The rains have come at last and even if the downpour did not last long, I was grateful for its cooling effect. It has been difficult to stand for a long time in the kitchen in the heat of the past weeks. I didn’t think I would be so happy to see some grey clouds in the sky.
I spent the day cooking, and for dinner we invited two friends from church we haven’t seen for a long time. To keep things manageable without domestic help, I used recipes adapted from the Ottolenghi cookbooks (except for the lamb – recipe at the end of the post) and also only used the oven to roast the dishes. It was such an enjoyable evening and an encouragement to invite more friends round when we can.
Roast lamb with rosemary and garlic
Roasted butternut squash with whipped ricotta and feta cheese (page 114 Falastin: A Cookbook)
Yoghurt-roasted cauliflower with pickled chillies, cherries and red onion (page 116 Falastin: A Cookbook)
Marinated aubergine with tahini and coriander (page 26 Ottolenghi: The Cookbook)
All served with home-made focaccia
How to cook the lamb:
I used a whole shoulder of lamb which weighed 2.2 kg. This weight was just about acceptable and will feed around six people.
Slice a whole onion and place at the bottom of a roasting tin, along with a large stalk of rosemary.
Using a short, sharp knife, pierce the lamb all over front and back. Insert thick slices of garlic and small stalks of rosemary into the incisions.
Place the lamb shoulder in the tin and sprinkle over some fine sea salt and ground black pepper.
Cover the tin with a large piece of aluminium foil.
Roast in the oven at 150 C fan / 170 C for 2 hours. After this time, remove the foil and add 300 ml of water to the tin. Roast uncovered for a further 40 minutes at 160 C fan / 180 C.
Remove the lamb from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Using your fingers (wear disposable kitchen gloves) start removing the fat and skin from the lamb, then pull apart the meat. Place the meat on a separate plate.
Sieve the lamb juices onto a small pot and skim off the fat. Pour the juices over the pulled lamb. The lamb can be kept in a warm oven if you are not ready to serve it immediately – make sure the serving plate is oven-proof and cover the lamb with a piece of foil to prevent it from drying out.
Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, published by Ebury Press, ISBN 978-1785034770
Falastin: A Cookbook, by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, published by Ebury Press, ISBN 978-1785038723