Day Five on the Advent Calendar
North Country Mutton Hotpot
St Nicholas’ Eve
“Originally children left hay and straw for St. Nicholas’ horse, but now they simply put a shoe, clog or boot outside their bedroom door, window or by the fireplace on the evening of 5th of December, hoping to find it full of sweets, biscuits, chocolate money, nuts and fruit the next morning.”
Window number five is a
I was lucky enough to be sent a sample of Norfolk Punch recently and thus many arguments ensued in our household, so much so, that the bottle was finally hidden! Why you may be wondering? Well, we all LOVED this non-alcoholic herbal beverage so much that we were all slurping it on a daily basis……..and I wanted to save some for a recipe that I am developing that uses this magical potion; so stealth tactics and a hiding place were put into action. Our collective tasting results were pretty unanimous, and here they are:
We all tried a glass of this herbal punch at room temperature, but it really comes into its own when heated; when the punch is gently warmed in a saucepan, as a nightcap, we all found it a warming and very soothing drink.
The complex flavours of the herbs and spices are subtle but complement each other and are not overpowering. As we were tasting and reviewing the Original version of this punch, we all noticed it had very strong and tangy citrus notes, which was most refreshing. The verdict is, hide the bottle before buying some more! It is simply wonderful and very addictive. I am posting a new recipe soon that incorporates this beverage in a special and very festive dish.
With a big thanks to Ranald for sending me this sample bottle to try and review. Here is some more information about this unique beverage:
About Norfolk Punch:
Non Alcoholic Herbal Drink
Norfolk Punch Ingredients:
Back to a non liquid treat ~ I have been promising some more comfort food recently and so I am sharing a classic with you today, a Hotpot. Now I have been careful not to call this a Lancashire Hotpot, as I do not want to fall foul of the Lancashire Hotpot police……those doyennes and keepers of the sacred recipe who scour Blogland in order to search out fake hotpots; therefore I have called it a North Country Hotpot in the manner of all types of casseroles that are made North of the Watford Gap, from Panackelty in the North East to the famous Lancashire Hotpot across the Pennines. It is simple, hearty and pure winter comfort food.
It’s a favourite one pot meal in our house, although, I did serve some steamed Savoy cabbage with this today, all buttery and seasoned with black pepper…….divine. I normally make this recipe with lamb, but I bagged an amazing bargain the other day, a front quarter of fresh mutton, of which part of the package contained neck of lamb and assorted chops. This recipe is perfect for all those cheaper cuts of mutton as I cooked very slowly in my wood-burning stove. (I have given normal cooking times and temperatures in the recipe below.)
Cheap cuts do not mean no flavour ~ this was packed with flavour and nothing else was needed to serve alongside it, apart from my craving for greens……..I imagine that if you were serving this to some very hearty and hungry guests, that a doorstop or three of bread would not go amiss, especially for essential gravy mopping. Yes, as you will have gleaned already, this is not Haute Cuisine or Fine Dining, it is what it is, a simple and traditional British hotpot and is all the better for that reason; it has no airs and graces and a tankard of ale would be more in keeping with this meal than a glass of wine. I hope that at winter progresses you will enjoy this recipe as much as have done over many years…..I give you The North Country Mutton Hotpot!
I will back tomorrow with more seasonal treats…..
North Country Mutton Hotpot
(Serves 4 people)
4 mutton neck chops, or chump chops
3 onions, peeled and cut into wedges
3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut in to rounds
4 garlic cloves, peeled, cut in half
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6-8 small potatoes, peeled and cut into slicesMETHOD:
Preheat the oven to 170C/350F/Gas 4.
Put the mutton chops, carrots, onions and garlic into an oven-proof casserole dish, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the potato slices on top and pour in just enough water to cover the contents.Cut out some greaseproof paper to the same size and shape as the inside of the dish. Place the paper over the mutton and vegetables, then cover with the lid.
Cook in the preheated oven for two hours, or until the meat is tender, taking of the lid and paper for the last 20 minutes. Serve with steamed fresh greens.