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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Lobster & Lamb from the Oven straight to the Table, with Nicholas Mosse!

My wife, Nuala, is a Potter, an artist and a very patient woman! We have re-building her pottery in one of the sheds at home for the past few years - it's getting there, I promise! One of her favourite Irish pottery designs has always been that made by Nicholas Mosse in Kilkenny.

She has always loved the simple and delicate designs created by his wife Susan on the country-style shapes of the pottery designed by Nicholas.


So when Lisa McGee, from Nicholas Mosse Pottery, asked me to try out some of their new Ovenware range of Pottery, I looked forward to seeing if it was up to the standard of the old-style ovenware that my aunts used to cook their big hearty casseroles in!

I had a wee plan in my head so I went to see my good friend John McIntyre who now leads the team in the Olde Castle Bar & Restaurant, in Donegal Town, where I used to be the head chef. I wanted to see if these lovely pottery dishes could stand up to the pressures of a modern commercial kitchen.

If they can make it there, as they say, they will make it anywhere!

So I put together two simple dishes that use different temperatures. Both were cooked in a large industrial convection oven in a busy commercial kitchen. One is a simple Lobster & Seafood mixed platter that would be great to serve to a table and everyone can share. The other is the classic slow-braised Lamb Shank dish that has become so popular in Ireland over the last few years.

They are both very easy to make if you have family & friends coming for the holidays and you can up the quantities accordingly.


Grilled Lobster Platter to Share

This dish is easily prepared in advance and kept in the fridge until needed. 
My Ingredients:
One cooked Lobster
4 cooked crab claws
A dozen or so fresh Mussels
white wine
8 Asparagus spears
some melted butter or garlic butter
lemon wedges

My Method:

  1. You can read how to cook & split the lobster here
  2. Peel and cook the asparagus in salted boiling water for 3 minutes
  3. Meanwhile steam open the mussels, over the asparagus, in a colander with a lid on it until they open. Discard any that don't open.
  4. Arrange the lobster, crab, mussels and asparagus in your serving dish and drizzle a little butter over the fish. Cover with tin foil.
  5. When you are ready to serve simple pop the whole lot into a hot oven (190°C) for 3-5 minutes and heat everything up! Yum!

This is an Oval dish with their classic Forget-Me-Not design

Slow Braised Lamb Shanks

My Ingredients:
4 trimmed Lamb Shanks - ask your butcher to trim the bone for you
2 carrots peeled
1 parsnip peeled
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
pinch of thyme
pinch of rosemary
1/2 litre boiling water
large glass red wine
1 teaspoon treacle
1 chicken stock cube
sea salt & black pepper

My Method:
First arrange the lamb shanks in your lovely new ovenware dish!

The juices will reduce down into a wonderfully rich sauce.
  1. Chop the carrot, parsnip & onion into even chunky bite-sized pieces and place on top of the lamb. Peel the garlic and toss in with the veg.
  2. Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water and stir in the treacle (this will sweeten the meat and add a deep bodied colour to your finished sauce). Add the glass of red wine and then pour this over the complete dish. Season with sea salt & black pepper and cover with tin foil.
  3. Cook in a medium oven (160°C) for 3 hours until the meat is falling off the bone and the juices have reduced into a lovely rich sauce. Yum again!


This is a 12" rectangle oven dish with their Red Tulip motif - classy
From the Oven straight to the Table!
Now I know that most pottery is fired to about 1300°C for its final glaze firing - but we all still feel a wee bit cautious of putting our lovely new dishes into even an ordinary oven at home. So I was delighted to see how the Nicholas Mosse ovenware coped excellently with the more intense convection ovens of an industrial kitchen environment. 

Their Ovenware is available in 5 different shapes and is the first range from Nicholas Mosse that can truly go from oven to table. The high temperature of the final glazing makes them very easy to clean even if the sauce may have cooked hard onto the dish!

The Ovenware is available in 5 different shapes & designs
John the chef was so impressed with the way the simple Lobster Seafood dish presented, that they are thinking of putting it on their own menu as a "straight from the oven" seafood platter!

The potter himself Nicholas Mosse 
Nicholas Mosse Pottery was established by Nicholas in 1976. Irish spongeware was the traditional pottery of Ireland used in the 18th Century and his wife Susan creates all their colourful designs. Their pottery & shop is based in Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.

For more information on their new Oven-to-Table Ware and their other wide range of beautiful things, go to http://www.nicholasmosse.com/ 
or visit their blog at http://nicholasmosse.blogspot.com/


zack

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