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Archive for November 11th, 2011

This simple flavour rub for a lamb steak or chop is full of the summer warmth of North African spices: cumin, paprika and coriander. Perhaps then in November, once the nights start to draw in, it is a good way to bring back Mediterranean holiday flavour memories that are by now receding into the past.  It is almost too simple a recipe to add here but I have been exploring different marinade recipe ideas recently: for pork especially but also for chicken and lamb so wanted to add this as a stand alone item.  The original recipe was for marinaded chop with a delicious minty/fruity couscous but I have divided the recipe into two posts, with the couscous to follow next.  Both recipes stand alone, of course … but they were delicious together.

The recipe comes from a winter (Jan/Feb 2011) issue of the Tesco free instore magazine. In the original the spice rub marinade is simply rubbed onto the meat just prior to cooking, but to get a better depth of flavour it is much better if left throughout the day or overnight.  The recipe is delicious if served with Orange Couscous, its original accompaniment.  I quickly grilled the lamb steak on a George Foreman grill, but it could be grilled conventionally or pan fried as in the original recipe.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Moroccan Style Marinaded Lamb Steaks
(Serves 4)

4 thick lamb chops or steaks (alternatively use chicken or pork)
2tbsp olive oil
1tsp ground cumin
large pinch paprika
1tsp ground coriander
Salt & ground black pepper

1.   Wipe the lamb steaks and place in a dish.

2.  Sprinkle over the the spices, add a little salt and pepper and then drizzle over the olive oil.

3.  Gently turn the chops around in the spicy mixture using fingers or a fork then cover and leave the flavours to develop.  Ideally this should be throughout the day or overnight.

4.  Using as much of the spicy marinade as possible, grill the chops or steaks under a preheated hot grill for about four minutes each side, or a little long if preferred, but until the lamb is cooked to your preference.  Alternatively they can be gently pan fried for a similar length of time in a hot frying pan with a little additional olive oil if needed.  A George Foreman grill can also be used.

5. When cooked, the meat can be covered with foil to keep warm while the couscous mixture is being finished.  The meat can either be served in one piece or cut into strips or chunks.

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Today is one of those strange days with a notable date: 11.11.11, ignoring the 20 of course.  (I wonder if anyone back in the 12th Century noted the date when it was 11.11.1111?!)  A few days ago Photo111111 asked people to take a photograph at 11 seconds and 11 minutes past 11am on 11.11.11. and then submit it to their site.  There is a plan that the collected photos might form part of our local E17 Art Trail in 2012 – great idea which I hope works out!  So here is my picture … not as exciting as I had hoped but taken as accurately as I could.

11.11.11 on 11.11.11 Leyton entrance to Stratford Westfield - photo: ©hopeeternal

As you can see from the caption this is the (rather uninspiring) approach to the recently opened Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre in East London, especially unexciting on such a grey day.  It was taken from the front upstairs seat of a Transport for London No 97 bus. The bus stopped for to observe the 2minutes silence otherwise we would have been nearer or even there. The zig-zag roofs are the tops of the security centre through which all incoming traffic, including buses, has to pass before entering the centre. It feels a little like the going through security at the Channel Tunnel.  Westfield Stratford City is situated next to the rapidly growing site for the 2012 Olympic Games (more of that to follow).  It is a short ride from home, a rather stop-start journey taking around 30 minutes even though the distance is only 3 miles.  I was hoping to have been a bit closer – or even at the centre – but such is life (and London traffic).

Stratford Westfield Entrance ©hopeeternal

Vicars have one day off each week. My husband usually takes Friday and today we decided to pay a proper visit to Stratford Westfield for a ‘nose round’ and some Christmas shopping.  Stratford Westfield is massive and is currently the biggest shopping centre in Europe.  This was my first real visit to the centre.  We made a brief visit a week or so ago, not to shop but to pray with other local Christians for the area and the coming Olympics and to be shown around ‘InSpiration’, the rest and faith space situated in the Café Court area and signposted ‘Calmness’.  (It is open to anyone, of any faith or none and is a great place to pop in for a rest.)  Westfield has many many shops of all types, small businesses and large chains, on four levels inside the centre with even more outside.  It is linked to the original Stratford shopping centre with its indoor market by a bridge which passes both Stratford Underground and the old bus station, currently being spruced up ready for reopening. We saw just a small part, leaving me feeling rather confused and overwhelmed: definitely need another visit to feel more orientated … and to do more shopping!

Franco Manca's Sourdough Pizza ©hopeeternal

I normally write about food and make no exception with this post.  On our brief visit we saw just a few of the many eating places in the Café Court we had heard about from friends.  There is a vast choice of cafés and restaurants mostly collected together in one area of the shopping centre but covering four floors vertically.  The choice of food is vast, ranging from rolls, wraps and sandwiches to Sushi and Fish & Chips to … well, pick any type of foreign food you like!  …and there are more restaurants outside the main indoor centre.  One advantage of open plan eating food courts is that you can see what other people are eating and as a consequence we decided to share a pizza at Franco Manca’s.

Spicy Lamb, Mozzarella & Tomato Sourdough Pizza ©hopeeternal

We made a good choice and I would recommend our Spicy Lamb, Mozzarella & Tomato Sourdough Pizza.  It was fascinating to watch as our pizza was produced in super quick time using their 500oC/930oF traditional Neopolitan style wood burning oven.

We shopped and we ate, but we also made a visit to the top floor of John Lewis department store where there is a viewing gallery overlooking the 2012 Olympic site.  The Orbit Tower, a red latticework sculpture by Turner Prize winning artist Anish Kapoor at the centre of the site, is gradually rising towards its planned height of 115m (377ft).  Sadly today its top was shrouded in mist.

The Orbit Tower in the mist, 2012 Olympic Site, London ©hopeeternal

It was such a pity it was so very grey today, but the view was slightly brightened with the busy yellow diggers and fluorescent jacketed workmen.  Although we recognised some of the buildings we were not sure about them all but we could see the Aquatics Centre on the left hand side and the central Stadium.  Had it been clearer more buildings may well have been in view.  I must return with my camera on a brighter day!

2012 London Olympic Site in the mist from top floor of John Lewis, Westfield Stratford City - 11.11.11 ©hopeeternal - CLICK FOR A LARGER IMAGE

This panorama stitching together three views I took of the Olympic site was created using a very handy free online programme called Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor).

These interesting dates come up from time to time.  The next is 20.12.2012, and of course, next year there is another big opportunity as we have 12.12.12.  Now there’s a potential idea for someone … the alternative 12 days of Christmas … my  dozen favourite things …  If you are planning anything for that date please do link back here via the comments and I may well join in!  Meanwhile pay a visit to Photo111111 to see how the project is growing.

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