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Spring 2010

Spring again, and though we are seeing a few valiant rays of sunshine the weather is still unpredictable. This lamb goulash is warming enough for a chilly evening or light enough for a sunny lunch. Chocolate brownies and this 'grown-up' orange jelly are good whatever the weather. Happy Easter!  E.L.



LAMB & PAPRIKA GOULASH (Serves 6)

You don't need to use the new season's spring lamb for this dish - you may be able to find locally produced hogget or mutton (1-3 year old sheep) which will give you real depth of flavour and can be just as tender.

1kg / 2½ lbs stewing lamb (neck or shoulder) cut into cubes
1 tblsp sweet (mild) paprika
salt and black pepper
3-4 tblsps vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
200g / 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
100ml / 3½ floz water
1 tsp horseradish sauce
small sprig rosemary, finely chopped
2 - 3 sage leaves, shredded
a few mint leaves, shredded (optional)
juice (approx.100ml) & pared zest of one large orange
300ml / 10 floz sour cream or crème fraîche


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / Gas 4 Put the lamb in a large bowl. Sprinkle over the paprika and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to coat the lamb. Heat half the oil in an ovenproof pan and brown the lamb, in batches. Put to one side. Heat the remaining oil and gently fry the onion and mushrooms until soft but not brown. Return the lamb to the pan with the onions and mushrooms then stir in the water, horseradish, herbs, orange juice and half of the orange zest. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook in the pre-heated oven for 1-1½ hours or until lamb is tender. When the lamb is tender, check the seasoning adding more salt and pepper if needed. Stir in two-thirds of the soured cream or crème fraîche, and sprinkle over the remaining orange zest. Serve with rice or cous-cous and the reserved soured cream or crème fraîche.

Recipe: Brigitte Dowling


CHESTNUT CHOCOLATE BROWNIES (Makes 25 brownies)

These brownies are great for people who don't like fruit and nuts in their brownies. The chestnut flavour is subtle but... oh so good! For dessert, serve with lightly whipped cream.

150g / 6 oz butter
200g / 8 oz Continental plain chocolate
2 eggs, beaten
175g / 7 oz caster sugar
125g / 5 oz self raising flour
1 x 250g can chestnut spread (crème de marrons)


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / Gas 4 Grease and line a 25cm square baking tin. Melt the butter and chocolate over a gentle heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggs and caster sugar. Fold in the self-raising flour and when it is all combined pour into the prepared tin. Place spoonfuls of the chestnut spread over the top of the chocolate mixture then, using a knife blade, gently swirl the chestnut spread through the batter. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until just set - it is better to not overcook the brownies - they are meant to be a bit gooey! Cool then cut into squares.

ORANGE & CARDAMOM JELLY

The sherbet-fresh flavour of this jelly will be refreshing after an overdose of Easter chocolate. I buy ready-squeezed fresh orange juice for ease and speed. Don't be put off by using gelatine - leaf gelatine is incredibly easy to use. You can buy it in most supermarkets.

750ml / 1¼ pts freshly squeezed orange juice
8 cardamom pods
grated zest of one clementine or orange
3-4 tblsp caster sugar
6 gelatine leaves, soaked in 600ml cold water


Remove the seeds from the pods and lightly crush the seeds. Place them in a saucepan with the orange juice and sugar. Heat gently and remove from the heat just before it boils. Leave to stand for 10 minutes then stir in the grated zest. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes. Remove the gelatine from the water and squeeze gently. Stir the gelatine into the warm juice and stir until it has dissolved. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a serving bowl or individual glasses. Chill until set.