I’ve been quite proud of my expanded dinner repertoire of late. Particularly that most of it does not follow a particular recipe to the letter. For you see, I am one of those home cooks who tend to follow recipes to the letter. I get ansy if I have to change something or leave something out and do not even bother trying to console me if it all goes pear shaped and ends up uneaten or worse… unedible. And yes, those two things are very very different.
Anyway, this is an example of me relaxing the recipe fixation and going with flavours. If I wasn’t watching the fat intake so much I would have lugged over the olive oil for the veggies to roast and then dressed the couscous and veggies in the honey mustard dressing I have come to know and love. But it was delicious all the same.
Lemony lamb with roasted vegetable and couscous salad
- lamb backstrap (as many as you need for as many as you’re feeding)
- lemon pepper
- 1 cup couscous
- pumpkin, cut into chunks
- sweet potato, cut into similar sized chunks as the pumpkin
- eggplant, cut into thick slices (as in, about 1cm thick) and then cut again to similar size pieces as vegetables
- Spanish onions, cut into chunks
- 2 tbls olive oil
- flat-leafed parsley
- 1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
- sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Preheat oven to 220C
- Coat the lamb in the lemon pepper and set aside while you chop the vegetables and get them cooking
- Cook vegetables for about 30 minutes or until getting some good colour and are cooked through.
- Cook the lamb using your preferred method – I would have used the stove top cast iron griddle, but have been using the knock out the fat knock out the flavour non-stick benchtop griller thingy we normally reserve for toasted sandwiches lately and been pleasantly surprised. For starters, meat is done in 3-4 minutes (as it cooks top and bottom), they get the nice ‘lines’ on them and I’m using a lot less fat in my cooking. And it’s easy to clean. I know! – and then let it rest
- Combine the couscous with 1 cup boiling water (I throw in some stock powder to add more flavour) and cover
- Combine the couscous with the vegetables, herbs, zest and juice
- Slice lamb and serve w/ couscous and green veg of choice. I cooked some asparagus on the grill after cooking the lamb as it is in season here at the mo and absolutely delicious.
This is based on a Karen Martini recipe that featured recently in the Sun Herald’s Sunday Life magazine. I reckon you could double the amount of lamb mince and leave the rest of the recipe as is. Just depends on how many you’re feeding and how much you like peas. (I love peas with a passion that is completely misplaced on vegetables.) I also added in the carrots to get another vegetable into the family. I doubled the entire recipe and it made A LOT. I have tubs in the freezer now, which is not a bad thing but don’t say you weren’t warned.
Lebanese style peas and lamb
- 100ml olive oil*
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 250g lamb mince
- 2 carrots, cut into lengths
- 2 tsp dried chilli (I left this out due to Oscar not being able to stomach chilli in any form)
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 1 tsp cracked pepper
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped
- sea salt
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 700ml water
- 750g frozen peas
- to serve: steamed rice, plain yoghurt, lemon juice and fresh mint, finely chopped
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and add onion and garlic
- Add the lamb and brown
- Then add the carrots, spices and tomatoes
- Add the tomato paste, water and peas
- Cook for 20 minutes
- Serve with rice, yoghurt, squeeze over some lemon juice and sprinkle some fresh mint.
*I made it with 2 tsp of oil and it still tasted delicious. I will leave it to you and your waistline to decide which way you go.
So Chef has a new job (here for those of you based in Sydney) which means his going to be home for dinner more nights than not. Two jobs ago this was also the case but I was working full time so it didn’t mean that much. Now, it changes things dramatically. While I always try to rustle up something delicious for dinner, it is a different ‘pressure’ for want of a better word when there are two grown ups at the table. This was last nights effort with which I was pretty pleased.
