I’ve had an Actual Real Life request to restart the blog. That’s fame, that is.
The reason why I’m able to post is that the oven has been plugged back in. The bad thing about that is that it works, and I had rather hoped that 3 months under a tarp in a damp and crowded back yard might mean the thing gave up the ghost and I could get a new, properly fancy one. Instead we’ve reinstated the new, not-fancy one. I am not someone who loves cleaning ovens so soon I will employ some poor bastard to come and clean it and then pretend the oven is new. For a while.
Anyway, oven. Tick. Hob – well it has gas, but the extractor fan isn’t connected so I can’t do much yet there. I mostly make NewHuman’s pasta on it. Wholewheat pasta. He refuses vegetables of any kind so I trick him by feeding him wholewheat pasta. I’m that kind of amazingly excellent parent.
Kitchen is coming along, although it’s a bloody endless thing. We spent approximately 17 years discussing backsplash options. The people we know on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram were bloody DELIGHTED at the ongoing posts, documenting tortured decision-making, all based around overpriced tiles from the fancy shop down the road.
We went blue. We went chevron. We are lone rangers, not a subway tile nor a shaker-style cabinet can been seen. We probably no longer qualify to live in our area because of that but OH WELL. We are too poor now to ever move again.
It’s still not finished, as you can see. We still have a fridge in the sitting room. And a microwave.
I have a friend (technically Boyfriend’s friend from uni but we are MARRIED now and so what’s his is mine even more than it ever was before). Let’s call that friend C. Twice we’ve been to lunch with C and his lovely wife, C. We love C, even though he’s nuts. And his Wife C is brilliant. Both times we’ve been served slow cooked lamb with potatoes and onion. Both times it’s been bloody amazing. On a slow amble through Sainsburys over the weekend I chanced across a miniature lamb shoulder, swiftly texted C for the recipe, and made the below.
I’m going to give you the BBC recipe measures, though, as I kind of made them up to go with my mini-shoulder.
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
6 large waxy potatoes peeled and thinly sliced (drives me utterly BONKERS that you can’t buy loose potatoes, unless they’re mega baking ones, in a UK supermarket. You’re always forced to buy a great hulking bag of the buggers or, if you’re a good person, go to the market to get them from the independent trader)
1 bunch thyme, leaves picked (I used rosemary, it was fine)
salt and black pepper
1 whole lamb shoulder (I’d say bone-in, please)
1 garlic bulb, peeled and separated into cloves
568ml/1 pint chicken stock (C says you can’t really go too far with this – all stock is good, you’ll need more than you think)
cooked green veg to serve (We didn’t, the boyfriend doesn’t love green, except in the bathroom).
Preheat your oven to 130C/Gas Mark 1.
Throw the onions and potatoes and herbs into your baking tray, mix about a little. C is very neat and lays his out a bit like you would moussaka potatoes, or a finely sliced lasagne. I didn’t bother.
Below you can see the state of the kitchen at the time of baking.
It feels like someone else’s kitchen. Like we are visitors. We are cleaning up very well after we use it, as if we are being really polite.
That can’t last.
The missing tiles you can see in the incomplete backsplash are a result of me coming home last Saturday, well refreshed by lunch at the boyfriend’s parent’s, insisting some tiles get replaced because there were wrong by about 1mm. I remain totally unrepentant about putting the tilers through this trauma.
Right – so chuck in your lamb leg on top of the potato/onion love-in, seasoning well. Pour in the stock.
Stab some holes into the lamb, good ones, so you can shove some peeled garlic all the way in. Chuck the extra cloves in with the potatoes, cause you’re a freestyler and recipe be damned.
Into the oven with the lot, for around 4-5hrs, till the top potatoes look nice and crispy and the bottom ones become a muggy sog of chicken-stock deliciousness that you barely even need to chew. Good pensioner food, this.
When done, take it out of the oven and stick it under some foil for 20 mins while you pour a drink, or set the table if you don’t eat your supper in front of the tv (WHO WOULD EVEN DO THAT I DON’T HAVE A CLUE) or settle a shaking dog (three words: fireworks = dog Xanax).
The meat should pull apart with a fork or two. Load the plate. Eat it all. Look sadly at the bare bones, but not as sadly as the dog does when you throw those bare bones straight in the bin.
NewHuman rejected this meal outright, but having previously tricked us by being a lovely natured baby he’s turning into hell toddler so I don’t care and I’ll keep making him eat wholewheat pasta till he’s 21.