Slow roasted herby cherry tomatoes

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I’ve had a little bowl of beautiful cherry and vine tomatoes ripening nicely on the kitchen windowsill for a few days (they taste so much better when they’re not kept in the fridge), and have been looking forward to their deliciously flavoursome fate.

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By slow roasting them on a low heat with a few simple ingredients they’re elevated to a new herby, sweet, caramelised level.

Firstly take a bunch of fresh herbs. I used basil, thyme and rosemary from the garden as well as a couple of bay leaves from our enormous bay tree.

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I love the beautiful, delicate little thyme flowers that appear this time of year. Gorgeous and edible too!

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Very finely chop the herbs, leaving the bay leaves whole though, and put them in a bowl with the halved tomatoes and some crushed garlic. Drizzle with olive oil (I used extra virgin for added flavour and because the oven is set to a low temp).

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Place cut side up on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake at 130oC for about an hour and fifteen minutes or until they’re sticky, and starting to darken around the edges.

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They’ll come out beautifully sweet, slightly charred and caramelised, and have an incredible depth of flavour.

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Throw them on practically anything, if they last long enough… My three year old demolished half of them within ten minutes of them coming out of the oven! I had a few on my Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup for lunch, and Phoebe had some in her anchovy, olive and pea spaghetti for dinner, which she wolfed down! A hit all round I’d say. Enjoy!

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Snails pace ultra slow cooked leg of lamb.

So, to accompany my ultimate roast potatoes yesterday, I served up a whole, slow cooked leg of lamb which had been cooking for about nine hours in the slow cooker/crock pot.

I like my lamb either pink, or falling off the bone, and, as you can imagine, this fell firmly into the second category.

It was a huge leg, and I actually bartered with the butcher in Waitrose because I wasn’t prepared to pay what they wanted for it. I have no shame in telling you that after a bit of hustling back and forth I actually carried it away for an impressive £10! Chip off the old block me! My father is very proud!
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The first stage is dressing up the meat a little. Here’s what I used:
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Quarter the onion and set aside. Slice the garlic and cut the rosemary into little sprigs. Puncture the meat and push the garlic and rosemary inside the slits.
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Season with the salt and pepper, before massaging it with a little olive oil. Brown in it a frying pan to seal all those lovely juices in.
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When sealed, put it in the slow cooker, and return the frying pan to the heat. Add a good glug of red wine or port to the hot pan to de-glaze it and pick up all the caramelised flavour from the meat.
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Let the alcohol burn off for a minute or so before adding in some hot lamb stock. I simply used lamb oxo cubes on this occasion. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker on top of the meat.
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Pop the lid on and leave it to work its magic!
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Baste the lamb with the juices every couple of hours if you’re in (if not, don’t worry, it will turn out fine away), and a couple of hours before you’re ready to serve throw in some fresh mint if you’ve got it to hand.

Half an hour before serving drain the juices into a saucepan and reduce to intensify the flavour. Add some cornflour paste to thicken if you so desire.
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Turn the slow cooker off and leave the meat to rest while you put the finishing touches to the rest of the meal. At this point it’s likely to look something like this:
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Don’t panic. It’s meant to be falling off the bone. When you’re ready to serve simply pull a couple of forks through it to break up the meat and serve. Enjoy!
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