Sunday, May 22, 2011

Easter lunch 2011

For my Greek Easter lunch this year, I made grilled haloumi with chili and garlic oil, thyme tomato salad, green salad, tzatziki, roast spiced lamb shoulder, crunchy lemon potatoes and a Catalan Easter cake (totally not Greek, but whatever.)

We nommed all of it. It was especially nice, because Easter Sunday was a lovely cool day that was perfect for sitting outside on the deck with wine.

Geni's roast spiced lamb shoulder
  • 1 whole lamb shoulder, boned by the friendly local butcher (we actually used half a lamb shoulder, unboned: was OK but next time I'll go the full boned)
Spice rub
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt, or Maldon
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • rind of 1 lemon and juice of 4
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 6 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons each of continental parsley, mint, thyme and rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
Massage the spice rub ingredients into the meat. Mix together the marinade and pour over the meat. Marinate it in a covered bowl or container overnight.
The next day, roast the lamb in a very hot oven or covered barbecue for ten minutes then lower the heat to 150C and continue to roast for two hours. Ours was quite rare and tender, and the meat came away from the bone easily. Do it a bit longer if that suits you, but give it a baste now and then.

Lemon potatoes
  • New potatoes or small chat potatoes
  • Half a cup of olive oil
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Few sprigs each of fresh rosemary and thyme
  • 1 head of unpeeled garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper
The night before, parboil the potatoes for five minutes. Next day, put them in a dish with all the other ingredients and toss, then roast for 9o minutes in a 180C oven.

Catalan Easter Cake
  • 6 separated eggs and 1 whole egg
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 4 yolks
  • 250g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 tsp orange flower water
* I didn't actually make this buttercream, because I didn't want to use raw yolks. I made a normal buttercream with the 250g butter and icing sugar to taste, then added the syrup and orange flower water as usual. It was great.

To serve
  • 200g apricot conserve
  • 60g flaked almonds, toasted
  • chocolate eggs to decorate
* In my opinion, the only nice eggs in town that aren't covered in foil or aren't revoltingly ugly are the Cadbury ones in the yellow packet called Mini Eggs. Obviously everyone agrees with me, because I went to four supermarkets and Big W to get them and they were all sold out. The only reliable place to get them is the Confectionery Warehouse, where there were two different sizes of bag and also some generic ones that were also very lovely, pale and softly pastel-coloured. I went with a mix of the bright Cadbury ones and the generic.

Preheat oven to 180C, and grease and line 2 shallow round tins. About 22 or 23cm. In the mixer, whisk the 6 yolks, the whole egg, 1/3 cup of the caster sugar and the zest on high speed until the mixture is thick and tripled in volume.
Whisk the whites to soft peaks, then gradually add another 1/3 cup caster and whisk to stiff peaks. Fold this into the yolk mixture carefully, without reducing the volume too much. Sift the flours, baking powder and almonds over the top and gently fold in.
Split the batter between pans, level it, then bake for 20 mins or until tops are springy. Cool in tins for 5 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack covered with baking paper.
Make the syrup by stirring the last 1/3 cup of caster, the juice and the brandy in a small saucepan over medium heat until all is dissolved. Boil for about 3 minutes, then cool.
For the buttercream, stir sugar and a quarter cup of water in small pan over medium heat: dissolve, boil 3 minutes. In a mixer, whisk the yolks for 2 minutes, then gradually pour hot syrup down the side while motor is running and whisk 5 minutes, or until super thick, white and nearly cool. Whisk in the butter, piece by piece, till combined, then add the orange flower water.
Place one cake upside down on a platter. Brush it with syrup, then spread with the apricot jam. Put other cake on top, right way up. Spread buttercream all over top and sides. (Refrigerate it first if its too soft.) Press the almonds over, then add eggs. Refrigerate for half an hour, then serve.

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