Last Saturday, Sister A left for a 3 week holiday to America to visit some friends. The Tuesday before she left, my family and I decided to have dinner to say farewell.  Sister A’s friend Miss S also joined the 5 of us for a 2-course meal served at our place. Of course, I was in charge of cooking dinner, while Sister E was in charge of dessert.

Knowing Sister A loves her roasts and salads, I decided to do a roast lamb served with a choice of two salads. For the lamb, I used Mum’s old reliable Turkish Lamb recipe that she has been making for years – it’s always a family favourite.

I then settled on two salads to serve with the lamb. The first was a recipe from Gourmet Traveller, combining quinoa, cauliflower, chickpeas, herbs, and creamy feta. Sister A loves cauliflower, and since I had some quinoa in the cupboard I thought this would be perfect.

The second salad was a simple beetroot salad with dill, a recipe I found from Nigella Lawson that appealed to my Scandinavian side. Both Sister A and Mother K are huge beetroot fans, so I thought this would go down well. Beetroot is also great with lamb due to it’s sweetness, and the colour is just amazing. You don’t need too much of this salad though – it’s a bit like a condiment almost which is why I didn’t serve my roast lamb with any gravy or sauce.

Sister E then produced a brilliant steamed golden syrup pudding served with stewed apples for dessert. She found the recipe for the pudding on the Gourmet Traveller website and decided to add the apples herself (I must be rubbing off on her). They were a nice touch – not too sweet. I had a second helping of the apples with some ice cream (it’s fruit so it’s good for me, right?).

All up it was a very enjoyable night. I was pleased with how everything turned out, considering I was rushed for time. I had my PT that night so wasn’t home till 7. I prepared the lamb, cauliflower and chickpeas and beetroot salad the night before, so that the next day when I got home, I just had to throw the cauliflower and chickpeas in the oven with the lamb, cook the quinoa and put it all together. I had to adjust the seasoning of the beetroot salad on the day though, as I find salads that sit in the fridge a while loose their seasoning. A very impressive and easy meal.


TURKISH ROAST LAMB

1kg butterflied lamb leg or shoulder (ask your butcher to do this)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
handful fresh mint, chopped
salt and pepper 

  1. In a dry pan, roast the cumin, coriander and garam masala until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. In a large dish, combine the spices, olive oil, lemon juice, mint and plenty of salt a pepper. Add lamb to dish and rub well with marinade. Leave to marinade overnight, covered, in the fridge.
  3. Remove lamb from fridge 1/2 hour before cooking.
  4. Preheat oven to 180C.
  5. In a large pan, brown lamb on all sides until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a roasting tray and roast in a hot oven for 30 minutes for medium rare.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to rest 15 minutes before carving.

Serves 4-6


ROAST CAULIFLOWER, CHICKPEA & QUINOA SALAD

350g cauliflower (about ½), cut into small florets
400g canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed

Finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
200g quinoa
1 garlic clove, finely minced

1½ cups each coarsely torn flat-leaf parsley and mint
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
100g Greek feta or labne, coarsely crumbled

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. On half a lined roasting tray, spread out cauliflower, and on other half, spread out chickpeas. Scatter over lemon rind, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes or until beginning to brown.
  3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa in 400ml salted boiling water until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Add more water if necessary. Drain if required.
  4. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower and chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, quinoa, garlic, herbs, spring onions, vinegar and half the feta.
  5. Transfer salad to a serving dish and scatter with remaining feta. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6


BEETROOT & DILL SALAD

500g raw beetroot
1 bunch / ½ cup chopped fresh dill

Juice of 1 big lemon (or 2 small)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp mustard seeds, lightly toasted in a dry pan
salt and pepper
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley to garnish

  1. Using goves, peel beetroot and cut into small wedges. In a food processor with a grater attachment, grate beetroot.
  2. Transfer beetroot to a bowl and mix in remaining ingredients except parsley. Season to taste.
  3. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with parsley.

Serves 4-6


GOLDEN SYRUP PUDDING

90 gm (¼ cup) golden syrup, plus extra, warmed, to serve
120g softened butter
120g caster sugar
230g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, lightly beaten
160 ml (2/3 cup) milk
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
cream or ice cream to serve 

STEWED APPLES
6 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 3mm slices
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar, or to taste
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Butter, flour and line the base of a 1.5L capacity pudding tin. Pour in golden syrup and set aside.
  2. Using electric beaters, beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy (2-4 minutes). Sift in flour and baking powder and beat until combined. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk and lemon rind and add a little at a time to the dry ingredients, beating after each addition, until all incorporated. 
  4. Transfer mix to prepared tin, smooth top and cover closely with baking paper. Cover with foil and secure with kitchen string.
  5. Place pudding in a large saucepan and add enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, covered with a lid, until puffed and golden (about 2 hours), adding more water if needed. 
  6. To serve, invert pudding onto a serving tray and serve hot with extra warmed golden syrup, stewed apples, and cream or ice cream.
  7. STEWED APPLES: In a large pan, add all the ingredients and cook, stirring, for 10-15 minutes until apples are tender.

Serves 8