I’ve posted these lamb ribs through Instagram, but just the photo. Here’s the monologue and recipe (and doesn’t include details on the grilled chicken thighs, bottom right of the photo).
I’m not sure how common lamb ribs are for people? Personally, I wasn’t properly introduced to lamb until I lived in England, but my indulgence of lamb began in Australia, helped by the fact that I live near Oakleigh in Melbourne, which has a very large Greek community and more butchers selling lamb than you can imagine. And when you can get ribs at $10/kg ($5/lb), it’s hard to resist. My love of ribs started with the pig, and while if pressed I would choose the pig over the lamb, lamb ribs are undeniably beautiful when BBQ’d well (a discussion of the best animal ribs will have to be discussed in another post). I may have posted recipes for lamb ribs previously, but here is another recipe. I find lamb ribs tend to be a bit fatty, so I prefer to braise first, let cool, then BBQ with basting for optimal caramelised flavour and tender and moist meat. If planning ahead, braise the day before, let cool, separate the ribs from the liquid, and keep both in the fridge. So here goes:
1 kg (2 lb) lamb ribs (enough ribs for a family of 4, with extra)
1 can (225 g, 16 oz) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 medium brown onion, roughly cut
4 cloves garlic, roughly cut
2 bay leaves
2 Tb dried oregano
2 Tb ground coriander seed
2 Tb sweet paprika
2 Tb ground cinnamon (or 1 stick)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tb sea salt
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C (425 F). Mix all the ingredients (except the lamb) in a deep oven dish. Add the lamb ribs and mix thoroughly. Add enough water so that the level of water is just below the level of the ribs (this will likely be about 1 cup, depending on the oven dish). Cover the lamb ribs with a layer of baking sheet (parchment paper), followed by a lid or layer of aluminum foil. Place the dish into the oven and cook about 2 h. At the 2h point, check if the lamb is fork tender. It should be, but if not let cook no more than 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool (removing the lid and aluminum foil will help) for an hour. At this stage the lamb ribs can be removed from the cooking liquid and placed in the fridge for later, if necessary. Ideally, strain the remaining liquid through a sieve into a container for later, else set aside without straining. When ready to serve, grill the lamb ribs on a pre-heated BBQ grill for about 15-20 min, basting regularly with the retained braising liquid. If the meat and liquid were chilled in fridge overnight, the basting liquid will solidify due to the fat content and need to be heated prior to basting (1 min in the microwave solves this!). Trust me, these are great!
The next cut of meat up for slow cooking is chuck steak on the bone. Each of these pieces weigh in at nearly 2 lb (just under 1 kg). I have dry rubbed these steaks with a mixture of sumac, cumin, anaheim chile, guajillo chile, allspice, cinnamon, oregano, garlic and salt. For those of you interested and perhaps wondering about sumac, it is a berry from the sumac tree, a sour, acidic yet fruity berry used in middle eastern cuisine. It is high in malic acid, so it has a similar effect on meat as other acids such as vinegar or citrus, helping to cut through the fat and tenderise the meat. Sumac also pairs well with spices such as cumin, coriander and cinnamon, so it’s unfortunate that it is not utilised more in American style BBQ. The anaheim chile is mild, slightly sweet and versatile. The guajillo chile is robust and rich, and slightly spicy, often used in mole sauces. The plan is slow cooking on the BBQ, about 3-4 h, until the meat is tender. I’ll update this post with photos later. For those interested in the exact ratios of the dry rub, here it is:
2 Tb each of sumac, cumin and salt
2 dried, whole anaheim and 1 dried, whole guajillo chile, roughly ground
1 Tb dried oregano
1 tsp ground allspice, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 medium sized garlic cloves, finely minced
Here’s the photo of the cooked chuck steak on the bone. The meat literally pulls off the bone. Pulled chuck.
I love salmon, and the crispy skin. Salt and pepper alone are good, but I also like a simple marinade with a couple more flavours, 30 min prior to cooking. And I thought I would do a 50:50 mix of brown rice and red quinoa. The nuttiness of the red quinoa matches well with the brown rice. And who doesn’t like roasted vegetables? It all goes so well together.
