Saturday, 23 January 2010

Dining Clangers - gaining and failing

The freezer needs to be emptied to make way for the little lamb! And so... if you like lamb then try this.
French Braised Lamb
with Juniper, Garlic and Rosemary

Shoulder of lamb, deboned and cut into just over 1 cm thick slices like chops! Put 8 slices into a dish with large sprigs of rosemary in between, about 4 or 5 cloves of garlic crushed finely, 1 large onion sliced thinly (the recipe preferred several shallots), 4 to 8 juniper berries, half of which I lightly crushed. The recipe suggested more than this and I think the flavour was far too strong. I have read that one must go easy with juniper berries as evidently they are a diuretic and must not be served to pregnant women or people with renal difficulties. Then add 400ml red wine, salt and pepper. Cover with cling film or a lid and Marinade overnight.

Take out the meat from the juices and saute in olive oil to seal the meat, briefly saute the onions, add the rest of the sauce and braise on top of the oven or in a covered casserole dish in the oven. We put ours on top of our woodburner as it is winter and the heat coming from the Nestor Martin is brilliant. You'll have to judge when the meat is tender and slow down the cooking appropriately. This time the meat appeared to be ready far too early for our guests and unfortunately the "chops" started to break up which rather ruined the presentation. It went well with a Bordeaux.

We served it with mashed potatoes. Again these were not the best we've done. I'll blame it on the French pdt!!! Also the leeks that I braised were 'pas bon'. They were the last of those from our garden and really were only fit for soup!

The Soup before the main meal was 'Broccoli, Lemon and Sweet Potato' but I won't serve soup again before a casserole even if it is Winter! Never mind.. the cheeses were good ... a Valençay in peak condition which was the most popular. Some Cheddar and Blue Stilton from England that friends collected for us graced the platter. We rarely succumb as we love French cheeses!

A very Citrusy Lemon and Lime pudding was delicious, but I got my timing wrong... it should have been served when the little puddies had risen and not fallen! This we served with a dessert wine called Coteaux de L'Aubance which also goes well with chocolate! This wine was a gift from out TEFL friends. It is a wine we had never heard of ... and we will definitely seek it out again. A trip to Anjou is forecast!!

The best part of the evening was the convivial GandL company ... it was good to see friends that we had not seen for some time.

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