A walk in the countryside

Nothing blows the cobwebs away like a walk on a crisp November morning.

This morning I walked just over 5 miles around the small village of North Rauceby in Lincolnshire. Somewhere beyond the mist, the sun was shining, and the temperature was a comfortable 8C.

Details of the walk were obtained from the VisitLincolnshire website, the instructions were simple to follow, the route well marked and mostly on country lanes or tracks. Click here to see details of my walk, including a 3D flyover (you’ll need the Google Earth plugin within your web browser to see this!)

The real bonus was I burned nearly 600 calories, more than offsetting the sausage McMuffin I had for breakfast yesterday!

 

 

Sunday Lunch

Today’s lunch, with rosemary roast potatoes, home-grown carrots and runner beans. Delicious!

 

Leg-of-lamb

 

Roast Leg of Lamb

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 150mins
  • Difficulty: Medium
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 Ingredients

 1 leg of lamb, weighing 5 lb (2.25 kg)
 1 small onion, peeled and sliced
 a few sprigs fresh rosemary, to garnish
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the Shrewsbury sauce:
 2 level tablespoons plain flour
 1 heaped teaspoon mustard powder
 1 pint (570 ml) Beaujolais or other light red wine
 5 rounded tablespoons good-quality redcurrant jelly, such as Tiptree
 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
 juice 1 lemon
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C).

Method

First of all, place the meat in the roasting tin, tucking the slices of onion beneath it. Season the surface with salt and freshly milled black pepper, then place it, uncovered, in the pre-heated oven on the middle shelf. Roast for 30 minutes per lb (450 g) – for a 5lb (2.25 kg) leg this will be 2½ hours. Make sure that you baste the lamb at least 3 times while it is cooking, as this will help keep it juicy and succulent. If you like to serve your lamb quite pink, give it 30 minutes less cooking time. To tell if the lamb is cooked to your liking, insert a skewer into the centre, remove it, then press the flat of the skewer against the meat: as the juice runs out, you will see to what degree the meat is cooked – the pinker the juice, the rarer the meat.

When it is cooked as you like it, remove it to a carving board and keep it in a warm place to rest for 30 minutes. Now, to make the sauce, spoon off any surplus fat from the roasting tin, tipping it to one side and allowing the fat to separate from the juices; you need to leave about 2 tablespoons of fat behind.

Now place the tin over a direct heat turned to low and stir in the flour and mustard powder until you have a smooth paste that has soaked up all the fat and juices. Next, add the wine, a little at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon after each addition. Halfway through, switch from the spoon to a whisk and continue to whisk until all the wine has been incorporated.

Now simply add the redcurrant jelly, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and seasoning, then whisk again until the jelly has dissolved. Now turn the heat to its lowest setting and let the sauce gently bubble and reduce for about 15 minutes, then pour it into a warm serving jug. Carve the lamb, garnish with the rosemary, pour a little of the sauce over and hand the rest round separately.

Flying squirrel

Just to prove the RSPB squirrel-proof feeders are no such thing……

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He’s launching himself off the tree trunk, across a 3 foot gap to hit the suspended feeder and shake out the loose sunflower hearts that sit in the tray at the bottom.

Spice up your life….

A recipe we tried for the first time today, and thought it worth sharing. So easy, and really tasty.

Mexican Beef Bake

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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 mexican-beef-bake-topped-with-tortilla-chips-and-cheese-de_496_496_90

Ingredients

  • 1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 500g pack beef mince
  • 1-2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 410g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Large handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 100g (3½oz) tortilla chips (we used a lightly salted flavour)
  • 50g (2oz) mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Sour cream, to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and gently cook the onion until softened, about 10min. Turn up the heat and stir in the beef and cook until all the meat is well browned, about 10min.
  2. Add the chillies, tomatoes, kidney beans and plenty of seasoning and cook for 5min. Stir in the coriander and check the seasoning. Empty mixture into a heatproof serving dish.
  3. Preheat grill to medium. Top the beef mixture with the tortilla chips and cheese. Grill until piping hot and cheese is melted and golden. Serve immediately with some sour cream and a crisp green salad.