Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Successful Easter - Roast Lamb et al.

So despite my expectations, it turns out Easter lunch was actually really good, with lots of relaxing fun and good conversations had by all, and I managed to not be stuck in the kitchen the whole time, as everybody else pitched in to help.

For snacks (because I don't think I can spell Hors'd'ouvres) we bought a platter of Vietnamese spring rolls from our favourite Thai restaurant, Thaifoon. Granny-in-law brought fois gras on melba toast. Such a pity that the toast was stale, but no-one else seemed to notice.

We sat down to eat a palm-heart and smoked salmon starter from Wifey's aunt Maryvonne. Despite my oft-stated belief that palm-hearts are more like chopped up bits of wood than a supposed delicacy, on this occassion at least I was proved wrong.

Wifey sorted out the vegetables for the main course (roast potatoes, roast pumpkin, and green beans) which were simple and really good. Mother-in-law bailed me out of having to make gravy. I roasted (on the braai, of course) a few legs of lamb, and actually successfully made a mint sauce (first attempt for me, and I made it just before the guests arrived on the day - no opportunity to stuff up and try it again.)

France brought a collection of different desserts, and cake and such for after lunch.

Everybody thanked us for being such fantastic hosts, they all buggered off home, and I flopped into the sea to let my aching bones recover slightly.

Lots of beer, wine, champagne, wine, and a little coffee, were enjoyed by all.

We succeeded. Now I'm exhausted.

Anyway, the recipe ...

Herbed Roast Leg of Lamb (recipe from Epicurious.com, go look for it there)
Per leg of lamb, mix together ...
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced, and mashed to a paste with 1/4 tspn salt
A lot of finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus some for garnish
A lot of finely chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus some for garnish
1 1/2 tbspn soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper.
Add 2 tbspn of olive oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk until it all becomes one.
Brush the sauce over the roast.
Marinate as such for the night.
I re-brushed the roast with sauce first thing in the morning and once during cooking.
Allow meat to return to room-temperature before cooking.

Cook on a medium to low braai, indirect heat, try not to open the braai lid too often, but also be careful not to burn at the beginning, or let the fire die at the end.

Drink beer while staring at the closed lid of the weber, and tell anyone who asks that you're busy, and can't help with the flowers right now.

I started the fire at 9. Put the meat on at 10 (although this might have been slightly too soon), and took it off the fire at about 12:30. Meat was cooked to well-done, but not overcooked. A meat thermometer would obviously be helpful in this regard, or next time I'll just cook for half an hour less.

Mint Sauce (from taste.com.au)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup castor sugar
Put in pot.
Stir over medium heat for about 5 min. until sugar dissolves.
Bring to boil.
Let simmer softly for about 10 min., letting the liquid reduce by half.
Stir in A Lot of finely chopped fresh mint.
Let sauce cool to room temperature before serving.

This tasted wicked. I'm stoked.

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