Roast Pork with Braised Savoy Cabbage and Roast Potatoes

Serves 6

Ingredients:  The Meat and Gravy:  1 x 1.5kg / 3 lb 5oz (approx) joint of boneless pork with crackling; salt; 2 onions, cut into thick slices; 8 sage leaves; 1 tbsp flour; 500ml / 18fl oz chicken or vegetable stock

  • Preheat the oven to 240oC/475oF/Gas Mark 9.  Dry the meat thoroughly with a clean tea towel, and make sure the skin is thoroughly scored (a Stanley knife is ideal).  Rub the meat thoroughly with the salt, massaging it into the slits in the skin.
  • Make a raft for the meat in a lighly oiled roasting tin with the sliced onion, scatter the sage leaves on top and sit the meat on top of this, skin side up.
  • Calculate the cooking time at 35 mins for every 500g / 1 lb 2oz.
  • Roast for 30 min, then turn own down to 190oC/375oF/Gas Mark 5 and roast, undisturbed (no need to baste) for the remainder of the calculated time, or until the crackling is readdly crispy and the meat juices run clear when poked with a skewer or pointed knife.  Remove the meat from the tin and leave to rest for at least 20 mins in a warm place before carving.
  • Sift the flour into the fat and ‘debris’ in the roasting tin and cook, stirring, over a medium heat for a couple of min, scraping up any dark sticky bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer stirring continuously, for 4-5 mins or until the gravy is nicely  thickened.  Strain into a clean saucepan, discarding the solids, and reheat at the last minute, adjusting the seasoning as necessary.

The Potatoes:  1.5kg / 3lb 5oz old potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks; 100g / 3 1/2oz lard; maldon salt

  • Parboil the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 min, then drain.
  •  Put the lard in a roasting tin and heat in the oven (on a shelf above the meat) for 10 mins.  Add the potatoes, toss well to coat with fat and roast for the last 40 min of the meats cooking time.
  • When you remove the meat from the oven, turn the oven up to full heat for the time the meat is resting, to crisp the potatoes.  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.  Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle at the last minute with Maldon salt.

The Cabbage:  25g / 1oz lard or goose fat; 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped; 1 large dessert apple, peeled, cored and chopped; 1 kg / 2 lb 4oz Savoy cabbage, finely shredded; 3 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar; 2 tbsp sugar; 1 bay leaf; salt and pepper to taste; 300ml / 1/2 pt chicken or vegetable stock.

  • In a large, lidded saucepan, melt the lard (or heat the goose fat) and cook the onion over a medium heat until golden.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients, mix well, bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for about 30 min or until the cabbage is tender.
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Mustard Seed, Inverness

I had a wonderful lunch today at the Mustard Seed in Inverness.   Situated right on the river in Inverness town centre.  Very reasonably priced at £6.95 for two courses.  I had the Smoked Salmon tart to start followed by Chicken in a coconutty sauce with mashed potato.  Dishes of accompanying vegetables came free of charge as well.   Also on the menu posh chicken goujons with garlic sauce, Broccoli and blue cheese soup for starters.  Roast pork, beef steak with peppercorn sauce and sea bass.  Didn’t try the desserts this visit but definitely will next time.  We were a party of 18 and the food was served quickly and hot!  The restaurant is spread over 2 floors, has a wood burner in the downstairs part of the restaurant and has as a lovely balcony upstairs as well for al fresco dining during the summer months.    Well worth a visit if you are ever in Inverness.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Guinness

A recipe by Gary Rhodes

You can’t beat a drop of the Irish black stuff to add body and flavour to a simple roast lamb dish, says Gary Rhodes.

You’ll go a long way to find a richer grave than this one, flavoured with Guinness and sugar to give it a lovely glaze.  I often roast potatoes in with the lamb – you can imagine the flavours they pick up!  Serve the lamb and potatoes with buttered spinach and the gravy.

Serves:  4-6

Ingredients:  3 lb (1.5kg) leg of lamb, boned and rolled; salt and pepper; 1 tblsp cooking fat; fresh rosemary sprig; 10fl oz (300ml) Guinness; 2oz (50g) brown cane sugar; 10fl oz (300ml) gravy or 10fl oz (300ml Crosse & Blackwell Bonne Cuisine Madeira wine gravy

  • Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF, Gas Mark 6.  Season the lamb with the salt and pepper.  Place in a roasting tin with the cooking fat and brown the lamb on top of the stove.  Add the rosemary sprig and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and pour in the Guinness.  Baste over the lamb.  Return to the oven and continue to roast for 45 minutes, basting frequently.
  • Remove lamb from the oven, sprinkle the sugar on top and roast for 5-6 minutes.  Remove from the oven, baste the lamb and roast for 10 minutes.  The lamb should now have a rich glaze, and there should be some liquor in the pan for the gravy.
  • The total cooking time of around 1 hour 15 minutes will give you medium pink lamb.  If you prefer your lamb well done, continue to cook the joint for a further 15-20 minutes.
  • Once roasted, remove the lamb from the roasting tin and leave to rest.  Remove any excess fat from the pan juices, leaving the Guinness liquor.  Add the gravy orMadeirawine gravy and bring to the boil.  Season to taste then strain through a sieve.
  • The lamb is now ready to carve.  Pour the gravy over the meat and serve with roast potatoes and buttered spinach.

Racks of Lamb with Green Herb Crust

A recipe by Robert Carrier

Racks of young lamb are needed for this brilliant party dish. The secret is to roast the lamb in two stages.  First an initial roasting for 20 mins, before patting on the buttery crust of breadcrumbs, watercress, parsley, green peppercorns and mustard powder.  Then, just before serving, simply roast the crusted meat in a hot oven until the lamb is ready and the crust is crisp.

Main course      Serves:  4-6

Ingredients:  2 racks best end of neck baby lamb, each with 6 cutlets (ask your butcher to skin and chine the racks) salt and freshly ground pepper; cayenne pepper.  For the Green Herb Crust:  1 tbsp mustard powder; 4 tbsp softened butter; 6 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs; 6 tbsp finely chopped watercress; 6 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley; 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped; 1 tbsp green peppercorns, crushed; 2 tbsp melted butter

To prepare the lamb – Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6.  With a sharp knife, remove all but a very thin layer of fat from the meaty side of the racks of lamb. Score the remaining layer of fat diagonally in both directions to make a close-knit lattice pattern:  this will hold the herb crust during the final roasting.  Season the racks of lamb generously with salt, freshly ground pepper and a hint of cayenne, then roast them on a baking tray in the hot oven for 20 min.  Remove from the oven and leave at room temperature to cool.

To prepare the Green Herb Crust – Combine the mustard powder and softened butter to form a paste.  Spread this oven the meaty side of the lamb.  Combine the breadcrumbs, finely chopped watercress, parsley and garlic and the crushed green peppercorns; pat this mixture over the buttery side of the lamb.  Drizzle the melted butter over the lamb, and keep at room temperature until ready for final roasting.

To finish and serve – Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6.  Roast the butter, crusted lamb for 20 mins.  To carve, hold the exposed end of the bones while cutting gently between them, releasing the 12 chops (cutlet frills, should you have them, will prevent fingers getting greasy as you work).  Serve immediately, with 2 or 3 chops per person.

Serve with Tomato, mozzarella and basil stack with balsamic vinegar and lime dressing and Lemon Tart