11th December 2012
A Frozen Dinner
Frozen Lamb Chop

I kind of wondered if lamb chops would cook alright straight from frozen.
It turns out the answer is yes - a nice slow roasting works pretty well, though they need a bit of crisping up under the grill to finish, and the skin was still a tiny bit leathery.

I served them with a (unnecessary, as it turns out) onion and rosemary sauce and I also made a stab at some lovely filled potato gratins though you'll need a couple of griddle pans to prepare both dishes as served up during my birthday treat dinner at Andrew Fairlie's (thanks Doctor Jenny!). His were better!

Not that my dinner guest would have noticed - turning up late and chomping through the food like a starving navvy: You know who you are.
Really - I don't know why I bother sometimes.

A quick dinner attempt
Oven-Roast Frozen Lamb Chops
main meat
So it turns out you can make a reasonable fist of cooking lamb chops from frozen - even if they end up a tiny bit leathery. A good dose of herbs and spices help to cover that up though :)

Serves 3-4

Preheat the oven to Gas 2-3/150-160°C/300-325°F.
Peel the shallots and cut into eighths lengthways.
Peel and slightly crush the garlic cloves with the side of a knife.
Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a heavy griddle. Add the shallots, garlic, herbs, mustard and salt and set on the heat until the oil begins to sizzle. Take the frozen chops from the freezer, rub them around to thoroughly coat them in the pan contents on both sides, crushing up the garlic a little. Put the pan in the oven until the chops are cooked through (50°C/120°F in the centre - about half an hour), then crisp them up under a hot grill before serving.
Delicious, you need to be sure the chops are cooked through though - use a meat thermometer. If you take them out when the centres are rare (50°C) they should reach medium (60°C) by the time you serve them up.
You can use the delicious pan juices in the gravy.
I set my oven to Gas 3, but it was perhaps cooking a little quickly. The skin turned a little bit leathery - though that might just be a generic problem with the method. I don't know if it would be possible to crisp the skin of the frozen chops at the start. Probably not. At least, not without drying out the whole chop.

Individual Truffled Potato Gratins
side veg
As served at Andrew Fairlie's restaurant at Gleneagles. Though not as good.
I went with Gruyère cheese, but I don't think the flavour was quite right, a bit too pungent.
I mixed in some sour cream, since that's what I had - it was quite nice though.

Serve 2-4 potatoes per person

Steam or bake the floury potato for mash, pass through a ricer, then mix with truffle oil, a dab of cream and season.

Clean the salad potatoes and steam them until tender. Plunge into water to cool them off, then cut in half and scoop out the centres. It works best if you scoop out quite a lot, leaving a fairly thin shell. No need to peel them.
Season with salt and pepper.
Fill the potato hollows back up with the mashed potato mix and level off. Lay in a single layer on a griddle and cover each potato half with a slice of cheese.

Put under a hot grill until the cheese bubbles and turns golden.
Serve immediately.
Quite nice but nowhere near Andrew Fairlie's standards.
Firstly my truffle oil turned out to be old and exhausted and no longer tasting of truffle, so I added in some hazelnut oil.
Secondly the Gruyère was a bit pungent for the job really - I liked the nuttiness, but would probably tone it down a bit - maybe Emmenthaler or a Gouda?
Finally, the cheese didn't really stick to the potato, maybe another cheese would work better, or I could try a sprinkle of potato flour or something underneath?

Watercress and Cranberry Salad
salad raw veg vegan
A nice-looking salad, the flavours aren't too bad either. Considering that's what I had in the fridge.

Mix up the dressing ingredients. Use quite a lot of vinegar and about twice the volume of oil.
Chop up a few cranberries into quarters don't overdo them - they're fairly tart!, toss with the watercress and the dressing.
Surprisingly good with greasy chops.

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