Jamaican lamb curry

It’s my birthday! My favourite birthday dinner is steak and chips. But it’s been chips overload of late and it’s so rainy and grey I wanted this delicious Jamaican lamb curry instead.

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The first time I had this was at my brother-in-law’s with top quality meat from the Ginger Pig. He adapted it from Levi Roots Goat curry. It is A M A Z I N G and super spicy. This is a cheap dish as it uses lamb neck but it does take ages to cook and has many different stages of prep so we always make it the day before we’re having it (by we I mean Lewis). If you leave out the scotch bonnet and reduce the curry powder it’s ok for kids. Or just give them eggs on toast, put them to bed and eat the proper version mwah ha ha! (That is my ‘eating delicious curry’ face – oooh!).

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Jamaican lamb curry

Prep time: 4 hours including marinating time
Cooking time: 4 hours

  • 1kg lamb neck fillet (on or off the bone) – mutton is nice too
  • ½ a lime
  • 2 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 6 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
  • 425ml vegetable stock
  • 1 onion – roughly chopped
  • 2cm piece of root ginger – finely chopped
  • 1 hot red chilli (ideally Scotch bonnet) – seeds left in, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
  • 10 allspice berries
  • ½ a red pepper – deseeded and cubed
  • ½ a green pepper – deseeded and cubed
  • 2 spring onions – green part only, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • Salt and pepper

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Wash the meat and pat it dry with kitchen paper then put it in a large bowl with the lime juice, curry powder and all-purpose seasoning. Leave to marinate for 4 hours in the fridge. Heat a large non-stick casserole or heavy-based saucepan until it is very hot, then add the oil. When the oil is very hot, put the lamb in and turn the chunks over with a wooden spoon to coat the meat in oil. Cover with a lid, turn the heat right down to very low and leave it to just simmer for 45 minutes. Keep checking the pot to make sure the meat isn’t getting scorched on the bottom. I massively burnt the meat the first time I made this so keep a close eye on it! Lewis says about this: “It’s a tricky recipe and needs attention. The first 2 hours are done on a low low low heat. The lamb literally steams in the gravy, no sizzling whatsoever except right at the start when you sizzle it in a hot pan, but very briefly then turn the heat right down.” (This was a text response to me texting “I want to make the curry but am scared of burning it again!!”)

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After 45 minutes, add 150ml of the stock, bring to the boil, turn the heat right down, cover and leave to simmer. After another 45 minutes, repeat this with another 150ml of stock and cook for a further 45 minutes. Add the onion, ginger, chilli, garlic and allspice and stir gently. Add the rest of the ingredients and stock – bring to the boil.

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Turn the heat down again, cover and cook for another 2 hours, stirring from time to time. Keep an eye on it and add more stock if it seems dry. Once done it should be fragrant and glistening. Serve with rice and lots of water because it’s S P I C Y!

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Griddled lamb chops

I’m not brilliant at frying meat or fish. I’m ok with anything that goes in the oven but on the hob I tend mess things up. My mum brought me some lamb chops and this is how she cooks them! Lexie loves chops especially when she’s teething (something to gnaw on!). We are having them with butternut squash and feta salad but we usually have mash or chips with salad. They also go well with puy lentil, goats cheese and beetroot salad.

chops plate

Griddled lamb chops

Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins

  • Lamb chops
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Put the chops in a bowl add some olive oil, salt and pepper covering both sides.

marinate chop

Get your griddle pan (or regular pan but the heavier the bottom the better) and heat it up so it’s really hot – smoking hot. Add the chops and let them sizzle away. After a couple of minutes check the underside, if it’s nice and brown turn the chops over.

turn chop

Blast for another couple of minutes, the heat should still be high. I like my chops rare and very pink so, depending on size of chops, they only need 2 – 3 minutes each side. My mum overcooks her chops because she likes the fat to be all crispy – she does 4-5 minutes each side and more if they are fatties. Once done pop on a warm plate and leave for a few minutes to rest before serving.

cooked chops

Sausage and lentil casserole

We were given the leftover sausages from a family brunch yesterday and I thought they’d go nicely with roasted potatoes with thyme. We stayed with friends in Hampshire over Christmas and lovely Tammy made these really easy and delicious roasted sliced potatoes with onion – I can’t stop thinking about them (she served them with a glazed ham and Jamie Oliver Parsley sauce).

But Lexie doesn’t do potatoes unless they’re chips (weirdo) so I decided lentils would go further plus they are packed full of iron. They take a little bit of time to cook so I usually make a lot, it definitely tastes better after a day or too and it keeps well in the fridge. This dish will make a great lunch or dinner for Lexie throughout the week. The first time I had it was at my best friend Millie’s house – she did sausage and lentil casserole with yummy baked potatoes.

It was bubbling away while I did Lexie’s bedtime and once she was asleep we ate it calmly and in a very civilised fashion, with no interruptions and with a really nice glass of Rioja (Rioja Labarca Finca from Waitrose). We then had salad and cheese followed by chocolate chip cookies for pudding. These are delicious – Lewis pre-made and froze them in little balls. It’s amazing!! You put the little balls on a baking tray and they’re done in 10 minutes. A little bit addictive (oh I’ll just bake another cookie!).

Sausage and lentil casserole

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins

  • Sausages
  • Green lentils – rinsed if need be
  • 2 small onions – chopped
  • 1 peeled carrot – 1/2 chopped into little bits, 1/2 chopped into big chunks
  • 1/2 stick chopped celery
  • Tin of tomatos
  • 1 glass of wine – optional
  • 2 rashers of chopped bacon
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 peeled chopped potato – fluffy maris piper type one, big chunks

lentils

Start by making a sofrito – this is the base for most Spanish pot cooking. A standard sofrito is just onion, celery and carrot but because I want bacon in this dish I started by frying the bacon first with olive oil in a heavy based pan, like a Le Creuset. Then add the onion, celery and finely chopped carrot and cook on a gentle heat, you want the onions to go squidgy and translucent not browned. Adding salt at this stage helps the onions release their juices but I left it out so the dish is less salty for Lex. Cook for minimum 20 minutes on this low heat. What my mum often does is cook the sofrito for 20 ish minutes then turn it off and leave it covered for 30 mins – 1 hour – the softer the onions the better.

Once you’re happy with your sofrito add your lentils, big chunks of carrot, stock cube, bay leaf, glass of wine and tomatoes. I used red wine but it doesn’t really matter. I do recommend sieving the tomatoes a bit to get rid of some of the juice, makes the sauce less acidy. The carrot is also natural sweetener which helps to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes. Top up with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered or partially covered. Do keep checking the lentils – they absorb loads of liquid – keep adding water if need be.

After 20 minutes add the potato. A little bit of potato added to lentils gives a lovely consistency, also helps reduce the tomatoes acidity and adds some welcome vitamin C. Cook for another 20-30 minutes and it should be done. Because my sausages were leftovers, I added them in with the potato, sliced, but I’ve made this dish many times before cooking the sausages from scratch, either fried or roasted in the oven and added at the end. It’s also delicious without any meat for anyone who is veggie and another day I’ll post my lentil and chorizo stew because that one really is also lovely without the chorizo.

  • A nice variation taught to me by my 97 year old granny-in-law is to make this exactly the same recipe but omitting the tomato, potato and wine (extra stock to make up the liquid). When the lentils are cooked add a spoonful of dijon mustard and stir around. Serve with chipolatas!