And what, you might ask, do Lamb Soup and The Gourmand Awards for Cookbooks have in common? Well, absolutely nothing, save that I am able to kill two birds with one stone by mentioning them both right here, right now.
You see, I have been remiss in not telling you about my nomination, and then (delightful, breathtaking, astonishing) selection as a FINALIST in the Blogger Authors category of The Gourmand Awards last month until now.
The gala dinner is to be held in Paris next month, where the winners will be announced. I am up against the formidable forces of fellow blogger authors from Spain, the UK, Norway and Portugal (read more about it here, and look for me under section A13). And no, sadly I am not flitting over there for the festivities. But I’ll be waiting with baited breath right here at home, you can count on that.
And the second bird? Well, that’s a hale and hearty Roast Lamb and Barley Soup that I just had to share with you. This makes a pot big enough for 6 people, but in our case we’ve chosen not to share it, except with our freezer, where two future dinners for Rob and I are now happily stashed away. Just dandy. We used the remains of our roast lamb from our Christmas party a few weeks ago, which I saved for a time just like this, and which more than stood up to the task. And wherever you are, winter or summer, this will make you smile come rain or shine.
Rustic Roast Lamb & Barley Stew
with Guyere Ciabatta Toasts
Makes 6 servings
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
6-8 bably leeks, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
2 L good quality vegetable or lamb stock
1/2 cup pearled barley
500g lamb roast meat, roughly chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly cubed
1 head broccoli, trimmed into pieces
6 medium-sized courgettes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
Toasted ciabatta slices with gruyere shavings
WHAT TO DO
1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large heavy-based pot until the butter starts to foam. Add in the onion and leeks, turn the heat down to medium-high and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.
2. Add in the stock, barley and lamb meat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
3. Add in the sweet potatoes and butternut and leave to simmer gently for another 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and can be easily pierced with a knife.
4. Add in the broccoli and courgettes, cook for a further 5 minutes, then add in the peas and remove from the heat. Sprinkle over the fresh herbs and serve immediately with the gruyere ciabatta toasts.