Friday, January 7, 2011

The Christmas Post: A couple of days late. And a Happy New Year!

I was dying to try out the pasta machine. Dhawale was in town as well and I knew that if I didn’t cook anything for him, I would have one less friend (or one very angry friend!). But we were leaving for gokarna in 2 days – things were hectic –and the pasta machine kept staring at me from the box. I gave up and called Poo.

We decided that she would come (from lunching with relatives over a heavy Christmas lunch) and together we would make a Christmas dinner of Ravioli. I Google-d recipes and got very excited.

We were 6 people (initially 8!) so I felt that if we making ravioli – it needed something to supplement it, else poo and I would be up all night making the thing and nobody was going to get any dinner!
Many phone calls later (in the middle I went to the market, Poo went to the market: she was also cooking for her family lunch) I had 2 legs of lamb (whole legs, with bone!!), some baby potatoes, some sage and rosemary, a piece of pumpkin and some panner (for the proposed ravioli). Poo had some extra fish, Christmas cake (which was YUM!) and later arrived with bruschetta!

I didn’t want to wait until poo got to lokhandwala to start cooking – so I decided to start before that and finish the roast and later we could do the ravioli together.

So this is the story of how the ravioli DIDN’T get made and how the poor pasta machine sat in the corner and sulked.

That morning, I decided to marinate the roast so that I could cook it in the evening. I took the legs of lamb out of the fridge and then realized it was a far meaner task than I had expected! 

I couldn’t fit the legs into a dish, it wouldn’t fit in the oven and it definitely wouldn’t fit in the pressure cooker! So I decided to debone the thing.

A couple of videos later (youtube zindabad!) and about an hour of careful carving, with sangeeta going “ hathode se maaro didi!” I got 2 (very nice) boneless legs of meat.

I finally decided to not do a roast, since Im still afraid of the meat and oven combination, and decided to go with a Moroccan leg of lamb! Amma had made this a couple of times before – and it was a lovely sweet-ish spicy roast.

So here goes:

It’s a simple recipe and I modified it a bit so that the meat could marinate for a couple of hours. I took 2 tsp of dried ginger powder, 2 tsp of coriander powder, 2 tsp of cinnamon powder, 3 tsps of salt and 1 tsp of pepper powder. The recipe also calls for 2 tsps of dried mint powder and ¼ tsp of saffron – which I didn’t have. I doubled the initial recipe as I had 2 legs of lamb.

I mixed it all together, and sprinkled half of it over the meat.

I tied the meat up and let it marinate for a couple of hours. My trussing skills need improvement!

In the mean time I made about 1 litre of stock with the bones and some onion, garlic, peppercorns, bayleaf, clove and cinnamon.

I took out our trusty pateela (which has seen many a dish) and put some oil in it – I waited for it to get really hot and then seared the meat on either side. Apparently this seals the juices in and the meat doesn’t dry out. Once both sides had become a nice brown, I took them out and put them aside. In the same pateela, I browned about 4 onions sliced finely.

I put the meat back, added the stock and the remaining spice powder and let it boil. I covered the pateela tightly with the lid ( and some help of the pressure cooker) and let it cook for about an hour. A pressure cooker would have greatly speeded up this process, but as I said before­­­ – NOTHING FIT!

While the meat was cooking, I took about 200gm of dried apricot and boiled them in water until soft.

When the meat was done – I added the apricots to it and let it cook a further 15 minutes. I also added 2 tsps of honey, and the juice of 2 oranges to it and a dash of vinegar. Simmered it for a few minutes more and it was done.

In the hour that the meat was cooking, I also made some sage and orange roast potatoes.

First, I parboiled the potatoes and then peeled them.

In a pan I took a little butter, added some minced garlic, the sage leaves and then the chopped orange rind. 

Once it started smelling nice I added the potatoes and cooked that for a few minutes. I put that on a plate and baked it for 45 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius. They didn’t get brown though :(.

As Jamie has been such an inspiration this year, I looked him up for Christmas as well! One of his recipes was the baked Camembert with garlic, rosemary and some olive oil.

Poo had arrived by now (with her oodles of food!) so she cut up the garlic and rosemary and dug it into the cheese.

When we felt like eating it we baked it for 20 minutes at about 200 degrees Celsius. I thought that it would come out gooey and fondue-y, but it didn’t. 

It was still fairly firm. Everyone ate it with the small chunks of bread that poo had toasted on the pan.

We chilled and chilled. The bruschetta came and got polished off, so did the cheese, poo’s thai fish, the tiramisu (leftover from bappa’s party) and part of the Christmas cake. Sometime in the middle of the night, the meat was sliced and eaten.

I passed out quite happily on the sofa and everyone else soon after.

Now that, was a good party! 

We had leftovers for lunch.



  1. Hey, don't make me sound so mercenary - 'one less friend', I believe. But it's ok. You're forgiven on account of scrumptious lamb...

  2. hahaha! proof reading was the one thought in my mind through this wonderful read!! wish i was there for even half these adventures! bravo:)

  3. your Moroccan lamb sounds yummier than the 'real' thing!!

  4. good. i can't believe there were leftovers!