Christmas Cake xxx

This Christmas cake recipe never fails, it’s the basis of Delia Smiths classic Christmas cake that over the years I have adapted.  But it always comes out perfect.

It is best to bake these as soon as you can to allow for the feeding process, and then the decorating.  I have however cooked these the week before Christmas and fed the cake everyday and it still tasted great.

The smell as you bake will pull you straight into the festive spirit 🙂

It can be difficult to find some of the ingredients here in Spain but do not worry, I have recipes for candied peel, and marzipan on my blog. You can also replace the black treacle with molasses; which is not as dark but still creates a good cake.  The Spanish brown sugar is also fine to use if you cannot get hold of soft brown sugar.  If you use soft brown sugar and black treacle the sponge will be much darker in colour, the taste will be good neither way. Ultimately once this cake is fed with lots of Brandy who cares about these differences!

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Ingredients

800g dried fruit, a mix of currants, sultanas, raisins and cranberries

50g mixed candied peel, finely chopped

4 tbsp brandy, plus extra for ‘feeding’

225g unsalted butter

225g soft brown sugar

4 large eggs, beaten in a jug

225 g plain flour

½ level tsp Salt

¼ level tsp Freshly grated nutmeg

½ level tsp Ground mixed spice

1 level tbsp Black treacle

50g glacé cherries, finely chopped

50g chopped nuts, I used almond and walnuts

1 lemon, Grated zest

1 orange, Grated zest

Method:

Soak the dried fruit, and the peel overnight with the brandy.

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Heat the oven to 140 degrees.

Double line your tin with parchment paper.  Also cut a piece to fit on the top of the cake for while it is cooking, cut a tiny hole in the centre; this is for the top to stop it from over browning.

Cream together the butter and the sugar with a whisk until pale and fluffy, then pour the eggs in, little by little, whisking as you go.

Sieve together the flour, salt, nutmeg and mixed spice from a height to give it more air. Then gently fold the flour into the creamed butter with a large metal spoon.

Drizzle in the treacle and fold once.

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Add the fruit, peel, cherries, nuts, lemon and orange zest and gently fold into the mix.

Place into your cake tin, and flatten evenly, you can leave a little dip in the centre to make sure it does not rise too much, it is good to have a flat top for decorating.

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Cook in the oven for around 4 hours, check the cake by piercing a skewer through the centre, if it comes up clean then it is cooked.

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Let it cool a little in the tin before removing. Then let it fully cool before wrapping it up with brown paper and storing in a sealed container.

Feed the cake by piercing with a skewer or tooth pick and pouring a little brandy into the holes. Depending how much time you have before Christmas will depend on the feeding, I would say every other day for two weeks, one day from the top of the cake, and one day the bottom. This should produce a lovely moist sponge. I have however in the past only had a week to feed, so I fed it every day to the same success.

To decorate is your choice; you can add marzipan and icing or leave it plain.  On some cakes I placed blanched almonds on the top before baking as you would a dundee cake…

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For marzipan see my recipe here:

Marzipan

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I like to eat my Christmas cake without icing and with cheeses such as wensleydale cheese, crackers and chutneys…

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Last years cake decoration…

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I will share this years decorations as soon as I have done them 😉

Lulu xx

Merry Christmas…already fed up of Turkey?? Check out these recipe ideas….

Hello!!  I hope you have all enjoyed your Christmas, if like me you have eaten too much ham and turkey………and chocolate, then you may want to cook and eat something different.  I thought I would share a few of my curry recipes, I think I will be making some of these this week….

First is my South Indian Fish curry.  If you have eaten enough meat over Christmas why not try a fish curry!!

This is a curry with a mix of Goan and Kerala flavourings, with creamy coconut milk, a hint of citrus from the lime and sweetness from tomatoes.

It has lots of juicy King Prawns in this curry too, succulent Salmon and Merluza (which I think is Hake). You could use any meaty white fish.  Fish does tend to disintegrate in curries which is why I love salmon as  it always stays in one piece, white fish is a little bit more delicate so be careful when stirring.

I served this with Tamarind rice, which is so tasty I could just eat this on it own, it is also very fluffy and  moist, it works perfectly with this curry.

Try it out, let me know how it goes… This should feed 4/5 people…..
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It’s nearly Christmas!! Marzipan for your Christmas cake & a Beef Rendang for when you have eaten enough Turkey!!

Hola!! Feliz Navidad!!

It is my last day in Spain this year, I travel back to blighty tomorrow for Christmas….it is blazing sunshine outside today, tomorrow I am going to be freezing!!

Just two recipes to share, the first is my easy peasy marzipan. Which is great for your Christmas cake, or just to make the marzipan fruit for nice little gifts.

