Baking | Basque Lamb Stew … White Wine or Red? Surpisingly both!

“I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.”
W.C. Fields

Basque Lamb Stew Hello November. Here already? ALREADY?? With winter almost here, the Basque Lamb Stew is a good way to warm up … robust, hearty, full of flavour. It’s the time of the year when comfort food tops the list. Apple crumbles, mushroom soup, lamb and chicken curries, warm chocolate puddings, risottos, brownies, creamy cheesy pasta, ratatouille,  fresh bread, stew …

Basque Lamb Stew The lamb was meant for an Indian Lamb Stew or Gosht do Piaza, a hearty traditional Indian main. Yet some sour dough meant a loaf of fresh baked bread. The lamb thus headed for a continental makeover. Two recently gifted  bottles of wine from Four Seasons had me wanting to further my culinary skills. Google took me to Simply Recipes which had an interesting lamb stew recipe.

Basque Lamb Stew My knowledge of wine is pretty limited. A wine tasting session with a wine connoisseur some time back was enlightening. I  would like to cook with wine but am an under-confident ‘wine’ cook! I do however find wine glasses and goblets romantic, pretty too! 

Basque Lamb Stew Basque Lamb Stew was in the oven soon. Experimental cooking is always fun, and has been on the mind even more after our recent Ozzie MasterChef meeting. That rejuvenated us to think differently, creatively, out of the box, locally, internationally, responsibly … every virtual thought led to food!

Basque Lamb Stew Sangeeta’s Dark Chocolate Mousse, Parul’s Merluza en Salsa de Pinones, Ruchira’s Thai Eggplant Salad and Rekha’s Fresh Waterchestnuts, Arugula and Peach Salad reminded me of the lamb stew that was waiting in the wings! All these have the wine in common.

Basque Lamb StewThe Basque Lamb Stew was a huge step for someone like me who has always cooked traditional Indian lamb dishes. Making this dish, I thought often about the very talented Basque ex-pat Aran Goyoaga who writes on Basque country and her childhood. I heard of this beautiful region while reading her posts.

Basque Lamb StewThe stew was delicious, hearty, and an enticing red. There was something inspiring about it. Despite being cooked in a completely different manner, it still had slight undertones of my Indian stew or ‘ishtoo‘ as it is often called! Amazing! The wines gave very gentle flavour to the dish, while the roasted red peppers added most of the brilliant colour! {The sour dough bread is a tomato basil  one the recipe scraps of which I sadly misplaced!}

What keeps you warm in winter, dear reader? What is your favourite comfort food?

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India



Baking | Lamb & Purslane Pide … Turkish cuisine with British flavour

” You should eat delicious things while you can still eat them,
go to wonderful places while you still can…”
Nora Ephron

Lamb & Purslane PideChomp, chomp, chomp.Ooooh, this is good“, declared Mr PAB between bites. Then gesturing wildly he said, “This MUST go on the blog. It’s GOOD!” So with recommendation, hot off the press oven, here are Lamb and Purslane Pides, or simply put Turkish Flatbread Pizza!Lamb & Purslane Pides What is purslane? It is an annual succulent, found in North India in the hot summer months, is funnily considered a weed in America {LOL}, and cooked extensively through much of Europe, Middle East, Asia and Mexico! It is known as kulfa saag here, and was the only green other than spinach that I could find to replace the chard! It worked a charm …  and went undetected by the ‘green hating‘ terrible teens!Lamb & Purslane Pides It’s been ages since I cooked lamb mince. By healthy choice I’ve switched over th chicken mince but the lamb murmur has been growing stronger of late. My SIL is a great lamb lover and mentioned that she prefers lamb to chicken any day. I was listening. Then the other day, a meeting with someone from BBC GF and she mentioned her undying love for lamb too. Now I was all ears!Lamb & Purslane Pides “Next kebabs will be have to be lamb“, I thought as I got mince from the butcher. However, this morning I lost my inclination to make kebabs. I wanted something on dough, something baked, something quick! I recollected the Turkish pides with sumac I had made long ago and googling got me to a Lamb & Chard Pide recipe on BBC GF!

