recipes for healthy living

Tag: Easter

A sudden glut of eggs & a recipe for Chocolate Madeleines

We have 7 Easter Eggs in the house, not counting several Lindt bunnies and this lovely hen… 1 Child, little interest in the eggs (Im happy to report) so there  is nothing for it but baking to be done.

Chocolate Bird

Chocolate Madeleines make great use of the chocolate glut. Proust made them famous but the flavour of these tiny little cakes will keep you coming back to them. Gluten free is not how you usually find them but the recipe works well with the substitution . I’m sure a master baker might tell me they are not quite so light and airy but these are still pretty delicious actually. Sugarfull sadly, but a cake can’t be a cake without sugar, so you know the drill – just the one, enjoy it and move away from the tin!.

Makes 24
7oz unsalted butter – melted to brown butter, strained and cooled
3oz gluten free white flour mix
6oz sifted icing sugar
3oz ground almonds
6 egg whites
5oz melted dark good quality chocolate
1tbsp cocoa powder for the tin

Melt the chocolate over a bain marie.
Butter the madeleine tin with some softened butter and sprinkle with cocoa powder, tap and shake around to spread out and bang out any excess.
Sift the flour and mix with the icing sugar. Stir in the ground almonds.
Beat the egg whites until they are fluid and then whisk into the flour sugar mixture until combined fully.
Stir in the melted butter until you have a smooth batter and tip in the melted chocolate and fully combine.
Fill the moulds with the mixture until they are almost completely full.
Put into the fridge for an hour before baking
Bake at 200C for 12 minutes and remove when they are still slightly tender
Remove to a cake rack to cool – gently use a knife if they seem too fond of their tin.
These will keep for a few days if kept in an airtight tin – Enjoy!

Better than any Easter Egg…Happy Easter!

I love Birds… Bird ornaments ,Bird pictures, and now this… My Easter present, not chocolates, not an egg… Guess what it is!!


Moroccan Spiced Lamb Shanks – Easter Party Perfect

Lamb is very traditional for Easter and this is a nice alternative to a leg of lamb which can be really pricey if you are trying to feed a big gang. This dish is a great crowd pleaser and as it just cooks away in the oven is great for entertaining. Made with Lamb shanks which I think are my favourite cut of meat, and better yet, great value especially if you can get the rear shanks as they feed at least 2 per shank. They take on flavour really well and stand up to Indian and African flavours as well as the traditional frenchstyle cooking approaches. This recipe uses the Moroccan spice Ras el Hanout and is delicious, a tomato based sauce with chicken stock- it thickens up beautifully, a lovely shiny flavourful sauce. Chickpeas cooked in the dish means you don’t need much else, Couscous can be nice if you are a fan of that grain although I’ve started to eat Quinoa in its place lately. The result was lamb falling apart infused with lovely sweet smokey spicy flavours from the spice blend and just a little kick of heat. I had a large party to serve so I did a herb crust rack too and served a little rack and some of the Moroccan lamb for everyone and it was devoured.

This would serve 6-8 easily if you have rear shanks.

4 Lamb Shanks
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp ras el hanout
2 tbsp gluten free flour mixed with 1 tsp ras el hanout
2 big onions sliced thinly
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato purée
2 garlic cloves peeled chopped and crushed
1 litre chicken stock
2 (400gr) cans chickpeas
harrissa to serve

Preheat the oven to 170C°. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and dip in the spiced flour to lightly coat.
In a large casserole dish with a lid, heat the oil and add the Lamb Shanks and fry until browned on all sides. Do in 2 batches if your pan is small and keep the heat moderately high to ensure they caramelise and develop lovely flavour. Transfer the lamb shanks to a plate and add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry gently for 5 minutes until lightly golden.
Keeping the heat at moderate add in the spice blend along with the tomato paste and cook until aromatic, 2 minutes. Add half of the chicken stock and scrape up the lovely browned bits from the bottom of the pot which are full of flavour. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato puree.
Return the lamb to the casserole and add the chickpeas. Pour in the rest of the chicken stock to cover the meat and bring to the boil. Season, put lid on and transfer to the oven. Cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bones.
Transfer the braised lamb shanks out of the put and take all the meat of the bones and cut into bit size pieces. Look for the fatty membrane and hard bone ends and remove that too. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce, bring to the boil and reduce to a medium heat to reduce the sauce to the consistency you like. Tip the meat back into the sauce and bring back up to temperature. Serve and pass around the harissa which is delicious spooned alongside your couscous or veg of choice. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

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