Tag Archives: roast

Pork belly with cranberry glaze (Serves: 3/4 – Preparation time: 2-2.5hrs)

I am going through a phase of trying to use up leftovers and empty my freezer which is no mean feat.  As a family we are notorious for hunting down a bargain and raiding the reduced aisle for tasty goodies. In fact there have been several occasions of late where certain members of the family have  bragged about stocking up their freezer with organic meat that has been reduced to quite frankly a silly price.

So why pork belly and cranberry I hear you ask, well quite simply a month or so ago I picked up a decent piece of belly pork that had been reduced and it has been sitting in the freezer waiting to be used along with half a bag of frozen cranberries that I bought for Christmas.  In the interests of trying to be somewhat more frugal this month I decided to knock to together Sunday lunch using up these ‘scraps’ and I have to say that I was very pleased with the outcome!  A beautifully tender piece of pork, crackling, topped with a sticky sharp cranberry sauce – YUM!

Now, whilst I made my cranberry sauce, if you are looking to cheat then just use shop bought cranberry sauce.  In all seriousness there isn’t much to this recipe so do give it try, if you don’t make the cranberry sauce then there are really only two steps – how much more simple can you get?! Enjoy.

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Lamb Roast

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A Sunday roast has always been one of the meals I look forward to the most.  Tender meat served with crispy roast potatoes, loads of vegetables with a rich gravy – it doesn’t get much better than this.  I remember when I first started cooking roasts I found them fairly stressful due to all the component parts.  However, it is all about good preparation and timing- if you can get that right then it is a fairly painless process.

As we rear our own ducks we tend to make our own duck fat, which is then frozen in portions ready to be used for roast potatoes.  After plucking, drawing and butchering the ducks we render the unwanted skin of the bird down in a hot oven (180C – 200C fan) for about 40 – 55 minutes to draw out the fat.  The fat is then sieved and left to cool slightly before pouring it into small pots ready to be frozen.  If you can’t get duck or goose fat then use olive oil or vegetable oil in its place.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, as a family we prefer to eat lamb well done, consequently all timings recommended for the meat are made with this in mind.  If you prefer your meat medium or rare please see the notes.

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Roast lamb with garlic and rosemary

Ingredients: (Serves 4)DSC_0656 - Copy

  • 1 leg of lamb (1kg – 1.5kg)
  • 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 3-4 stalks of rosemary (cut into 2” pieces)
  • 1-2oz butter (softened)
  • 1-2tbsp olive oil
  • seasoning

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C fan.
  2. Mix the garlic, butter and oil together in a bowl.
  3. Take a sharp knife and make deep incisions into the joint roughly 6-8 times.
  4. Smear the garlic butter all over the joint, push some gently into the incisions.
  5. Insert the rosemary pieces into the incisions and season well.
  6. Place the meat joint in a roasting tray.
  7. Place in the oven and cook the lamb for 1hr -1hr 15 minutes basting occasionally for a well done joint.
  8. Remove from oven, wrap in foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place before carving.

Note:

If you prefer a more scientific approach to cooking meat and would rather use a meat thermometer to gauge how your leg of lamb is cooked work on the following principle:

  • 50C – Rare
  • 60C – Medium
  • 70C – Well done
  • 75C – Very well done

Alternatively, insert a knife into the joint and press down slightly so that you can see the colour of the juices, the pinker the juices the rarer the meat.

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Roast potatoes in duck fat

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 medium potatoes (peeled and cut into large pieces)
  • 2-3tbsp duck fat.
  • seasoning

Steps:

  1. Place the potatoes in some salted water and par-boil for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Drain in a colander and set above the pan to continue to drain for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Roughly 40 minutes before serving, place the duck fat in a roasting tin and place in the oven at 180-190C fan for 5 minutes to melt the fat.
  4. Remove from the oven and very carefully tip in your potatoes.  Stir and turn the potatoes in the pan to make sure they have all been covered in oil and then season.
  5. Cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

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Red cabbage with sultanas

Ingredients:

  • 400-500g red cabbage (finely sliced)
  • 1 handful of sultanas
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2-3tbsp olive oil
  • 2tsp sugar

Steps:

  1. Place the cabbage and sultanas in a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 5-6 minutes (or until the cabbage is soft).
  2. Drain the cabbage well, then return to the pan and add the vinegar, oil and sugar and stir well.
  3. Taste and add seasoning as required, serve.

 

Honey glazed carrots with parsley

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 carrots (peeled and cut into batons)
  • 2 heaped tsp honey
  • 1 heaped tsp butter
  • 1tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • seasoning

Steps:

  1. Place the carrots in a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 10-15 minutes (or until the knife goes easily into the carrots).
  2. Drain the carrots and return to pan, add the butter and honey stir together and add cover for 5 minutes.
  3. Just before serving scatter over the parsley and season with a little salt and pepper.

 

Roast onions

Ingredients:

  • 4 onions (peeled, and left whole)

Steps:

  1. Cook the onions in the same roasting pan as your joint.
  2. Remove the onions from the pan after about 40-45 minutes.
  3. Place in a small ovenproof dish, cover with tin foil so that they stay warm.
  4. If they cool too much, pop them back in the oven for 5-10 minutes before serving.