Sumac lamb with haloumi and chickpea salad
- lamb chops (I used chump chops as I had them in the freezer)
- 1x400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 block haloumi, cut into slices
- mesclun salad mix
- 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 cucumber, cut into rounds
- 2 shallots, sliced
- handful of mint and parsley, chopped finely
- 3/4-1 cup skim milk plain yoghurt
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 lime, finely grated rind and juiced
- Coat the lamb chops liberally in sumac, rub into the meat and set aside
- Heat a griddle pan or ridged fry pan (I used our knock-out-the-fat knock-out-the-flavour grill for the first time, normally we just use it for toasted sandwiches and it actually worked really well)
- Combine the yoghurt with the lime rind, enough of the juice for your personal preference (I used 1/2 the lime), sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Set aside
- Cook the haloumi until it starts to give, cut slices in half and set aside
- Cook the lamb to your liking (I didn’t use any oil as the griddle had some of the fat from the haloumi on it)
- Combine the mesclun, herbs, tomato, cucumber and shallots with the chickpeas and haloumi
- Serve, with some of the yoghurt dressing drizzled over the salad
Well, my version anyway. We had a bizarre cold snap here on Saturday so I capitalised on the last throes of wintery weather with the following. (I even measured out the oil so it’s WW friendly)
The lamb – before
The lamb – after
Moroccan slow roasted lamb shanks
- 2tsp olive oil
- 6 lamb shanks
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks celery
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1tsp ground cumin
- 1tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 2 tbs plain flour
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup dried dates
- 1x4oog tin crushed tomatoes
- pumpkin, cut into chunks
- 1 sweet potato, cut into chunks
- Preheat oven to 160C
- Heat 1tsp of the oil and brown the shanks all over, then place in roasting dish
- Heat remaining oil and sweat down the onion, carrot, celery and garlic
- Add the cumin, coriander, tomato paste and flour and cook for a minute or so
- Add the tinned tomatoes and then fill the can with water three times, adding to the vegetables.
- Add the cinnamon stick and dates
- Pour over the shanks
- Cover tightly and cook for 1.5 hours
- Add the pumpkin and sweet potato, cook covered for half an hour
- Remove cover and cook for final half an hour, turning shanks and pushing pumpkin and potato into juices so they get covered and mooshy.
I served it with some finely chopped coriander and finely grated lemon rind.
* I had some home made concentrated vegetable stock in ice cubes, I normally do a cube to a cup of water, so I threw in about 4 ice cubes to the almost litre of fluid. If you’re using stock powder just follow their instructions or add about a litre of liquid stock.
The jig is up on the roast in our house. Sure, you can get it in the oven early but it’s all the fiddly bits at the end that need to be done as the crescendo of daily domestic life hits its peak that has relegated the standard roast to the dustbin of my meal idea rotation.
But this, this is good. Sublime even. This lamb is officially called Le Gigot D’Agneau De Montgeoffroy – Montgeoffroy-style Leg of Lamb. It was apparently cooked for the Queen Mother in 1981, who then asked the chef to visit Windsor Castle to give her chefs the recipe. Once you’ve made this, you will understand.
Seven hour lamb
- 1 leg of lamb, about 2kg
- few tblsp olive oil
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 onions, sliced
- one bottle dry white wine
- 6-10 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
- bay leaf
- Place the lamb in a baking dish and brush with the oil
- Add the vegetables and pour over the wine
- Marinate for 24 hours*, turning when you remember
- Preheat oven to 120C
- Put some oil in a baking dish over heat and brown the lamb all over
- Pour over all the marinade and some stock (I have used vegetable, chicken and beef in the past, chicken is my preference) until it comes half way up the lamb
- Place in the oven and cook without covering for 7 hours
- Serve in its cooking tray -the meat will just fall away from the bone – use two forks to break it up and turn it to get the juices and marinade ingredients mixed through.
Delicious with a simple green salad tossed in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, salt and pepper. If you have the time, the energy and the inclination it is sensational with potato dauphinois and garlic green beans.
* When I made this on Saturday I hadn’t done this, I just started at point 5. It was still sensational.