Sunday, 7 October 2007

Bite this Chump!

Lamb for dinner tonight - some big, fat chump chops from the butcher in the next village. I much prefer chump chops to the ubiquitous cutlet chops - more meat, more crisp fat and, ultimately, more flavour. I roasted them, on a rack, over some big sprigs of rosemary and squashed cloves of garlic for 20 minutes at 200°c, then served them up with mashed potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and a rosemary and redcurrant sauce. This easy sauce dresses up a meal like tonight's no end, and makes the most of well-flavoured, good-quality lamb without overpowering it.

Rosemary & Redcurrant Sauce

100g redcurrant jelly
200ml lamb stock
large sprig fresh rosemary

Melt the redcurrant jelly in a small pan and pour in the lamb stock. Add the sprig of rosemary, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Cover the pan if the sauce reduces too much; it should be slightly syrupy, but still liquid. Leave the sauce to cool, then strain out the rosemary and reheat gently. Season to taste and transfer to a sauce boat.

To follow a simple Sunday dinner, what could be better than cake? Chocolate cake at that. I did the chocolate version of my usual Victoria sponge and filled it with a vanilla-laced buttercream. Don't worry, we didn't eat the whole thing - there's plenty left for tomorrow!

Chocolate Sponge

200g soft butter
200g vanilla sugar
4 large eggs
160g self-raising flour
40g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the beaten eggs, one at a time, interspresing them with spoonfuls of flour. Sift in the rest of the flour, the cocoa and baking powder, then beat well until you have smooth batter. Divide the mixture equally between two greased and base-lined 20cm sandwich tins, smooth the surface and bake at 180°c for 20 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool on a rack before removing the base paper.

Vanilla Buttercream

75g soft butter
100g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat everything together, adding a splash of milk as needed to get a soft, 'dropping' consistency. Select the cake layer for the base and place it, upturned, on a serving plate. Spread over the buttercream over the surface of the upturned cake, top with the remaining cake layer and dust with icing sugar to serve.

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