Food

January is a time of celebrations

May 04, 2018 By Southpoint Tuggeranong

Whether you celebrate Australia Day on January the 26th with a bbq with friends at home or in the local park or one of Canberra's wonderful bush camping grounds, a charred, smokey and garlic laden leg of lamb is always a winner, no matter where you eat it. Marinading a boneless leg of lamb with a ton of herbs and garlic, throwing some vine ripened tomatoes in the pan and serving with a really quick but tasty creamy Tzatziki and you have an Aussie classic with a great mediterranean twist. Gather your friends and family around and treat them to a wonderful meal, a few simple and inexpensive ingredients can be turned into a delicious feast, without it breaking the bank or your back with hard work.

Greek Butterflied leg of Lamb with Tzatziki

Should feed 4 adults comfortably
  • 1.2kg butterflied leg of lamb
  • bunch of herbs - from my garden I grabbed 2 sprigs rosemary and oregano, a big handful of mint and parsley, you'll need around a cup, chopped finely
  • 4 big cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 2 containers of vine ripened tomatoes
  • 2 large onions, sliced into thick slices
  • 1 pkt lamb offcuts
  • 1/4c extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
 

Lamb

Add the chopped herbs, garlic, lemon zest and juice, oil and a good seasoning of salt and pepper to a bowl. If your lamb leg is tied into a roll, untie it. Season the fat side really well with salt and a little bit of pepper. I don't rub herbs all over the fat side as I like to crisp the fat up on the bbq so it becomes all crispy and delicious and the herbs may burn and become acrid if left on the grill for too long. Flip the lamb so it's fat side down and rub the herb mixture into the meat, getting it rubbed into all the nooks and crannies and massage it in well. Cover the pan and allow it to marinade for a few hours. Whilst you're getting your BBQ ready, bring the lamb out and allow it to come to room temperature before you whack it on the hot barbie. The difference with this recipe is that after a good charring on the grill on both sides, the lamb goes into a pan with some cut onions, lamb offcuts (at Woolies for $4.50kg and they make awesome crispy cooks treats!) and the vine tomatoes. This enables the lamb to cook like it was roasting at a lower temperature, with all the other bits and pieces making a fantastic jus to serve with the lamb, and the lamb cooked to medium rare perfection. Throw the lamb on the hot BBQ fat side down and grill until it has a fabulously brown, caramelised, crispy topping, around 10 minutes depending on how hot your grill is. Turn the lamb over so the grill gets to work on the underside, for around half that time so you don’t burn the herbs too much. It’s now ready to go back into the pan and pushed to the flat side for further cooking. Meanwhile add the onion slices, the lamb offcuts, salt and pepper and half a cup of water or wine to the pan with the lamb bits n pieces. Place the grilled lamb on top of these items and arrange the tomatoes either side of the pan. Turn the grill to low under the flat side and close the lid. The temp should reach around 175 degrees with the lid closed. Turn the burners up or down depending on how hot it’s getting. You'll notice the pan getting a little caramelised around the edges, but as long as it's not burning to a crisp, this is just adding tasty flavour to the veggies and the sauce in the bottom of your pan. Perfectly cooked lamb leg sits around medium rare. But feel free to cook it a bit longer if that’s your thing. Once the lamb is cooked to your liking, remove it from the BBQ and cover it, letting it rest for at least 20 minutes. Wine. Normally you'll see shiraz served with lamb, but January is hot, and not necessarily called for in this instance. A slightly chilled local Mount Majura Tempranillo would be fantastic with this. Or you could also go down the Canberra Pinot Noir road, a lighter cool climate red is just wonderful, to cut through the fattiness of the lamb and creaminess of the tztatziki with its garlic and mint hit. You can find the Canberra Wine range here at BWS. For better instructions on how to cook lamb, visit the professionals website - Beef and Lamb.au

Tzatziki

Tzatziki
  • 1c thick Greek yoghurt
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • small handful fresh mint
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • half a deseeded continental cucumber
  • salt
Chop the deseeded cucumber finely, add it to the rest of the ingredients and taste for seasoning. The hot garlic will soften over time in the fridge. If you don't have time to let it rest and meld all the flavours together, decrease the garlic a little. Put the tzatziki into the fridge for at least an hour so it can soften and turn into a luscious accompaniment. Decant into a pretty bowl once you're ready to serve. Serve the sliced lamb with steamed chat potatoes, butter and chives, and crisp fresh long beans, steamed with a little lemon juice and salt. Serve the juices from the pan over the top of the lamb, and pop those deliciously juicy tomatoes on top of the lamb. Seriously tasty food. Now. Dessert.

Pavlova

Is there anything more quintessential, dessert speaking, than a pavlova following a roast lamb dinner? I didn't think so. I like to keep my toppings pure and simple and let the pav shine like it's the star of the show its supposed to be. The following is a recipe for a brown sugar pavlova. If you want to keep your pav traditional, just use all white castor sugar and white vinegar. But I love, love, LOVE the fudgey latteness and gooey edges that come from using dark brown sugar. It gives it that little oomph, that little something extra, that takes your pav from tasty to OMG Delicious! Trust me on this. I've made 100's of pavs. And here's another thing. How the professionals on tv get their pavlovas to look spectacularly perfect as they remove it form the oven is beyond me. Not a single pav I've ever made has been cooked perfectly. It's been cracked, or shrunk, or it's weeping a little, or the edges are a bit too crispy, whatever the fault, they are still so perfect to eat, smothered in cream and topped with your favourite fruit. It does not matter one iota that it possibly looks like a train wreck, just be confident that your guests will still think it's a thing of pure magic once they get a taste of it.
  • 6 egg whites,
  • 1c castor sugar,
  • 1/4c dark brown sugar
  • 2tsp cornflour,
  • 1tsp brown vinegar
  • 600mls cream
  • 1 large mango, slices thinly
  • 4 fresh passionfruits
  • handful of baby mint leaves
Whip the eggs whites til soft peaks form. Mix together the two sugars as they will beat into the whites easier that way. While its still beating on low, add 1 large tb of sugar, beating for a minute between each spoonfuls. Once all the sugar is added the mixture will be glossy and firm peaks will form. Feel for any grittiness from undissolved sugar, undissolved sugar in a pav usually results in a weeping pav once its at room temp after cooking. Add the cornflour and vinegar whilst beating on low. Have a large tray prepared with baking paper and a dinner plate circle outlined. A tip to keep the paper from slipping all over the place is to add a small smear of pav in about 4 different spots and then place the baking paper on top, smearing the paper down flat. Plonk the whole lot onto paper and make as neat a circle as possible, creating a little dip in the middle as it holds the cream and the toppings better if the middle is like a little chasm. Have your oven pre-heated to 150, bake for 20 mins, then turn down to 120, bake for 1.5hrs, turn down to 80, bake for a further 30 mins. Turn oven off, leave door ajar and leave the pav until its cooled completely. Whip 600mls cream til soft peaks. Spread the cream over the pav, pushing it up to but not over the edges. Place the mango around in decorative patterns and then splosh over the passion fruit. Pop the mint leaves in between bits. Cut into very large wedges for your salivating guests and serve with a delightful rose. Even a sparkling rose, since we’re celebrating. You’ll be asked to make this pav for every party you’re invited to from now on. No matter what you’re celebrating this summer, make sure you’ve got some good old fashioned Aussie lamb on the BBQ, a sweet dessert, lots of local wines and your friends around. Cheers The Food and Wine Marshall