Pides, local pita bread, are delicious flatbread pizzas topped with different ingredients from Turkeys rich cuisine. You have specialty Turkish pide restaurants across Turkey which sell different avatars of this flatbread. It is popular street food there as well. Regional variations in the shape, baking technique, and topped materials create distinctive styles for each region which include chicken, beef, cheese, potatoes, garlic and many other ingredients.

Lamb & Purslane Pides It came together fairly quickly. I did a quick rise dough, and by the time the dough was rising, the lamb was ready. Baked quick, crisp and nice, the lamb pides were wolfed down faster than the time I took to make them… not a crumb remained!Lamb & Purslane PidesThe recipe suggestion was to drizzle pom molasses over it. I didn’t have any but I did have a fresh plum prune sauce I developed for Del Monte. To that, I added some red harissa that I had made last week. It was H O T! 10 red chilies, more fresh red chilies = fiery HOT! That said, it’s almost gone and I am ready to make my next jar! Lamb & Purslane Pides Red Harissa The lamb offered subtle, gentle flavours, lilted further by the cottage cheese and bell pepper. The pickled peppers added some zest, and a drizzle of plum chili sauce brought out a delicious complexity of flavours … all pairing beautifully together!Lamb & Purslane Pides I loved how quickly and beautifully the meal came together. Of course we had the much dreaded power cut halfway through, so I baked a couple on a heavy griddle pan covered with a lid over low heat …. and there was no reason to complain {pictured above}. So there you, if it’s too hot to turn on the oven OR you suffer power cuts like we have all summer, these cook up crisp beautiful on the stove top too!Lamb & Purslane Pides

Lamb & Purslane PidesI had some dough left over, so made some chicken, red harissa and plum sauce pides the next afternoon for the kids. Gone in minutes! They are filling yet light enough for a summer meal. Pair with a green salad, maybechilled summer cooler … and you have a meal!Summer CoolerBon appetit! Afiyet olsun!

And as I leave I wish to thank Lifezing for interviewing me. It was an honour and I loved doing it.
Catch it, with a whole lot of colour here

In conversation with Deeba Rajpal From Passionate About Baking

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

BALSAMIC & HERB LAMB CHOPS, FRENCH FOUGASSE…& PEACH & MIXED FRUIT CRUMBLES!

“Talk of joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread – there may be.”
David Grayson
We had a good meal … it was yummy. I was in a mood to cook LOTS, & the lad joined in with his requests! At the meat shop yesterday, while I was trying to find direction in what to buy, he requested for lamb chops … “like you had made earlier Mama”, he said, “and the ‘French fries’ too!” Those refer to Greek Roasted Potatoes that I often make from Kalofagas. I sometimes do a variation on them … an addition of lots of garlic, & some red chili flakes. I simmer the olive oil with the ingredients to get a deep flavour, & then leave it to cool while the flavours mature. Toss the potato wedges in the oil, & bake till fork tender, about 30 minutes. The request didn’t end there of course. “If you are making bread Mama, then can you make the one you made with walnuts the other day? I really loved that one.” Back to making French Fougasse, which is indeed delicious & addictive! You can play around with the stuffing as you like. The crumbles, I must admit, were my own calling, & they were also deeply satisfying!!
MARINATED BALSAMIC & HERB LAMB CHOPS
Ingredients:
750gms Lamb Chops (about 10-12)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
2 tbsps roasted garlic paste
Handful fresh herbs, chopped (I use lots of oregano, & some basil & thyme)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsps each phalsa concentrate & plum sauce (or any berry sauce)
Balsamico Glaze to serve (optional)

Method:

  • Whisk the oil, balsamic vinegar,garlic paste, salt & pepper & half the chopped herbs, & marinate the lamb in it for at least an hour, though overnight is better.
  • Turn into the cooker & cook under pressure for 20 minutes on medium till lamb is tender.
  • Allow the steam to die down, then simmer the lamb in the juices, with the berry sauce & remaining herbs. Once the sauce is nice & thick, add the balsamico glaze if using.
  • Serve with French fougasse (recipe follows), or focaccia, Peter’s Greek Roasted Potatoes @ Kalofagas or a cold sweetcorn-potato salad in buttermilk ranch yogurt dressing, steamed green beans, a Romesco dip

