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April 04, 2006



My fingers are tiptoeing on these keys since I am a virgin at this but here goes... I know Easter has been and gone and Kathy you may have received a lamb idea, but here's one I love for anytime of the year not just spring. Also as we get into later spring / summer those lambs tend to get even tastier!
Ok this works for legs of lamb, loin chops, baby ribs, it is basically a puree which is then rubbed on to the meat actually massaged is a better word.( a very theraputic recipe!)
In a pestle and mortar combine (rough measuring estimates depending on meat surface size),
2 tablespoons of soft butter. A good quality french or irish butter is preferred.
You can alternate with good extra virgin olive oil or do a mix of both. (I prefer the butter because it tends to roast well).
Add 3/4 teaspoon of great rock salt. I have found a fantastic one from "Big Tree Farms" in Bali (www.bigtreebali.com) the taste is excellent and just really brings out the taste of the food.
Add to that 2 1/2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped and
Add 5 good sized cloves of garlic, crushed.
Lastly add freshly milled black pepper
You combine everything together in a pestle and mortar until you have a paste. Feel free to add in more quantities as you go, especially of the garlic.
If it is a leg of lamb that you are cooking then:
1 x 4lb leg
place it on a large sheet of foil on a roasting tin. Stab the fleshy parts of the leg several times with a skewer
Now spread the paste all over the leg, underneath as well (you can add a couple of sprigs of rosemary underneath also).
Make sure you work the paste into the areas that you have skewered, this helps the taste to get into the meat.
Then bring the foil up over and around the leg and close at the top. The foil parcel should be fairly loose to allow the air to circulate.
Preheat oven to 375 oF(190 oC) gas mark 5.
Roast for 1 1/2 hours then take out, baste very well with the juices and leaving the foil open roast for a further 20 minutes.
This should produce a pink lamb; 2 hours roasting covered with 1/2 hour open produces well done.
Cook for more or less as you prefer. Remember let it rest always for 20 minutes and it will continue to cook. Using the juices you can make a gravy.
Or you can make a very basic but delicious mint sauce by simply chopping
2 tablespoons of fesh mint adding 2 tablespoons of sugar together in a sauce boat.
Add 6-8 tablespoons of boiling water and about 2 tablespoons of fresh squezzed lemon juice. Leave that to infuse for about 10 minutes before using.

If you are using loin or baby rib chops then simply massage the meat areas well with the paste and broil the chops under a very hot broiler for about 7 minutes each side.

All of the above are delicious served with blanched young asparagus, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, rock salt and squeezed lemon juice.

Enjoy! and don't forget to place a jamjar filled with hyacinth, tulips, or lilacs on your table! x H x


What's your favorite way to prepare lamb? I need some help for Easter!


Easter is little more than a week away, and so I am going to post my favorite cake to serve: Coconut Layer Cake. If you are a fan of coconut then this will give you a tremendous fix. I know that Sue has made this on several ocassions to rave reviews, as have I. Sometimes for dinner parties when I want to go all out, I will make this along with my favorite chocolate layer cake and serve them together---true decadence!

Anyway, here's the recipe for the Coconut Cake.

2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (see note)
4 large eggs, separated
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (see note)
4 cups shredded coconut

Note: Sweetened cream of coconut is not coconut milk. I use Coco Lopez, which can be found where they sell cocktail mixers---I am sure it is used to make pina coladas and the like.

Note: Buttermilk---not sure if you have this in Europe but same results can be gotten by adding 1T vinegar to 1 cup milk.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour two nine-inch cake pans with 2-inch high sides. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 t salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients and then buttermilk, each just until blended.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites with pinch of salt in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold beaten egg whites into batter.

Divide cake batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cake, and finish cooling on racks.

Fill and frost with Coconut Buttercream --you'll need to double this recipe:

4 egg whites at room temp.
1/2 t salt
1-1/4 ccups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 t lemon juice---fresh!
1-1/2 cups butter, softened and cut into pieces
1-1/2 t coconut extract

Combine egg whites and salt in a bowl.

Stir together sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

When syrup reaches a boil, start beating egg whites at medium high speed. Once egg whites are frothy, add lemon juice and beat at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks.

Meanwhile put candy thermometer into sugar syrup and continue boiling, without stirring, until it reaches soft ball stage (238 - 242 degrees F) Immediately remove from heat and pour hot syrup into a thin stream down side of bowl with egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Beat meringue, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula until merignue is cool to touch about 6 minutes. It's important that meringue is cool--if the meringue is warm the buttercream will be soupy!

With mixer at medium speed, gradually add butter 1 piece at a time. Beat until buttercream is smooth, then add coconut extract.

Fill cake, and then frost. After frosting the cake apply mounds of sweetened coconut to top and side of cake, adhering to frosting.

Happy Easter!

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