Eight Bells

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

And For My Next Trick

I started this blog in March this year in part to give me an excuse to write every day (yes I hear you from here saying 'BUT IT'S NOT EVERYDAY!' meh so sue me) and in part to create a recipe database that my wife and I could access and you the paying public (what do you mean I'm not making any money from this!? What a gip) could use and search through for possible food inspiration and the occasional chuckle. So far we haven't had many repeats but here is one recipe that is worth doing again and again, it's not cheap and the resulting plate doesn't look like much but if you ever get the chance or inspiration to cook it please do you won't be disappointed.

Provencal Style Lamb
1 tunnel boned leg of lamb from Gourmet Direct
1 onion, chopped
1 bulb of garlic with the cloves seperated but not peeled
2 tomatoes skinned, deseeded and quartered
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
3 tablespoons of olive oil
300ml of dry white wine
1/2 a cup of black olives, stoned (if you're out of weed give them a margarita or two)
2-3 anchovies chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/355F. Season the leg of lamb generously on all sides with salt & pepper.
In a large heavy casserole (we used the Le Crueset marmite again which is perfect for this) heat the olive oil and brown the lamb well all over. Add the chopped onion and continue to cook, stirring until golden. Add the garlic, tomatoes, thyme and half the wine and bring to a very gentle simmer.
Place the lamb in the oven and cook for 2 hours, taking out from time to time to turn the lamb and check the liquid has not evaporated. You may need to add more wine during cooking. Add the olives after 1 hour and continue to cook.
When you are almost ready to serve add the anchovies so that they melt into the sauce for a few minutes.

Gratin of Courgettes
1 kg of small courgettes
60g/2 OZ of butter plus a little extra to dot the surface
1 onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon of flour
250ml of milk
Salt & pepper
304 tablespoons of finely chopped flat-leaf parsely
1/4 of a cup of grated gruyere cheese
1/2 a cup of fresh white breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 180C/355F. Slice the courgettes lengthwise into 4 or 5 slices.
Arrange the slices in overlapping rows in an ovenproof dish. In a frying pan melt the butter and add the chopped onion, cooking over a low heat until it is soft and starting to turn golden.
Add the flour and continue to cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the milk and stir well until the sauce comes to the boil. Simmer over a low heat for 7-8 mins then season to taste, add the parsely and pour the sauce over the courgettes.
Mix the cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top adding a few small pieces of butter to keep it moist. Bake in the oven for 35-40 mins until golden. Serve with the lamb.


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