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08 June 2009

Slow Roasted Lamb with Spiced Butter

I have been experimenting a lot with slow roasting lately. Slow roasted food is so wonderfully comforting in winter and I love filling the house with the roasting aromas.

With this lamb I had to make a choice - was I going to keep it covered the whole time and ensure it was always topped up with stock / wine? Or was I going to finish by roasting, uncovered and allow it to crisp on top? The trade off is that the latter option means that the meat is slightly dryer than the former. But since I love the crunchy parts on top, I went with the latter, but plan on experimenting with a wetter, more moist slow roast next time.

The result was however delicious. The lamb was still very moist and succulent despite being allowed to crisp on top and the spices tasted amazing. I attended a spice blending class at Herbies Spices last week so my interest in spices has been refreshed.


300g butter softened
4 tablespoons ground coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic crushed
2 legs of lamb on the bone
2 cups vegetable stock
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
Handful fresh mint


Preheat oven to 120 degrees. Place the butter and spices in a bowl and mix well. Cut slits in the lamb legs and smear with 2/3 of the butter mixture. Place lamb in a roasting tray with the vegetable stock. Cover tightly with foil. Roast in the oven for 7 hour. Increase heat to 160 degrees and roast uncovered for another hour. Allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving scattered with pomegranate seeds and mint.

Wonderfully Crunchy Chicken Wings

Lately, I just cannot seem to cook chicken wings often enough. They are just so deliciously crunchy and satisfying. The ones that I have used for this recipe were very small which meant they crisped particularly well. I received quite a few comments on these wings - they seemed to go down very well - my friend Phil managed to eat quite a number by himself!

Marinating the wings for a number of hours before roasting makes a big difference to the final product - so if you have time to do this, I highly recommend you do so.

Again, no photos sorry!


20 chicken wings
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon black pepper finely ground
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamom
2 large thick plastic zip lock bags
6 tablespoons olive oil


Place 10 wings in each plastic bag. Mix the spices together in a small bowl. Add the spices and olive oil to the bags with the chicken and combine well. Marinate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees. Place the wings on a baking tray and roast for at least an hour - or until the wings are crispy.

Crispy Chicken Breasts

When entertaining I like to offer guests two different types of meat - and often I choose chicken and lamb. Lately I have leaned towards chicken wings as I love roasting them until they are wonderfully crispy. In addition, for this dinner, I wanted to serve chicken breasts with the skin still on so that we could enjoy the beautiful white chicken breast meat as well as the crispy skin.

I also wanted to be able to run the spiced butter theme through as many dishes as possible. Leaving the skin on means I could place the spiced butter under the skin and the succulent meat would be flavoured by the spices.
No photo unfortunately - I was running short of time!


Spiced butter from Slow Roasted Lamb with Spiced Butter recipe
5 chicken breasts skin on
1 tablespoon olive oil


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Use your fingers to separate the chicken skin from the breast, creating a pocket. Place knobs of the spiced butter in the pocket. Heat the olive oil in a fry pan and place the chicken skin side down and brown well.
Transfer the chicken to a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

Green Salad with Pink Peppercorn Dressing

Personally, I generally prefer salad to hot vegetables. But I know that some people prefer just the opposite. As I was feeding so many people I wanted to serve sides that suit everyone's tastes - so decided to serve a salad as well as the beans and carrots. And, well, since I love spinach I wanted to incorporate it somehow...

The pink peppercorns were a last minute thought and were added for colour as well as for their wonderful tang.


250g baby spinach washed and dried
4 spring onions finely sliced
1/3 cup pistachios chopped
2 avocados chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons pink peppercorns lightly crushed


Combine the spinach, spring onions, pistachios and avocado in a salad bowl. Place the olive oil, lime juice and peppercorns in a screw top jar and shake to combine. Drizzle the salad with the dressing just before serving.

Honey Spiced Carrots

I really enjoyed these carrots. The cumin and honey work beautifully together. Just remember to season with salt and pepper also as the seasoning will enhance the other flavours. I had been wanting to try this dish for quite some time - and now regret that I waited so long! Very simply, but very effective.


1.5kg carrots peeled, chopped in half length ways and through the middle
30g butter
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper


Blanch the carrots in boiling water until partly cooked through (about 5 minutes). Just prior to serving, heat the butter in a fry pan. Add the carrots, cumin, honey and salt and pepper. Cook until well combined and the carrots are cooked to your liking.

Beans with Pistachio Gremolata

I wanted these beans to taste very fresh to contrast the other more robust flavours of the lamb and chicken. I find lemon zest so aromatic and refreshing, especially when combined with parsley. And I am always looking for different ways to serve beans - so this dish was born.

The beans do need to still be crunchy for this recipe to work well. If blanching the beans in advance be sure to rinse them with very cold water or place them in a bowl of iced water so that they stop cooking as soon as you take them out of the boiling water.


1kg green beans trimmed
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup pistachios
1 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch mint
25g butter


Blanch the beans in boiling water for a few minutes until bright green and still crisp. Drain well and rinse under very cold water or thrust into a bowl of iced water.

To make the gremolata, place the pistachios, herbs and zest on a chopping board and chop together until well combined.

Just prior to serving heat the butter in a fry pan. Saute the beans for a minute or so until heated through. Serve sprinkled with the gremolata.

Brown Sugar Butterfly Cakes with Raspberry Cream

As with the chocolate cupcakes, I searched the internet for this recipe. I had purchased the copy of Gourmet Traveller that it is featured in, but could not locate it when I needed it and luckily found the recipe easily on the internet. You can find it at:


I used to have butterfly cakes as a child - my grandma makes some delicious ones that I recall my mother requesting for her birthday - so it was exciting for me to make them.

This recipe was a lot easier than the chocolate one - the mixture easily poured into the patty cases. I made the raspberry cream in advance and stored it in a thick plastic bag in the fridge until I was serving and then simply cut one of the corners of the bag off and 'piped' the cream into the cakes.

I also added one teaspoon of my Herbies 'Fragrant Sweet Spices' to the mixture - delicious!

Raspberry Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Icing - or 'Raspberry Surprise'

For this event I wanted an easy dessert that I could just put on the table and let my guests serve themselves. Cupcakes seemed like the perfect choice! Unfortunately, these cupcakes were a little more mess and fuss than I had envisioned - the mixture is very thick and filling the patty cases was a frustrating process. But they were delicious nonetheless - very rich with a raspberry 'surprise' in the centre.

I found the recipe for the cakes at http://www.cupcake-creations.com/chocolate-cup-cake-recipe.html. For the icing I just melted 400g dark chocolate with 70g butter and 250ml cream and let it cool before topping the cooled cupcakes. Just make sure to watch the mixture carefully. I became distracted and some of it did burn, but I managed to salvage most of it!

No photos - I was a bit over taking photos at this point!