Mothers’ Day presented a good opportunity for some full-on cooking and this year’s was a relative success. I’m a big fan of Moroccan food, courtesy of some very enjoyable trips to the cafe at MoMo near Regent Street. This year I decided to try a recipe from a Jamie Oliver book for ‘Mad Moroccan Lamb’ which I’d describe as a spicy lamb bake. Ultimately it’s a fantastic collection of Moroccan flavours captured in an attractive-looking dish.
First you bake a shoulder of lamb after scoring it deeply (crisscross) and rubbing it in a powder of cumin, corriander, dried chillis, fennel, black peppercorns and salt; and pushing in some rosemary leaves in the grooves. After two hours in a hot oven you get a very deep golden brown-looking lump of meat a bit like this:
Now I could happily munch my way through that, but in the interests of maintaining family peace, I decided to complete the recipe and let everyone else have some. To complete the dish, you prepare a goodly sized portion of couscous, using dried fruit and vegetable stock and some chick peas, cooked with red onion and fresh thyme and reduced down with some water and balsamic vinegar. I used a 24cm casserole with high sides, but really you’ll need something wider. You line the casserole with some couscous, then pour in the chick peas, then place the roast joint on top. The rest of the couscous turns it into the ‘bake’ and some lemon halves are also put in to ‘jammify’, as Oliver puts it. It’s covered and baked for an hour, eventually looking something like this:
The lemon juice is then stirred into some natural yoghurt, to be served with the dish, which is also garnished with corriander and slivers of medium-hot chilli.