Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The last meal

Well that's it. After all the pain and suffering and whinging to get a new oven, we just ate the last real meal to be cooked on/in it. Geez it was good :) . I hope the oven at the new place isn't as bad as this one, if it is, I will be livid! At least I had *some* time too cook and fawn, but now that time is over and we are moving on! Not always a bad thing, I never told you about the bags, and bags, and yet more bags of plane tree leaves we had to sweep up *shudder* but no more! Or, the visitor in the roof... that will be a nice suprise for the next tennants ;)

I did have one regret though, that I have not yet cooked a mole from the dried, smoked chillis that Alberto so kindly sent me from Germany. I am not sure why, but I have wanted to have 2 specific friends (K&J) over when this is pulled off and we have not been able to arrange a playdate *sigh*. I decided that there is no way that I can leave here and not use them at least once (I have been saving them and have been sorely tempted sooo many times). So, tonight I had no excuse, it was either use them here and now or never here again. So I did.

I made a mexican inspired (no claims at authenticity) lamb shank. With a molesque sauce, fresh corn spoon bread and guacamole/avacado salsa. I am pretty proud of myself too! All new recipes, either inspired by or altered by me. Considering, I am very happy :)

The lamb shank, was tender and melting, but still held it's shape, the sauce was fiery and well rounded in flavour (how it compare to the real thing I have no idea). The avacado salsa made a perfect creamy accompiant with enough flavour to hold it's held through the fiery sauce. The fresh corn spoon bread, souffle like was tender, with a golden crust, and sooo corny , no not as in a bad joke, but flavoured of corn, it is mild and tasty, the fresh parsley added the "freshness" I felt it needed. I have never had, or made a spoonbread before so for a first try I was excstatic :) (casey even asked for seconds )

For dessert, of course there had to be cake. Do you not remember the whinging I did about my inability to bake cakes? ( I know Nic does :) ). Plus I figure, a slice of fresh ginger and pear cake (inspired by Molly at Orangette) will be perfect as a morale booster with a hot cuppa whilst lugging heavy boxes. The cake turned out moist, fragrant and tasty. The chopped fresh honey pear are so much better in this dish than I thought possible. I served this with a spoonful of organic natural yogurt, the perfect foil to the cakes sweetness.

I know I have gone on about the food more than usual, I don't know if it is bad or good, but please humour me as this will hopefully serve as a reminder to the many meals and good times we have had here!

Now, on to the future. I will be moving and cleaning and finishing packing for the next few days, hopefully I will post.... but I can't guarentee anything... So til next time: Be Happy and Eat Well friends!

*sorry about the photos the tripod has already been packed away*

Potroasted Mexican Lamb Shanks
(This is just an outline and the method would work perfectly with a whole leg of lamb or more lamb shanks. Our Shank was large and perfect for a meal for two! There is plenty of sauce for more meat so don't double the amount for more shanks)

Soak Smoked Dried chillis in just enough water to cover (I soaked one each of the 3 kinds that Alberto posted to me)

To a blender or food processor add
Chillis, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2 tsps coriander seeds, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp hot chilli powder (substitute paprika if you would like it milder), 1 fresh long red chilli. Puree, add enough soaking liquid from the chillis to make a smooth paste.

Brown off lamb shanks in a large Enamel casserole pot ( I used my le Creuset saute dish).
When brown, remove the lamb, add the spice paste and fry this off til the flavours start to smell toasty, add 1 sticl of cinnamon, 3 bay leaves and 2 cans of tomatoes you have pureed.

Bring the mixture to the boil, add lamb back and turn down to a gentle simmer, put the lid on and leave for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, checking occastionaly to stir the sauce and turn the meat over.

Fresh Corn Spoon Bread
based on this recipe from epicurious


1 tin of light and creamy evaporated milk (plus 1/4 cup extra)
1/3 cup yellow polenta
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated
3 table sppons of fresh chopped parsley
Good grind of freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 220C

Bring milk, cornmeal, corn kernels, butter, and salt to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then whisk in yolks. Grind in black pepper to taste.

Beat whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer at medium speed just until soft peaks form. Whisk one fourth of whites into cornmeal mixture in pan to lighten, then fold in remaining whites and fresh parsley gently but thoroughly. Spread mixture evenly in a buttered 9 1/2-inch deep-dish glass pie plate or 1 1/2-quart shallow casserole and bake in middle of oven until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately (like a soufflé, spoon bread collapses quickly).

Makes 6 servings.

Fresh Ginger and Fresh Pear Cake
Based on this recipe from Epicurious and inspired by molly

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
1 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large egg
4 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh gingerroot
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon of glayva (brandy, whisky etc)
2 diced perfectly ripe, peeled pears
2 1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
1teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Make cake:
Preheat oven to 180C. Butter a non stick round tin with quick release edges (sorry having a mental blank)

In a bowl whisk together honey, yoghurt, butter, brown sugar, egg, ginger, glayva and zest until smooth, stir through pears and sift in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir batter until just combined and spread evenly in baking pan. Bake cake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and turn out onto rack.

Serve cake with yoghurt or ice cream and a dusting of raw icing sugar


Anonymous said...

Beautiful adaptation of the fresh ginger cake, Clare! It looks tall and gingery and gorgeous! Happy moving... 

Posted by Molly

Anonymous said...

In all our complaining about packing, I forgot you had to leave your brand-new oven. *wiping away a tear for you* Hopefully your new place will inspire delicious new meals, even without that oven. What a way to go out, though....that cake, oh that cake. Mmmmmm. ginger.... 

Posted by Amy

Anonymous said...

