Monday, 14 November 2011

meat no.1

I watch loads of TV, and generally keep it wittering on in the background.  My fear of being bored and hatred of silence means its on pretty much round the clock as I get on with other things, doing a similar job as a radio talk shows and music do for other people.  

Of the trash I watch, the majority is cookery programmes.  Digital TV and its plethora of niche channels means I can watch the metaphorically soft-focused lifestyle programmes 24/7 if I feel so inclined.  Twee kitchens and gentle banter comfort me in this cruel world. 

The side-effect of this choice of entertainment means I’m constantly seeing new things I want cook and eat, without the time to try them all.  One such dish was breast of lamb baked with onions from Simon Hopkinson’s BBC1 programme ‘The Good Cook’.  Although I found him a bit obnoxious, the recipes themselves really appealed to me and I eventually got round to it, spurred on when I saw the lamb’s price….

Being the ardent carnivore I do like a hunk of flesh. However, meat's also quite expensive so I’m constantly on the lookout for cheap cuts.  Pork belly became quite trendy when restaurants and gastro-pubs cottoned on to its low-cost but high-octane flavour and succulence and I dutifully followed suit at home.  The crispy, saliva-gushing crackling and juicy flesh was a hit and has become a popular weekend roast in my flat. Specially as it costs less than £5/kg - that ain’t small….  Brisket of beef, pot toasted till tender.  Hell yeah…

The theme of roasts in my flat is cheap and cooked for ages.  I think I like these cuts better than the posh ones.  They usually need that slow, low heat to break down the collagen in the sinews and render out the excess fat.  All the bits that are tough and gnarly when cooked quickly become incredibly juicy and flavourful when left to do their thing for a few hours.  Teaches me patience too.  

The breast of lamb I bought from Sainsburys was 660g, roughly half the amount suggested in the recipe, though I remembered he said in the programme to match the weight of the onions with the lamb, so I just halved them too.

Scarily vacuum wrapped in the ‘Basics’ packaging for a mere £3.60ish, the prevalence of fat and skin was a tad unnerving. However, the end result was beautifully tasty. Crispy on the outside, still fatty but deliciously unctuous on the inside, it was tricky to slice and far too easy eat.  The onions were mildly sweet’n’sour, cutting through the richness of the meat and I served mine with mash.  I imagine this isn’t for someone who gets fussy with fat and stuff, or if they don’t like strong meat tastes (this is pretty lamby).  For other carnivores you’ll find it addictive. Go on Simon, even if you’re well annoying. 

Other than halving the meat and onions I didn’t adapt the recipe any further and you can find it here

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