It's been a while, but I think it's never too late to write about a great food event, and the Scotch Lamb SFF in Glasgow was amazing.
I was a little bit surprised when I got invited as it's still weird to mention myself as a blogger from Scotland, and also, I usually bake sweets, so lamb or any meat dishes are not exactly in my repertoire, at least not on my blog.
Actually, I have to confess something: I barely eat meat. It isn't a decision or a conscious diet point, but it doesn't exactly fit into my student budget. I could buy chicken, as it's not that expensive, but I am really afraid of the chicken meat you can buy in stores, even the free-range ones. We have our own chicks at home, and when you prepare those birds all the time, and then you get a supermarket-chicken in your hand, you can really see the difference, and I am afraid of the things which are causing the difference.
I am not an expert in preparing red meat, but I know the same problems come with that as well. Especially as it's more expensive, it's easy to get tempted by the cheaper ones, thinking that it must be the same with a different label. Because seriously, how can we know?
This question was answered at the Scotch Lamb SFF, when I got the Scotch Lamb and Scotch Beef labels introduced to me. It is pretty straightforward; those labels only go to meat coming from checked, trustworthy farmers all around Scotland, so you know that what you're paying for is not estrogen, but quality meat. So watch out for these:
At the event, we were showed a butchery lesson and an exclusive cooking demonstration with useful tips like which parts of the animal you would need and what you should throw away and also advice so you could understand what your butcher is doing and ask for specific preparations.
We were also invited to taste incredible lamb dishes and yummy smoothies. I had a delicious lamb shoulder with coriander, pomegranade seeds and cous cous. My friend Eve had a lamb burrito and we both tried the berry, mango and the oreo chocolate smoothies. Yum!
I thought I would share a great tip with you in case you are a student as well, or just find meat too expensive, or maybe not a great fan of it, but still want to get the useful proteins and vitamins.
If you go to the butchers, normally you can't only buy meat but also bones, which is obviously so much cheaper. If you can't see any, just let the butcher know you are interested in buying some bones, they will be more than happy to sell it to you - otherwise they might throw them away.
At home, put the bones in a big saucepan, add cold water and some salt and pepper. Sting a clove into an onion and put it in the water. You can also add celery, carrot and parsnip. Bring it to the boil and let it simmer for a couple of hours. When it's ready, strain it and there you go! You can also freeze your stock in plastic boxes so you can use them later.
If you are preparing a chicken, you an use the backbone for stock - it normaly has very few meat on it so it's worth it more for stock - if you cut the chicken before roasting it, you save cooking time and you aso get the backbone for stock - great deal!
The recipe I'm sharing with you is ideal if you are making stock - it is the famous french onion soup
1 kg red onions, peeled, chopped to circles
1 tsbp sugar
some olive oil
your beautiful lamb/beef/chicken stock
The secret of making french onion soup is the time. Heat the oil and add the onions and the sugar, then let it caramelize. It could take almost an hour, but please be patient - don't add the stock until you've got a beautiful amber colour mixture of the onions.
It is great when you are making stock, cause while you are cooking the broth, there is time for the onions to caramelize - but be careful to be there during the whole time and keep stirring it, otherwise it will burn.
When the onions are ready, add the stock. It's hard to say how much liquid you need, but for one kg of onions, you are good to do a big bowl of soup - like 3 or 4 liters.
When you added the stock, season it, but be careful - when I make soups I normally make it a bit saltless, cause when you reheat it later, it will taste saltier. And obviously, you can always add salt at serving. Bring it to simmer with the stock, cook for 10 minutes, and you're done! Try it with this amazing homemade bread - but be careful, you have to prepare the bread the day before.
The easiest no-knead bread
This recipe is adapted from here, and I'm absolutely loving it!
3 cups of flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp seasalt
1 1/2 cups water
1 tblsp oil
1 tblsp oil
Mix dry ingredients, then add the water in little portions and mix continously with a wooden spoon. When all the ingredients are combined, grease another plastic boil with olive oil, and put the dough in there. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 18 hours.
Put flour on a surface, and pour the dough on it - form a ball with quick moves and cover it again with some plastic wrap for 1-2 hours. Make sure that the ball is covered with flour all around, but not super thickly.
Preheat the oven for 200 C and put your French oven inside (if you don't have one, a big heatproof ceramic bowl with lid or covered with aluminium foil will do it). When the dough is ready, get the very hot pot out and carefully place the dough inside. Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake for another 15.