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Eat the Seasons - April 2012


In season this month.

Fruit & Nuts

Forced Rhubarb

Vegetables & Herbs

Cabbages, Cauliflower, Morel Mushrooms, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Spring Greens, Lettuce, Radishes, Sea Kale, Sorrel, Watercress
Meat & Game

Lamb, Wood Pigeon Fish & Shellfish Crab, Sardine
Going out of Season

Cockles, Oysters, Venison, Wild Garlic, Winkles

The long Easter weekend often means a family gathering, so here is a lovely recipe that everyone will enjoy.

Give your Easter joint a flavour of the Middle East using a delicious spinach and mushroom stuffing, spiked with mild curry spices. You will need a whole lamb shoulder that has only the blade removed to make a pocket for the stuffing and leaving the shank bone in for presentation. Ask your butcher to do this for you. Serve with baby roast potatoes, or a dish of creamy pommes dauphinoise.

Shoulder of Lamb

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole lamb shoulder, about 1.8-2kg
  • About 100ml olive oil


Stuffing:

  • 100g baby leaf spinach
  • 150g button mushrooms, preferably chestnut, chopped
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh root ginger or ginger purée
  • 2-3 tsp mild curry spice
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 slice white or brown bread, crusts removed
  • 1 medium egg white
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  • Trim the boned lamb shoulder to remove any large pads of fat. Then make the stuffing.
  • Blanch the spinach in some boiling water for 1-2 minutes until wilted, then drain in a colander, rinse in cold running water and, using your hands, squeeze quite dry. Cool and chop finely.
  • Heat about 4 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan and stir-fry the chopped mushrooms over a high heat for about 3 minutes until they begin to soften. Stir in the garlic and ginger, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste and continue cooking for another 3 minutes or so. Then mix in 2 teaspoons of the curry spice and the lemon zest and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove and cool.
  • Meanwhile, soak the crustless bread slice quickly in a bowl of cold water and squeeze dry. Break up the bread in a large bowl with a fork to soft crumbs. Mix in the chopped spinach and spicy mushroom mix, then bind together with the egg white.
  • Push the stuffing into the pocket in the par-boned lamb shoulder. Press the edges together and hold together with a couple of wooden cocktail sticks or a thin metal skewer. For a neat presentation, tie the shoulder 4 or 5 times into a roll using thin kitchen string. Brush some more oil on the lamb, sprinkle with a little more salt and remaining teaspoon of curry spice.
  • Leave to marinate while you heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. When it is ready, roast the lamb for about 10 minutes until it starts to brown, then cover it with a butter paper and reduce the heat to 150C/Gas 2 and slow roast it for another 1½ to 2 hours, basting it once or twice with the pan juices. Uncover again for the last half hour to finish browning, then remove and let the meat stand for a good 15 minutes. It won’t go cold, but this does allow the stuffing to firm and the meat become easier to carve. Slice quite thickly and serve with any meat juices trickled over. The meat should be meltingly tender.

 

 And here is a recipe for the children;

Decorating Easter Eggs
The tradition of dying eggs in bright colours to represent the sunlight of spring goes back to the Middle Ages and is still a custom children love.   Here are some simple and fun ways to dye and decorate eggs;

Block Colour Eggs
Materials:

  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Vinegar (plain white)
  • Small bowls, cups or empty margarine containers
  • Water
  • Food Colour Drops

 

Directions:

  • Fill containers about half to two thirds full of water.  Remember you need to leave room for the level to rise when you put the eggs in without it overflowing
  • Add approximately  1 tsp of vinegar for every 1 cup of water
  • Add drops of food colour until you’re happy with the hue.  At this point you will probably find that if you add 2 more drops of colour the eggs will end up the colour you were originally happy with
  • Put the hard boiled eggs in the cups using a tablespoon to lower them in and lift them out
  • Allow eggs to dry, then wipe with vegetable oil (on a paper towel or a rag) to make a glossier egg.

NOTE: Always protect work surfaces with newspaper.  If any dye does get on furniture, wipe it off with a rag immediately. 

 

Crayon Easter Eggs

As above, but before dipping the eggs in the dye draw pictures or designs on them with wax crayon (the waxier the better).  An adult may need to help hold the egg while the child draws their pictures on it.

 

Marbleized Easter Eggs

Mix dye as above, then add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil to each colour you want to marbleize.  Dip the eggs as normal and allow to dry – they will have a lovely marbleized effect.