25 May 2007

Marinating and inventing...

I got an organic leg of lamb the other day at the store (reduced of course!) and was stuck for something new to do with it other than roast it like usual. So quick inventory of the fridge and larder yielded some possibilities and I soon got to work.

I decided to marinate the meat since it was a work night and I don't have time to do much when getting home but put dinner in the oven and get it quickly to the table. So decided that I had a few lemons - always good for juice and zest. I also had some garlic and a bit of onion. Again just chopped it roughly - pretty doesn't matter in a marinade. I then got out the olive oil - an essential! Then some fresh herbs from the window sill containers - some chervil, parsley and coriander. Oh yeah, and some dried herbs too - oregano (my fresh kind has only just come up), some ground coriander and finally a few coriander seeds as well.

So into a zip lock bag goes the leg of lamb, juice of three lemons and zest, some garlic, onions, good few glugs of olive oil, and herbs. All get put back in the fridge for the day (I did this in the morning before work) and turned at lunch time (yes, I work so close to home I can often come home for lunch!).

When I got home it all got dumped into a dish and into a hot oven for about 80 minutes or so and it was lovely. The lemons did their job and it was permeated throughout but not in a over-powering kind of way. Lamb is usually quite tender but roasting it usually if done too well is tough. this was just right.

My point in all of this is - there was no recipe. I see people all the time (telly especially) going through a recipe and such and really it is about your own tastes and what you like. I just put together things I thought would work - worst case is you have a crap dinner - but you learned!

I have had only one real disaster - the fruit disaster (see previous post). Others might have more - I do too I just don't always reveal them. But that you try and can laugh (usually at a later date!) then that is half the battle. I might recount some day the petit four disaster - but it was an editable disaster! I'm not quite at the laugh stage!

BTW, earlier in the week I went with the librarians who buy our promotional items for the libraries. Our title for this month's promotion was 'Food for Thought' - quite apt. Anyway, I went as 'cookery book' advisor. Translated that meant I got to pick the cookery books. I also got to help getting some of the fiction stock as well. I had a blast going through the books and deciding what was good/bad. I only wish we had more money - but alas we made do. Enjoy!

8 May 2007

How does your herb garden grow?

Well it has been a while without posting but time flies when you are so busy. I have a few pictures though to keep you interested. I took a few of the herbs that I planted. However, since these were taken they have grown mighty big. I have already begun to harvest them and use them.

This one is coriander which I love to use in just about everything!

This is my parsley which again is used everywhere imaginable. They rather look the same but they are different!

I have also sown a few more since taking these. I planted chervil, lovage, basil (two kinds), and some oregano. The lovage however, is not co-operating and refuses to grow. I will give it another week and then pick something else. I'm not sure why the seeds didn't take.

Anyway, that's all for the moment...more soon!

Oh my quiche and men who eat them!

A few nights ago I made a home made quiche. I don't make them often simply because I tend to find them reduced every so often. However, the other day I got a load of free-range large eggs reduced so thought I'd make a quiche to help use up some of the eggs. On this same day I got some shrimp along with some asparagus, again reduced. Hmmm....sounds like a plan!

Of course I mentioned in an earlier post about getting some pastry flour that M&S supposedly use for their items. I had used it once in the past but for whatever reason it was difficult to work with. This time though I used a bit more water and it was actually quite easy to work with.

I was a bit lazy with the crust as I normally let it hang off the edges and when blind-baked I then just cut off the excess. But this time I just folded it in and that was it. I didn't want to waste one bit of the crust.

I popped it into the oven with my ceramic baking beads in some parchment paper for about 15 minutes. I then removed the beads and baked for another 5 minutes to crisp the inside crust. I then just mixed up some eggs, salt, pepper and milk and had that ready to go. The shrimp was already peeled - so no messing there. I just had to trim the asparagus and I cut them in half so that it would fit nicely into the pan. I also grated some double Gloucester cheese for the top.

Pan comes out and I arrange shrimp and asparagus on crust and pour over egg mixture. I then arranged some of the tips on top to make it pretty and then the cheese. Popped back into oven for about 40-50 minutes and presto - quiche.

Pictures to prove it!

This is the whole quiche - lovely!

This is a slice of the quiche on one of my vintage Pyrex plates. I got them 'new' as in never used before with the stickers still attached! You can hate me later!

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