kitchen notes: jointed shoulder of lamb

Today I cooked a jointed shoulder of lamb. I had this at my aunt and uncle's place in the weekend but didn't know what it was called. This is the food of my childhood but mostly Mum taught me to bake rather than cook, so as I return to more meat cooking again, there is a learning curve.

Jonesy the butcher obliged as usual. I wonder if one of his grandchildren would marry one of my kids. I wondered that with our excellent mechanic too. He asked me some questions, worked out what I wanted and took me to the boning room to check and jointed it on the spot.

I checked on Nigella's lamb tips as I wanted some seasoning. Plain roast meat is a trifle too bland for me. I chopped up rosemary and garlic and mixed it in olive oil and smeared that down the sides of the chops and then salted the layer of fat on the top of the roast. Nigella likes meat (or lamb and chicken at least) done fast and hot. I am supremely confident that this is because she is so rich that someone else cleans her oven. If you cook meat at 200 degrees celsius and above, it makes such an unholy and odorous mess of your oven that even if you are a fellow sloth you will find yourself compelled to clean your oven.

Maybe you like cleaning your oven each week.

I cooked today's roast at 160 degrees for three hours and it was delicious and moist, tender and tasty. I wasn't looking for traditional trimmings and instead whipped up some hummous (remember, in my virtuous charity shop Spong manual mincer?) with lots of garlic, lemon and parsley. I also used my new toy from Nelson, a julienne grater, to make a beetroot, silverbeet and carrot salad. If you have a depressed teenager around (we don't), then don't own one. I'm only sporting one plaster after making the salad but it does strike me as a fairly efficient and effective way of slitting ones wrists.

Which obviously I don't recommend. This isn't a God blog, but it is a fairly positive one where giving up relates to housework, not life. Even when the two year old gives up on eating during the day and sleeping during the night, I still embrace life. I only briefly consider selling her to the slave traders.

The last bit is my using up the porridge leftovers bread. Black strap molasses is a distinctive taste. Very distinctive. The texture was great and I think next time I might a) split the sweetener into half treacle and half molasses and b) put some spices like caraway seeds into the dough.

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