Sunday, April 08, 2007

An Easter egg-travaganza

I had great fun decorating the table for Easter, I get to get out the pastel egg garland (some of which I’ve removed and threaded with silver ribbon to adorn the napkins) and the table is strewn with a positive clutch of pastel yellow chickens which no doubt will turn up again for many months. And to finish off I fill a few ramekins with Cadbury’s Mini Eggs. I notice the Cadbury’s Mini Eggs seem to have gotten a little more vibrant this year; they’ve lost some of their pastel-ness. But even though the yellow is definitely more yellow, they still taste great. Edible table decorations are a good idea as there is generally less to clear up and if there is, everyone is happy to help. I wouldn’t recommend the eating the chicks though; they’re plastic and not so nutritious.

And the table decorations were only part of all that fun! There was a mouth-watering butterflied piece of salt-marsh lamb to cook.

I had been thwarted by the unhappy bunnies available at this time of year but when we swapped our plans for lamb we couldn’t have anticipated such a stunning exponent of lambness as MC had got a perfect salt marsh lamb from Mr. Knibbs - lamb heaven! Despite LLcT’s reservations, salt marsh is not at all salty, they graze on the salt marshes nibbling the sweetest most untouched pasture and therefore making the sweetest lamb imaginable. And we had a great treatment in store. We’d consulted Charles Campion’s Food from the Fire and fallen upon the following magnificent recipe:

Butterflied Leg of Lamb

5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
Leaves stripped from 5 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp black molasses
100 ml Balsamic
250ml red wine
100ml good olive oil
25ml walnut olive

This recipe is an update form the Fiercely Barbequed Lamb in Charles Campion’s “Fifty Recipes to Stake Your Life On”, Charles says his recipes evolve on each airing and in previous version he uses brown sugar instead of molasses and Worcestershire Sauce rather than Balsamic. I think the Balsamic was an inspired idea and fortunately D had some that wasn’t our beloved Belazu (but still good) that we were happy to use. The aroma coming off the marinade was fabulous and that was even before the lamb hit the smoking barbecue.

The marinade is made up and then rubbed and squished in to the lamb before tying up in a bag and leaving to marinate. The flavours could be left to mingle overnight or for at least 4 hours, we went for the second option. One of my utmost favourite accompaniments with lamb (who am I kidding, with most things!) is Gratin Dauphinois as I always think the creaminess really complements the lamb. And for the tasty crunch of green we plumped for a vibrant Savoy cabbage. MC was in charge of turning the now darkened fleshed lamb over the hot coals and we finished off the vegetables. This was a stunning meal, the lamb really was just incredibly tasty, the juiciness of the meat and the crispy bits outside with the gorgeousness of the marinade - truly sublime. It’s very rare enjoy I don’t enjoy a good Gratin Dauphinois and this was a great Gratin Dauphinois and the Savoy cabbage was crunchy and a perfect foil.

For dessert I’d been keen to introduce the Serious Food Company Hot Chocolate Fondants (from Waitrose) to others. I think this dessert is deliciously chocolaty, trouble free and comes in the dinkiest espresso cups and I do like to spread a little espresso cup action around. I think they went down well.

And if anyone was still hungry, you could always eat the mini-egg table decorations. And if you get bored (or just liked to interact with the table decorations), you could always line the little pastel yellow chicks in rows or separate all the Siamese twin chicks that were still attached to their siblings. In fact most of the chicks were in fact two if not three, so throughout the meal the number of little chicks grew and grew until there was a veritable chicklet carpet over the table.

What more could you want, an extremely tasty meal and fun to boot!

1 comment:

David Hall said...

Very good! Love your stuff.