 1 whole egg), then fold in flour.
Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until firm peaks form (mine didn’t – not sure why but cake did not seem to suffer for it).  Fold through chocolate mixture. Fold in cherries and apple. Spoon into prepared pan.  Bake for 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean (I always wibble over whether the skewer is clean or not and reckon I could have taken it out a couple of minutes earlier than I did.  My oven, which is slow and cold, took about 45 minutes).  Cool in a pan cut into squares (We had wedges, mostly cos I used a round tin).

This cake has 937 kj, 5g protein, 5 g total fat, 40g carbs, 2g fibre, and 47 mg sodium (versus 1750 kj and 25g fat for a typical chocolate cake).  I would say that if you didn’t know that it was low fat, you’d never notice.

*And – word to the wise – if you are undecided about whether to keep the cherry syrup becasue – I don’t know – it might make a nice drink or something, then at least put it in a well sealed jar or something.  Keeping an upright and open can of cherry syrup in the fridge will only lead to one thing – SPILLAGE. I speak from experience 🙂