Tag Archives: lamb

Another piece of pumpkin? Don’t mind if I do.

6 Nov

Normally we are left with a fair amount of pumpkin flesh after the annual Halloween carving. This leaves me with enough of a problem at the best of times, but this year Mrs G had excelled herself in the garden and produced three behemoths all of which needed using up so we could reclaim the kitchen from their mighty bulk.

This took a fair amount of willpower as I don’t find pumpkin to be the most exciting fruit in the world (it is actually a fruit isn’t it?).

The result was a three meal pumpkin marathon, using them in a slightly different way each time to try to trick the palate.

Day One: Pumpkin soup

Day Two: Roast pumpkin and red onions (to accompany a rack of lamb)

Day Three: Pumpkin risotto

This felt a little  bit like pulling this blog back to its roots as a frugal (but good) eating guide, so it appealed as a challenge. I can’t say I really revised my opinion of the big orange blighters though.

Pumpkin soup

I stuck to a well-reviewed Good Food recipe here, but followed the advice of one of the commenters and added some cumin and cayenne pepper to spice it up a little. This didn’t go unnoticed by Gastronomes Junior who did an impression of people who had been force-fed a chicken vindaloo, but they did pronounce it ‘OK’. Mrs G was more charitable and volunteered the opinion that it was ‘great soup’ on more than a few occasions. We had it with a chunky seedy bread and it was very pleasant. I wouldn’t go out of my way to make it again, but it consumed an entire pumpkin and for that reason alone deserves a place in the recipe folder for next year.

Roast pumpkin and red onions

This is a Bill Grainger recipe from his ‘Everyday’ book. I thought it would go nicely with a rack of lamb that was in the freezer and as the recipe called for a honey dressing for the pumpkin I though the rack would go well with a mustard crust. In the end the pumpkin was actually the star of this dish as the lamb turned out to be very disappointing. Even I can’t blame that on the pumpkin though – the meat was just too fatty to be pleasant. I would definitely make this again with a better cut of meat, or even as a one pot with some pancetta if I upped the quantities. As a side dish this hardly dented the pumpkin though.

Pumpkin risotto

Enthusiasm fading, but pumpkin surplus still weighing on my mind, the final (or so I hoped) recipe was a risotto. Googling ‘pumpkin risotto’ served up a plethora of options, but there was a common theme running through them all – sage. This was a problem as I was without sage. Remove the sage, and there was very little consistency in the recipes. Some involved puréeing the pumpkin, some frying, some boiling. Some added mushrooms, others were remarkably plain. I realised early on that not having the right ingredients for any particular recipe was going to involve some creativity, or to put it another way, making it up as I went along.

I fried some onion and garlic, then added some chopped mushrooms and pumpkin. Next in went some white wine and the risotto rice, followed by vegetable stock. The secret ingredient was tarragon and a sprinkling of parmesan which added a little flavour to this beyond a plain risotto, but to be honest I was slightly unnerved while eating it. Something just wasn’t right – I couldn’t say what, but I didn’t really devour it eagerly.

…Special bonus pumpkin pasta

I’m too good to you. Before this post was even published I decided that you would feel short-changed by only three ‘delicious’ pumpkin recipes and so I am bravely tackling day four of the endurance test.

This time pasta is to be the pumpkin vehicle of choice, but I’m not leaving anything to chance here and making sure I include a large helping of the Lazy Gastronome’s ingredient d’année – chorizo. With any luck it will mask the pumpkin blandness…read on for the results.

5 easy steps to the best pumpkin recipe of the week

1. Pan fry some onion and garlic for 5 minutes

2. Add a handful of diced pumpkin and fry for a further 5 minutes

3. Add a handful of diced chorizo and keep on frying, but with the heat turned low

4. Boil some pasta to taste and toss with shredded mozzarella

5. Eat – hurray, a great pumpkin recipe at last!

So after all that did I shift the pumpkin mountain? Actually I hardly scratched it. The last three recipes alone were serviced by less than one-third of a single pumpkin. They really are a pain in the neck to get rid of. Alas, I will now be getting rid of the rest in the compost heap which is perhaps the most fitting end. Back into the soil, ready to contribute to the growing of yet another ridiculous haul of pumpkins for next year.

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Spanish crusted rack of lamb

29 May

Spanish crusted rack of lamb

Never one to turn down the opportunity for a spoonerism, I made the mistake of calling this a ‘lack of ram’ which possibly reflects how a rack can often be an exquisite, but small, treat.

This rack appeared fresh from the reduced section at Tesco which meant it had to be cooked almost immediately so some quick Googling was in order

There was a small chunk of chorizo in the fridge which I had been planning on using for some Spanish potatoes, but perhaps that could be the inspiration for a different take on a crusted rack.

I came across a recipe from the New York Times that was just what I was looking for. The writer had replaced the traditional, but ever so slightly dull, crust of parsley and garlic, with what was described as ‘vegan chorizo’ because of its paprika base.

This was a breeze to knock up. There was a slightly stale burger roll in the bread bin that provided the breadcrumbs and the rest was store cupboard fare. The food processor had the crust prepared in moments and the lamb was coated before you could say “how will you use up that chunk of chorizo then?”.

Once I get an idea in my head it’s hard to get rid of it, so the chorizo was diced and fried up with some potatoes as an accompaniment. If that sounds like too much of the good stuff, then perhaps it was, but the crust and the potatoes were just different enough to compliment rather than overwhelmed with paprika.

This is a great new alternative to the traditional rack of lamb approach and rivals garlic and parsley as the crust of choice.