Recipe: Lamb Baked in Hay

This is the perfect dish for Easter Weekend. We don’t eat lamb overly often (because pricey, and we have a wedding to pay for), but this is the one weekend where we will definitely be indulging. And because we only enjoy lamb on occasion, we need a recipe that will work. A recipe that will enhance the meats natural flavours and sweetness, keep it moist, render the fat and deliver a yummy meal. And this recipe is a good’un.

Roasting a leg (or half a leg) in hay gives meat a delightful smokiness. Using a casserole dish keeps it tender, and the whole thing is just really rather yummy. In actual fact, cooking in hay is a method that was used throughout history to keep the intense heat of the fire/oven away from the meat (I imagine chicken would be amazing cooked in hay!), so it cooked slowly and evenly. Not only does this ensure super-tender meat that can be carved easily, it also adds a wonderful flavour.

Recipe – for 1/2 Leg of Lamb, can be easily scaled up or down with adjustment to the cooking time

  • 1/2 leg of lamb
  • A few handfuls of hay – available from pet shops – ask for ‘eating’ hay
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 6 springs of rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

Soak the hay in water for about 15 minutes, then drain and use to line a casserole dish large enough to fit your lamb (if you need to, use a roasting tin and seal tightly with foil before cooking).

In a bowl mix the butter, chopped rosemary and garlic, then smear the mix all over the lamb. Season well with plenty of salt and pepper, then place the lamb on the hay. Cover with the rest of the hay, the cover the dish with it’s lid. Make sure there are no loose bits of hay hanging out as these can smoulder or catch light when in the oven. Cook at 180C for 2.5 hours, for tender meat (less if you prefer your lamb roast to be pink). Allow to rest (covered in foil) for around 15 minutes before serving – we like to to serve with boulangerie potatoes, mint sauce and plenty of veg.

We usually cook half a leg of lamb which leaves leftovers for at least one, usually two meals. Try my Ultimate Shepherds Pie, or Spicy Lamb Flatbreads.

Will you be eating Roast Lamb this weekend?

Recipe: Creme Egg Brownies

You might have got the impression yesterday, but just to make it clear: I LOVE CREME EGGS.

 photo 2015-04-01 18.25.33_zpsw3wlkjys.jpgI’ve never been hugely tempted by creme egg brownies. They are fine on their own, and brownies are perfect as they are (they are my go-to bake if I’m honest). But this year I’m unimpressed with the lack of dairy milk in creme eggs, and found myself not really wanting to eat my stash. So creme egg brownies it is.

 photo 2015-04-01 18.24.54_zpstrbg3btk.jpgBeing on a diet, I did just my mayonnaise recipe, which tbh is a damn good brownie recipe. I made up the mix, baked for half the time, added in the creme eggs, and finished off baking. Pretty damn simple. And because the brownies were healthier ones, I added some mini eggs too. Because they are also one of my favourites. And I knew I wouldn’t need a whole bag so had an excuse to eat them.

These aren’t the most attractive of bakes, they are sickly sweet and best in small doses. But they cheer up a long afternoon, which is just what I needed this week – even a four day week seemed never-ending!

Ingredients for Creme Egg Brownies;

  • Use my mayonnaise brownie recipe – please don’t laugh at the photos!
  • 1 packet of mini creme eggs
  • 1 packet of mini eggs (you should have some left!)

 photo 2015-03-31 19.15.45_zpsdciwzxnh.jpgMake up the mayonnaise brownies – melt the chocolate, stir through the sugar, gradually add the coffee until smooth. Beat egg and mayo together, and stir into the chocolate mixture. Mix flour and cocoa powder, fold into the chocolate-mayonnaise goo.

 photo 2015-03-31 20.59.46_zpswel0e0ug.jpgBake the brownie mix at 180C for 12 minutes. Add the eggs – push in as much as possible without burning yourself. Bake for another 8-10 minutes. I left my brownies fudgy and underbaked, but add a little more flour and bake for a little longer for cakier versions.

Cool complete, they slice into small squares. I like my Creme Egg Brownies best with a glass of milk and a good book.
 photo 2015-03-29 17.47.03_zpsjgapcve1.jpg

Have you baked with creme eggs before? What are your plans for Easter weekend?

Love Your Leftovers: Easter Egg Sundae

Now, I’m not too sure you can really classed any not-eaten chocolate as leftovers, but what I am sure of is that at some point you might want a different way to enjoy it. I know I do! Its been just over a week since Easter and my progress through my Eggs is remarkably slow (put it this way, I still have chocolate from Christmas waiting to eaten…) so I decided to make up a dessert as a treat for my and my boyfriend…enter the Easter Egg Sundae!

 photo 2014-04-24202547_zpsacd779aa.jpgJust use half an Easter egg as your ‘bowl’, add two/three/however many you can manage scoops of ice cream, and top with whatever other chocolate you have lying about. I’ve seen it done with a creme egg, but I’m on my last one so wasn’t about to share!

We used a Cadbury’s egg as our bowl, topped with a flake, and our ice-cream? It has to be Ben & Jerry’s! This was a new flavour, “All or Nut-ting” which I have to say I’m not a huge fan of as it tastes a little cheap. And now I’m on the subject of ice-cream, I might as well tell you that my favourite flavour has to be Peanut Butter Cup – perfection in a bowl!

 photo 2014-04-24202542_zpse344c3d1.jpgLet me know if you give this Easter Egg sundae a go, I’d love to hear your variations!