Hogget Recipes: Tandoori Hogget Curry

Tandoori Hogget

The third course of the Hogget Feast was a Tandoori Hogget Rump with a curry sauce and rice. Lacking a traditional clay walled tandoor oven (or the permission to dig one into my back garden), I used the barbecue grill to give the tandoori-marinaded hogget its nicely blackened finish.

Rump is a great cut for grilling as it’s lean and flat-ish (a butterflied leg is a worthy alternative ). It benefits from a good searing, but try to keep the centre of the meat nice and pink.   Continue reading “Hogget Recipes: Tandoori Hogget Curry”

Hogget Feast

On Saturday the 27th May and June 3rd, I am hosting a hogget feast. Numbers are strictly limited but we will try to put on additional nights as they fill up. UPDATE: July 1st added as an additional date. Book here

First question: what is hogget?

Hogget is yearling lamb – lamb that has had an extra spring grazing season. These slightly larger animals have had a bit more time for their meat to develop in flavour and complexity, but still maintain the tenderness of lamb. This meat is prized by chefs and restauranteurs the world over, but is all but unknown to the home cook. I had been dimly aware of hogget and had the idea of doing something with it at the back of my mind for a long time when I met Emma at the Cultivate Veg Van last year. Continue reading “Hogget Feast”

April and May Supper Club Menu

Asparagus, broccoli and blue cheese soupTo begin: Asparagus, broccoli and blue cheese soup
Every year as I wait on tenterhooks for the beginning of asparagus season, this is the recipe I’m waiting to make. A lesser blog might give you the useful tip that you can use the leftover hard woody ends of asparagus to make the soup, but to be honest, I buy asparagus to make this soup out of the ends, and have to come up with uses for the rest. 

Main course: Slow braised lamb ragu with gnocchi and ribboned asparagus
My search for the perfect slow-braised lamb came complete with this dish – 48 hours of sous vide cooking at a low temperature leaves the lamb meltingly tender but without having lost any of its flavour to the sauce. For this Supper Club I’ve paired with a pile of pillowy, buttery gnocchi and ribbons of seasonal asparagus.
or
Wild mushroom and truffle ragu with gnocchi and ribboned asparagus
The wild mushroom ragu “alternative” is a creation that won over one of my most ardently carnivorous friends at a recent dinner party, who swore that while eating it he forgot that it was vegetarian. The depth of flavour comes from the variety of different types of mushrooms used, and is punched up by a good dash of truffle oil right at the end. 

Dessert: Salt caramel custard tart
In my kitchen, scraps of pastry and leftover crumbs get saved up in a jar, and when the jar is full, I mix them with melted chocolate and press them into a shell to make the base for this tart. Salt caramel custard, baked until set inside a chocolate pastry case, bruleed until the top is a crunchy, glass-like shard of caramel. Decadent. 

All dates for this menu are sold out, to be added to the waiting list for April or May message me via the contact page.

 

August Supper Club Date and Menu

New Supper Club Date: Saturday August 8th, at 205 Divinity Road, Oxford.  Book here. New dates to be added as demand requires – stay tuned.

Although I’ve only had one (very necessary) month off from doing a supper club, it already feels like I’ve been away for far too long. Which has only inspired me to go for broke this time. The menu:


Starter
:
Fish tasting platter
A selection of fish themed dishes and accompaniments including beetroot cured salmon.

Salmon beetroot and orange zest cure
Mains:
Ratatouille confit byaldi with gnocchiRatatouille cooked dish

then

Lamb cutlets with baba ganoush,
(Vegetarian: beetroot tart tatin)

Baba Ganoush and Peppers wood

Dessert:
White peaches and white chocolate

Plus a couple of special extras, to be selected from the six or seven I have in mind.

Lamb Casserole

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Sometimes a simple thing stays with you. This blog is meant to be for my own ideas, but I can’t talk about my dish without first telling you about a byriani that’s been living in my head for a while now.IMG_0057

It was from a London restaurant called The Dock Kitchen (I don’t review restaurants but I urge you to go there if you get the chance). One of their specialities is a lamb byriani that surprised and amazed me.

It has to be ordered for at least two people, and the price will be more than you’ve ever thought of paying for a bowl of rice and meat. It comes to the table in an earthenware pot that’s been sealed with a dough lid baked golden brown, anointed with rosewater and garnished with a tiny square of gold leaf on it – an extravagant touch that screams “this is valuable!” and does quite a bit to reframe your perception of a dish made from a cheap cut of meat. You also get a small platter of cashew nuts, pomegranate seeds, rose petals, crispy onions and coriander leaves, as well as a copper saucepan of rich, thick sauce. You crack the bread seal with a spoon as if it were a hard boiled egg and serve yourself from the pot of slow cooked lamb nestled within the saffron rice. And beautiful as all of that is, none of that is the reason I can’t forget this dish.

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After eating too many stewed dishes where the meat was either undercooked and chewy, or was tender but had lost all its flavour to the sauce, I’d all but given up on casseroles with long cooking times. I thought the tradeoff was inevitable for these cuts – “Cheap for a reason” I’d told myself, and if I wanted better I’d just have to pay more. My first bite of this byriani did not merely prove me wrong, it completely blew my mind. Each piece of lamb was so tender you could have cut it with a spoon, but the flavour was still there in the meat itself.

It’s the simple things.

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Once I knew that the tradeoff was not inevitable, I was determined not to resign myself to it, and I slow cooked lamb over and over until I figured out how to get it right. This recipe is not a re-creation of The Dock Kitchen’s byriani, but it is heavily inspired by my memory of it.
Continue reading “Lamb Casserole”