500 g (1 lb) quality salmon fillet, skin on
1 Tb ground cumin
Juice of half a lime
Salt and black pepper to taste
Brown rice and red quinoa
1 cup brown rice
1 cup red quinoa
4 cups water
lob of butter, salt and pepper to taste
Broccoli florets, thinly sliced carrots on the angle, baby asparagus
light oil, salt and pepper to taste
For the salmon, mix all the ingredients with the salmon in a bag and let marinade for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven at 350 F (180 C). Bring the brown rice and quinoa to a boil, cover and reduce to low, and cook for 25 minutes, followed by resting for 5 minutes. Toss the broccoli and carrots in a bit of oil, salt and pepper, and spread on an oven tray and place into the oven. After about 20 minutes, add in the asparagus, mix together, and cook another 5-10 minutes. Back to the salmon. In an oven-proof pan with a bit of oil on medium heat, place the salmon, skin side down. Cook about 3 minutes, turn the salmon over, and place into the oven for about 5-7 min. Drizzle the remaining juices over the salmon and rice, and enjoy.
Are fruit bowls in the past? Does anyone still keep a large bowl with mixed fruits, not only looking delicious, but tasting delicious? Personally, I think having fruits on display, the contrasting colours, textures and aromas, entices you to eat them. And if you’ve got kids, I think it’s an extra bonus to promote healthy eating habits. Give the kids open access to all those nice fruits! My favourite in this particular photo are these baby pears that are just slightly larger than a walnut. Passion pears, they were called, and I found them at the local fruit market. Seasonal. Sweet as honey. Crisp. Finished in 3 bites. Kids love them.
There’s nothing like a simple quesadilla. I’m happy with some fresh mozzarella alone, but it’s good to throw in something green and a sharper cheese. And if your going to throw in some spinach, throw in a bunch! Let’s say about 4 oz, 1/4 lb, 225 g. And a good amount of sharp cheddar! Fry the quesadilla in a bit of oil (or butter for extra flavour), then top with a healthy mound of full fat sour cream and hot sauce. That simple!
There is not much you can say against lamb cutlets. When perfectly grilled, they are slightly caramelised on the outside and tender, moist and succulent on the inside. Hard to resist, especially with the right marinade! And what grills perfectly with lamb? One of my favourite vegetables. Broccoli. Lately I’ve been roasting broccoli, but this time I tossed it on the BBQ! Here’s the simple recipe:
Lamb marinade (for 12 lamb cutlets)
2 Tb ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Toss the lamb cutlets in the marinade for at least 1 h before grilling, ideally 6-8 h or overnight. For the broccoli, just toss in a bit of oil, salt and pepper to taste. I recently replaced some parts to my BBQ, including the flare guards which now protect the meat a bit more from the open flames. So I find it best to pre-heat on high, and then keep the flames on high for a quick cooking meat like lamb cutlets. On a high heat, 2-3 minutes on each side is enough. To cook the broccoli, toss the broccoli on the grill for about 5 min, and then set aside away from the heat while you cook the lamb. And if there are any leftovers, I think both a great cold!
Everyone loves crispy home-style potato chips. Not the thin crispy style…the thick style with crispy skin and tender potato inside. There are a lot of ways to cook the ‘perfect chip’, and I’m not debating them here. But here is one way that is easy and a lot of the work can be done ahead of time. Many people would argue that the best chip needs to be double or even triple cooked. These chips are double cooked. For these chips I used medium red potatoes. I find these make great chips. I boiled the potatoes whole until ‘just’ fork tender. You should be able to insert the fork into the potato with a bit of resistance. It’s important not to overcook the potatoes. At this stage the potatoes should still be firm and seem ‘under-cooked’. Drain the potatoes and cool a bit under cold water, then leave the potatoes out to cool (and dry out). The potatoes at this stage can be placed into the fridge and stored for up to 3 days. When you’re read for chips, heat a deep pan with your oil of choice, deep enough for the chips to be fully submerged. Chop the potatoes into nice sized pieces (I cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, then make perpendicular cuts). Deep fry until browned and crispy, then salt and pepper to taste!