Last week, the roasts cooked by Dipa and me on Britain’s Best Home Cook were chosen as the judges’s favourites, which was a real thrill: and I was so pleased for Dipa, my wonderful “bench buddy” in the show. So we were given the task of choosing the ingredient for the Ingredients Challenge: crab or cauliflower….
It was exciting to be able to cook a roast: one of my favourite dishes in the world. And as lamb is my favourite meat to roast, so I went for roast leg of lamb stuffed with garlic, rosemary and anchovy.
Served with a Madeira gravy and with lots of trimmings – and with a roast, it is mostly about the accompanying dishes in my book – I was genuinely touched to have received the postive comments from the judges.
My lamb recipe can be found here.
Now I am with Dan in that there has to be roast potatoes with a roast dinner, and while he was initially unsure if I would get crispy potatoes using goose fat, I was please to have won him over. Personally, I would have coked them even longer to get them darker, but time can be a cruel mistress!
We do get to taste each other’s dishes and we could be found diving in as soon as we were able to.
Everyone’s roasts were gorgeous and Katie’s roasted ox heart was a particular revelation: it was the first time I had ever eaten ox heart and I fell in love with it. An inexpensive and tasty ingredient, I have since cooked with it a few times.
Trevor knows his way around meat and his hoggett was delicious: absolutely packed with flavour that good meat (reared by Trevor) should have.
And a massive shout out to Tobi’s salt-baked chicken: very moist and full of flavour, it was heavenly. Cyrus made a gorgeous roast guinea fowl, a bird I must confess I rarely cook with – but this is something I need to remedy! And I could have eaten a pile of Pippa’s crispy hasselback potatoes.
As I type, I have a whole chicken marinading in spices, as Dipa did on the programme, ready to roast later today.
The Ingredients Challenge: crab or cauliflower?
Well, it was not a hard decision for either of Dipa or me as we both love crab.
Actually, I am very partial to cauliflower: it is a great, under-rated and often maligned ingredient.
However, I had made a cauliflower cheese as part of my roast dish, so at that moment cauliflower was not the most exciting choice, but I would have been happy if Dipa had preferred cauliflower.
But a whole crab? Really?
Having chosen crab, I genuinely thought we would get the crab meat ready prepared, so to amble into the kitchen the next day for the Ingredients Challenge and see 7 massive whole crabs in our kitchens, taunting us wickedly, was something of a shock….
Although perhaps I should have anticipated this, with this being a competition!
Crab – it was absolutely the right choice!
Crab: oh what a great ingredient, with so many exciting possibilities.
It was certainly a daunting challenge to get the meat out of the shell, something I don’t recall ever doing before. Still, both Dipa and I stood by our decision – and rightly so!
I had gone into the kitchen with several ideas, bearing in mind we do not know what other ingredients we will get in our fridge and larder.
I plumped for a crab pithivier: white and brown crab meat in a thick white sauce, encased in puff pastry. Served with pickled cucumber and a radicchio salad, I was delighted at how it was received by all of the judges.
I had never made a crab pithivier before, but I have made other pithiviers: actually, my roast chicken left-overs pithivier is one I make a lot. That recipe can be found here.
It was another nail-biting Elimination Round, with apple charlotte being the dish to be made, and it was sad to say goodbye to the very talented Cyrus: a true gentleman and a lovely, lovely chap.
Many of the recipes from Britain’s Best Home Cook can be found on the BBC Food website.
Dishes with crab and/or cauliflower
I have made several dishes over the years, some of which appear on this website.
But this weekend I made various dishes with both crab and cauliflower, though not in the same dish:
- recreating my crab pithivier but as pasties.
- making a version of Trevor’s crab bisque, using brown meat in the bisque
- making a roasted cauliflower curry
- making a cream of cauliflower and Stilton soup
The recipes for the crab bisque and the crab pasties will follow (once I have written them up).
Coming up next week on Britain’s Best Home Cook: our Ultimate Chocolate dish…..