I was watching ‘MasterChef: The Professionals’ the other day. MasterChef is bad enough in terms of the sheer terror those poor contestants go through, but being on the show and being a professional chef as well is even worse.
Having the likes of Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg ‘that’s a lovely plate of food’ Wallace tell the head chef of a gastropub in Hampstead Heath that his ‘Pan-fried Duck with Distressed Carrot Salad on a Bed of Infused Cherry Curds with Cognac Reduction’ looks like road kill could do more than dent a bit of pride.
One of the meals prepared was ‘Lamb three ways’. The chef did Shepard’s Pie (in a mini saucepan), a kind of lamb meatball thing (can’t remember exactly what it was) and lamb leg loin. It looked good to me but the judges were harsh and said it didn’t taste of anything much. Of course us viewers wouldn’t know, we just stare at the food whilst munching on nuts and sipping a glass of wine thinking ‘I wish I was eating that rather than these crappy nuts’.
So I decided to do something like what I’d seen. You know ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’. I opted for ‘Cottage Pie with Seared Fillet in a Madeira Sauce, Parsnip Puree Croquettes and Horseradish Cream’. Or ‘Beef, Two Ways’.
As I sit here in a smug ‘I-never-buy-prepackaged-minced-meat’ glow of hubristic self-satisfaction I remind myself of the numerous times I’ve gleefully chowed down on a Big Mac.
Or that time I noticed strange holes and watery bits in the ‘chicken’ in my ‘chicken korma’, which turned out to be injection holes used to plump the meat with brine before shipping from the continent to the wholesalers in south London.
Or the time we found a slug in the prepackaged salad. Or the eyeball in the salmon mousse. Alright the last one is a joke. Haha.
Anyway we nearly always eat Quorn mince in this house so unless they are sticking dogs and cats in that then we feel pretty safe with our lasagne.
And that brings me to my point. Which I don’t have, as regular readers will already be aware. (They just want to see whether I cocked up the cooking in this post). So here is a (not so) quick, easy and delicious Sunday dinner solution – lamb shanks, which I’ve done before but I didn’t like the photo; you couldn’t see the lamb in that one.
Following the Butcher’s Bazaar this weekend I decided to kick off with an oxtail creation. Our recent visit to the BBC Good Food Show in London meant I had come away with a nice collection of recipes, including one from Ash Mair, last year’s winner of Masterchef: The Professionals.
His creation combines oxtail with Pedro Ximenez sherry and serves it with parsnips and pancetta. I didn’t have either of these but I substituted with a different sherry and smoked bacon.