I should be presenting you with Charcoal-Cooked Lamb Rack with Savoury Potatoes, however what you are actually getting is Slow Roasted Lamb Leg with Herby Potatoes. This dish sums up my difficulty in reviewing Kitchen Garden Experts, let me tell you more…
Kitchen Garden Experts features the chefs and gardeners at twenty of the UK’s most exciting restaurants, hotels, pubs and cafes, focusing on how they produce the best fruit and vegetables to appear on their menus.
The TWenty Chefs include:
Raymond Blanc and Anne-Marie Owens at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Gill Meller at River Cottage, Sir Terence Conran at Barton Court, Simon Rogan at L’Enclume, Tom Lewis at Monachyle Mhor, Jack Stein at Padstow Kitchen Garden, Skye Gyngell at Heckfield Place, Carina Continti at The Scottish Kitchen Garden and Ruthie Rogers at River Cafe.
The Author is Cinead McTernan, a horticulturally trained writer and gardening editor of The Simple Things magazine. She was previously editors of The Edible Garden magazine and worked on The English Garden and BBC Gardeners’ World magazines.
Award-winning photographer Jason Ingram has worked on numerous garden and food magazines. His published books include the Ethicurean Cookbook.
The Kitchen Garden Expert is a really good read, with lots of great gardening tips and a fascinating insight into the interaction between gardeners and chefs. However, I found it incredibly difficult to find many of the recipes that I either had access to ingredients for, or for which I was prepared to do all the cheffy preparation. If you have a fabulous kitchen garden full of unusual vegetables and herbs, or you live close to a superb market or greengrocer, and you have a penchant to cook like a top class chef, then I think you would really enjoy cooking from The Kitchen Garden Expert.
Here are a few of the recipe titles: ‘Paris Market’ and ‘Sugarsnax’ Carrots with Ham Fat Cream and Nasturtium; Sorrel Frittatta, Whitby Lobster with Quail Eggs and Garden Beans; Winteringham Wood Pigeon with Home-Grown Cabbage and Spring Onion, Plum and Almond Tart.
If like me you are more of a home cook on the run from work to table then you can still enjoy reading the book and maybe make adaptations to the recipes to suit your ingredients and cooking style, just as I have done, so here is the original recipe for Charcoal-Cooked Lamb Rack with Savoury Potatoes and my adaptation.
Charcoal-Cooked Lamb Rack with Savoury Potatoes
Justin Hammett (Jekka McVicar and the Company of Cooks)
2 racks of lamb (6 bones in each)
salt and pepper
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Edible flowers to garnish (optional)
Red Wine Jus
750ml chicken stock
375ml red wine
Sprig of mint
small sprig of rosemary
120ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for coating ovenproof dish
1.2kg potatoes, Desiree or King Edward, peeled and thinly sliced
250g onions, thinly sliced
4 sprigs of winter savoury
Salt and pepper
500g cherry tomatoes
Roasted Vine Tomatoes
6-7 cherry tomatoes, on the vine
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sprig of winter savoury
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Heat 3 pieces of wood charcoal, each 4cm long, over a gas flame until they glow red. Create a cup shape from a square of tinfoil and leave on one side. Season the lamb racks with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a sturdy, cast-iron casserole and seal the lamb, fat-side down. Drain off any excess oil. Put the tinfoil cup into the casserole alongside the racks, and using tongs, carefully place the glowing charcoal pieces in it. Put the lid on the casserole and place in the oven for 20 minutes. The juices of the lamb should run pink when pierced with a skewer. Leave to rest for about 20 minutes before carving into cutlets. Discard the charcoal and skim any fat from the surface of any juices left in the pan.
2. For the Red Wine Jus, simmer the stock with the red wine and herbs until syrupy and thickened. Add any charcoal infused juices from the lamb to the jus. Strain and discard the herbs.
3. For the Savoury Potatoes, preheat the oven to 180C. Brush the bottom and sides of a shallow ovenproof glass dish or small toasting tin with olive oil. Arrange some potatoes in a singe overlapping layer in a concentric circle over the base of the dish or tin. Scatter with one third of the onions and a sprinkling of winter savoury leaves, season with salt and pepper, add one-third of the cherry tomatoes and generously drizzle with 40ml of olive oil Repeat this process three times, finishing with the onions savoury and tomatoes on top. Season and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the tomato skins have darkened and the potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven; leave to cool for a few minutes.
4. For the roasted vine tomatoes, turn the oven up to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Put eh tomato vine in a small roasting tin drizzle with oil and sprinkle with winter savoury leaves. Roast for about 10 minutes, until the skins have blistered and the tomatoes softened.
5. To serve, place the roasted vine tomatoes over the savoury potatoes before serving with the lamb and red wine jus. Garnish with edible flowers.
Farmersgirl Kitchen Version
Lamb: Cook your leg of lamb as you prefer. I seasoned the lamb and cooked in a roasting tin, covered with tin foil with rosemary and 1/2 pint of water at 160C for 3 1/2 hours until meltingly tender.
Red Wine Jus: I made the wine jus as per the recipe.
For the Savoury Potatoes: I used small new potatoes and left their skins on, substituted chives for the onions and mint for the winter savoury, the tomatoes I used were not cherry tomatoes so I sliced them, otherwise as per the recipe. I added chive flowers sprinkled over the bake before serving.
I didn’t add the roasted vine tomatoes.
The lamb was delicious and I would certainly make the red wine jus again, it was a nice change from gravy. The potato bake brings a summer flavour to a traditional roast meat dish and would be good to serve at a barbeque. I would probably use less olive oil and add some stock, so that the potatoes soak up flavour rather than oil.
Kitchen Garden Experts
by Cinead McTernan
Photography by Jason Ingram
Foreward by Raymond Blanc
Hardback RRP £20
Published by Frances Lincoln
If you would like to win a copy of Kitchen Garden Experts complete the questions on the Rafflecopter Widget, there are only two, nothing too difficult. The competition is only open to residents of the UK.