Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spicy Lamb Leg with Pumpkin & Couscous Salad

Lamb leg has everything I want in a piece of meat. It's tender, juicy, easy to cook, inexpensive and has an appropriate amount of fat. When you roast it, every part of it is delightful to eat. It's not fidgety like other cuts where you have to cook it in several pots and pans and you end up spending more time cleaning than eating. The fat renders off beautifully in the oven and it all melts in your mouth.

I love a roast with an intense spice rub. There's a lot of meat on that bone so you need a lot of flavour. This rub is so delicious and a great example of using spices for their flavour rather than heat. When it mixes in with the lamb juices, it's a marriage made in heaven.
A couscous salad is the perfect way to soak up those beautiful juices, not to mention it's dead simple to make. I also put in some roast pumpkin (tossed in those lovely spices) for colour and sweetness.

Spicy lamb leg

You'll need:

Lamb leg (mine was 1.5kg)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
Birdseye chilis (to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt

Combine turmeric, paprika, cumin, garlic, ginger, chili, olive oil and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.

Wash and pat dry lamb leg with paper towels.

Rub the spice mixture onto the lamb.

Marinade in fridge for at least an hour. The lemon juice tenderises the meat so the longer the better.

Preheat oven to 170°C.

Roast lamb on a wire rack for 1 hour 20 minutes for every 1.5kg. (I know my oven is pretty slow so I left it in for an extra 10 minutes.)

Rest for at least half an hour.

It should be beautifully pink medium-rare, so juicy and tender it will hardly hold onto your fork.

Pumpkin & couscous salad

You'll need:

500g pumpkin, diced
1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Juice of one lemon
½ cup red onion, finely diced
½ cup raisins
Handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

Toss the pumpkin in any left over marinade and roast with lamb for 1 hour on a baking tray in a single layer.

Combine couscous, olive oil, salt and water in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes.

Separate couscous with a fork and mix in pumpkin, lemon juice, onion, raisins and mint.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Homemade Banana Ice Cream in Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwiches

I never understood the appeal of a frozen banana until I tried it myself. I knew that vodka and gin stayed nice and unfrozen in the freezer - but putting a piece of fruit in there? Surely it'd come out rock hard (don't mind the innuendo). Somehow, it doesn't. It's creamy and chewable, kind of like... ice cream! Mix it with a bit of cream and voila - creamy, smooth, scoopable ice cream!

The best thing about this is it's much healthier than store-bought ice creams. There's no preservatives, you can control how much sugar you put in (or even substitute sugar with honey, maple syrup or agave nectar) and most of it's fruit. Plus, you're not spending hard earned money on packaging.

What better way to have it than to serve it with peanut butter and jelly - an unbeatable combination. You've got the salty P, the creamy B and the sweet J (there's the innuendo again). Squish it between two layers of crunchy cookie and you've got yourself one hell of an ice creamy sandwich.

Banana ice cream

You'll need:

2 bananas
200ml thickened cream
½-1 cup castor sugar, depending on how sweet the bananas are

Peel and puree the bananas. You can use a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, like me, you can use a potato ricer.

Combine cream and sugar and whip until soft peaks form.

Gently fold the two together and place in an air-tight container.

Chill in freezer overnight. (It takes longer to set than other ice creams.)

Sandwich with cookies, peanut butter and strawberry or raspberry jam. Easy.