You know when you come in from work and you stand in front of the fridge and you ponder for a second and think….hmmmm… what are we going to eat this evening? Then you remember..(hey it’s been a long day)….that you randomly bought a pack of free range thighs and chicken drumsticks at the weekend…and you have got some tikka paste left over from Sunday’s lamb dish. So….I marinated the chicken pieces in the paste. Left them for an hour in the fridge. I then put on Spotify and listened to a great new band called Peace and Love…then I opened a bottle of Shiraz and put on Bob Dylan‘s Modern Times…wonderful.The world was already looking better…. Ok…the chicken thighs and drumsticks went in the oven for an hour on 220c. I basted them after half an hour. Whilst I was listening to Bob, I decided to have a go at my very own Brinjal Bhaji. So- I sliced up, then chopped into cubes, one aubergine. I popped it into a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes then drained it. In a frying pan I decided to make a fine curry style dressing for it. I added a tablespoon of olive oil, then added a tsp of mustard seeds, a tsp of fenugreek seeds, a tsp of fennel seeds. I pan fried them for a minute or two – then tossed in the drained aubergine. I then added a tsp of garam masala and a tsp of mild curry powder. I chopped and deseeded a red chilli and a small orange pepper. I added them along with a finely sliced red onion. Turn up the heat and stir constantly until the onion starts to wilt. Turn the heat down, add a little rock salt and pop a lid on for 20 minutes or so, I cooked some basmati rice in my rice cooker with a pinch of turmeric to add colour, When all was nearly ready, I took the lid off the aubergine mix, added a knob of butter and a tbsp of crème fraîche. Leave on a low heat for a minute or two whilst you serve the rice and the chicken. Then add a good spoonful of the aromatic aubergine. This was a scintillating dish for a damp squib of a Tuesday. Oh yes…..back to my wine now…and Bob singing about the Mississipi….see you soon!
Well…this was one of those days when..despite me thinking it was all going pear shaped..it all turned out absolutely tickety boo! Mid morning shenanigans centring around trying to ferry my 17 year old daughter to a bus stop to go to London for a concert were time-chewingly annoying as she then realised that she had misread the timetable…no bus on a Sunday.and this all occupied steak-like chunks of my time knowing I had folk round for a late late lunch that I had to get into the oven as soon as…anyway, I ended up driving her and her friends to the station..it’s what Dad’s do…but it also put me slightly…understatement being used here big time – behind time…anyway…all I do here is set the scene…I got back in time to throw the tikka marinade together, slam in the lamb, then grab an hour in the sun, shades on, cricket on the radio…and I almost caught up with myself.
The leg of lamb was from those lovely people at Parsonage Farm..tis lamb like no other, Real lamb. Lamb that fights back.
The recipe is based on an old one of Mr Oliver’s, though I think he uses a shoulder. But I had this monster of a leg..and it was crying out for a summer spice mix. So..here we go.
You need :
2kg leg of lamb
Tikka paste – recipe in a mo..be patient
Red chiili, deseeded and sliced finely
2 garlic cloves finely sliced
I red onion finely sliced
Ok- for the tikka paste – you could use a shop bought jar – but why bother? This is funkier and sexier and far far tastier.
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 garlic cloves peeled
Thumb size piece of ginger, peeled
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp veg oil or ground nut oil
2 tbsp of tomato sauce
2 red chillies
Small bunch of coriander
2 tsp ground almonds
For the paste – fry cumin and coriander seeds on a medium heat until toasted and smelling good. Add to a food processor with all the other ingredients and whizz until smooth.
Score lightly the fat side of the lamb. Smear it all over with the tikka paste – you will not use it all. Then stab a few holes in the skin and slot in the red chilli slices and garlic slices. It should look like this…
In an ideal world..I do not live in one but you might….marinate over night…pre heat oven when you are ready to cook it…170c. Lay the red onion slices on the bottom of a roasting tin. Drizzle with oil. Place lamb on top. Pop in the oven , covered with a wet sheet of grease proof paper for 3 and a half hours. Baste every half an hour. The coating will be beautifully wizened as in photo at top of page. Slice chunks off , or pull off with two forks.
Serve it with this brilliant crunchy Indian Chopped Salad.
1 tsp fenugreek seeds / 1 tsp mustard seeds / small handful of dry curry leaves, crumbled / 1 tsp of chutney – I use Mrs Balls, but mango chutney would be okey dokey / 4 poppadoms / 2 carrots peeled and grated / 1/2 cucumber / 1 bunch radishes / 3 spring onions / 2 little gem lettuces / a big handful of cherry tomatoes / 1 red chill deseeded / bunch coriander / bunch of mint / lemon
On a large board add the grated carrot, then chop up finely the cucumber, radishes, lettuce, tomatoes, chilli and the herbs. Add to the board and mix well. In a frying pan, gently fry the fenugreek, mustard seeds and the curry leaves in a glug of oil – I used garlic infused rapeseed oil. When the mustard seeds start to pop and jump – take off heat and add the chutney. Let it cool, then add to the board and mix in with all the other ingredients, plus a little grind of rock salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Crumble in the poppadom and stir again.
This was a corker of a meal – we ate with friends about 5pm, washed down with this……. well lots of this actually……….
….and then, for a dessert, which we ate at about 7pm on the garden in the late afternoon sun, I pan fried pears, halved in butter and brown sugar. I added sloe gin to each pears centre. Popped a lid on and left for about 25 minutes. I marinated some strawberries in strawberry liqueur for same length of time. I served them together with all the juices and a blob or so of crème fraîche.