Yep, it’s been busy around here with trucks and diggers beeping and buzzing and men in hi-vis and hats. The progress with the ground work for my PODULAR housette has been hampered by rain, but finally this week the digger arrived and work commenced. You can see more in the pic and link below.
Meanwhile, the oven has been cranked up and the frying pan set a-sizzling, with scrumptious Crusted Lamb Racks with Roasted Grapes, and an old family favourite of Bubble & Squeak. And also a spin on Bircher muesli with freeze-dried blackcurrants. What a way to start the day, or with Crusted Lamb Racks or Bubble & Squeak, to end it. Happy eating!
CRUSTED LAMB RACKS WITH ROASTED GRAPES
There’s plenty of attention right now on the ridiculously high cost of our food here in New Zealand when we produce enough food to feed 40 million. It appears The Land of Plenty is not so plentiful if you are at the bottom of the food chain. There are graphs showing how the cost of meat has far exceeded the rate of inflation. Unfortunately, it’s now not always easy to make an inexpensive meal from vegetables as the price of vegetables has also gone up in leaps and bounds.
Hopefully, all the talk and attention will create conversations and there will be answers and a way to curb the costs (keep the pressure on, I say). Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for bargains! I love lamb, and lamb racks are a favourite, but I rarely buy them because of the cost, but last week I spied them on special at my local supermarket and pounced. I think it was export meat that didn’t get exported. Great. I got it and shared it with friends.
I did this recipe last week in my Radio NZ slot with Jesse Mulligan and it had a huge response. If you like lamb I think you’ll agree this looks pretty tempting: pink and juicy, buttery crumbs and tender meat. Beautiful New Zealand lamb – we want to be able to buy more of it! CRUSTED LAMB RACKS WITH ROASTED GRAPES
LAMB RACK PREP
You can cook a lamb rack with the cap of skin and fat left in place if you wish to; it will keep the lamb meat tender. Score the top with a sharp knife and add and extra 5-10 minutes’ to the cooking. I prefer to remove it, to cut down the fat, and because it gives you the opportunity to remove the silverskin, a thin membrane that covers the meat, that won’t become tender no matter how long you cook the lamb. Here’s how to go about it
First Step Start with a small pointy sharp knife and get it between the top covering of skin and fat and the protective layer of fat.
Then … Pull the flap off. If your fingers keep slipping, hold the flap with paper towels. Discard the flap.
Remove the membrane Put the tip of the knife between the meat and the membrane and cut in until you have a piece you can grip. Use paper towels if it is slippery.
Then …Pull the membrane tight with your left hand (if you are right-handed) and draw the knife between meat and membrane cutting the membrane free.
To go with the lamb racks I roasted a bunch of red grapes with vinegar and honey. The little pops of sweet and sharp juice were just the ticket with the lamb. All I needed was a quick cannellini bean purée to give a creamy base under the lamb and a side salad and I had a fancy-pants dinner in around 30 minutes. Okay, I lie (just like Jamie Oliver Ha Ha!). In under an hour anyway. And, no disrespect to Jamie – he’s done mega stuff for getting people to cook and eat good food, but those 30-minutes meals Jamie? Mmm. I don’t think so.
BUBBLE & SQUEAK
A week or so ago (it seems like longer!) I did a roast leg of lamb … well, I did say I love lamb! But what to do with the leftover meat from a roast is always a concern. Sandwiches the next day, sure, or minced up and added to a Shepherd’s Pie (the original way to make Shepherd’s Pie), maybe, or how about added to Bubble & Squeak? Yes! Bubble & Squeak. A great home for leftover roast lamb. Bubble & Squeak is an old English treatment for re-purposing leftover meat and cabbage. Sizzled up in a hot pan, probably with dripping, it bubbled and squeaked. Literally! I love B&S with Brussels sprouts, too, and formed into rough cakes they go nice and crusty when sizzled in butter and oil. Bubble & Squeak used to be served for breakfast, but I think it is tasty enough for a family dinner. I added my leftover roast lamb to the mixture and liked the result. BUBBLE & SQUEAK
Oats are a great way to start the day, not only for roughage, but because they help lower cholesterol and blood sugars. Mixing them with yoghurt and grated apple (Bircher muesli) is an easy way to prepare them. Left in the fridge overnight, they soften and the result is an enjoyable creamy and tangy cereal. Add some freeze-dried blackcurrants which are super high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, and a sprinkle of walnuts and hazelnuts for heart health and you’ll have energy to power through the morning. MUESLI
THE DIGGER ARRIVES!
It’s been a slow start to preparing the ground for my PODULAR housette due to stormy weather but work is finally underway. First, a driveway prepared so the trucks can get in and out without losing traction. Flax plants dug up to be replanted. The garden shed moved. The ground levelled. And so it goes on … HOUSETTE