Gastropub of Fran reopens tonight; closed last Friday because I was away, my regular dinner guest, friend and Scrabble champ, Nick will be joining me to try a new dish, a Lamb Tangia from Jamie Oliver's foodie tour guide 'Jamie Does.....'. Although I only saw Nick two weeks ago, we have been behaving as if it's a lifetime - "will be great to catch up", "looking forward to seeing you" were some of the text exchanges yesterday. Whether we will be up to post-supper Scrabble remains to be seen....
I have a lot of time for Lovable Jamie, despite his Mockney accent and all that "pukka this" and "pukka that". He cares passionately about what he does, yet he delivers his message in an accessible way. His recipes are consistently excellent and I often return to his earliest cookbooks for favourite dishes. In his book and tv series 'Jamie Does.....', he visited Greece, Sweden, Morocco, Spain and France, cooking a selection of regional favourites, and adding a few twists of his own. Possibly the funniest moment of the series was when the Swedish family he was staying with (during which he made the most amazing beetroot Gravadlax - a dish I intend to attempt very soon) all went skinny-dipping in the fjord after dinner. For once, Jamie was lost for words - and there was no way he was going to strip off and join them....
Simple Lamb Tangia
small handful of mixed olives, stones in
2 small preserved lemons, roughly chopped
good lug of olive oil
large pinch of saffron
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 leeks, trimmed & roughly chopped
350g baby new potatoes
1 bulb of garlic, unpeeled cloves separated and crushed with the back of a knife
800g neck of lamb fillet, cut into 10cm pieces
2 tbsp 'smen' (fermented butter) or butter
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Oven 150C. Put all the vegetables & saffron in a casserole with a lid, pour over a good lug of olive oil, add the butter and place the lamb on top. Season, then cover with water. Cook for around 3 hours, or until the lamb is tender and falling apart. Check to make sure it does not dry out - not should it be watery. Serve with warm flat breads.