How to swing a school-night dinner party without ruining your marriage
Dinner guests in on a week night = possible divorce and nervous breakdown; unless you are devoted slow cooker like me. I managed to drop small people at school, watch an athletics carnival, style a fashion show, do maths homework and two tennis-runs – all whilst the dinner cooked itself.
Talk about faking-it.
Given the warmer weather, I ditched my usual rustic seasonings and vegetables, and gave lambkins a little spring in his step. Think fresh, colourful and flavoursome with lots of garlic, fresh mint, persian feta and crunchy pomegranate seeds. Recipe-wise I free-styled, lifting a slow-cooked lamb recipe from whatkatieate and Heston Blumenthal’s Giant Couscous Salad, and then made up my own yogurt dip, whilst throwing together a baby spinach salad dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and almond slivers.
Talk about delicious. Nervous breakdown and divorce diverted, and impressive dinner accomplished with next-to-no effort.
And you have to love that…
Eight Hour Lamb
(serves 4-6, adapted from whatkatieate)
- Shoulder of Lamb – approx 2 kilos (we’re pretty piggy here)
- 2 heads of garlic, peeled
- fresh rosemary
- olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- a ton of fresh mint
- half a pomegranate – deseeded
- Perisan Feta – I use a whole tin
- Preheat oven to 140C fan forced
- Score the lamb not too deep all over, roughly 2cms
- Push slivers of garlic and rosemary into the lamb
- Season with salt & pepper
- Place lamb over garlic cloves & rosemary in baking pan
- Drizzle with a little olive oil
- Tuck lamb in with a layer of foil
- Cook for eight hours – checking occasionally, if drying out cover with water
- Once cooked, shred up lamb and style-up with mint leaves, pomegranate seeds and persian feta
- Soak up the accolades and try not to look too smug
Heston Bluementhal’s Giant couscous salad
(recipe adapted from beammeupbiscotti.)
- Israeli Couscous (the lovely big pearl like variety)
- 50 g olive oil
- 1 tsp ras-el-hanout (a deeply exotic Moroccan spice)
- 20g sherry vinegar
- 5g dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- Cook couscous as per packet instructions
- Mix the ginger, cinnamon and coriander together
- Gently heat 10g of the olive oil in a small saucepan with the ras-el-hamout for 3 – 4mins.
- Remove from heat and whisk in remaining olive oil, sherry vinegar, mustard and spice mix.
- Toss through couscous and serve
Greek Yogurt with mint and pomegranate seeds
- 400g of good Greek Yogurt
- Half a pomegranate (de-seeded)
- Handful of fresh mint
- four garlic cloves – minced
- Sea salt to season
- Combine the ingredients and season to taste.