After that is my Beef and Potato Rendang, which would be a perfect dish between Christmas and New year.

Marzipan

I couldn’t get hold of Marzipan in the little town we live in here in Spain, so I decided to make a batch. It was so easy I just looked online at a few recipes, this one was the simplest and it works great!! I doubt I will buy it ever again 😉

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Ingredients:

175g icing sugar

175g ground almonds

1 egg

optional 1 tsp almond extract

Method:

Sift the icing sugar and almonds into a bowl, make a well in the middle and add the egg (I whisked the egg in a cup first). Also add your almond extract if using.

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Mix it all together with a spoon, once it starts to all stick together get your hand in there and make a dough.  The bowl should be clean once it is ready to knead.

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Sift icing sugar onto a clean work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth, this will not take long.  Viola you are done!! Simple.

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You can wrap this in cling film and place in the fridge if you do not need it straight away, as long as it is sealed well, it can also be frozen.  

To use on your Christmas cakes, you will need some Apricot jam (I used Nispero jam which I had made earlier in the year).

https://lululemonandlace.com/recipes/pickles-chutneys-jams-and-pastes/nispero-jam/

or try my Apricot Jam

https://lululemonandlace.com/recipes/pickles-chutneys-jams-and-pastes/apricot-jam/

Warm this in a pan.

Brush this over the top of your cake.  

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Roll the marzipan out to be slightly bigger then the cake top, thickness about a £ coin (or thicker if you love the stuff) then roll over the top of the cake and carefully cut away the edges.  You can place it over the full cake, that is up to you.

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Now roll out your fondant icing (I bought this).  brush a little water over the marzipan and place the icing over, again cut away.

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Now you can decorate, I made marzipan fruit, which I painted with food colouring.

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Using cocktail sticks arrange the fruit over the cake, I also used some real orange leaves to decorate.

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Marzipan heaven!!

Now for something a little different, a Beef and Potato Rendang, perfect dish for boxing day, or when you are at your wits end with the left over turkey ;-).  If you have beef on Christmas day this recipe could also use up the left over meat, you will not need to cook it for as long!

Beef and Potato Rendang

A Rendang is a Malaysian stew dish, which I think for me is a cross between an Indian and Thai curry.  The flavour has a sour and spicy taste, with zing from the lime zest and lemongrass, heat from the chillies and then a little creaminess from the coconut milk.  Slow cooking the beef so it is tender and melts in your mouth just makes it delicious.  This is not a saucy curry, and should be fairly dry, I do like to have a little bit of sauce with mine, but it should reduce down during the cooking time to be thick and coating the beef like a spicy warm blanket 🙂

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Ingredients:

700g stewing/braising Beef

Paste:

1 Tbsp. coriander

1 ½ tsp cumin

4 cardamom

4 cloves

4 garlic cloves

½ grated fresh turmeric or 1 tsp of ground

50g ginger (reserve a slice of this skin on for curry)

2 chillies (I used Bishop crowns that we had in the freezer from this years crop!)

4 large shallots/ 6 small peeled & roughly chopped

1 tsp salt

Lime zest

1 Tbsp. tamarind

2” chunk creamed coconut

Curry:

3 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

1 lemongrass

6 dried lime leaves

1 tin coconut milk

5/6 new potatoes halved with skin on

Method:

Heat a little oil or butter in a pan and add the shallots, soften these a little and then set aside.

Dry fry the following paste spices; coriander, cumin, cardamom and cloves.

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Once you smell the aroma remove from the pan and grind in a pestle and mortar.

Pop the ground spices into a blender, along with the garlic, ginger, chillies, shallots, salt, lime zest, tamarind, turmeric, creamed coconut.  Blitz this up to create your rending paste.

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ground spices, chillies, garlic and ginger

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add in the shallots, coconut and lime zest

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Rendang paste

Heat some oil in a pan, pop in the star anise and cinnamon, fry for a few minutes to release the aroma.

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Add the paste to this pan.  Fry the paste for a few minutes to activate all of the spices, then add the beef, coat it in the paste and brown.

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Next bash the lemongrass and cut in halve.

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Add this to the pan along with the 1 slice of ginger, lime leaves give a good stir then pour in the coconut milk.

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You can cook this on the hob, but I prefer to slow cook this in the oven.

Place into a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees with the lid on the pan and cook for around 45 minutes or until the beef is tender.

Once the beef is falling apart add the potatoes, remove the lid so the sauce can reduce, stir and pop back in the oven and cook until the potatoes are soft.

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Serve with rice and lime wedges, I also sprinkled some coriander over the top.

