22nd May 2009
Scottish Series and Nigella's Tagine
This year I joined the crew of Hobbes to compete in the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series at Tarbert.
It was a fairly windy (and rather moist) weekend and we had to work hard,
but I got the feeling that we were moving the boat pretty well - she seemed to be sailing fast, and we made few mistakes with no disasters (!).
Definitely worth the aches and pains and we had a real blast yet still we only managed 8th out of 13 in our class.
Sigh. Must go faster.

On Rachel's recommendation we made up one of Nigella Lawson's "Express" recipes to freeze and take with us for one of the crew meals.
Lamb, Olive and Caramelised Onion Tagine
main meat nautical stew
Like all stews, this benefits from being cooked in advance, so it makes sense to cook this on a day when you've got time and reheat it when you're in more of a hurry

1kg/2lb 3oz leg of lamb, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves, but unpeeled Can this be right? We peeled ours to avoid the mouthful of skin!
1 x 350g/12oz can pitted black olives in brine, rinsed and drained to give 150g/5oz drained weight
100g/3oz caramelised onions, from a jar Or make your own by slow-frying two spanish onions in olive oil and butter. It just ain't that hard.
4 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground ginger
1 x 75cl bottle red wine
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2
Place all of the ingredients into a lidded casserole or heavy-based ovenproof pan, pouring in the wine last and giving everything a good stir.
Bring to the boil, then clamp on the lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for two hours, or until the lamb is very tender.
The quickest, and most suitable, accompaniment would be a bowl of couscous, pale and plain or studded with a can or two of chickpeas.
Rachel rather likes mashed potato!

The result is incredibly sloppy and tasted, well, mostly of red wine to be honest.
The olives in brine are frankly anaemic (better to use olives marinated in oil), and though it's possible the flavours would have mellowed and improved if left for a few days I don't think there's any substitute for just taking your time.
Express my arse.

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