A very good friend of mine and I have mothers that are in heaven, so to remember them and still feel like we were a part of the day, we did a joint motherless mothers day lunch and gathered a few friends.

It was a perfect day with storms battering in on the Atlantic seaboard, with intermittent sunshine. Ideal for large amounts of roasted food and red wine.

This is what I made:

  •  Slow roasted leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic
  • Home made tzatziki
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Mediterranean baby potatoes roasted in rosemary, with a crème fraiche and spring onion dip
  • Cherry and apple crumble with homemade vanilla bean ice cream (this one will get its own post)

When it comes to roasting lamb I land up always doing it this one and only way.  I know I need to branch out, but it works out beautifully every time.  Its Jamie’s ‘Incredible roasted shoulder of lamb’ from his book “Jamie at home”.  The recipe is so in tune with my cooking and eating philosophy around simplicity and fewer ingredients.

The shoulder has less meat than the leg, is cheaper and I think far more tasty and tender than a leg, but yesterday I did leg. When I woke up I hit a panic that the 2kg leg that I had  wouldn’t be enough as 5 out of the 7 guests were men and there is nothing worse for me than not having enough for my boys to tuck into.  And a few of them have well developed appetites. I dashed off to pick up another small deboned one

  • Take a handful of rosemary and break off the cloves of a whole head of garlic, placing half unpeeled in a high sided roasting pan
  • Place the meat on top, generously coat with olive oil, rubbing both sides and seasoning with Maldon salt and black pepper
  • Then place another handful of rosemary and the other half of the garlic cloves on the top of the meat
  • Cover and seal tightly with foil
  • Pre heat your oven to full blast and place the meat in and then immediately turn down to 170degrees c and roast for 4 hours.  I think for the leg you could even go to 5 hours. Do not open or check it just leave it for the duration
garlic and rosemary underneath and on top

When it’s done take the meat out the pan and set aside to rest.  Strain the pan juices to remove the rosemary stalks and bits of garlic.  I then smash the very soft garlic through the sieve.

Carve up the meat and put on a serving platter (with sides) and then pour over the juice (there will be quite a lot).  Succulent, juice and garlicky lamb.

I’m so glad I bought the second piece of meat as even the vegetarian ex Calvin Klein model ate 3 portions.

I made tzatziki by grating a whole English cucumber and placing in a piece of muslin cloth. I then squeezed it into a knot ringing all the liquid out.  You need to do this a few times.  Add this to 500ml of Greek yoghurt (the fuller fat Greek is best here). Crush 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, about 2 teaspoons of dried oregano, a gulp of olive oil and lots of salt and pepper. Taste adjust etc, it’s so delicious with the lamb.

* I sometimes do toasted pitas with the lamb instead of the potatoes and serve with a salad

Roasted vegetables, so easy but I have friends that still battle and ask me how I make.  I follow a few guidelines:

  • Don’t overcrowd the roasting dish as the water content of the veg creates a lot of steam and you don’t want mush
  • For the same reason – keep the veg to one layer and if you need to make a lot spread it out over the flattest biggest tray that can go in the oven
  • Drizzle with oil, but don’t add too much, I find you need just enough to coat and separate, but you still want the slight sticking to the pan when the veggies caramelize and go brown
  • I add courgettes about 15 minutes into the process (they cook faster) and if I do add mushrooms 10 minutes before the end.  I tend to find mushrooms add too much water
  • I always add red onions, never use green peppers and then always just as much contrasting colour as possible
  • I love a bit of root veg like butternut and carrot
  • I sprinkle with dried herbs before and add the salt on afterwards
  • I always slightly overcook vs. undercook and cook in a hot oven of 200 – 210 degrees C
roasting the veggies on a large tray

* When you have a lot of veg that is looking a bit tired and on its way out, roast off and then store in the fridge to use on salads and sandwiches the following days.

Roasted new potatoes:

I love the Mediterranean potatoes and new potatoes from woolies. They have a lovely yellow colour, a beautiful texture and a taste far superior to any other spud I have found in mainstream retail in SA.

Empty into a roasting pan, drizzle over olive oil and dried rosemary and roast at about 200 C (with the vegetables)  for about an hour, every now and again giving the tray a shake.

I made my crème fraiche and spring onion dip by finely slicing up a bunch of spring onions or half a small packet of salad onions (about 40gms) and adding it to one 250gm tub of crème fraiche or sour cream, 3 tablespoons of mayo  and then a LOT of freshly ground black pepper and a bit of salt.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and then coat with the dip and serve.

It is a little bit decadent, but really adds a fantastic extra dimension of flavour to the new potatoes.

*Great with wedges, or potato skins, chips or crisps too.

I would have loved my mom to experience this meal; she was the one that sparked the love of cooking in me, teaching and encouraging me and giving me the freedom to mess up on my own in the kitchen as a child. Thank you for this beautiful gift.

my mom and my gran


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