Saturday 18 June 2011

Leg of Lamb

We have invited Jay and Julia over. They have fed us a couple of times, the first was a superb, enormous, rib eye of beef, so there is every excuse to push the boat out.

After Dancing I went to the Cowley Road, with my new bike baskets, to East Oxford Market and Alder's for a large leg of lamb.

The Market was great, got runner beans, broad beans and extra large eggs, as planned. What is so nice though is the unplanned purchases: a sour dough loaf, sheep's cheese, a beautiful kohl rabi and other goodies for the picnic tomorrow.

The lamb leg is five and a half pounds (2.45kg).

Following Delia Smith's Baked Lamb with Rosemary.

First make a mix to baste in: Rosemary, olive oil, garlic, sea salt. I added parsley flowers, thyme and quite a bit of ground black pepper. Stab leg twelve times with a thin knife. Smear in aromatic oil mix. I always put a bit of garlic in any stabs I can.

Now it is 5.17pm, aiming to serve at 9.00pm. Need three hours cook/rest time, so only a little while for the aromatic marinade.

We have onions in the garden, so whilst they are not mentioned by Delia, in they go. When prepared the onions are like oversized spring onions, nine of them about six inches long. I am going to add them in the last forty five minutes, that is at minute ninety.

Next: prepare beans.

6.10pm Lamb in - in a roasting dish, with another roasting dish on top upside down to keep it moist. Temperature 125°

Found a Chateau Neuf du Pape (Tescos) 2008 under the stairs; open now. Also put a bottle of Prosecco in the fridge.

Turned out a flower pot of potatoes: nine decent new potatoes and some tinies, padded out with four Jersey Royals and four from the veg box.

7.00pm Turn heat up to 170°

Re-read the recipe, lose faith in Delia. Reluctantly follow.

Ruth has bought a big bunch of Mint, a good scent with elongated leaves, though slightly less shiny green than traditional mint.

Delia wants me to make a redcurrant and white wine vinegar potion and pour over finely chopped mint.

In case this is a rubbish idea I am also going to make normal chopped mint and vinegar.

To start with wash the bunch of mint, then pick through it: remove the young leaves into a pile, put older leaves and stalk into a separate container, either for mint tea at the end of the meal or a pick-me-up tomorrow morning.

We do not have a herb chopper, but we do have 'the biggest Sabatier in the world', bought in my youth when I thought size was important. It rarely gets used these days but is just right for chopping mint.

Found two old jars of red currant jelly, add a little white wine vinegar an dmicrowave for 20 seconds, empty both jars into saucepan.
Same trick with some crystalised mint jelly: just a drop or two of water and microwave, turn out into little pot and put into fridge to cool down.

We are going to have mint jelly, redcurrant jelly and mint and redcurrant jelly

Picked a bowl of red currants.

Heat redcurrant jelly, about 4 table spoons full, with same amount of white wine vinegar (sorry Delia, no red wine vinegar available).

Potatoes on at 8.30pm.

Really chop the mint finely. Pour redcurrant jus over chopped mint.
Pour wine vinegar over other portion of chopped mint.

Take lid off lamb at 8.37pm.
Put temperature up to 200°

Remove from oven and rest for fifteen minutes.

Guests arrive and we have prosecco with red currents in!
Starters Cretan Olives

Ruth has made a pavlova.

Greek delight and halva to pick at.

Coffee and mint tea to finish.