This year is Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year of reign, rather, her Diamond Jubilee. The country is on an adrenalin kick over this and people’s calendars are filling fast with events. There will be events of every scale, be it national, regional or local; some hush-hush and some very public with performers like Sir Paul McCartney. The streets will be buzzing and people will pull out all of their royal memorabilia to add their own touch to the event, making this momentous occasion their own.
Great Britain is one of the few countries left where the royal family plays such an active role in the day to day running of the country. Each time there is a cause for celebration, the country comes together to join in the festivities. When Princess Di and Prince Charles got married, my classroom turned in to a screening room. No academia, no sports, just 5 hours of a wedding celebration in our ‘Sunday best’ and that banana cake! Even today, the slightest whiff of a banana turns me into that 8 year old girl witnessing a fairy tale moment in history, eating soft bites of sweetness, simplicity and humility.
Of course, it is a moment like this one when nostalgia strikes and I am left feeling a little on the outside in New York, just as I did with ‘England’s 2010 World Cup defeat of Germany’. But as they say, ‘keep calm and carry on’ and with that in mind I walked over to meet my friend, fellow Brit and Executive chef of Jones Wood Foundry, Jason Hicks. In the presence of Jason, I feel like a Brit counterfeit as his experience of Hail Britannia is far more authentic than mine. Coming from Stratford-upon-Avon (home to Shakespeare), Jason has grown up breathing the fresh British air from his little cottage, inhaling the roses of the English country garden and cooking with beef drippings and lard. So, if I miss home (London) at times, imagine what it’s like for him. Exchanging notes on meals we consider pucker whilst sitting in his humble British restaurant, it was time to allow the mouth to catch up with the memories. That was when I tasted his lamb rissoles. A mouth filled with moments of ‘temps perdus’ jerking a tear to the eyes, flavors I haven’t been able to recreate with such precision, how he did it is was beyond me.
A dish that is economical and checks the box on sustainable eating, Rissoles are made from leftover meats from a Sunday roast. A take on meatballs but using finely chopped (by knife or food processor) cooked meat and not ground and uncooked, this dish is moist, and intensely flavorful. Pulling together profiles from the already caramelized lamb, onions and garlic along with some Morroccan hints - part of the regular British pantry today- you will be having more than just leftovers for dinner. Jason was generous enough to give me his recipe without holding anything back. I hope you enjoy this as much as me and my family.
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- 1 ½ Lb. roasted leg of Lamb
- 2 tsp. ras el hanout (see note below)
- 4 tbs. natural yogurt
- 25 twists fresh white pepper
- 4tbs. fresh chopped parsley
- 2 tbs. salt
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 5oz. diced onion (just under 1 cup)
- 2 chopped garlic
- 3 whole eggs
- 3 oz. fresh white bread crumbs
- Wondra flour (for dusting)
Combine everything and mix together until completely combined. Heat a saute pan on medium-high. Portion mixture into 4 oz patties and dust with Wondra flour and pan fry until cooked through, about 5 minutes a side.
Serve alongside mashed potatoes
Notes on Ras El Hanout. You can find this popular Moroccan spice blend in an ethnic store or in some grocery stores, or you can make your own version by combining these spices into one jar:
Ras El Hanout
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamon
- 2 teaspoons ground mace
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Saira Malhotra is a classically trained French chef and graduate from the French Culinary Institute. A British born Punjabi, Saira has grown up around food with her family pizza business where she helped spreading tomato sauce and smuggling cheese for her own little stash. Having studied in France and Italy and living in the Big Apple for the past 12 years, Saira has brought her European, Asian and American influences together via the palate and communicated through her food blog: www.passportpantry.com