Lamb Stew

Came across this recipe the other day while testing out my new Chromecast device – and watched Gennaro Contaldo in Malta make this dish on Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube.
The following day I stopped in at the ACME Meat Market on 76th Ave, and they kindly fixed me up with a couple couple pounds of lamb shoulder (raised in the Tofield area), all cut up nicely into perfect stew sized chunks. (They also had some Guanciale, which I’m going to use in a couple days to make some Real Carbonara.)

Fantastic!
Fantastic!

Lamb Stew
Recipe Type: Main course
Author: Gennaro Contaldo
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 x 1kg lamb shoulder, cut into 4cm chunks
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 5 anchovy fillets in oil
  • 1 carrot, trimmed
  • 1 stick of celery, trimmed
  • 2 medium onions, peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • ½ a small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 250ml white wine
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar (I used balsamic)
  • 500g potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 200g ripe baby plum tomatoes
  • 250ml hot vegetable stock, preferably organic (optional)
  • 250g fresh peas
Instructions
  1. Season the lamb well with salt and pepper, then set aside.
  2. Place a large casserole pan over a medium heat with a splash of olive oil and the anchovies. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until melted, stirring continuously, then add the lamb and cook for a further few minutes, or until browned and sealed all over, stirring often.
  3. Meanwhile, roughly chop the carrot, celery and onions, then add to the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Peel and crush the garlic with the palm of your hand and halve the chilli, then add to the pan with the thyme sprigs and wine.
  5. Turn the heat up to high and allow the liquid to boil and bubble away until reduced by half, then reduce the heat to low, add the vinegar and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, chop the potatoes into 3cm chunks. Add to the pan with the whole plum tomatoes and hot stock or water.
  7. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the stew has thickened and reduced.
  8. Stir in the peas with a good splash of water and cook for a further few minutes, then serve with a wedge of rustic bread to mop up the juices.

Just realized that I forgot to add the pepper!  Oh well, it was still very good, and I now have an excuse to make it again soon – and not forgetting the pepper!
 

Need more jars!

still have more to go!
still have more to go!

Bought 3 dozen 125ml canning jars – but still have some more spices to get into the new jars – so I think I’ll get a dozen more. The can of chalkboard paint would probably do 100 dozen!
My daughter and I had a challenging time getting some of the spice names to fit – but it was fun.  We’ll have to be careful not to rub the names off too!
One thing I’ll have to remember is to burnish the painters tape down along the label edge. I’m also going to see if I can’t source a better quality chalk – one that might allow for a little better control, and maybe add some colour! 
After painting the 4 coats of chalkboard paint on the 36 jars, I came across these DIY Chalkboard stickers at Thinkgeek.com.  These might be an even better approach!

Spice storage

The array of spices that we’ve acquired over the past while seems crazy – especially with my interest in all the different Asian dishes (Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, etc).  Last count, I think I had around 60 bottles (!!!) of different herbs & spices, and various blends.  I’ve been trying to come up with a better, more accessible means of storing them – and thought that small mason jars might be a good choice.  So, off to Google, and came back with this great idea!  Blackboard paint and mason jars – perfect!
Mason jars - perfect for storing spices
On another blog, the recommendation is to use a brushable blackboard paint – for better control, and less mess.  I like this – as I can do it in the house then!
I’ll have to practice my chalk writing so the jars look as good as these!
Think I might use shelves to hold all the mason jars – I think the color of the spices would be great out in the open, as well as make sure they are readily accessible.

New Aquarium

IMG_0424Last year my son decided he wanted an aquarium, so we bought a 30 gallon setup on Kijiji. I helped him set it up – and unfortunately, he insisted on having it in his room – and after a couple months it became neglected, half full of water, and dark green with algae.
So one evening a month or so ago, we moved it downstairs and into the living room – where it gets a bit more attention, and the fish get fed. 🙂  A few more dollars have been spent on better lighting, and a better substrate for plants.
He had 6 catfish already – 4 different kinds of Cory’s (2 panda’s, 2 peppered, 1 albino, and 1 leopard), and we added 9 fancy guppies (3 male red metal delta tails, and 6 females – not sure what kind they all are) to the mix.  There are now 5 or 6 additional guppies as well. We’ll probably add a school of neon or cardinal tetras – I’ve read that they like softer water, so I think they would do well.
guppies2

Albino, Panda, Peppered and Leopard Corydoras

Trying to get some really good plant growth happening in the tank – but I’m not sure that our softened water is all that conducive to lush plant growth.  I’ll just keep trying different plants until we get a combination that works!
The tank is currently filtered using an in tank model – but I think that will get replaced in the near future with an external canister model – something that will get a little more flow.