I have always felt the deep desire to wander the earth. To not be bound to where I am, to see, smell and live many places and experience as much diversity as I possibly can.
To be live a gypsy life.
My family of origin are Irish, typically Irish, big families, home loving, potato eating Irish and then somewhere along the path of all things historic a Gypsy influence came in, deep olive skin, dark hair and a desire to wander and roam.
It flows through my blood, tempting me to run and jump and discover daily. To live free and boundless.
Life has been too stable, too put, too responsible of late. Buying houses, renovations, preschool specific days, swimming lessons weekly. It’s a scheduled life. A fantastic family growing, learning life, just scheduled. I dream of buses to roam the world in, of planes to whisk me off, to run from lessons, dates and time, to see wonders my eyes have never seen before, of little hands and hearts experiencing life with passion and freedom. To live simply.
And so this week coming sees me and my little family running with full heart and spirit to a new place for a week. I intend to leave time at home. To live presently with full attention and not be distracted by responsibility.
I am going to dangle my feet in cool water, we are going to read books until we fall asleep, we are going to be sandy and messy and full.
But before I roam to satisfy my increasing desire, here is one of my favourite lamb recipes for you all.
This roast uses a lesser known cut of lamb, but one that is full of flavour. It needs a long slow cook, but you will be rewarded with an amazing roast that is a 1/4 of the price of a traditional cut of lamb. Think pork rolled roast. The skin goes incredibly crispy, almost in a crackling way. This is because of the high fat content just under the skin. The cut is fattier than a leg, but the slow cooking results in a lot of the fat rendering out of the cut. You will need to source your cut from the butcher and may need to order in advance. I can only get the lambs breast (or lamb flap) on Mondays or Tuesdays before they are all turned into sausages. Just have a chat with your butcher.
I love this type of cooking. Using cuts that my grandma or great grandma would have used daily to provide for her family, which somewhere in our affluence and abundance has become forgotten or lost.
You can prep the rolled lamb a day or 2 in advance before roasting, actually the longer you leave the lamb before roasting the crispier the skin will be. It’s all to do with drying the skin out.
The Moroccan stuffing, based on cooked quinoa is the perfect accompaniment, sweet, flavourful but not over powering.
I like to serve this simply, some roasted dutch carrots, perhaps some buttered pan tossed beans and a traditional homemade mint sauce. Perfection.
Lamb Breast Roast with Moroccan Stuffing
Serves 4 prep time 20min cooking time 2 1/2hrs
2 Lambs Breast boned (order and ask your butcher to do this)
2 cloves Garlic crushed
10 Dates chopped
1 cup cooked Red Quinoa
1 Egg lightly whisked
¼ cup rough chopped Macadamia nuts
1 tbsp finely chopped Coriander stem and leaves
2 tsp Moroccan spice seasoning
Salt and pepper
5 Sprigs Lemon thyme
¼ Lemon Zest and juice
2 bunch Baby (dutch) Carrots
5 sprigs Fresh Mint leaves
1 dessert spoon Rapadura sugar
2 dessert spoon Boiling water
4 dessert spoon Apple cider vinegar
In a saucepan over medium heat add butter. Once melted and starting to foam add the leeks.
Seat the leeks for 5 -10 minutes until translucent an soft. Add the garlic and Moroccan seasoning and cook off for 1 minute.
Now add the quinoa, dates, nuts, coriander, salt, pepper lemon juice and zest and combine and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the egg and stir through off heat.
Leave to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 220C
Place the lambs breasts skin side down with the smallest side towards you.
Cut out any overly fatty bits (it is a fatty bit of meat but most renders away through long cooking).
Spread the stuffing evenly over the 2 breasts leaving a 1cm cleared boarder for rolling.
Starting at the skinny end roll up the lamb away from you. Secure with kitchen twin in a few places to hold the rolled roast together. Repeat with the remaining lamb breast.
Score the top of the lamb breast roll lightly across the width with a sharp knife. Place in the fridge uncovered for at least an hour and up to 2 days to dry the skin out a little (this helps with crackling)
When ready to roast drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt flakes and the sprigs of lemon thyme.
Place in the middle rack of the oven and roast for 30- 40 minutes.
Then turn the temperature down to 150C an roast for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Remove and allow to rest a little.
For the carrots place in a heat proof dish drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with lemon thyme, slat and pepper and place in the oven when lamb still has 40 mins to go. If the carrots need additional roasting after lamb (depending on carrot size) ramp up the heat to 220C and roast while the lamb rests.
Chop the mint leaves finely.
In a jar or bowl add the sugar, chopped mint and the boiling water. Allow to steep for a few minutes.
Add the vinegar and taste for balance adding more sugar or vinegar balance depending.
Serve with the carved lamb roast and dutch baby carrots.
Carve and serve the lamb, serving with the roasted baby dutch carrots with a side of greens and mint sauce.
Order your lambs breast/flaps from your butcher. Ask it to be deboned but keep the bones they make an outstanding stock broth.