17/08/2010

Of Meat and Men.

This house is a meat-eating household. Always has been, always will be. My husband is half South African and I am half Greek so between us we span two great meat eating nations. Don't get me wrong, I am a vegetable nut as well. There aren't many vegetables that I dislike, and will happily sit down to a meat free meal. Husband makes interesting "Bleurgh" noises if I mention things like Brussels sprouts, or broccoli and Boyfriend pulls funny faces at greenery but....pffft. He doesn't like meat on the bone either so I'll just have all the spare ribs for myself thank you!

I grew up eating at Gujurati friends' houses and they certainly cemented the belief that vegetable and pulse based cooking is not, in any way, boring. How I loved their cooking. (Indian home cooking, to die for.) Husband is not a great eater of vegetables, though he is a fan of all kind of salads. and death to a bushel of sweetcorn. Give him a plate of raw runner beans and white cabbage and he is in heaven. I am proud to say that he is also one of the best barbecue cooks I know. Over charcoal mind, no gas here.

I'm not one of those people who insists on meat at every meal out of some misguided principle, but I cannot eat a lot of carbohydrates, so it is probably just as well that I really enjoy eating meat and leafy greens. And enjoy it I do, very much so.

Whether it be a simple steak, griddled on a cast iron pan 'til smoking and still pinkly juicy on the inside, beef and spinach curry, or a dish of beef casserole with red wine, garlic and cinnamon, cooked for hours until the entire house smells delicious, I'm there. Roasting a chicken is one of my most favourite things to do, even the smell makes me feel better. I cooked two at the weekend (two? at once? In the same roasting pan? Oh my, how decadent!) stuffed with fresh thyme and garlic - and the warm, savoury smell was driving everyone crazy. It's like having a hug diffused through the air. When they were ready everyone fell on them with a passion, and when the crowd cleared, there were just two carcasses looking slightly surprised. I would have made stock but I have zero freezer room at the moment.

Last night was lamb shanks. A lovely cut, which used to be extremely cheap until La Goddess Lawson used them, and now they are highly sought after. Thankfully they are still fairly cheap at my local butcher. Two large chickens, 4 goodly sized lamb saddle chops and two equally good sized shanks came to £20. Just over a fiver for the two shanks is fine by me. F J Caring of Harold Hill, I salute you.

Fresh rosemary from the garden tucked in and around, a couple of garlic cloves, a grind of Maldon sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil is all that was needed. 1 1/2 hours at 170C, with one turn, and they were done. If I had time I would cook them at a lower heat for longer, but it was a work night so I didn't have time. They still tasted very nice though.


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