Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Mother's Day


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Motherhood is so rich with delight, laughter and challenge and I feel deeply grateful for all of it. We celebrated the day with sunshine and a spring lunch. What could be better! The spring flowers are blooming all over, bringing colour and vibrancy beneath the breezy blue skies.
Playing in the garden - accompanied by a glass of something sparkly - we anticipated a springtime lunch of slow roasted lamb, crispy potatoes and an abundance of vegetables.




Slow Roasted Shoulder of Lamb
This is such an easy dish to prepare and so incredibly delicious. It takes quite a long time in the oven, but only a few minutes to put together. It then just cooks itself and all you have to do is add some crispy roasted potatoes and some steamed vegetables or lovely bowl of salad greens to make a gorgeous lazy lunch.

One shoulder of lamb
a large onion, sliced
6-7 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
a few sprigs of mixed herbs, rosemary, thyme or savoury (or a good sprinkling of mixed dried herbs)
salt and pepper
a drizzle of olive oil
a small glass of white wine (or water if you like)

Use a heavy, large casserole pan that can be covered and will go in the oven. Put the sliced onions and a garlic cloves in the pan and place the lamb on top. Season the lamb with the salt, pepper and herbs. Drizzle over a little olive oil and pour the wine around the meat. Cover tightly and bake in a medium low oven (160 degrees C) for about 3 hours. At this point the lamb will be meltingly soft. Depending on your pan, you may need to let the meat roast uncovered for about twenty minutes at the end so that it gets a lovely burnished browning which really enhances the flavour.( I use a shallow cast iron pan which has a lid - it is like an oven within the oven and the meat slowly browns as it bakes covered.)
While the lamb is slowly roasting you can get the rest of your lunch ready, and still have lots of time to relax and have fun with the family.

Here's to all mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties, grandma's, stepmothers, godmothers...Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, 1 March 2010

St. David's Day


Today is St. David's Day and it's a day that I truly celebrate. I love daffodils, and leeks, and most especially my darling husband named David! In France people make a fuss of someone on their name/saint's day just like a birthday. So that is reason enough to celebrate. But I also rejoice at the herald of Spring and once March arrives, I feel that the worst of the dreary, lingering winter is past. All of a sudden, the snowdrops raise their heads along with crocuses and daffodils. And today, even the sun made an appearance!


With a bright start and breakfast (actually, I don't eat eggs but I still love the way they look and their symbolism) I set off for a walk in the fresh air. It's muddy! This is the Buckinghamshire countryside not far from my home. This apple orchard below is being restored and the trees getting pruned - within a few weeks they will be covered in blossom.



The snowdrops have just appeared in my garden.


Happy St. David's Day!