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It was delicious!!

I hope you are all excited and ready for Friday!!

Lots of love Lulu xx

Lulu’s Christmas part 4…Cranberry sauce, Sprouts with Pancetta and Boozey Chocolate log

Hola Amigos!!

I hope you are all looking forward to Christmas!

It has been a while since I blogged 😦  and I am sorry, it has been a very busy few weeks!

Lululemonandlace will now be featuring in B Magazine each month, you can locate this magazine in Gibraltar so if you are in the area please pick up a copy, my first article is in the December issue!!

To make up for my lack of recipe updates I am sharing 3 new recipes!!  All for Christmas as I know you will be thinking about what to eat and cook.

First is my Cranberry sauce, I make this with rosemary and port,  it really is a tasty side to your festive roast…..

Cranberry Sauce with Rosemary and Port

This recipe is so easy to make and quick, yet tastes delicious. I love to make a massive batch of this and jar it up to eat for a few months after Christmas. It is perfect with your Turkey, or with your cheese board.  I also use this in my chicken wrapped in pancetta recipe:

https://lululemonandlace.com/recipes/comfort-foods/chicken-stuffed-with-blue-cheese-cranberry-wrapped-in-pancetta/

It is a versatile sauce and can be eaten with almost anything……..this batch was eaten in one evening!

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This recipe made 1 jar!

Ingredients:

300g fresh Cranberries

250g sugar (granulated or caster is fine)

2 sprigs Rosemary

60ml Port

Method:

Pop everything into a saucepan and bring to a boil.

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Cook for around 5-8 minutes then remove the rosemary sprigs carefully.  You do not want to overpower the flavour of the cranberries.

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remove the rosemary sprigs carefully

Let this simmer for around 15-20 minutes or until it has reduced and thickened.  That’s it!!

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Pop into sterilised jars if storing or into a nice dish if serving up right away.

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and nearly gone!

Next is Sprouts!!!

I make this recipe every year at Christmas, this year as we have them growing, I added some pomegranate seeds for colour and sweetness, it tasted great!!  The sprouts here in Spain are HUGE, in England if bought from the supermarket they can be rather small so I would keep them whole, here they are almost like mini cabbages, so best to cut in half!

Sprouts with Pancetta, Chestnuts and Pomegranates

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Ingredients:

1 kilo Sprouts halved if large

Cooked Chestnuts, I used 2 packs of 180g

Pancetta diced small, you can use the pre-diced packs. Use both packs.

Parsley large handful chopped

50g Butter

1 Pomegranate seeds only

Method:

Prepare and wash the sprouts.

Pop into a large pan with salted water and bring to the boil and cook until they are tender but with a bite.

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In another pan fry the pancetta until crisp and brown.

Add the chestnuts, fry for a few minutes.

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Now add in the butter and sprouts, stir through until everything is well combined.

Turn off the heat, taste and season if needed…remember the pancetta is very salty. I added a little pepper.

Now stir in the parsley and pomegranates.

Serve!!

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Lastly I would like to share my chocolate log recipe, it is the best Christmas day dessert…

I love chocolate desserts this one is similar to a gateau which is one of my favourites.  It has no flour in, so is gluten-free, and as one of my Aunts is lactose intolerant I made one of the logs dairy free too.

I have been baking this recipe for a few years now, it came originally from a Mary Berry Roulade recipe.  I love Mary Berry her recipes are always amazing.

Similar to an Angel cake method; the cake is made by folding in egg whites to create a bouncy, air packed batter, which makes the cake moist yet slightly chewy like a brownie and very delicious!

For me it has to be filled with fresh whipped cream and berries that have been soaked in booze.  I used a Spanish Orange Liquor, you can use Grand Marnier or Cointreau…or any alcohol really would do, perhaps brandy or rum could work!!

For the dairy free log, I use a pre-made chocolate fudge icing filling, I usually like to make my own fillings but my Aunt introduced me to Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Fudge icing, which not only is it dairy free it also tastes amazing.  I mean it is that good that I could literally eat it out of the tub like ice-cream!

You can decorate your logs however you wish, you could cover it in chocolate and draw a fork through it to create the tree textures or just leave it with all of its cracks and dust it with icing as I have.

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This recipe is for 2 logs, halve the ingredients if you are only making one log.

Cooking time 20-25 minutes

Difficulty Easy

Ingredients:

12 eggs at room temperature

12 oz. good quality dark chocolate at least 70% cocoa

12 oz. caster sugar

4 Tbsp. good quality cocoa powder

10fl oz. Double Cream

1 tub Betty Crocker chocolate fudge icing

A punnet of the following berries; raspberries, blueberries and redcurrants.