Hi Molly,
it was funny, I saw you had a new post, saw the recipe and started making it before I read the rest! That NEVER happens.... I don't mean to be stealing your thunder either, it was just *perfect* for what I needed! Thanks :)

Hi Amy
I know *sob*, I can't even remember what the new oven is like *sob*, I know got a glance at it*hic*, I know it's not new *sob*

The Cake rocks, make it. Enough said! 

Posted by clare eats

Anonymous said...

Mm, sounds delicious! Good luck on the move! 

Posted by Anne

Anonymous said...

I love mole! The corn spoon bread sounds delish too. 

Posted by Sara

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann
Thanks :) It was.

Hi Sara
I have sadly never had it, except for that impersonation.... The spponbread was really easy and really good! The photo doesn't do it justice 

Posted by clare eats

Anonymous said...

Good looking dinner, Clare. With cake, no less!
I'm sure that your new oven will work out. Even if it's not as new as this oven, it can't be any worse than the broken one you had for so long. Be optimistic! And test it by making cookies. 

Posted by Nic

Anonymous said...

Hi Nic

Mmmm Cake :)

Thanks I will have to make a test batch.... just to check it works of course ;) 

Posted by clare eats

Anonymous said...

Good luck on the move! Your meal looks awesome! 

Posted by Joe

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Joe!!! :) It was really good, I nice send off actually 

Posted by clare eats

Anonymous said...


I feel so sad that you will have to leave your new oven, but the cake looks awesome. Not to mention that spoonbread. I love spoonbread. ;P :D The lamb mole...yum. I will hope that your new place has a wonderful oven for you maker lovely food in the future for us all to drool over! 

Posted by milgwimper

Anonymous said...

Everything looks lovely and yummy. Hope the new place will be much better than this one & comes with a great oven plus a garden for Kiri. 

Posted by boo_licious

Anonymous said...

Hi Clare - Hope Kiri handles the change well! And also that the new oven is just as good asthe one you're leaving behind.... 

Posted by Kirk

Anonymous said...

Hi Milly
Awww shucks :)

Hi Boo
There is a garden, so fingers crossed Kiri can have Cat Alley 2

Hi Kirk
I think Kiri will handle the change well, he loves driving, and staying at new places so hopefully it wont be a problem. It *should* be easier on him since he is an indoor cat and doesn't need to make his own territory etc 

Posted by clare eats

Anonymous said...

Wow, Clare. The cake and the spoonbread look and sound delicious. I can't wait to try them out after reading your description and recipe.

Happy moving! 

Posted by Cin

Anonymous said...

Hi Cin
thanks :) Glad you like the description, did I mention I HATE packing? *sigh* 

Posted by clare eats

Anonymous said...

ah, but what is worse, packing or unpacking? I'm doing something to make the un part easier (I hope!). I'm making an inventory and labeling EVERY box, no matter how small. So Crafts, 1 of 4 is on the label, but on the inventory sheet there is also a notes area so I can add "Mills stamp is in this box, don't forget to make her come get it!" Little by little everything is getting "tidied away"... 

Posted by Jo

Anonymous said...

the only good thing ids we are only moving about 3 blocks.... so hopefully it wont be too bad..

ARGH being sick doesn't help either *sob* 

Posted by clare eats

Anonymous said...

Oh clare it sounds horrible with all your *sobs*.
I hope you survive!
Moving blows! But that meal sounded fabulous! 

Posted by wendy

Anonymous said...

that cake looks delicious. Mmmm... cake. Good luck with the packing and the move. You and Amy can commiserate about the horrors of moving. Here's to a great new oven in your new place! 

Posted by Kristi

Anonymous said...

Dearest Clare,
hope your move goes smoothly ! I looove lamb shanks. Those looked divine. Thanks for sharing the recipe. And that cake looks yummy too. Hey! you made a really nice flourless chocolate cake one as i recall tasting ! whats that about you and not being able to make cakes hmm? 

Posted by Rachel

Anonymous said...

Those lamb shanks sound tasty! I love lamb shanks and my boyfriend loves Mexican food...so this looks like a match made for me to cook! :) Thanks for sharing the recipe! 

Posted by joey

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy
I think I will, packing boxes with a temp is an experience I can tell you!

The meal was lovely, luckily I was feeling more lucid then 

Posted by clare eats

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristi
Cake rock, it tastes better after a few days too :)

Hi Rachel
Ahh.. no I never said I couldn't make a cake ;) it is entirely dependent on the oven to bake it that was the oven here. I had a lovely new fan forced oven when I made you that yummy flourless chocolate cake :)

Hi Joey
It is very good. In it's current format very spicy too.. so perhaps leave the chilli powder out? I'm not sure I like it fiery though :) 

Posted by clare eats

Anonymous said...

Hi Clare,

Bye bye new oven! I hope you got lots of use out of it! =) 

Posted by Reid

Anonymous said...

oh no! you're leaving the new oven after all the long anticipation exercised with full patience.. praying that the oven at your new place will keep you wonderfully busy! 

Posted by eatzycath

Anonymous said...

Ohmygod that sounds so good. I can't tell if it's your descriptions or the fact that I am absolutely starving right now, all the way down to my toenails, but if I only had a lamb shank in my fridge I'd be one busy girl... 

Posted by Catherine

Anonymous said...

hi clare, that cake looks like a slice of heaven; beautifully moist crumb... 

Posted by J

Anonymous said...

Oh, yum, yum, YUM, Clare! You've done it again. I can't wait to try making that cake, and I just happen to have lamb shanks in the freezer. We have fingers, paws, and hooves crossed that the oven in your new house is a beaut--or at least not from the Land Of Infinite Sadness! : ) 

Posted by farmgirl

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