I got home late last night from a family funeral, emotionally drained and in that strange hungry/not hungry frame of mind that comes with standing around all day drinking cups of tea from an urn and eating club sandwiches.
The Boy Wonder had transformed himself into super housedad in my absence and when we got home from the airport this was bubbling quietly on the stove. It’s enormously comforting – he used to make it a lot about five years ago – and just the thing for a cold autumn night.
Lemony Lamb Stew
This began life as a Ray McVinnie recipe, torn out of the newspaper back in about 2003. It’s now ours by adoption.
500-700g boned lamb shoulder, cut into 2cm chunks
3Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
5 floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
1Tbsp flour (use rice flour or cornflour to make gluten-free)
2 cups beef stock
1 cup water (or 1/2 water, 1/2 white wine)
1 cup frozen peas
zest and juice of a lemon
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot and saute the garlic, onion, carrot and celery for five minutes over medium heat. Add the lamb and saute again until it colours all over, then stir in the flour. Let cook for a minute or two, then add the potatoes, stock and water. Bring to the boil, then let simmer gently for 45 minutes until the lamb is tender and the sauce has thickened. Stir in the peas and cook for another 3-4 minutes, then squeeze over the lemon juice and stir. Sprinkle with lemon zest and parsley before serving with chunks of baguette. Serves four.
Now, I know you’re going to think I’ve lost the plot when I tell you that you should whip up a batch of flatbreads to mop up your next curry or wrap around that collocation of cold meats and salad bits lurking in your fridge. But really, you should. If I can do it while the Small Girl is doing her python impersonation (ie, entwining herself around my legs in an effort to be picked up because it’s getting close to dinner time and what the hell, she just feels like it) and the Boy Wonder is getting a slew of work phone calls culminating in him putting on his superhero cape and fleeing the house, then you can do it too.
This recipe is from Hugh F-W’s River Cottage Everyday. The Boy Wonder bought me this for Christmas last year and I can confirm that it just makes me love him more every time I open it. Hugh, that is. I mean, how could I love the BW any more than I already do? (*rolls eyes*)
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Flatbreads
Honestly, this post took longer to write than making these little babies. I think we’re going to be seeing a whole lot more of them.
250g plain flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
150ml warm water
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Mix the oil and water together, then pour into the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon or your hand until a slightly sticky dough forms. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about five minutes, until it feels smooth and plump. Cover the dough with the upturned mixing bowl and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes.
When you’re ready to cook and eat the flatbreads, place a heavy non-stick or cast iron frying pan over a high heat. Roll the dough into a sausage and cut into eight pieces. Roll each out into a round (ish) shape, about 2-3mm thick. I used my hands at this point to stretch the dough like a piece of wet material. I would roll one out, then cook it, rolling out the next ones as I went.
To cook, lay a flatbread on the hot pan and let it sit for about two minutes, until it’s lifting off the bottom of the pan. Turn it over and let it cook for a minute, then remove it to a plate lined with a clean teatowel. Cover the cooked flatbreads with the teatowel to keep them warm and soft.
These are best eaten as soon as they are cooked, but any leftovers can be reasonably successfully reheated in the toaster. See, told you it was easy!