Small glass of orange liquor

Icing sugar for dusting

Baking paper

Shallow baking tray approx. 9”x13”

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Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees and prepare your baking tray with some baking paper.

Melt your chocolate in a bowl above a saucepan of hot water, make sure the bowl does not touch the water.  I also try to break the chocolate into even bits so it melts at the same time.  Once melted set aside to cool a little.

Next separate your eggs.  As this recipe uses a lot of eggs crack them over a little bowl first to get your whites, then transfer the whites into your large mixing bowl, and yolks into another mixing bowl.  Just to be sure not to get any yolk in the white mix!!

Whisk the egg whites to have peaks, the whites should be able to be tipped upside down without falling out of the bowl.  Set aside.

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Get the bowl with the egg yolks and add the sugar and whisk on high until the mixture is thick and creamy.

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Pour the cooled chocolate into the yolk bowl and gently stir until well combined.

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Get the egg whites and using a large metal spoon stir a spoonful of this into the chocolate mix to loosen it up, then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites spoonful by spoonful to create air, it will become almost like elastic and bouncy once folded in.

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Sift in the cocoa powder and again gently fold it in so you retain the air in the batter.

Pour into your prepared trays and move the tin around until the mixture is evenly spread.

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Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes.

When they are ready the top should be firm, mine cooked in exactly 22 minutes!

Once cooked remove from the oven and let them cool in the trays.

In the meantime, get your fruit in a bowl and pour over the booze, stir and set aside.

Whisk your cream up to be nice and thick but still spreadable.

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Now for the roll…

Take a piece of baking paper larger than the cake, place on your work surface and dust over some icing sugar.  Carefully place your cooled cake top side down onto the baking sheet.

Spread over the filling but try not to over fill, and keep it as even as possible.

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Next sprinkle the fruit over evenly, again do not put in too much as they will just fall out when you roll the cake.  I also like to drizzle a few spoons of the alcohol over the cake too.

Now to roll take a hold of the baking paper and carefully but firmly lift the cake at one end using the paper to create a first roll.

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Tuck and roll but do not touch the cake, only use the paper to roll.

You may lose some of the filling and it will also crumble/crack a little, this is fine do not worry.  It needs to have the cracks to look like a log.

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Once rolled wrap tightly in the baking paper, then some foil and pop in the fridge to set a little.

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You can make this the night before and then put the cake together on the day.

When ready to plate up, place your logs into your own design, I used a little of the fudge icing to stick them together, then gave it a light dust of icing and decorated with some redcurrants.

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YUMMY!!

Hope you like these recipes!

Love Lulu xx

❤ ❤ ❤

 

Lulu’s Christmas Part 3… Moorish Christmas Stuffed Lamb & Pigs in Blankets with Sage and a Honey Glaze

Ho ho ho……

I thought it was time to share more festive dishes.  Please see below for my latest Christmas recipes, this includes an alternative roast idea and a pigs in blankets recipe. Take a look……<3

Moorish Christmas Stuffed Lamb

At Christmas it’s always nice to try something new.  In my family we would always have two meats on Christmas day; Turkey and another meat such as Goose or Lamb.  This recipe is a great Christmas roast alternative.

Living in Spain, I wanted to include the flavours of the Mediterranean and my focus was Morocco.  I still wanted to keep what I feel are the traditional flavours of Christmas such as clementine’s, cranberries and Port.  Remembering an old Moroccan Lamb dish which I have cooked in the past, influenced me.  It was made with a stuffing of couscous, prunes, figs and apricots. The meat was rubbed all over with a spiced butter, so taking this process I came up with this recipe.

My fruit of choice was cranberries, apricots, figs and fresh clementine’s which I soaked overnight using the same method as making a Christmas cake, but the fruit is soaked in Port rather than Brandy.

The butter rub has fragrant spices such as cinnamon, star anise, cloves but also a little fresh rosemary.  These flavours are quite usual for Moroccan Tagines but also have the festive aroma and taste.

The Lamb is cooked pink and the taste is rich and fragrant. The great thing about this dish is you can serve it with your regular Christmas day trimmings or spice it up and make cumin roasted carrots or honey roasted sprouts.  Or as an alternative, you can have a totally different Christmas dinner and serve this with a buttery couscous or tabbouleh.  The choice is yours!

 

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Festive Ingredients

Ingredients:

2kg Lamb leg (get your Butcher to remove the bones, but also keep these for the gravy)

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1 carrot

1 whole garlic bulb

1 clementine

Handful of fresh thyme

Butchers Twine

Thick sewing needle

Stuffing:

100g dried cranberries

14 dried apricots

4 dried figs

1 cup Port

Zest of 2 clementines

40g breadcrumbs

35g pistachio nuts (chop small but not too fine)

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8 chestnuts (you can use the vacuum packed chestnuts, I had fresh and pan roasted them, if you do this make sure you use a lid as they pop!!)

