Friday, 13 March 2009

Lamb Shanks

My local butcher is wonderful and I get all of our meat there. He is always happy to offer advice and always has such a fabulous selection. He sells amazing sausages that are my husbands favourite. When I visited the other day I noticed that he had some lamb shanks. I have had these on several occasions when I have been out but have never cooked them myself. Along with lots of other goodies I decided to buy a couple.

So when I get home I had a good look through my cookery books so that I could decide on the best way to cook these. My butcher recommended long slow cooking and I found lots of wonderful recipes. In the end I decided to use some ideas from a recipe in one of my books but I made some changes.

I cooked my lamb shanks for about three hours and they were divine. I served them with buttery mashed potato. They were a real hit and I'll definately get them again.

This recipe serves 2.

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • olive oil
  • 1 leek chopped
  • 1 stick celery chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 1 carrot roughly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 200ml red wine
  • 300ml chicken stock

Take a large casserole dish place on the hob over a high heat. Pour in enough olive oil to fill the casserole dish so it is about 1cm deep. When hot add the lamb shanks and turn them occasionally until they are browned.

Once the lamb shanks are nicely browned remove them from the casserole and place on a warmed plate. Add the leek, celery, onion, carrot and garlic to the casserole dish. Stir them together and then add the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary.

Once the vegetables are lightly browned place the lamb shanks back into the pot so that it rests on top of the vegetables.

Pour in the red wine and the chicken stock and bring to the boil.

Place the lid on the casserole dish and place in an oven that has been preheated to gas mark 2/ 150C. Cook slowly for about 3 hours or longer if you want. Before serving remove the herbs. Once ready lift the lamb shanks from the dish and place on warmed plates. Serve with the vegetables and the red wine sauce from the casserole dish.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Floral Cupcakes

I have recently become a Pampered Chef consultant which I am really enjoying. I get to meet lots of people that love to cook and I get to use some fantastic equipment. I will do a separate post all about my new job but for now I will just say that I am loving it.

As part of my kit I got a floral shaped silocone cupcake mould. I have had it for a few weeks now and have been debating what to make in it. I did think about making a frozen dessert but in the end I decided to make some cupcakes. I was a bit apprehenisve about getting them out of the mould but they popped out so easily and look so pretty.

This recipe is quick and simple to make so is perfect for when you fancy cake but don't have much time. If you don't have a silicone mould then you can use this recipe to make normal cupcakes in cases.

I was really pleased with how these turned out and I will definately be using this cupcake mould to make lots more pretty cakes.

This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

Sunflower oil for spraying
1 lemon
1 orange
155g softened butter
155g light brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
155g self raising flour
half teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons milk
60g caster sugar
Icing sugar to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas 4.
Spray the cupcake pan with sunflower oil.
Zest the lemon and orange.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light anf fluffy.
Gradually beat in eggs and then stir in lemon and orange zest.
Fold in the flour and baking powder and then gently stir in the milk.
Place a level scoop in each well of the pan dividing mixture evenly. Bake for15-18 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven.
Sqeeze the juice from the lemon and orange. Combine the 2 juices and stir in the caster sugar. Poor the sugar juice mixture over the hot cakes and allow to cool completely.

Carefully remove cakes from mould. Sprinkle with icing sugar.