I’ve been on a positive bread baking high these days. Found some fresh yeast in a store I was visiting, & have timidly begun experimenting. I can say that baking with fresh yeast is a totally satisfying experience. WOW … the first time I made the dough it rose so much, it frightened me.It’s a bread that I have now to hide from the kids. Made 4 loaves, & 1 was history before I knew it, coz the little mites are having a nibble each time they passed by the cooling racks. This is the second time I’ve made it, on popular request. Helen said the other day that she loves fougasse, & grew up on it. I wasn’t that lucky, but hopefully my kids shall repeat her words one day.I used a firm cottage cheese within in place of Roquefort. This is a bread worth experimenting with. Use your own fillings. The one in the main picture is one in which I rolled & twisted the dough into a spiral to see if it would hold the filling. It did, & looked rather rustic & moreish. The other loaves are as explained below!!
A fougasse is a lattice-shaped, flattish loaf from the South of France. it can be cooked as a plain bread, or flavoured with cheese, anchovies, herbs, nuts or olives. This Fougasse has been Yeastspotted, & is off to Susan @ Wild Yeast!

FRENCH FOUGASSE
From The Practical Encyclopaedia of Baking, pg 444
Ingredients:
450gms all purpose flour
280ml warm water
20gms fresh yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sea salt (+ a little extra for sprinkling on the cottage cheese if using)
200gms firm cottage cheese, crumble (or 50gms Roquefort cheese)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for brushing
Method:

  • Take 4 tbsps of water from the 280ml, & dissolve the fresh yeast into it. Stir the salt & 2 tbsp olive oil into the remaining water.
  • Make a well with the flour, & pour the dissolved yeast & water mixture into it. Knead to a dough, kneading further on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes, till it gets smooth & elastic.
  • Place in an oiled bowl, cover the bowl with cling wrap & leave in a warm place for about an hour until doubled.
  • Punch down & divide into 4 balls of dough (or 2 if you have a big oven)
  • Roll out to about an 8″ circle, sprinkle with walnuts, & 1/4 of the crumbled cottage cheese. Season lightly with sale & pepper.
  • Fold over the dough 2-3 times on itself to incorporate the stuffing. Shape each back into a ball.
  • Flatten each & fold the bottom third up, & top third down to make an oblong.
  • Roll 2 of these long rectangle shapes & cut 6 slits. Stretch the dough to look like a ladder.
  • Roll 2 into ovals with a flat base, cut slits diagonally, three on each side. Pull slightly to open the cuts.
  • Place on oiled baking sheets. Cover with cling wrap & leave to double for 35-40minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 220C, brush the loaves with olive oil, & bake for approximately 25-30 minutes till golden brown. Cool on racks.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Note: A suggested sweet variation is to replace 1 tbsp of water with 1 tbsp of orange flower water, & include 50gms of chopped candied peel, & 25gms of sugar.
With the main meal done, in our home, there’s always room for dessert! Judy mentioned the other day that her peach pie is perfect for any fruit looking like it’s about to rot. Can’t happen to me I thought, but foodie that I am, eating my words is becoming very second nature. Decided to clear out the fridge. Hmmmm…did she say ‘fruit ready to spoil’? I dug a cartload out. I had a bunch of peaches which were fine, & had been bought for a peach crumble (along with brown sugar). Behind them, came tumbling some more fruit crying to be used – apricots, cherries, mangoes … all ready to crumble. Chopped up everything in a frenzy, with the daughter helping with pitting the cherries … (I spent a good 5 minutes picking the pips out that she kept dropping in ‘by mistake’). Once everything is chopped, this dessert is a cakewalk. You can find the recipe for Apricot & Cherry Mini Crumbles here, that I made just a couple of days ago from Judy’s @ No Fear Entertaining. The only change from my earlier post is that I used a variety of fruits here, as mentioned above, & brown sugar this time. Once you got all the fruit chopped up, the sugar & flour in, taste the mixture for sweetness. There’s nothing else to this beautiful, addictive dessert … other than a scoop of ice-cream or a dollop of whipped cream of course!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...