Mallika Basu’s Parsi Lamb Dhansak

mallika_basu_home.jpgA classic, traditional lamb roast with mint jelly is always a beautiful thing. But, if you’re looking for something different and want to take advantage of delicious spring lamb, look no further than Mallika Basu’s outstanding Parsi Lamb Dhansak.

Mallika was born and raised in Kolkata before moving to the UK to attend university. Away from family and unimpressed with British curry houses, she was faced with either learning to cook or going without the delicious food she grew up with, In 2006, Mallika created a blog for her quick, healthy, simple Indian dishes, many of which use clever shortcuts for the ease of the busy modern cook.

Last year Mallika decided to stop working as an executive in corporate PR to pursue her cooking career full time, she now has more time to focus on creating wonderful recipes as well as look after her two small children. After you taste her spicy, sweet and sour dhansak with fall-of-the-bone tender lamb, we know you’ll want to visit her website, www.mallikabasu.com, or head to your nearest bookstore to pick up a copy of Miss Masala.

Parsi Lamb Dhansak

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Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves 4 hungry people

Ingredients

600g lamb, diced into large chunks
(keep the bone for extra flavour if using a shoulder or leg)
2 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Lentil mixture
One-third cup toor dal
One-third cup masoor dal
One-third cup urad dal
1 small aubergine, chopped
1 small sweet potato, chopped
10 mint leaves
Handful of coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp oil

For the paste
6 cloves garlic
1″ ginger
2 red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1″ stick cinnamon
4 green cardamoms
4 whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp kasoori methi or 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
Half a star anise
Half tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Method

1. Wash the lentils with cold water until the water runs clear. Leave to soak covered with fresh water.

2. In a frying pan, dry roast the spices on a medium heat for 20 seconds. Then grind into a paste with the ginger and garlic using a tablespoon or two of water. Coat the meat pieces in this marinade and leave to sit.

3. Next, bring the oil to heat on high and when it’s hot and sizzles when touched with a wooden spoon, sauté the chopped onions. In 10 minutes, when the onion is golden, drop in the lamb along with its marinade and saute for another 10 minutes until brown all over.

4. Now mix in the tomatoes, and as they melt away, spoon in the lentils and the other ingredients for the lentil mixture. Pour water in to cover, bring to the boil and cook on a gentle medium heat for another hour to hour and a half. You could use a pressure cooker or a slow cooker to do this for you.

5. Now mash the lentils up so you get a smooth mixture towards the end of cooking time.

6. Finish by stirring in the tamarind paste, check for salt and add more if you prefer. Serve Parsi Lamb Dhansak hot with ghee (or butter) dropped on top.

Thanks Mallika for your delicious recipe!

Parsi Lamb Dhansak

(© 2016 Mallika Basu All Rights Reserved)

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Recipe: Baked Mackerel with Fennel & Lemon

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When we wanted the perfect recipe to introduce our new fish offerings, we went straight to Nick Livermore at Frugal Feeding. Nick began blogging during his third year of university with the idea that meals on a budget needn’t be boring, unhealthy, or unsustainable. Nick focuses on recipes that use local and ethically-sourced ingredients and was named Sustainable Blogger of the Week by The Guardian in 2014.

Nick’s Baked Mackerel with Fennel and Lemon is a beautiful, simple dish that highlights the oily richness of mackerel with no unnecessary frills.

Baked Mackerel with Fennel & Lemon

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 1-2

Ingredients24748134799_bcb74446d8_o.jpg

1 medium sized mackerel, gutted
OR 4 mackerel fillets (buy here)
A generous handful of fresh fennel leaves
The juice and flesh of half a lemon
A generous glug of white wine
1 clove of garlic
Sea salt
Pepper
Olive oil

Method

1. Arrange the fennel in a frying pan and place the mackerel on top. Splash over a little white wine and the lemon juice, before stuffing the fish with the lemon flesh (place the lemon on top if using fillets). Season and slather with a little olive oil. Wrap the pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 180C.

