BBQ Leg of Lamb with Couscous and Peppers

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This recipe is from Paul, our friend and renounced vegetarian.  We always hope that he’ll make it when we go to visit.

Before you start, you might want to make some pitta dough – the recipe is dead easy and you can cook the raw pittas in seconds on your BBQ at the last minute.(http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pitta_bread_97296).  It’s a happy feeling, watching them puff up before your very eyes!

Take a leg of lamb and ask your butcher to butterfly it for you. (If you buy it from Sainsbury’s, however, the butcher will tell you that he’s not allowed to help, because of the cross-contamination risk, in which case, just bring it home, get a sharp knife, and cut as close to the bone as possible, starting at the chubby end, cutting the meat back all the way round as you go, like you’re peeling off a sock).

Finely chop 6 cloves of garlic, 4 chillis (red or green) and 50g coriander stalks.  Mix them with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of a lemon, 1 teaspoon ground coriander and a teaspoonful of salt.

Stab a few slits into the lamb, then massage the marinade into it.  Leave for two hours or longer.

When you’re ready to cook, sear the lamb for 2-3 minutes each side on the BBQ, then pop it onto a roasting tin (not your favourite, most expensive one), put it back on the barbecue, cover with the BBQ lid, then set the timer for thirty minutes.  Turn the meat a couple of times during cooking.

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Vegetables

Meanwhile, make your vegetables.  Fry 6 diced peppers in 6 tablespoons of olive oil with 6 whole cloves of garlic on a very low heat.  After ten minutes, add two sliced courgettes and some salt, then cook gently for another ten minutes before turning the heat up and letting it frazzle a little.  Set aside.

Couscous

Put 200g couscous into a bowl with 300g boiling water.  Cover with a plate and leave for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, fluff it up with a fork and add a tablespoon of olive oil, the juice of a lemon, a teaspoonful of Maldon sea salt, half a teaspoon each of cumin and ground coriander, a chopped red onion and two handfuls of chopped fresh herbs (coriander, mint and parsley).  Add some of the oil from the peppers and stir well.  Tumble some of the peppers and courgettes over the couscous.

Back to the meat

When the meat is done, put it in tinfoil and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes.  In this time, make some tsatsiki and hummous. (https://salutationrecipes.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/salsa-tsatsiki-and-hummous/).

In the last moments, roll out your pittas and grill for a few moments each side on your still-warm barbecue.  Now, sit back and enjoy the loveliest kebabs ever.  Oh, don’t forget to leave some coriander to sprinkle on top!

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Peach and Lime Cheesecake

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I know that you can get baked cheesecakes everywhere now, but I didn’t have my first one until I was sixteen, when I bought a slice from a small bakery in Eichstätt on a snowy morning and ate it straight from the paper bag.  It was a very messy business, but totally magical.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and prepare a 20cm springform tin by putting tinfoil over the base, popping over the ring, then pulling the tinfoil up the outside of the tin.  Sit the tin on top of a second bigger piece of tinfoil and pull it up so that it covers the whole of the outside of the tin.

Fill and boil your kettle.

Whoosh up 200g of digestives (or any other dry biscuits) in the processor.  Add 80g soft (but not necessarily melted) butter and process until it feels like wet sand.  Press evenly over the base of your tin.  Place the tin in the fridge while you make the filling.

Quarter and roughly peel a juicy, soft peach and pop it in your already cleaned processor with the juice of two limes.  Give it a really good blast, then add 150g sugar and whoosh again.

Now add 600g cream cheese (I used 400g Philadelphia and 200g mascarpone) and process until smooth, pushing down the mixture from the edges to ensure a good mix.  Now add 4 whole eggs and one egg yolk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Whoosh again for about 20 seconds, again pushing down the mixture from the edges halfway through.

Pour this into your springform tin.

Optional:  If you’d like a little zingy raspberry hit, take a tablespoon of raspberries and the juice of half a lime or lemon and process for a few seconds before swirling through your cheesecake.  It won’t look tidy and impressive as it does in the shops, though, so don’t be disappointed.

Put the tin into a large roasting tray and surround it with some boiling water.  Don’t make it so deep that it’s lethally turbulent as you transfer it to the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes, then check and turn 180 degrees.  I like it to brown a little, but if it’s going too far, cover with a very clean baking tray or tinfoil for a further 20 – 30 minutes.  When there’s still a tiny wobble, take it out of the oven, out of the bain marie and leave it to cool.  It will be much nicer on Day Two, so leave it be if you can.

Serve with roasted peaches (done in the same way as the nectarines:  https://salutationrecipes.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/baked-nectarines-with-mascarpone/)

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Mum’s Apple Pie

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I love Mum’s apple pie.  There’s nothing fancy about it.  It’s just delicious.

You need 3-4 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced.  Put them in a pan and squeeze over the juice of half a lemon.  Sprinkle over some sugar, normally about 2 tablespoons, and 2 tablespoons of water.  Stew until the apple is soft but not mushy.  Allow to cool.

With your fingertips, nip together 8.5 oz of self-raising flour with 5 oz butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Carefully add just enough cold water for it to bind together without becoming sticky.  As soon as it comes together, pop it into a plastic bag in the fridge for half an hour.

Take a 7-8″ pie tin.  Cut your pastry in half and roll out on a floured surface the first of your circles.  Place on the bottom of your tin.  Dot around the edge with water, egg or milk.  This is your glue.  Now pour in the apples.  Roll out your lid and place on top, gently pressing the edges to seal.  Trim the edges, pop a couple of small slits in the top with a sharp knife, brush all over the top with a little egg or milk, then place in the oven (190 degrees) for about 25-30 minutes.  As soon as it comes out, sprinkle with some sugar.

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