15 August 2010

Sunday Roast

Another wet and windy Winter Auckland day,,,on a bright note perfect for a morning in the kitchen to get stuck in to Sunday roast for 5 grown ups, 2 toddlers and a baby. 
On the menu today crostini with leek ragu and crispy prosciutto,,,a sort of hybrid of 2 recipes as I had beautiful leeks instead of fennel.  A thank you for the recipe inspiration goes to Real Simple ( one of my favourite magazines and a website you can get lost for hours in!) -Prosciutto Crostini With Lemony Fennel Slaw and Mario Batali's Leek Ragu Bruschetta Topping, courtesy of his new book Molto Gusto. Excellent book by the way, full of really simple seasonal dishes.

For the leek ragu which makes about 1 cup:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
1 pound leeks, trimmed, halved, lengthwise, cut in to 1/2 inch (approx 1cm) slices, and washed well.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic & cook, stirring until soft, 1-2 minutes.  Add the leeks and season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring until softened but not browned, 8-10 minutes.  Add 1/3 cup of water, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook gently until the leeks are very soft, about 15 minutes. If necessary increase the heat to high and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the cooking liquid has evaporated. 

For the crispy prosciutto I just tear it up and pan fry for a moment or 2.  Grill your bread of choice, I do it on the griddle to get some nice toasty grill marks and then slice a garlic clove in half and rub around the outside of the bread.  Top with a little of the leeks and crispy prosciutto. These were really good - always amazing how simple fresh produce can be so tasty, with basically just a little seasoning.

Not so good a start to what I thought was my fail proof lemon tart!  Crust has shrunk!  Fingers crossed the patchwork attempt at recovery is successful! I guess I will find after the next few minutes in the oven!  Not my best ever tart case but I think rescue operation successful! And with the lemon curd filling it may not be prefect but I am pretty sure it will still be quite delicious...so in the end I guess this lemon tart is fail proof. I use Anne Burrell's recipe and just add a little more lemon zest and juice and a little less sugar as I like a tarter tart. The recipe calls for Meyer lemons but I tend to use my own from the garden.  I am not sure exactly what variety they are just very tasty, juicy lemons and they make a great lemon tart. 
At the end of the day not my best tart shell but still a pretty good dessert.  The blueberries really set it off and for a little more decadence add a dollop of whipped cream...yum!

For the main event today it is, to quote,,,incredible roasted shoulder of lamb with smashed veg and greens, courtesy of Jamie Oliver.  Mum and Dad also tried this one out last week so I have it on good authority that it is indeed incredible.  Going with the smashed veg too as I happened to have them all on hand - including my own turnip from the garden.  
A slight variation on the greens...cavalo nero, spinach out the garden and rocket (needed using!). Slowly softened some onions and garlic and added cavalo nero and spinach with a generous pinch of chilli flakes plus salt and pepper.  Pan fried for a moment or two and added a half cup or so of chicken stock.  Cook until greens cooked and stir through rocket just before serving.
Incredible roast shoulder of lamb
Verdict on the lamb...this really is incredible..super tender and juicy and so tasty.  What a fantastic recipe and so easy, this one will definitely become a staple. There's is just something so satisfying about taking a cheaper cut of meat & making it into a truly delicious feast.  The gravy just adds that little extra that makes this, just as the title says "incredible".

A really lovely Sunday afternoon...you really can't beat a Sunday roast in the company of good friends...really one of life's simple pleasures.

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