Woodfired oven – Bess

Meet Bess.  She’s squat, round, hot, smelly and bloody heavy!  BUT she sure can cook and she’s my new best friend 😆 !  Yesterday we took delivery of my belated birthday present…A wood fired oven that is on a stand and therefore mobile.  For us the mobile aspect is very important because we are a very mobile family so everything we own has to be able to fit into a removal container at some stage or another.

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Lamb Lagoto in the Pressure Cooker


I love lamb lagoto, but I don’t like the 4-5 hours cooking time…it may be fine to have a stove running for several hours during winter but that’s a whole other story during summer.  So, rather than miss out on lamb lagoto during half of the year, I dragged out my pressure cooker from the depths of the pot cupboard!   I’ve barely used our pressure cooker since my mother in law bought us one many years ago…I think i haven’t used it due to fear…as it turns out my fears were unfounded!

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Jumbuck Sanga

open sanga

The Aussies who read my blog will know what a jumbuck sanga is…Jumbuck is a sheep; a large  sheep or one that is  unruly and is possibly difficult to shear and a sanga is slang for sandwich. Therefore i’m taking some very loose definitions and applying them to a roast lamb sandwich 😆   Jumbuck is a generic Aboriginal word for cloud.  I say generic because there are hundreds of Indigenous Australian languages in Australia.  Apparently during the European invasion, the Indigenous Australians saw the sheep that the Europeans brought with them and thought they looked like clouds and thus called them jumbucks.

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Roast Leg of Lamb for Dummies

Apparently a roast leg of lamb is weekly fare in Aussie homes each Sunday lunch time or at least it is considered very Australian to serve lamb roast at your table.
I say apparently, because what makes one Australian varies widely from the notion of what it is to be Australian. I have lived in Australia for 40 years, as has my partner. Our children are first generation Australians…and none of us has ever had a lamb roast much less a Sunday lamb roast …but we are all Australians.
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Lamb Lagota with Lamb Shanks

I thought i’d try my old favourite Jamie Oliver’s lamb lagoto recipe with lamb shanks. The slight adaptation was a huge success. You might remember this recipe is from issue 2 of Jamie magazine.
The flavour was different because the meat was cooked on the bone; i added more fresh tomatoes stated on the recipe, i also added chicken stock instead of water and close to the end of cooking i added chunky carrot slices.

I served the lamb in a large bowl; it was literally falling off the bone from the long slow cooking time. The lamb and carrots sat on a bed of creamy mashed potato and I poured the thickened sauce all over; it was delicious!

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Lamb Lagoto

I’ve taken to buying Jamie Oliver’s new magazine. I think i’m going to subscribe; that’s a biggie for me as I only subscribe to mags I really love. I don’t buy gossip mags at all; limit my purchase of Vogue, only buy Gourmet Traveller when an issue takes my eye as with other cooking mags. I have bought 2 out of the 3 published Jamie magazines. I couldn’t get issue one! Each issue is packed with great recipes…Tonight I tried lamb lagoto, a Greek dish that is slow cooked and presented in issue 2 of Jamie magazine. It was delicious!

I simmered a whole head of garlic in water for 15-20 minutes til soft. Then i browned the lamb and added the squished up garlic paste that i made from the boiled garlic head. Added tomatoes, oregano & mint. There’s the juice of 2 lemons in just before serving. Oh my lordy it was so good. The lamb was slow cooked and so tender.

Here’s the end product served with steamed rice. Everyone liked it so much we’re having it again next weekend!

Lamb Tagine with Preserved Lemon

This is a recipe that is a hybrid of two others that were a little dull individually but together make a great tagine of lamb! If you are using a traditional tagine, don’t forget to soak it in water for an hour before you begin cooking.
Tagine of Lamb


1 kg of trimmmed lamb pieces cut into generous mouth sized portions (a little bit of fat is fine, but get rid of any sinew)
Olive oil (enough to brown meat & onions with)
2 onions chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced/chopped
1 tbsp of each paprika and ground cumin
1 tsp of each ground turmeric, ground cinnamon, and minced/finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp ground cardomom
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth/stock (use stock cubes dissolved in water if you have no stock on hand)
1 can of diced tomatoes or 4-5 ripe med fresh diced tomatoes (I always use fresh when possible)
2 tbsp tomato paste
salt & pepper to taste
1 bunch coriander (cut bunch so that leaves and stalks with roots are separated. Finely chop stalks & roots then set aside. Roughly chop leaves and set aside)
1/4 or 1/2 preserved lemon (remove flesh from skin & rinse skin then chop finely. If you love the flavour you can use both skin & flesh, but rinse flesh really well. If you use both 1/4 of lemon should be fine)
handful of raisins
handful of slivered or shaved almonds
3-4 mdm pototoes (adjust for how many pple you are serving) Peel, and quarter
3-4 carrots (adjust for how many pple you are serving) Peel and slice diagonally into thick chunky slices)
Note 1: Pumpkin, sweet potato, red capsicum, green beans all go well with this dish. Add smaller veg to pot closer to serving time.
Note 2: Use a diffuser between your tagine and heat source to distribute the heat more evenly and reduce the risk of cracking your tagine.

Text Color

1. Heat olive oil. When hot enough, brown lamb.
2. Add onions garlic and cook over medium heat til soft; stir often. Add paprika, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and cardomom; stir until very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, broth/stock, preserved lemon, coriander roots & tomato paste. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occassionally, until lamb is tender when pierced; about 1 hours.
3. Add large vegetables & cook til almost tender.
4. 10 minutes before you are ready to serve add any small vegetables, almonds, and raisins.
5. Just before serving add remainder of coriander.
Serve with rice or couscous. Enjoy!

Tagine of Lamb…Mouthwatering!

I bought this very nice looking 32cm tagine last week. I’ve cooked lamb tagine in a cast iron pot before and it was YUM, but it’s a whole other experience to cook in a traditional method. I use leg meat chopped coursely and of course if you’re going to use a traditional tagine you need to have a diffuser on your stove top. My darling sister-in-law Hazel got me one many years ago, so I’ve never had to think about such things LOL. The other thing you need to do before you use it each time, is soak it in water for an hour. This is so the pot has lots of moisture to make the meat as soft as butter. I use a recipe i got from the web but i’ve added some things to it from another couple of other versions of the recipe.

I’m going to find some moroccan recipe books…there’s nothing like a recipe book to make my heart sing!

I picked up a really lovely written Italian recipe book last weekend i’ll take some pics and share with you in the next blog. I would like to have a little time to make some pasta from scratch, but the thesis is the priority at the moment.
So my tip for the week is go get a tagine or a good heavy cast iron pot with a lid and start cooking Moroccan; your taste buds will thank you!

xx s