,,One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating.
And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends. ,,
-Laurie Colwin

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lamb Shanks

As I always say, time spent caring for your food is time well spent. 
I've been wanting to post this recipe for a long, long time. This is my favorite braised lamb shank recipe. To cook lamb shank it takes patience. Shank it's the lower part of the leg, from the knee down. As in any animal, the most-used muscles are the toughest ones, so the shank is one of the toughest cuts you can find on a lamb. With other cuts of lamb, you can grill them, you can roast them, you can make minced meat....etc. With shanks, you must cook them in a pot with some liquid for long time, otherwise you can not eat them. In this recipe, lamb shanks are slowly cooked in the oven with fresh herbs, garlic, red wine....etc. It has a fantastic flavor and the meat just falls off the bone. It's delicious when served with mashed potatoes. Please adjust seasonings to your own individual tastes. I sometimes add chili paste to the marinade. Hope you enjoy it as much as Primo Piano restaurant (Norway) clients do.

Here is the video recipe.

                   This video belongs to TV Vestfold, Norway http://www.tvvestfold.no/program.php?video_id=2317
4 lamb shanks
750ml (1 bottle) red wine (preferably Marsala)
1 liter fresh lamb stock or beef stock
2 large onions
3 cloves of garlic 
1 sprig of thyme 
1 sprig of rosemary 
2 bay leaves 
3 star anise
3-4 dry chilies - I use piri piri
green peppercorns
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
140g shallots or onions 
150g carrots 
80g celery (1 stick)
100g bacon 
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chopped herbs (thyme, rosemary..)

To serve: mashed potatoes and  pomegranate seeds 


With a sharp knife, cut about 1 inch from the bottom (narrow end) of the shank bones down to the bone and all the way around; this will help expose the bone while cooking. Set aside. 
Place the lamb shanks in the bottom of a casserole (or any oven-proof dish) with a lid. Add the sliced onions on top . Pour the wine and stock over the lamb; add the garlic, thyme, rosemary bay leaves, star anise, chili and peppercorn.
Marinate in the refrigerator overnight. 
Cover and place in the preheated oven to 160 degrees C. Cook for 3 hours or until the lamb is soft. Cool the lamb shanks in the sauce.
Remove the lamb from the pot, sieve the liquid into another pan, discard the vegetables.
Peel the carrots, celery and shallots and chop them into small pieces.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the bacon, carrots, onions, and celery until they begin to turn brown.
Add the stock and brown sugar to the pot, bring it to the boil and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer until the liquid has reduced by three quarters and become thicker, to make the sauce.
Place the lamb back into the pot and gently reheat the lamb for about ten minutes.
Add the chopped herbs.
Here, we served it with mashed potatoes and pomegranate seeds.
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Friday, May 18, 2012

Coconut, chocolate and goji berries ice cream (Bianca)

We had few warm and sunny days, which made me craving for ice cream. By the time I decided to make it (2 days ago), the weather showed me how unpredictable it can be. But it didn't stop my craving, so here is the recipe for ice cream without an ice cream machine! :)
- 2 x 400 ml cans of coconut milk
- 120 g sugar
- 3 tbsp cacao
- 100 g dark chocolate
- seeds from 1 vanilla pod
- 100 g goji berries
Place all ingredients in a pot over a low heat and stir continuously until the chocolate has melted. I let it boil gently for about 15 min., and I kept stirring so it didn't stick on the bottom of the pan.
After I took it off from the heat, I transferred my batch in a separate bowl, added the goji berries and placed the bowl over a bath of cold water. Stirring it and changing the water few times, I got it to a fairly cold temperature. Now it could be stored in the freezer for at least 4 hours. Every 30 min or so I took it out and mix it with a hand mixer, so it didn't form ice crystals.
After 4 hours or so, I had my ice cream :)


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