The Cold Shoulder

Another cookery post. I’ve been looking for ways to make the Sunday roast more exciting. We’ve tried not having a roast at all. We’ve tried whole and partial ducks, pork, beef and chicken. We’ve slow cooked, pot roasted and normal roasted.

Today, I tried something a bit different. My husband bought a bone-in shoulder of lamb and a bag of salad. He hates salad, so it was clearly aimed at me. But I turned that into the basis of a delicious meal for the whole family for Sunday lunch, but the title of this post is a clue – it takes rather a long time to cook at such a low temperature.

Slow-cooked Shoulder of Lamb with Salsa Verde

15 minutes to prepare, 4.5 hours cooking

1 bone-in shoulder of lamb (ask for one that serves about 4 people)
1 bag watercress and rocket salad
1 teaspoon chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice + set of a lemon if you are using fresh lemon
1 teaspoon child flakes
(3 anchovies, finely chopped)

Preheat oven to 200c. Snip the lamb all over with scissors to make tiny pockets in the meat and fat.
Put the mint and half the garlic into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Chop the salad down to chopped herb size. Put one third into the bowl, season and stir. Rub all over the lamb.
Put the lamb in the oven, ideally in a baking tray that has a rack in the bottom.
After 15-20 minutes, turn down to 110c. I know it seems low. Cook for four hours. (If you are brave try at 85c for six hours – not tried it myself, but a friends with a meat thermometer swears by it! This is why I called this the cold shoulder.)
Remove from oven, cover in foil and rest for 10-15 minutes. Watch out, the bone will be hot to touch.

Salsa Verde traditionally contains anchovies. If, like me, you are not an anchovy fan, this works just as well without. Mix the rest of the olive oil, the rest of the chopped up salad bag, the rest of the garlic, all the lemon juice (and zest if you have it), the chilli flakes, and a LOT of salt and black pepper in a jar. Lid on, shake this and put it in the fridge for use later. It comes out a gorgeous bright green colour.

I served the lamb in a couple of different ways, some chunks, some shredded. I added roasted butternut squash cubes (or mini roast potatoes for the kids), with steamed carrots and asparagus. And red wine. Absolutely delicious. The salsa verde really cuts through the fat too.

Easy Hollandaise for diets

So I am trying to lose some weight. This time, my husband is trying too so it is feeling a bit easier, I feel more supported.

It’s a bit low GI, a bit low carb, quite a lot of portion control. I can’t fast, so 5:2 was just not going to happen. My husband won’t have anything to do with things he thinks are faddy. He won’t do Harcombe, the diet which some have my family have yes successfully because he doesn’t want to separate carbs and protein-rich meals. I am happy doing that, but actually I think the rule may be less about the science of protein v carbs and more about making sure making sure you definitely make a minimum five fruit and veg by swapping out carbs.

Sunday lunch. I made gammon. Baked aubergine slices for me, four tiny boiled potatoes for my husband. Carrots. But how to tie it all together?

Hollandaise. I was a bit nervous, but having read several “easy” recipes I thought, why not? I’ve got a couple of egg yolks kicking around from the number of egg whites required in diet recipes.

Here’s mine… Annotated.

Easy hollandaise

2 egg yolks and the equivalent amount of olive oil, six tablespoons of butter, pinch of cayenne/ hot paprika, salt, juice of one lemon.

I stuck the lot into the blender. It didn’t look right. I suddenly realised I should have melted the butter first. I transferred the whole lumpy lot to a small saucepan and put the heat in for about thirty seconds while using the hand blender. Apparently the blade friction combined with the heat of the melted butter cooks the egg yolks, so the heat is kind of important! After blending it smooth, I put the gas back on for another minute and blended a little longer. It started foaming and turned into fantastic orangey-coloured (as I used hot paprika for the kick!) lemony flavoured hollandaise!

It’s high fat, obviously, but carb free and I would say the amount this recipe delivers is fine for four dieters portions.

Bon app!

Are potatoes the root of all evil?

The chiropracter sorting my RSI said to me that he wanted to test whether I was sugar sensitive, and that I can’t physically deal with all the stress I’m under at present.  Tell me something I don’t know…

I should explain, last week I had the migraine from hell.
I’ve had migraines since my teens but far more of them following a car crash I was up to one or two a week. The headache clinic at St Georges hospital in London helped sort it out a bit and then a prescription drug keeps it under control, and I’ve managed my migraines relatively successfully for a year or so.
But this one snuck up on me. I’d taken the drugs for it a few days earlier when I thought it was coming, but it arrived without warning on and I couldn’t even get out of bed with the light sensitivity and nausea.

I hadn’t mentioned to the chiropractor but as he felt my neck he asked whether I’d had a really bad migraine this week as I was holding my head as if I had.
After the various cracking things that help sort it all out, he pushed two points in my stomach which were very painful (apparently this is an adrenal acupuncture point).
He asked about the stress I’m under at the moment and established that this was very high indeed and multisourced.

Now I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to lose some weight for quite some time and I’m increasingly convinced that it is part of my body’s reaction to stress that I seem to cling onto the weight even when doing the things that have in the past helped me lose weight.

We talked about this and he tested my sensitivity to sugar – I’m not to my knowledge diabetic and can think of many reasons to cut back on it but “sugar sensitivity” is a new one on me.
But having seen myself that I could not perform the same exercise as well after sugar as before, I’m beginning to think that Sportacus has a point.

And in order to help control the migraines further (as well as help kickstart weightloss) he suggested avoiding sugar – at least until my next appointment in a month – and cutting out potatoes, replacing them with sweet potatoes.

So given there’s so much sugar in everything, this is an interesting challenge…
Why are potatoes so bad for you?
I know that the starch has something to do with it.  And  they get a separate points value at Weightwatchers rather than being part of the free vegetable allowance.
But do they contribute to my migraines?
Are they in fact the root vegetable of all evil?

Not convinced but I’ll give it a go – but I reserve the right to go a bit Rincewind about them… within limits of course…