Moroccan Inspired Lamb Breast with cous cous...


Last week I had a little black bag full of goodies arrive on my doorstep from the lovely people over at Maille. Inside the bag lay two jars of mustard. 

As the sun was shining and the grass was freshly cut, I felt it was time to bring a little Moroccan spice to the kitchen.




This little jar of joy jumped out at me straight away, Maille mustard with white wine, lemon and harissa spices.

I watched a program a little while ago about cheaper cuts of meat (I think it may have been Nigel Slater..) and he barbecued a breast of lamb. I hadn't heard of this cut before and was intrigued to try it.  We had one for a roast a few weeks ago and although its incredibly fatty, it was probably one of the nicest bits of lamb i've ever had. It was incredibly tasty with a crispy skin that was to die for.

When thinking what to make, I thought I would try another breast of lamb, but stuff it full of lovely things that would take on the flavours of the fat as it rendered down.

For this Moroccan inspired recipe
you will need:

1 - 2 Breasts of Lamb (I got mine from Sainsburys, dirt cheap)
100g Maille mustard with white wine, lemon and harissa spices
500g Cous Cous
A pinch of salt
A pinch of paprika (I used smoked, but use sweet if you prefer)
500ml Vegetable stock
2 and a half table spoons of Garlic oil
200g chopped dried apricots
75g dried cranberries
2 shallots finely chopped
one tin of chickpeas in water, drained (roughly 240g)
Extra garlic oil to drizzle

Preheat the oven to 160°C Fan.



Start by placing the cous cous into a large pot (the pot does need to be larger because the cous cous swells quite a bit!) and add the paprika and salt. Cover with the stock and clamp on a lid whilst you get on with the rest.






Place the apricots, cranberries and chickpeas into another bowl and cover with boiling water for a few minutes just to soften them up slightly. This isn't essential as the rendered fat will do this during the cooking process, but I wanted to serve some cous cous on the side as well as inside the breast.




Finely chop the shallots and add them to the cous cous along with the apricots, cranberries and chickpeas.




The lamb breast from sainsburys is part of the Basic range. I managed to get 2 pieces for a little under £4 each. They come rolled up and tied with string which is perfect for a normal roast however I wanted to stuff mine. 

Snip off the string and flatten the breast out. Take the mustard and smoother it all over the breast. Now I know what you are all thinking ("Good lord thats a lot of mustard!"), but don't worry...
This mustard is incredibly mild. I had a little spoonful before starting to get an understanding of the ingredient and its nothing like a normal mustard. The flavour however is mouth watering.






Next take the prepared cous cous and place a layer of it over the breast(s). Roll them back up and then firmly tie with string. You may need a second pair of hands to do this. Don't worry about how it looks now, it will all turn out lovely in the end. You will notice that there is quite a bit of cous cous left over but fear not...

Drizzle a little garlic oil over the lamb and season with a bit of salt and pepper.

Pop it in the oven and sit back with a glass of wine in the garden.

One thing I should mention is that it takes quite a bit of cooking, mostly down to the fat content of the lamb. Oven times will vary depending on your own oven but you will have to judge that yourselves. I cooked mine for 2 hours and then placed the left over cous cous in the bottom of the pan to absorb the juices and continued to cook for a further 30 minutes.



Corrrrrrr look at that! 



I served this with cous cous and also some roasted courgettes, peppers, mushrooms and tomato's.

The perfect meal to end a gloriously sunny day!


I do hope you all managed to get through that post without laughing every time the word breast came up...Because I didn't!

a foodies dream...

something is seriously wrong with this weather...i mean its been constantly hot for over a week...is the world ending?

anyway! this lovely weather was just what was required for a beautiful day full of food and fun!

as i mentioned a week or so ago, i was given some tickets to go to the Bristol Foodies festival! the parents and i along with my friend Fran descended upon the harbour shortly after it started!

as we entered we were greeted by a massive queue for the demonstration tickets, luckily though the people giving out the tickets were incredibly organised and we didn't have to wait long at all. we managed to get tickets to see Manisha Parmar from the great british bake off and Larkin Cen from master chef. this made me VERY excited!









the food adventure was then ours to be had! we started by wandering the entire festival to get an idea of size and what kind of stalls were about. we were greeted by glorious cakes and slices by The Ginger Bakersdelicious smoked cheese, flavoursome fudges and some vibrant macaroons which made me very jealous! (by Dimkins)







we then ventured down the steps and were greeted by pots of glorious food just waiting for us to give in to our lunch time urges, there was so much of it i don't really know where to begin.

chinese, japanese, mexican..the choices were endless! 







we decided to have a refreshing glass of pimms before deciding what to eat, as it was literally to hot to think! 

i love almost everything about pimms, i love the cooling first sip, the juicy fruit swimming around the straw and the feast that happens when you finish drinking.
the only thing i am not usually keen on is the mint. i love mint with most things but it seems wrong with pimms...it seems to over power the drink.

