Is there a finer feast than the 'Great British Roast', I wonder? I enjoy so many different styles of food but a traditional Sunday roast delivers comfort like no other. I would be hard pushed to choose a favourite meat to roast. Would it be beef, served pink with billowing yorkshire puddings and creamy horseradish sauce? Or lamb which reminds me of my childhood (it was the family favourite) and of Spring? Perhaps chicken with bread sauce and a sage-scented stuffing - the ultimate comfort food, surely? Pork with crunchy crackling and apple sauce takes some beating too. Game, when in season, is frequently on the menu is our household too.
At this time of year though, I'm always drawn to lamb. I love to roast it with strong, woody herbs like rosemary and thyme and love it too, slightly charred, on the barbecue once the weather allows. Recently, rather than stuffing slivers of garlic and sprigs of rosemary into slits in the meat, I have been making a delicious herby paste to smear all over the lamb before roasting. I push it deep into slits in the meat to ensure the flavours really penetrate the meat. A little goes a long way and the recipe below was plenty for a sizeable half-leg of lamb. I know many who claim not to like anchovies, but I defy anyone to recognise the flavour here. They simply add a lovely salty, savoury tang which goes brilliantly with the distinctive sweet meat.
Throughout the Winter and early Spring we have a 'roast' most Sundays. Usually in the evening once Master LBG is tucked up in bed, it is our way of enjoying the very last bit of the weekend and banishing the Sunday night blues. Accompanied by a decent bottle of red, it is a tradition that we love and always insist on a 'proper' pudding afterwards. Sometimes, the feast will move to lunchtime so that our son can join in or friends can join us too. A lunchtime feast is always jolly and tends to be followed by a dog walk and an evening film with cheese on toast if we have space.
This weekend we enjoyed what I suspect may be the last 'proper' roast for a while. Mr LBG would probably like us to have a roast with all the trimmings every Sunday throughout the year but I'm afraid I simply can't bring myself to sit down to gravy and roast potatoes once the warmer weather arrives (ever hopeful). Instead we'll enjoy roast chicken with roasted vegetable couscous, butterflied leg of lamb barbecued with an array of salads or rare roast beef with a Thai-inspired salad. Mr LBG may be disappointed but I look forward to the fresher and lighter flavours of late Spring and Summer. Do you sit down to a traditional roast or special meal on Sundays? Do you adapt your Sunday feast according to the seasons or stick with the traditional accompaniments year round?
Herb and garlic paste for roast lamb
Enough for half a leg of lamb (approx 1.5kg)
4-5 decent sprigs of fresh rosemary
Small handful fresh thyme
2 medium cloves garlic
2 anchovy fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1. Strip the leaves from the rosemary and thyme sprigs. Roughly chop the rosemary.
2. Roughly chop the anchovy fillets and garlic.
3. Using a pestle and mortar, grind everything together until you have a smooth-ish paste.
To prepare lamb:
Using a sharp knife, make deep slits through the fat and into the meat of the lamb. Rub the paste all over the lamb, pushing it down into the slits where possible. Roast as usual.
I am entering this herby paste into this month's Cooking with Herbs blogging challenge hosted by Karen over at the fabulous Lavender and Lovage. This month she has asked that we try to use fresh herbs in our recipes so I hope that she will approve as these herbs came straight from the pot outside my kitchen door - from pot to paste in all of five minutes. I love to grow fresh herbs but am hopeless at remembering to water them. Rosemary and thyme always seem to survive my very erratic watering habits and I therefore use them both a great deal in my cooking!