Family friendly food - Winter 2007
When it’s the middle of a cold winter, there is no better meal to feed a growing family than Mum’s Roast Lamb…and for afters, the dessert classic Lemon Delicious – a healthy balanced meal that will satisfy the hungriest child in the family.
Garlic and herb crusted roast lamb with crispy spuds and onion gravy
1 boneless leg of lamb
3 full heads of garlic
1 tspn seeded mustard
juice 1 lemon
salt and pepper
4-5 medium potatoes
2 large onions, peeled
1 tblspn flour
1/2 cup white wine
2 tblspns white balsamic vinegar
time: 15-20 minutes active roasting: 25-30 mins per 500gms
The beauty of a small, boneless roast lamb is that you can fit the spuds in the same dish as the roast and the meal becomes a one-pan wonder! A 1.5kg roast will feed 4 with leftovers. I bake it high, 220C as this gets the crust nice and crispy and by the time that the lamb is roasted to medium rare, the spuds are done to perfection.
If you buy a much larger roast or like your lamb a little more well done, then you might consider popping the potatoes into the pan a little later...say 30 mins after the roast starts. You should also lower the oven temperature so that the outside of the lamb isn't overdone before the centre cooks.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C
- The crust: Place 12 peeled cloves of garlic (about 1 full head) into a blender or food processor with about 1 tblspn of fresh rosemary leaves, a fistful of mint leaves, 1 tblspn seeded mustard, 2 tblspns salt, 1 tspn fresh ground pepper, lemon juice and a splash of about 3 tblspns of olive oil. Blend to a paste. You might add 1 tblspn of flour.
- Slice the onions across into 1 inch thick 'steaks' and place these in the centre of the baking pan.
- Place the lamb on top of the onions. Spread the garlic herb paste over the top of the roast and rub it in slightly.
- Slice each potato (unpeeled) into 3 and place these around the lamb.
- Slice the tops off 2 heads of garlic and add them to the pan also.
- Sprinkle salt over everything and douse it all with olive oil.
- Place in the oven and cook for 25-30 per 500gms (for a medium rare roast). The cooking time is a little longer because the roast is not cooked on a rack and the heat circulation is minimized, also the vegetables (and anything else in the oven) will lengthen cooking times. You might need to put a strip of aluminium foil over the top of the lamb if the crust starts to burn.
- Baste the meat and potatoes about half way through the cooking time.
- When the lamb is done, remove it to a plate and cover it with foil. It needs to sit, covered, for at least 20 minutes. This gives you time to finish the potatoes and make the gravy.
- Make sure the potatoes are tossed through the oil and meat juices, crank the oven up to 250C and let them sizzle away for an extra 15 minutes.
- Remove the potatoes and garlic and place them on a serving platter around the lamb. The onions can also be served up this way, or left in the pan to make onion gravy.
- Place the baking pan onto the stove top over a medium heat, add the flour and stir it into the cooking juices until it has blended. Add the wine and vinegar and a little salt. Bring to a boil. If the gravy gets too thick add a little more wine or water. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes and pour into a serving dish.
- Serve this roast with a big bowl of buttery peas and a cauliflower cheese!
Daphne, the delicious lemon souffle!
3 tblspns butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup self raising flour
juice and zest 2 lemons
3 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
time: 15 minutes active
baking: 50-55 mins
This simple, lovely and easy dessert has always been a favourite in our home. My mum used to make her 'lemon delicious pudding' whilst the Sunday roast was cooking. She'd slip it into the oven when she took the meat out and, by the time that we were done with dinner, it was filling the house and our hearts with its sweet, citrusy aroma.
The magic trick that it performed in the oven was that the top would rise and bake as light as a sponge cake, whilst in the bottom of the dish lurked a lush and velvety lemon custard. I still haven't worked out how that happens, but it hasn't stopped me from baking this dessert over and over!
- Start by pre heating your oven to 170C and buttering your baking dish. If it has low sides, you might want to line the sides with buttered baking sheets
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the flour and lemon zest and juice.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and milk.
- Using electric beaters, whip the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl. Add a pinch of salt and beat them until they are foamy and hold their peaks.
- Add the yolks and milk to the creamed butter and sugar, spoon about 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into this mix and stir through. Add the rest of the egg whites and fold gently through the batter.
- Pour this mix into your baking dish and place it in a water bath (ie: have a larger baking pan filled with about 1/2 inch of boiling water and place the pudding into this pan).
- Bake for 50 minutes, until the top is lightly golden brown and crisp.
- Serve dusted with icing sugar and wanton amounts of cream!
Here’s a quick, tasty pasta dish that busy working mothers can throw together for those late week nights when you’ve run out of inspiration but can’t face making yet another pasta bolognaise!
Farfalle with Basil, Prosciutto and Peas
150g sliced prosciutto
500g frozen peas
750g canned tomatoes (preferably chopped / diced)
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh basil
salt and pepper
500g farfalle noodles
- Fill a large saucepan with water, cover and bring to the boil.
- Heat a good splash of olive oil in the bottom of a large skillet, peel and crush the garlic cloves and add them to the oil.
- Chop the prosciutto into 2cm cubes and add to the skillet.
- Chop a good fistful of basil leaves and add to the skillet.
- Season with freshly ground black pepper.
- Add the can of tomatoes, juice and all.
- Add the frozen peas and bring the sauce back to a low simmer, lower the heat and let it simmer away.
- By now the water should be at the boil in the pot, add salt and pour in the pasta shells. Allow the water to come back to a rapid boil.
- The sauce in the skillet should simmer down until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (don't worry; this will all happen in the time that it takes to cook the pasta!). Taste it; you might need to add salt or more pepper. Depending upon the tomatoes, you might also add up to a teaspoon of sugar or, for a smoky taste, some paprika.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the skillet with the sauce. Stir the noodles through to coat them well. Add another fistful of chopped basil and some shavings of parmesan sauce.
Luxe it up
Instead of using farfalle noodles, use gnocchi. Follow the steps above, but add an extra cup of tomatoes or tomato puree to the sauce and boil up 1kg of gnocchi. Let the gnocchi cook just until they float to the top of the water then scoop them out of the water and into the skillet with the sauce. Have your oven pre-heated to 220c. Pour the sauce and gnocchi into a large oven dish. Cover with a mix of 1 cup grated cheddar, 1 cup crumbled blue cheese, 1 cup grated mozzarella and 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Bake until the cheese topping has melted and crusted slightly. This mix of cheeses and the plump gnocchi transform this simple pasta dish into an extravagant, moan-out-loud feast!
Visit Mannix at the lovebite for more delicious recipes.
This article was first published by Australian Family Magazine, May 2007.