HOWEVER! the girls that whipped this little beauty up for me must have magical powers! the mint ramped all up the flavours and made the drink incredibly refreshing. 

note to self - smash all the fruit together with the ice before adding the booze!





i have to laugh at this sign! when we arrived the festival had only just opened so it wasn't that busy (outside of the ticket line). maybe the pimms went to our heads...but Fran and i both posed by the sign at the same time doing an erotic pose... childish...NAH!

as the day went on we caught more and more people posing next to it clutching their junk... haha!






there were literally hundreds of flavour combinations on this fudge stall. Fran just couldn't resist.





had it not of been so hot i think i would of spent more time shopping for ingredients. vast amounts of salami stacked up high tempted my taste buds but the heat stopped me.




it was then time for the first demo of the day with Manisha and special guest Ryan Chong.
i don't think he expected to be called up on stage as he was stood at the back to begin with! 




they whipped up some quick scones and we all got to have a taste.
(i think Ryan was feeling the heat a little...)




after the first demo we decided we couldn't fight our urges any longer and popped down the steps once again for lunch.
we decided to go to The Quack Shack. serving up delicious duck dishes with a twist, our mouths were watering firstly from the smell and secondly from the amazing menu.




we started with some quackling, crispy duck skins...need i say any more than that? 
actually yes...it was INSANELY GOOD! i could of gone back and ordered 5 more bags, perfectly crunchy and salty...food porn!






we both then went for the shack burger. i have to say this wasn't the best burger i have ever had, but it was great to see something different!
the burger itself had an amazing flavor, the orange really complimented the burger. topped with the onion jam which gave an added sweetness to the stack and at the bottom...well... the beetroot slaw! that was something to behold! may have to give making that a go!

 


after the salty quackling we naturally needed a drink.. so we decided to get a pitcher of the good stuff...it didn't last long!





time flies when you are having fun! next up in the demo tent was Larkin Cen, finalist on master chef 2013. i was particularly excited about this as i've grown a bit of an addiction to asian inspired cooking.

i hadn't watched much of master chef so didn't really know who he was but quickly came to realise just why he was in the final. he was a genuinely nice guy with a wicked sense of humour and a real talent in the kitchen.

he prepared two dishes in the 45 minute demo.




first of all he started with seabass topped with wontons, served in a mushroom and lemongrass consommé. the smell was divine! i wanted to face plant the dish and scoff the whole thing!




secondly he prepared lamb shoulder with a home made BBQ glaze. i had never considered mixing those 2 flavours but after seeing this i cant believe i haven't seen it before!

the glaze was quick and easy to make, light soy, ketchup, worcestershire sauce and a little bit of brown sugar. when i got home i quickly whipped up a batch and smothered it on some chicken! YUM!






after the demo he let everyone go to the front and take pictures of the food and get a picture with him. i opted to stay out of the picture (i'm not photogenic on the best of days, let alone when i'm sweating like a...well....you get the idea!)

bravery came over me and i gave him one of my newly printed business cards! after that i threw them out left right and centre...if i can give one to him i can give them to anyone!




i never thought i would complain about finally getting some form of summer, but the heat really did make the day short lived. it was just to hot to stay much longer so we decided to quickly whip round the stalls and gather up some tasty treats for later.

i popped to the Dig in market stall and grabbed some peaches and plums. they were perfectly ripened and left me with a juicy face.







then it was on to the Ginger bakers. i decided to go for a delicious brownie and a scrumptious pecan and caramel shortbread!

these are the kinds of bakes i love! they have that fresh out of the oven home made feel about them yet pack a real punch in the flavour department.

if you ever see them selling there goods, don't keep walking...STOP and stuff your face..seriously you won't regret it!

i gave them a business card and asked them to let me know if they ever had any work experience available. worth an ask!



final stop was the Dimkin's Patisserie stall for some macaroons. the range of colours and flavours was insane, everyone that walked past this stall stopped and took in their beauty.

don't they look amazing?

sadly though i felt a little bit let down by them.

i went for 2 passionfruit, 1 raspberry, 1 champagne and 1 bubblegum flavour. the flavours didn't seem all that strong, there was a subtle hint but i was expecting an explosion. the texture of them was quite hard as well but this could of been because of the heat outside.


all in all it was a beautiful day and i was so pleased we managed to get there.

thanks again to the Foodies Festival organisers for the free tickets. 

if you are a foodie addict try and get to one of the events around the country. you will love it!

Summer is coming...

...so i finally found an iPad app for blogger that allows me to change type faces and add pictures without having a fit and crashing! really happy now so i'm sat on a comfy chair outside in the sun blogging! good times!



i love this time of year, just before it becomes unbearably hot we get a period where we can happily potter around the garden or lie in the sun without sweating enough to fill a paddling pool.

 

even Ringo decided it was a good time to become a tiger and lounge about! he chose a good spot as well..allows me to show off my herbs! they are still alive!


 

another reason for loving this weather is that it's a great time to get the sunglasses out. over the years whilst at college and university i wasted a lot of money buying cheap aviators and such like, which lasted a few days and then broke or got mislaid.

when i went to New York in 2011 i spent some money on a pair of Ray ban in Macy's. because they cost quite a bit i am very careful when taking them out..but they are to cool not to show off!

 


the main reason i love the is because of the typographic print on the inside. they are limited edition #5 frames, when i got them there was a choice of black or white frame. i had a little look online for them the other day and there is a rare purple pair available and you can still find the black pair.



on Thursday i went out for lunch with my mum and auntie, nothing special just a sandwich in a pub. but afterwards we went for a walk along the beach and along the new pier.

a few years ago now Weston's pier sadly burnt down but the council and the owners got to work quickly and had it all rebuilt and it does look nice from the outside but i really don't like the inside of it! the "old" pier was full with old machines and was a really fun place, now it's all very organised and modern..feels very clinical.


all that being said though you really can't find nicer views than at the end of the pier. there was even a jet ski on the water!