Cooking Classes


The Best Recipe....Is No Recipe at All!

This is chef Michael Smith's byline but it is so true in this challenge.  We were given a mystery box of ingredients to come up with some wonderful food.

Our April 2012 Daring Cooks hosts were David & Karen from Twenty-Fingered Cooking. They presented us with a very daring and unique challenge of forming our own recipes by using a set list of ingredients!

The challenge, should you choose to take it, is to take one ingredient from each of these lists, and make a new recipe.

List 1: Parsnips, Eggplant, Cauliflower
List 2: Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese, Chipotle Peppers
List 3: Maple syrup, Instant coffee, Bananas

I chose to use cauliflower, instant coffee and chipotle peppers in this dinner.  May I present Black Welsh lamb dredged in a coffee, chocolate and chipotle spice mixture.  Sear this in a cast iron pan and finish in a 350F oven until it reaches your desired doneness.

To accompany this, I have a cauliflower and potato mash and a celeriac salad.

The Black Welsh lamb has a distinctly different flavour that is stronger but not more lamb-y.  I don't know quite how to describe it.  But I do like it.  The rub was amazing.  It did not taste of either coffee or chocolate nor strongly chipotle.  The sum is greater than the parts in this recipe.  There was a nice amount of heat and earthiness.  I would definitely use this rub again.  Perhaps with beef.

Spice Rub

3 Tb. finely ground coffee or espresso
1 Tb. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tb. sugar
2 Tb. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. ground chipotle pepper
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. kosher salt

Swirl this together in a coffee grinder or similar appliance.  Dry the lamb chops and dredge in this mixture.  Heat a pan to medium high with 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Sear the lamb chops on both sides and place in a 350F oven until they are cooked to your liking.

Serve with cauliflower potato mash and celeriac salad.

Celeriac Salad

Peel the celery root and then shave the fleshy part.  Discard the woody interior.  Make a dressing of 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon capers, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar and 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley.  Toss with the shaved celeriac.

Cauliflower Potato Mash

Saute cauliflower florets in ample butter until tender.  Boil an equal amount of potatoes in water until tender.  Mash the cauliflower and add potatoes.  Mash until evenly mixed.  Serve hot.


  1. What a fun challenge! I love the rub you've created, great flavors that compliment each other so well. It would be delicious on a steak (as lamb isn't accessible for me). Beautiful dish as always Sarah!

  2. This is a very creative dish Sarah. Cooking without a recipe has taken years to develop, but sometimes I get the flavour profile right.

  3. Ah, so you can add some meat to these 3 ingredients, I was looking at the list and thinking cauliflower, peppers and banana, but my imagination stopped right there! Diane

  4. Wow, we were on similar wave lengths! I did a coffee rub and a cauliflower mash with one of my dishes. I loved it so much, now I'll have to try the coffee, chocolate, chipotle combo on some of my lamb!

  5. Sounds like a great rub with the coffee and cocoa in there.

  6. What an interesting challenge, Sarah! I think you made a great choice, too. That coffee rub sounds wonderful. Is black Welsh lamb available everywhere? I don't think I've ever seen it.

  7. Delicious! Love the rub you made for the lamb!

  8. Very creative challenge! I love your dish.

  9. This sounds like a fun challenge! The coffee and chipotle rub sounds delicious too. Great choices!


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