Sunday, 17 June 2012

Day 38: Leg of lamb with roasted vegetables

Absolutely delicious”. Words that put a smile on my face today. Hope you all enjoyed Father’s Day and thoughts to those of you whose fathers are here in spirit. Being Father’s Day, I had to pick a rather special recipe from the cookbook so I settled on Leg of lamb with roasted vegetables.

I bought Irish lamb yesterday when I was shopping and I was surprised at how much lamb costs but, the way I look at it, is that it was a large joint of meat and sure if you ordered lamb in a restaurant, it’d be the same price as a mains and only a fraction of the size. When it comes to Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter etc., to be honest, I’d rather make dinner at home and go out another time for dinner. I suppose that I always think that because the restaurant will no doubt be booked beyond capacity, the service won’t be as quick and possibly the food not as nice. Plus, as much as I dearly love my two children, add in two little ones to the mix and my stress levels start to rise. Yes, I want my 3-year-old Dear Son to sit on his seat without hopping off it every 2 seconds. Yes, I want Baby Daughter to sit in her high chair without looking to get out. Yes, I want to be able to eat my dinner and enjoy every second of a meal which I have not prepared myself but does all this happen? No.

I remember the first time we went out for a meal as a family when Baby Daughter was merely months old. That was last summer and, as a family unit, we’ve only been out together once since. If we’re going out for dinner, it’s for two and the babysitters are summonsed. For a reason. That day last summer, the waitress put out my lovely dinner which I was soooo looking forward to and I had literally eaten one mouthful when Baby Daughter decided enough was enough and insisted on squealing the place down. Of course, I took her out to the car and pacified her whilst Dear Husband and Dear Son enjoyed theirs. You see, I would feel for other people in a restaurant there to enjoy a lovely meal and a squealing child isn’t really fair on them, is it? Pre-children, if I was them, I too would wonder why the mother (of course!) doesn’t just take the child outside. Now, if I see a child screaming, my thoughts are nothing but sympathy for the poor mother. Yes, I too have fallen victim to a screaming child lying down on the supermarket floor in a tantrum! Having children really does change your perspective on many, many things.  

Anyway, back to today’s lunch and I liked the recipe from the start because all was contained within the one dish. Love it. In a roasting dish, I added sliced potatoes, sliced parsnips and wedges of red onion along with seasoning and rapeseed oil. I threw in freshly chopped rosemary and thyme leaves seeing as I had both. I then set the leg of lamb on top of the rack and scored criss-crosses across the top of it. Into the oven it all went for 1 hour 15 minutes as I actually used half a leg of lamb which was still a large joint of meat. Meanwhile, I make mint sauce as per my mother’s recipe which very simply is freshly chopped mint, sugar, boiling water and vinegar. When the lamb was ready, I took it out, wrapped it up in tin foil to rest for 10 minutes and popped the veg back into the oven until it was time to serve.

The verdict…

Having not cooked a leg of lamb before, I was afraid that I would over-cook it and not achieve the slightly-pink-in-the-middle finish. Thankfully though, Dear Husband said it was absolutely delicious and scored the whole dish 8.5 marks out of 10. He said the lamb was perfect though. He particularly liked the potatoes also. Dear Son was that tired after the swimming pool (first day without arm bands) that he slept all through lunch so he ate it later in my parents’ house and ate all of it although he keeps saying "Mum, 2 marks out of 10!". Best of all though was that Baby Daughter couldn’t eat hers fast enough. This is a major milestone in our house because, although she is a fantastic eater most of the time, generally she doesn’t eat what we are having for dinner. I will certainly be making this Sunday dinner again for that reason alone.

Another thing I loved about this dish is that because the joint of meat was large, there is plenty for Dear Husband to nibble at tomorrow for his lunch so again, I’m all in favour of that. A bit like post-Christmas Day with the turkey and ham for making sandwiches. My mother always insists that the day she most likes her Christmas Dinner is actually on St. Stephen’s Day – if that makes sense?!

So, to conclude, a highly recommended recipe for any special occasion and considering Neven Maguire reckons that Ireland has the best lamb, you can’t go wrong. Hats off to Rachel though for yet another straightforward, simple yet delicious recipe. It really is a keeper :) 

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