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1 carrot diced small

1 onion diced small

A knob of butter

Butter Rub

100g salted butter

3 large cloves garlic grated

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 star anise

4 cloves

1 level tsp grated nutmeg

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Gravy:

Lamb bones

1 carrot

1 onion

2 celery sticks

4 cups water

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp. plain flour

1 small glass port

2 tsp redcurrant sauce…  https://lululemonandlace.com/recipes/christmas/redcurrant-sauce/

Salt and pepper

Method:

Soak the fruit overnight before cooking.  Take the apricots and figs and dice, then mix the cranberries in and pour over the port.  Cover well and leave overnight.

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You can also prepare your stock the night before. Place the lamb bones into an oven tray with the carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf and water.

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Cover with foil and stick into a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees for 1.5 – 2 hours.  Make sure you keep checking the stock during this time to make sure the water does not dry out. The idea is to get a rich condensed roasted lamb stock.  Add a little more hot water if needed.

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After the cooking time, remove the bones and the celery, then with a hand blender blitz the stock. Try to scrape all of the lamb juices from the oven dish.

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Let the stock cool then cover and place in the fridge until required.

The next day the fruit should have expanded and soaked up most of the port.  Add the zest of the clementines, the breadcrumbs and pistachio nuts.

Crumble your chestnuts and add to the fruit.

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chestnuts

Set this aside.  In a frying pan melt the knob of butter and add the onion and carrot, gently soften but do not brown.

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Softened onion and carrot

Let this cool then add to the fruit.

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The stuffing

Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees.

Place your butter in a bowl and grate in the garlic mix well and set aside.  In a hand blender (I use a coffee grinder to grind my spices) grind the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

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Next add in the rosemary leaves, if you are not using a coffee grinder it might be best to chop these finely. Add these spices to the butter and garlic mix.  Set aside.

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Mix well.

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Butter Rub

Lamb Stuffing time!!

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Carefully slice the opening a little wider. Just so you have a little more room to stuff.

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Dab the inside of the meat with a paper towel to dry it a little.  Rub 3/4 of the spiced butter into the inside, reserving the rest for later.

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Next get the fruit stuffing, get a handful and squeeze it into a compact ball.

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Stuff this into the Lamb, pushing to compress the stuffing.

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Keep going pressing the mixture in well.  The idea is to get as much of the stuffing in as possible, I managed to fit practically all of it in!  You want to be able to slice through the Lamb without the stuffing falling out when cooked.

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Turn the Lamb on its side to push down the stuffing a little further.

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Push the stuffing down

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Push the stuffing in and fold over the meat edges

Try to tuck and fold the meat edges so there are no holes for the stuffing to fall out.

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Tucking the meat in

Thread the needle with the butchers twine, insert into one edge of the cavity and tightly make a secure knot.

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Keep tucking and pulling the meat as you stitch it up.  Wrap the meat edges over each other to secure the stuffing. Make a tight knot at the end of stitching.

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Wrap the meat edges over each other and stitch tightly, then secure with a tight knot

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Neatly stitched Lamb

Season with salt and pepper.  Rub the remaining spiced butter over the top of the Lamb.

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In a oven dish place the carrot, onion, clementine halved, thyme and the garlic bulb halved.

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Place the Lamb on the top.

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I added a little bit of water in the bottom of the dish, about 200ml.

Place in the oven uncovered. Roast for 1 to 2 hours (depending on your meat size) or until the juices run slightly pink when pierced with a skewer.  If you have a meat thermometer insert into the thickest part of the meat, the temperature should read 57-60 degrees for medium rare. My Lamb was 2kg and took 1 hour 20 minutes to cook.

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Remove from the oven, lift the Lamb carefully from the tray and set aside to rest.  I would cover with foil, it needs at least 20 minutes to rest.

You can now make your gravy.  Place the oven dish straight onto the hob on a high heat.

Remove the garlic and clementine and reserve for later.  Discard the carrot and onion as you already have carrot in your pre-made stock.

Stir and scrape all of the juices from the pan, add the flour and whisk well so it doesn’t turn lumpy.

Pour in the Port.

Pour in the Lamb stock you made the day before.

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Add in the redcurrant sauce and stir.

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Taste the gravy, add salt and pepper if needed.  Let it bubble away and thicken.

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Tasty Gravy

You are now ready to serve up, I served this with the garlic and clementine from the roast.

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