2. Remove the foil and grill for another 10 minutes (if whole) until browned, be careful not to burn or overcook the fish. Pull each fillet away from the spine of the fish and serve with a little sourdough bread. Don’t forget to mop up those juices

For more of Nick’s recipes (including a mouth-watering range of baked goods) visit www.frugalfeeding.com.

To have a look at our newly extended fish range click here!

 

 

Mad for Mutton

Written by James Mansfield (co-founder of field&flower)

iStock_000001539659_Large.jpgLamb has never been our most popular meat; it falls below chicken, beef, and pork in the pecking order of what gets packed into a field&flower box each week, with the exception being Easter. Only lamb leg steaks sneak into our Top 15 products each week, which makes them as popular as sirloin steaks. UK sheep farmers and retailers face stiff competition from the cheaper imports of New Zealand lamb. It may have travelled 14,000 + miles, but it’s often still cheaper than the British equivalent. Farmers Weekly Magazine reported that New Zealand lamb exports to the UK jumped 84% in November 2015 to 5’600 tonnes, and the overall exports of sheep meat hit their highest level for 15 years.

Having farmed in New Zealand, I can vouch first-hand for their efficiency in sheep and lamb farming. They also produce great-tasting, succulent lamb, which helps explain their popularity. It’s a shame they produce more than they can consume, but then, what is a Kiwi farmer to do with thousands of acres of mountainous pasture that can’t be farmed with crops?

Lamb, of course, is nothing new to us. Lamb koftas, tagines, bhunas, burgers, moussaka, pies, shawarma, Sunday roasts, pilaf, and the good old-fashioned hotpot are all lamb favourites, but most people seem to underutilise this meat at home, myself included.  We hope to convince you to start including this versatile meat in your regular rotation of recipes.

Spring Lamb 

Spring lamb has made a name for itself because of its velvety texture, sweet taste, and tenderness. Our spring lamb comes from the South West counties, where new lamb is first to reach maturity. It then comes into season and filters up the country as weeks go by, until the hill farms of Scotland. We recommend eating new season spring lamb in May and June, after the lambs have enjoyed some spring grass and sun on their backs. The superior taste profile is a combination of sugars from the fresh grass and clover leys, and because the lamb is younger than autumn lamb. We love new season lamb chops and lamb leg, as the delectable taste really comes through in these cuts and they’re perfect for Easter weekend.

Lamb and hogget

Free range lamb rarely goes beyond six months in age, whereas hogget is the juvenile sheep that experiences a second spring or summer and is over a year old. Because our lamb is grass-fed and raised by farmers we trust on traditional extensive farms in Dorset, Devon, and Somerset, we can guarantee not only the taste, but also the welfare of the animal. A grass and forage diet ensures our lamb is packed full of long chain Omega-3 fatty acids, which aid heart health, whilst the important set of nutrients are present in the form of protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins (including B12, which keeps the body’s nervous system in check).

Mutton

We’re big fans of mutton for many reasons – not just because it has an amazing taste. Because mutton is considered to be a by-product of lamb, ethically, it makes sense to promote. Mutton is often misunderstood, and has a reputation for being tough and fatty. For many people, the word “mutton” brings up an image of meat that has had all of the flavour boiled out of it. If that’s your idea of mutton, we highly recommend you give it another try.

By the very nature of being over two years old, mutton has worked harder, lived longer, and just like aged beef, contains lots of flavour. Mutton is traditionally viewed as meat that needs hours of cooking, but don’t turn on the slow cooker just yet.  Cuts like the cannon can be seared and sautéed, just as you would cook a trendy flat iron steak or mild venison steak. Diced mutton can be used to replace diced beef and venison, as it can take on bold flavours, making it an ideal spiced curry meat.

To view our new thrifty mutton range click here.

Q & A with Dave the field&flower driver

If you’re lucky enough to live on one of our eco routes, you may have already had the pleasure of meeting our head driver, Dave.

He’s usually up at the crack of dawn and back in Somerset by noon, but we managed to grab him for five minutes to quiz him on the life of a field&flower driver!

Hi Dave…Dave Driver 2

Where is the most memorable place you’ve delivered to?

