I love a good meal plan. Do I stick to them? Sometimes!
Our family meal plan needs to fit around a husband who works late and 3 kid’s whose cricket/dance/swimming/football training sessions finish at all different times, depending on what day of the week it is. Take into account kid number 1 doesn’t like much meat or anything slightly spicy (read..has any flavour), kid number 2 bless her, eats almost anything, and kid number 3 who depending on the day will or won’t eat what’s for dinner, just because he’s the youngest and it’s his job to annoy everyone else in the family by whingeing…loudly. Only if the meal includes chips or plain pasta does it ensure no complaining…mostly.
So this year, I’m going to endeavour to expand the culinary horizon’s of the kids and inject a little variety into our meals. I’m sick of the same meals being on high rotation. I’m over the fact I’ve been collecting recipes from magazines, newspapers, the internet for years and hardly cooked any of them. Don’t get me started on my collection of cookbooks. All sitting there looking gorgeous, but what’s the point if you don’t use them?
So, each week, I’m going to cook one or two meals from my collection of recipes. Hopefully by keeping some of the status quo recipes that everyone eats in each week (tacos, spaghetti bol, chicken schnitzel, etc), then the night’s that we try something a little different I won’t freak everyone out. A little ambitious..yep. Confident…not really. My fall back position…try it, if you don’t like it, there’s the packet of weetbix, go and make yourself a bowl.
To begin the challenge, I chose a recipe from Save with Jamie. I picked up this cookbook before Christmas when it was on special. Flicked through it, yep. Cooked anything, nup. So, with a leg of lamb already in my freezer….Jamie’s Mothership Lamb was on the menu.
My lamb comes from my parent’s farm. Knowing where your food comes from is so important. It also makes the kids aware of how we obtain meat, and I think that it’s a valuable lesson. Given we get a 1/2 to a whole lamb once, maybe twice a year, we have lamb quite regularly, so I know that the kids will eat it. Well, to be truthful, the eldest will have a little bit and the youngest won’t touch it (I even try the “you have to eat it, it’s Grandpa’s lamb… but doesn’t always work!).
We go through the lamb cutlets and chops easily, but the legs of lamb tend to languish in the freezer. It’s because it takes more effort to defrost it (I have to plan more than 1 hour in advance!) and then, once we’ve had the roast, the leftovers sit in the fridge until they’re finally given to the dog. It just seems so wasteful.
One of the main reason’s I purchased Save with Jamie was that it used up the leftovers from the “mothership” meal. So after deciding on the Mothership Lamb, I flicked through the rest of the lamb section. The bad boy burrito’s caught my eye, but I knew they probably wouldn’t work for the rest of the family. So instead, I’ll just use the concept and make up my own version that everyone will eat. In separate bowls on the table I’ll put the warmed up leftover lamb, some tzatziki dip, grated carrot, cheese, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, and add some burrito wraps. That way everyone can make up their own burrito to their taste…I reckon it’ll be a winner.
To start the Mothership Lamb recipe, I first had to weigh my leg of lamb. My leg of lamb only weighed 1.5kg and Jamie’s recipe was based on a larger 2.5kg leg. So I needed to adjust the cooking time. This recipe cooked the lamb slowly and for a longer time, so the end result was meat falling off the bone. After pounding 4 garlic cloves, rosemary and salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle with a glug of olive oil, it was smeared over the lamb and into the 10 slits I had made in the lamb to infuse the rub.
Some water was added into the bottom of the pan, then the lamb was then covered with foil. I put mine in a 160 degree oven (Jamie used a 170 degree oven). After 1 hour, I took the foil off, checked to see if I needed to add any more water and cooked it for another 1 1/2 hrs.
It came out looking like this
And tasted pretty good! To complement the lamb we had roast potatoes, mint sauce, peas, carrots and gravy. Jamie’s accompaniments were roast potatoes, mint sauce, gravy peas and cabbage and bacon. Did the family all eat it? Almost! The youngest just ate the veggies, but did have a taste of the lamb…so I’m taking that as a win!
When cooking this recipe again (and I will!), I’m going to lower the oven even more and cook for a longer period of time as although some of the meat around the outside fell apart beautifully, the lamb on the inside wasn’t quite there. Jamie’s recipe had a cooking time of 4 hours in total although at the slightly higher temperature and with a larger piece of meat. I only cooked mine for 2 1/2, so I think a longer and slower cooking time would make it perfect.
So, are you a roast lamb fan? Do you meal plan? Are your cookbooks laying about not being used? Do you want to join me and cook some new recipes as well? Let me know if you do!
PS The lamb burritos were fabulous…although the boy’s weren’t going back for lamb two days in a row so I grilled a piece of chicken for their wraps (I won with the roast…wasn’t pushing my luck!).