A visit from “Uncle Patrick”

On March 15, 2014 by battenburgbelle

We’ve had a lovely week, with an extended visit from my little brother, who was working in London for a few days. He has asked for a pseudonym as he thinks it’s too anonymous just to be referred to as my little bro. So let’s call him “Uncle Patrick”.

Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup with Mushroom Powder

I sub-contracted the preparation of this very tasty mushroom soup to him at the beginning of the week, based on a recipe by Heston Blumenthal. It was finished off with a sprinkling of mushroom powder, made by briefly roasting some dried porcini and shiitake mushrooms and then blitzing and sieving them to make a very fine powder. I made that and, although it smells frankly revolting, I think it was key to the extreme deliciousness of the soup.

Slow roast lamb shank

Slow roast lamb shank

On Uncle P’s last evening here, I decided I’d better pick a dish from Battenburgbelle’s book of the month. It’s the blue River Cafe book this month, chosen by Mr B, as he loves it and I rarely use it. The suggestions that if, for example, you can’t get exactly the right truffle oil from Puglia, you just shouldn’t bother annoy me. But I have to say, the recipes I chose were great. I did slow roast lamb shanks (roasted with lots of red onion, garlic, rosemary, balsamic vinegar and red wine and cooked for about two and a half hours). I left Uncle Patrick in charge while I popped to the gym, so I don’t know exactly how much wine went in with the lamb. He sloshed some in to keep the meat moist while I was out. He also sloshed some into a glass to keep himself lubricated while I was out. But whatever the quantity of wine, it was good.

Lamb Shank

Former lamb shank

I chose two side dishes from the book too: Puy lentils cooked with half a head of garlic, finished off with olive oil, lemon juice, basil and some rocket; and green beans, blanched and finished off with a bit of butter and parmesan. The lamb shanks were succulent, with the meat falling off the bone, the balsamic sauce was rich and lovely and the sides went magnificently with the lamb. So I will set aside my prejudices against the book and give it a whirl again before the month is out.

Cheese scones

Cheese scones – will they cut the mustard this time??

And in other news, I made these cheese scones one morning this week to take to work, where they went down very well. This was a practice run for the Muswell Hill & District Horticultural Society Spring Show, where I won in several categories last year. Jenny of Silver Screen Suppers beat me on the scones lst time round, so the gloves, albeit delicate lacy ones as befits the ladies of the Horticultural Society, are off!

3 Responses to “A visit from “Uncle Patrick””

  • Grandma Battenburg

    I love lamb shank – please may I have this some time? Pity about Grandpa B – could you just leave the garlic out for him?

  • If you DARE put any gherkins in your cheese scones you’ll be in BIG TROUBLE. They were my secret ingredient for my only first prize at the Horticultural Show.

    I have high hopes for my coffee cake though…


    • battenburgbelle

      I didn’t like gherkins much anyway and I definitely won’t be putting any in my little cheese scones this time round…

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