I would like to share one of my favourite dishes. It takes a long time to cook, but it is totally worth it! Kleftiko is a classic Greek slow cooked lamb dish in a tomato based sauce. I tested my recipe on my Yiayia (grandmother) a few times in the years before she died, and despite not being a massive lover of meat, she really enjoyed it.
Before buying a slow cooker recently I always used to do this dish in the oven, covered on a low heat. But since my household addition of a slow cooker, I find it much easier and tastier done this way.
Serves 4, generous portions
4 lamb shanks
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
4 large fresh tomatoes (quartered)
1 large onion (chopped)
3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cinnamon sticks
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
5 heaped tsp dried oregano
a good pinch of salt
a good amount of ground pepper
In a slow cooker, place on high for about 5 hours. I sear the meat first in a hot pan with olive oil an a dash of cinnamon, to lock in the moisture and flavours.
In the oven, on a low heat- 6 hours. Start at (200 degrees for 1 hour and then lower to 150 degrees for 5 hours). Sear the meat first in the same way as above. Ensure the meat is covered with a oven safe lid or aluminium foil.
Porridge is so good for keeping you warm and feeling full, especially in winter! The problem I have found is that it can often taste bland and boring. After some experimenting with various ways of making the actual porridge and different toppings to compliment it, I think I may have cracked it.
With the addition of a little double cream, cinnamon, vanilla and a couple of strawberries to serve, there is no need for sugar in this recipe. It tastes naturally sweet and creamy. Best of all, it's balanced, warming and healthy. The perfect start for a winter's day!
LAST WEEK I bought an ice cream maker! I have already made 5 different flavours. The first flavour I made was a caramel and popcorn concoction I put together.
I am not usually a massive fan of sweetened popcorn, but I used salted popcorn which made it much tastier (in my humble opinion).
First, I made a vanilla ice cream base:
1. 220ml milk
2. 450ml double cream
3. 100g vanilla (home) infused sugar
4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
I then made caramel using a can of condensed milk, 50g light muscovado sugar and 50g butter; heated and thickened on the stove for a few minutes until resembling caramel.
I added 4 tablespoons of the caramel to the vanilla base and started the ice cream maker to begin the big freeze for 45 minutes. 5 minutes before the end of the cycle, I added the popcorn and rest of the caramel.
It was so good that I made a second batch, and gave away 3 tubs to friends and family! 🍦
I seem to have started a competition with myself when it comes to my friend's birthday. It all started when I made her a wicked the musical cake, which turned out really well (see one of my earlier posts). I had to try to beat it this year! Her birthday this year coincided with the start of the new GoT (Game of Thrones) series. I had the crazy idea of recreating the Iron Throne as a cake. To be honest, I didn't think I would pull it off...
I baked 6 chocolate orange marble cakes (circular and rectangular) and then I embarked on the most insane sculpture I have ever created.
Cutting, shaping, covering with fondant icing, chocolate work, rice paper, edible spray painting.. It seemed like a never ending job that took time across a whole weekend. Eventually the Iron Throne was complete. After a very stressful hour car journey in a box (hoping and praying it wouldn't fall apart) I was able to present it in one piece!
It was pretty good, if I do say so myself! Now I have an even bigger job cut out for me next year!