 

Gravy (for lamb)

Ingredients:

  • juices from the meat pan
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 2 heaped tsp red currant jelly
  • ½ pt – ¾ pt water (or vegetable water)
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1-2 heaped tsp cornflour (made into a paste with a little water)

Steps:

  1. Having removed the meat, place your meat pan along with its juices on the stove and heat.
  2. Add the glass of wine and allow to bubble away for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add ½ pt of water, red currant jelly and crumble in the stock cube stir together.
  4. Pour in the cornflour paste and stir continuously as your gravy thickens, add a little more water if it is needed.
  5. Pour into a gravy boat and serve.

 

Roast Duck with Plum Stuffing

My brother rang me yesterday to tell me that he had shot a duck and was wondering what he should do with it. Fortunately I had cooked a duck a couple of weeks ago so I was able to talk him through what I did with it.  I love having stuffing with a roast and found that this plum stuffing worked particularly well with the duck and it helped to keep the bird moist as it was cooking.

My parents keep Muscovy ducks, for several reasons; firstly they make great parents often rearing clutches of 15-18 ducklings. Secondly, they are fairly attractive ducks, so are fun to have wondering around the place and thirdly, they keep our peacocks in their place….

Earlier this autumn this year’s ducklings were ‘harvested’ and put in the freezer for eating over the winter months.   It is always possible to tell which of the ducklings are female because they are a different shape and tend to have smaller thighs than the males.  Our ducks have a gamey taste, as they are left to wander around the fields and woods from day one and are harvested later than commercial ones.  As a result we prefer to eat our ducks well done, as opposed to the French way, where the meat is cooked rare and can be quite bloody.  If you have any fat in the roasting dish after cooking make sure you drain it off into a little pot so that you can use it to make your roast potatoes with next time.

 

Roast Duck with Plum Stuffing

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)

  • 1 duck weighing roughly 1.25 – 1.5kg (with liver and heart if possible)
  • 200g breadcrumbs
  • 8 plums (de-stoned)
  • handful of lardons
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1tsp thyme
  • seasoning

Steps:

1.  Preheat oven to 190C fan.

2.  Make your stuffing by placing the duck’s liver, heart, breadcrumbs, plums,  lardons, onion, garlic, thyme and seasoning into a food processor and blitzing until all the ingredients are combined.  

   

3.  Stuff the duck’s cavity with the plum stuffing, packing it in as best as possible.

4.  Dry the top of the duck with paper towel before seasoning well.

5.  Place the duck in the oven and cook for 1¼ – 1 ½ hours, to test if the duck is done, see if the juices run clear when you place a knife in the thigh of the of the duck.

6.  Remove the duck from the oven, cover with tin foil and allow to rest for 10 – 15 minutes.

7.  Use a spoon to remove the stuffing before carving and place in a bowl to be served with the duck.

(Note:  I always make stock with the carcass.  You can do this by placing the carcass and any juices in a saucepan with an onion, celery stick, 2 carrots, dried mixed herbs and then covering it will water.  Cook on a medium heat for a couple of hours.  Then use to make soup later in the week.)

 

   

Gammon glazed with honey and redcurrant jelly

Gammon is my all-time favourite meat.  We normally only have it at Christmas as an accompaniment to the turkey – I have never really understood this as I would be more than happy to eat just the gammon by itself.  But then I suppose Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a turkey.  We normally buy a huge gammon so that we can enjoy it cold in the days following Christmas in sandwiches, pies etc.

When it was suggested the other day that we get a gammon out of the freezer I was a little bit excited!  I think my favourite bits are the slightly caramelised parts on the outside of the joint and if I am being totally honest the fat (because it becomes so sweet due to the glaze).  Unfortunately these are also the favourite bits for everyone else in the family – so you can imagine the contest to get these morsels at Christmas.

Whilst cooking the joint may take a while it is absolutely worth it because it just melts in your mouth.  The gammon is good either hot or cold, so if you only have time to cook it the day before, do not worry as it will still taste delicious.

Gammon glazed with honey and redcurrant jelly

Ingredients:

  • A boned smoked gammon joint 
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pepper (for seasoning)
  • 3tbsp honey
  • 3tbsp redcurrant jelly

Steps:

1. Soak you gammon in a bowl of water for a couple of hours before cooking.

2. Dry the gammon slightly before placing in a roasting pan with one bay leaf on top and one underneath the joint.

3. Season with some pepper then cover the roasting pan with tin foil.

4.  Cook in an oven at 180C fan for 30 minutes per 500g of gammon (e.g.  2.5kg Gammon = 2 ½ hours cooking).

5. Remove from the oven and remove any string that the gammon may have been cooking in.  Carefully slice off the skin leaving as much fat on the joint as you can.

6. Warm the honey and redcurrant jelly in a saucepan.

7.  Score the fat on the joint in a diamond pattern then spoon over the honey and redcurrant mix.

    

8. Place the gammon back in the oven for a further 30 minutes, basting the joint every 10 minutes with the glaze.  Enjoy!