Another reason why I love the weekend is I got the time to try some recipes from Jamie's book that are time-consuming. On the menu for dinner tonight was Mad Moroccan Lamb. I like lamb stews or roast lamb, and I like the idea of making a dish that looks different or maybe a bit mad.
When I saw this recipe for the first time, I thought it was weird and I was hesitant to try it. I'm not sure with idea of roasting a shoulder of lamb for a couple of hours and then burying it with couscous and then bake again for another hour... Jamie says this may seem a bit of a palaver, but actually it's a pretty easy dish to make. Yes, the lamb took about three hours to cook, but I didn't have to do anything while it roasts in the oven. And the result was meltingly tender lamb... yum.
So this is what I've done... First, I scored the whole shoulder of lamb in criss-crosses and then I rubbed the meat all over with freshly ground up cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, black peppercorns, dried chilli and sea salt before pushing some fresh rosemary leaves into the cuts. The lamb then went to a hot oven for two hours.
In the meantime, I fried some sliced red onions, cinnamon, thyme and chickpeas with a pinch of salt and pepper until softened. Then add some water and balsamic vinegar to the softened onions and let it simmer until the mixture is nice and thick.
In another pan, I boiled some stock and I added some raisins and dried apricots. Simmer for about five minutes, by which the fruit will have plumped up. Add a glug of olive oil and then the couscous. Remove from the heat to allow the couscous to soak up all the liquid. When no liquid is left, I poured the couscous to a large baking tray and I drizzled it with some olive oil.
After a couple of hours, the lamb will be nice and golden. I took the lamb out and I turned the oven down a bit as Jamie mentioned. In an oiled snug fitting roasting tray, I used my le creuset shallow casserole pot which was perfect, spoon some of the couscous and then topped with the chickpeas and then the lamb on top. And then, here comes the 'mad' bit I think. Completely cover the lamb with the rest of the couscous, put four lemon halves around the sides and then cover the pot with a wet and oiled greaseproof paper and aluminium foil before baking it for another hour.
I think Jamie didn't use any dried fruits in the couscous looking at the picture in the book, or at least any that's noticeable. But I liked mine with some specs of black and yellow.
Oh, and another thing, Jamie says the couscous crust (couscous is a funny word, isn't it?) should be lightly crispy and can be cracked open. But it wasn't a problem for me. It's just a little different.
And then it was time for my friends and I to eat. To serve, I shredded the meat and added a good dollop of yoghurt and sprinkled over some aromatic coriander leaves and sliced red chilli. Yum!
And for dessert, I made floating islands. It's basically meringues that are poached in hot milk and then served floating on a sea of custard and topped with spun sugar. Again this is another recipe that is time-consuming to make but not at all difficult to make. My favourite bit was making the spun sugar which I thought was a lot of fun. This is my 137th recipe and I have 27 left to try.
Anyway, I can hear my bed calling me now.
Have a great weekend everyone.