Well hello there! No I haven’t died on you or anything. I’ve just been uber-busy with my thesis writing and hardly had time to do any Grigson-related cookery. Here’s is one that I actually did a couple of weeks ago but haven’t been able to tell you about.
The cured meats from the book have all been pretty successful and this one sounded nice and easy, plus would keep me in butties for the foreseeable future. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out because we don’t really cure lamb to make ‘ham’ do we? Unless I’ve been missing something all these years.
Anyway, here’s how to make to your spiced lamb ‘ham’:
First of all select your leg of lamb or mutton – you need one that weights about 6 pounds. Place it in a large pot or tub that has a well-fitting lid and rub it all over in a spiced salt mixture for curing. To make the spiced salt, mix together 4 ounces of dark brown sugar, 8 ounces of sea salt, ½ ounces of saltpetre, an ounce each of crushed black peppercorns and allspice berries, plus a heaped teaspoon of coriander seeds. Make sure you rub it in well, ensuring you get down between meat and bone. Keep it in the tub in a cool place and turn it over every day, rubbing in the juices and spices for 14 days.
Then, rinse any excess spices away from the surface of the leg and place in a large pot and cover with water. Bing slowly to a simmer and cook as gently as possible with the lid on for 3 ½ hours. Let the lamb cool in the water for a couple of hours, remove it and, wrap it in clingfilm or greaseproof paper and let it finish cooling under a weight. It keeps in the fridge for ages as long it is wrapped up or kept in Tupperware. Griggers says that if you have a smokehouse nearby that will let you put the cured but uncooked leg in, then do so! I haven’t, so I didn’t!
#243 Spiced Welsh Mutton ‘Ham’. This was a revelation! I do not know why we don’t cure mutton and lamb anymore. Absolutely delicious. The lamb meat was succulent and flaky just like corned beef and the spices cut through the richness of the fat. Best cured meat so far. 8.5/10
It’s been a while Grigsoners. I am very busy at the moment – and will be for the next couple of months – writing my PhD thesis, so forgive me if the blog entries become a wee bit thin on the ground. The recipes that I can do are those that don’t require difficult-to-get items or dinner parties so I’m a little limited seeing as I spend most of my time in a library these days.
Anyway, enough of that.
These Welsh griddle (or girdle) cakes seemed by the recipe that they would be absolutely delicious. Indeed girdle cakes must be delicious because there’s a few recipes in the book. However, the last time I cooked some (Singin’ Hinnies) they were pretty awful. Grigson doesn’t give any background on Cacen Gri, though I have noticed that there are lots of Welsh recipes – perhaps more than English ones – in the part of the book devoted to griddle cakes and pancakes. Funny that, because when I think of Welsh specialities, I think of leek pie and rarebits not pancakes. They must be terribly fat as the amount of butter and lard in this is huge!
Start off by sieving a pound of flour and a teaspoon each of baking powder and salt into a bowl. Rub in four ounces each of cubed butter and lard. Mix in three ounces of mixed dried fruit and peel and an egg plus a little milk to form a dough. Leave to rest in the fridge for a little while and then roll out thinly and cut into plate-sized rounds. Grease a large pan with a little lard fry the griddle cakes for just two minutes a side on quite a high heat. Don’t overcook them as they go very dry very quickly. They should puff up a little and gain brown spots. Stack them on a warmed plate, add a good knob of butter between each one, keeping them nice and cosy in a warm oven. I served them with some very un-Welsh maple syrup too.
#242 Cacen Gri (Griddle Cakes). I wasn’t sure if I liked these or not. The first batch was over-cooked and all powdery. I soldiered on a tried again though and I think that they were okay. No more than that though. They were still pretty claggy and need lots of butter and syrup. Perhaps that is the secret to these girdle cakes – any amount of flour and fat will taste fine if smothered in enough melted butter and syrup. 5/10.