I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

July 28, 2011

An Anatomy Lesson

How are you at map reading Dear Readers?

When I use a map I've got the kind of mind that needs to feel out the route- this involves turning the map around and around and swaying in the direction indicated as I try and get a feel for it.

This annoys BigJ, he can take one quick look at the map, turn himself around 20 times until he's dizzy, point directly to magnetic north and be at the destination in record time avoiding all tolls and speed cameras along the way. He finds my map dance embarrassing and never lets me drive with him in the car- Or give him directions.

Now, I'm a bit obsessed with shoulders at the moment.

Mine is having issues and although I've googled and read, been to Doctors and had it explained, I still needed to 'see' it for myself. Looking in the mirror and wriggling my good shoulder didn't really help that much, I needed to see where things were and what they do inside. Hmmm... OK off to the markets, result- one lamb shoulder ready to go!

Now my butchery techniques are very basic and my knife skills aren't at their best with a bung shoulder so bear with me guys as we explore the mysteries that lie within.....

My, what a lovely looking shoulder you have my dear

The shoulder uncovered

Underside of shoulder- i guess that's the inside really

Look how perfectly this supports and covers the shoulder blade, such a pity I ripped mine

Big tendons in the joint- I've got a tear in one of these :(

Tissue holding the joint together- The Dr thinks I've pulled some of that off the bone :(

Ball and socket joint, very shallow in the shoulder.This seems to be having issues too.Very clunky and sticks :(

I know that my anatomy varies slightly from that of a sheep (well I hope anyway!)but that helps me understand things a bit better. I couldn't see some of the other bits that I'm having trouble with as well, but that seems to have covered most of them. Ultrasounds, CT scans, Xrays, and MRIs are all very well for the Surgeon- and he has all mine to go off, but I'm a chef and I understand food so much better! BigJ thinks that I'm totally strange doing this experiment, and I seem to have embarrassed him yet again, but I think he should be grateful I found a way to satisfy my curiosity!

Well, now that I've had my fun, I really need to do something with the lamb. Because of all those connective tissues and stuff we saw the best way to cook it is long and low, braising will be the perfect solution.

Braising Mix

1 sachet/ 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 bottle of Tomato Passata or tin of crushed tomatoes
Good glass of wine- I used white but red is good too
1 onion roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
Herbs of choice- thyme, rosemary
Salt and Pepper

Mix all these together and place in a pan big enough to fit the lamb, but small enough that they fit snugly.

Nestle in the pieces of meat, and make sure that they're mostly covered by the tomato mix. If you need some more liquid add in a bit more wine, or stock or even water.

Cover the dish closely with a lid or alfoil.

Bake in a 160* oven for about 3 hours. Turn them over about halfway through.

I enjoyed my meal of shoulder with some Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti... ;) and it was Delicious!

So Dear Readers, do you need to turn the map when you navigate and do a little map-dance like me?


  1. BigJ should be VERY pleased that you satisfied your curiosity with a cut of lamb instead of the Hannibal Lector style!

    When driving I am more like your husband. I have even followed directions that include how many rods from the tree stump in front of the white barn that isn't there any more.

  2. I am not so good with maps. Neither am I good at anatomy of a sheep.

  3. İ am good with directions and usually dont end up getting lost, not like some in my family. My husband is terrible with directions he tries to tell me where things are and gets lost - I have to tell him just to trust me and viola we end up at the right place. Are they going to operate or just braise you in wine?

  4. You are too funny! And no don't ask me about maps. I am just glad the GPS that talks was invented.

  5. I'm like you - I do the dance, then I'm good to go. My husband is HOPELESS with maps and directions (he'd dyslexic, so can't do the right/left thing)
    I love your curiosity, and probably would've done something similar (much nicer than googling all the human details)
    And I love Simcha's question :-)
    PS I embarrass my husband on a regular basis - keeps them on their toes! :-)

  6. Girlfriend, you are hysterically funny! I hope the shoulder sorts itself out soon though, and I'm sorry it's giving you grief..

  7. I loooove your experiment, i'm a scientist so i get this! Really hope yours recovers ok. and i like to turn my map to read it too!

  8. sounds delicious as usual, although I rarely need enough meat to get a shoulder- with only two of us- but this looks great. P.s maps and I do not mix. C says he could put a paper bag on my head, spin me around three times and I wouldn't know where I was.

  9. Oh you make me laugh dear girl. I can picture you turning the map around in your hands, swaying to the direction you need to go. :) Great post Bec, very informative, I totally need to touch up on the boning. :( It was the hardest part of my apprenticeship, all the meat. Blehhhhh. Great recipe, although I'd sub the lamb for beef. Mmmmmmm

  10. Gorgeous tutorial, thanks and a lovely warming recipe, too. I love to slow roast lamb shoulders with lots of cumin and coriander and serve it with a pile of veggies roasted with ras el hanout.
    Excuse me - I have to go and get something to eat now, I'm starving!

  11. Aww.. hope you feel much better and that your bung shoulder is healing! And no it's not odd that you need to "see" to get absorb.

    However, I am super good with maps :P

    And no, not disturbing at all that you butchered that lamb shoulder to study it and then cook it... hungry!!

  12. Map turning is often said to have to do with male vs female brain physiology. I'm good at mental rotating, but I still am a map turner. So what.

    My weirdest anatomy experience with food was at a hotel in Tunesia where I stayed with friends a coiple of years ago, and one of them was a doctor and took pleasure in identifying the different kinds of offals in her stew. (I didn't touch that stew.)

  13. Hello Lovelies! How is winter treating you? We've gone from our coldest day in 8 yrs to temperatures about 8* warmer than average, I don't know whether to make stews or icecream- hmmm.. maybe both?

    Judy- I think so too! Those sound like country directions, where each mile is equal to about 5! I'm certainly impressed.

    Simcha- Well I guess some of your family are more ornamental than mechanical! I don't think any braising will be involved, but maybe I could consume as much as possible beforehand so I don't feel as much pain after?

    Lorraine- Thank God for the GPS! Before we got ours, I would write directions on post-it-notes and stick them to the windscreen!

    Ninehundredandseventytwelverecipes- My husband yells "your other right!!!" when he gives me directions, he just doesn't understand why I can't get it. Simcha has me worried with that question!:) I love keeping my husband and my kids on their toes, this week I told littlej that Newtons 2nd law was 'never eat more than you can lift' and she asked her science teacher if that was true!

    Celia- Thanks sweetie, me too! I see the surgeon next month and we'll see then I guess. I've made myself the funkiest sling out of pink fluffy fabric though :)

    Muppy- Thanks, I'm glad that even our best and brightest need to turn-the-map too! Obviously we have very 'special' brains :)

    GastronomyGal- My husband is a real carnivore, I have to make sure I always cook extra! I know what you mean :)

    Amanda- Oooh yummy! I love middle eastern flavours. Do you make your own blend of ras el hanout or use a mix? I love lamb with sticky pomegranate molasass and spices too.

    Msihua- Thanks, it's just a matter of time I guess. I guess it does sound strange when you put it that way!

    Kath- That's interesting! I had a male friend who got vertigo and when he took prescription medications it stopped him being able to do his job as a carpenter as he had always been able to work out the way things fit in his mind. He couldn't do any more mental rotating so went off the meds and went back to normal!
    I don't blame you, some things should just remain a secret.

    Thankyou for all your kind comments lovlies, a surgeon once told me "The art of medicine is keeping the patient amused while searching for results" Do you agree?