I once delivered to an amazing house down the side of the Thames, which was on a private road that backed onto Hampton Court. I remember it taking me about half an hour to find and I’ve never been back there, but I’ll never forget it!

How many boxes do you deliver on a typical day?

Well, I’m usually on the London route, so somewhere between 40 and 92. Obviously Christmas week was the busiest [shudder from Dave]. I can’t tell you how glad I am that Christmas only happens once a year!

What’s your favourite cut?

I’m a steak man. Any steak.  I wouldn’t say I have a favourite, but the thing that I love about the field&flower steaks is that I’ve yet to use a steak knife. So, yeah, more than impressed with that. I’ve been very much hooked since the beginning!

Where do you love delivering?

I do get invited in for a cup of tea by one lady in Surrey. It’s very kind, but I can’t take her up on it, as I’m usually in too much of a hurry. That reminds me of another lady who had a plate of mince pies waiting for me on Christmas week. I delivered their first box the day they moved into their house!

What did you do before you started delivering for field&flower?

I restored classic Fords, which I still like to dabble in. It’s in my blood.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

I’d have to say meeting people and helping field&flower grow; it’s something I believe in. I think that the business deserves to go places and I’m really glad to be a part of it.

What’s your favourite section of the M4?

Coming out of Swindon up towards Oxford, at about 4 in the morning in summer, when daylight breaks over Oxford. It’s one of those moments I think to myself, “Yeah, life’s good!”. To get up and see that when most of the country is still in bed. Summer mornings are definitely the best!

What do you like to listen to in your van?

Radio 2 with Chris Evans in the morning.

Be sure to give Dave a wave next time you see him on a London route!

Fact file: What do our animals eat?

You often hear that the saying “you are what you eat”. When talking about meat a more accurate saying would be “you are what your food eats”. Here at field&flower all the farmers we use place animal welfare at the top of their priority list, included in that is giving them the best diet possible along with plenty of space to roam around. We believe a natural diet partnered with a natural growth time produces a happy animal with a fully developed taste.

Here’s a quick fact file on the diet and taste of your meat…

Beef

Beef.jpgDiet: Grass, silage, hay haylage and whole crop maize silage.

Taste: Grass-fed beef is stronger and ‘beefier’ in flavour than non-grass-fed beef. The yellow grass fed fat allows the creamy melt-in-your-mouth taste.

Cooking tip: The forequarter of the cow is the part that has been worked the most, therefore it is tougher and requires a longer cooking time. The hind doesn’t work as hard, so it doesn’t need to be cooked as long.

Lamb

Diet: Grass, clover, forage and home-grown turnips.

Taste: The taste changes depending on age. Traditionally, young spring lamb is sweeter and more delicate than older lamb which develops a stronger flavour with maturity.

Cooking tip: Our bigger joints of lamb leg and shoulder are perfectly tender, sweet, and juicy when slow-roasted in the oven – great for big family celebrations!

Pork

Pork

Diet: Natural, home-grown cereals, vegetables, brassicas, roots, and shrubs.

Taste: Each cut has a different flavour. Pork, unless smoked, is delicate, light, and perfect in all cuisine.

Cooking tip: For leaner cuts of the animal, such as the tenderloin and pork loin, be careful not to over-cook. The shoulder and leg joints are best slow-cooked.

Chicken

Diet: Home-grown cereals, shrubs, insects, and grass.

Taste: Tender, rich, extremely juicy.

Cooking tip: Unfortunately, it’s easy to over-cook poultry. Basting the chicken with butter or covering with pancetta or bacon is a great way to ensure the chicken stays succulent throughout cooking.

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Diet: A natural and varied diet of grass, cereals, insects, and berries.

Taste: The shorter the hanging time, the milder the flavour. We try to hang birds for two days to ensure a mild flavour and take them down before they get too gamey in taste.

Cooking tip: Our venison saddle joint is very tender and lean – perfect for a quick roast!

 

Have a try for yourself and taste the difference by building your own box at www.fieldandflower.co.uk