I love it when a plan comes together and you can enjoy the fruits of your labour in the vegetable garden and kitchen in one slap-up meal.
We had friends and family over for Sunday lunch and rather extravagantly cooked both a leg and a shoulder of lamb from my favourite sheep farmer Jimmy Denny.
We roasted the leg in the conventional way, slathering it with a wholegrain mustard and butter crust.
The shoulder went into the barbecue, studded with garlic and rosemary, to be slow roasted with onions and carrots and 300ml of water until it was falling off the bone.
It was all delicious, as Jimmy’s lamb always is, although I should have cooked the leg a bit pinker.
We served it with runner beans and peas from the garden, roast potatoes, gravy made from the pan juices with a good slug of Marsala, mint sauce and home-made quince and redcurrant jellies (redcurrant jelly recipe here).
To start we had a griddled courgette salad with feta (recipe here), plates of salami and chorizo and a few quails’ eggs and radishes to dip in salt.
For dessert we had summer pudding and rhubarb parfait (recipe here), followed by a selection of cheeses, all washed down by sauvignon blanc and rioja. Oh, and non-drinkers could enjoy our home-made lemonade (recipe here).
I had to go to bed after our guests had left to sleep it all off.
Lamb and leftovers
There was quite a bit of lamb left over at the end of the meal, even though most of us had seconds. And that brings me to the second part of this post.
We ate juicy cold lamb with salads and home-made chutneys for lunch the next day.
Then we had to get a bit more creative. My sister in law Sarah made a fantastic Moroccan-inspired lamb and aubergine stew.
Lamb and Aubergine Stew
About 1lb (450g) of cooked lamb, preferably cooked pink, cut into large bite-sized chunks
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 small aubergines, cut into chunks
Half a large jar of grilled red peppers (fresh ones don’t work half as well, oddly), sliced in 1/4″ ribbons
1 tin of good quality tomatoes or a jar of tomato passata
About a heaped dessertspoon of harissa (you can buy it commercially but I’ll be giving a recipe here soon)
6 whole green cardamoms, lightly crushed
1 heaped tspn of ground cumin
1 heaped tspn of cumin seeds
1 cup of water
Oil, salt and pepper
Fresh coriander to garnish, roughly chopped
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.
Meanwhile cook the chunks of aubergine under a hot grill (with a splash of oil) until they’re browning and beginning to char at the edges.
Add the aubergines to the onion mix in the pan, then add the cardamoms and cumin. Stir well and continue to cook for a minute.
Add the tomatoes or tomato passata, the peppers and the harissa and season to taste.
Cook until you have a thick jammy sauce, adding water if necessary.
Add the chunks of lamb in the final minutes of cooking and ensure the meat is heated through thoroughly. Garnish with fresh coriander.
The rest of the lamb went into spicy rissoles, served with a sauce made from the rest of the jar of peppers cooked up with fresh tomatoes, spring onions, garlic and a spoonful of harissa.
1lb (450g) cooked lamb, minced or chopped finely
1 large or 2 medium onions, very finely chopped (or whizzed in a food processor)
A handful of breadcrumbs
1-2 tspn ground cumin (to taste)
1-2 tspn ground coriander (to taste)
A shake of cayenne pepper
A good handful of chopped fresh parsley or coriander
Salt and pepper, seasoned flour, oil
Mix all the ingredients except the flour and oil in a large bowl and season to taste.
Form into balls a bit bigger than a golf ball, flatten slightly and dip in seasoned flour.
Shallow fry in hot oil in batches (don’t crowd the pan) until browned all over.
And finally, our friends’ dog Poppy got the lamb bones, so everyone was happy.