I haven’t been present in this space of late. Not as much as I would like to have been. I think perhaps I used to have more time. More time to pop over here, write about food. Write about family. Write about all that I love really. It is a good space for me.
Time seems to be something I struggle to create more of. I know of a few special people who really can create time. They are firm and clear about their boundaries and they are clear about when they need to make time for themselves. Some even schedule it using shiny and sparkly pens on their calendars. They make time and themselves a priority. Just like that…..they are my heroes.
Some pretty amazing things have been happening this year in my world and continue to do so.
Ava is navigating her first year of secondary school like a pro. She is thriving. It has not been anywhere near as difficult to drag her out of bed at 7am each morning (like we had thought) and often we find she is giving us the hurry on so she doesn’t miss the train. Blow me over – who would have thought! She is trying her hand at all the school is offering. She is making new friends and strengthening gorgeous longer-standing ones. We now have two wonderful girls at secondary school and Ettie not far behind them. I am now loud and clear hearing that elderly woman who stopped me years ago when I was pushing two little ones in a pram and one on an attached buggy board (man I must have had good arms back then!) and said “enjoy them, darling. I can’t tell you how quickly it goes”.
On Monday night, Grace won an award of excellence at school for her art. Michael & I high-fived ourselves on the way home for giving birth to an ‘award-winning artist’ (yeah, so I am tongue in cheek) when neither of us can draw a stick man who comes close to resembling a man or a stick for that matter. Grace has just gone through the process of choosing her subjects to help steer her to the path she may wish to follow when she leaves school in a few years time. It can be such a daunting task and I remember it too well myself. Looking at what I do now…..so far removed from what I was hoping for back then. I feel life has this very special way of steering us and offering the right doors though. I hope our girls kick down doors with passion and force.
Ettie is busy being the incredibly joyous Ettie that she is. So full of life this kid (she is also one of my heroes). She is currently baking for a school stall that she is part of running to raise money for the homeless. This becomes her full force mission. She reminds me of someone a little too close to home. It is our strength and our weakness. Last night I arrived home to find 2 kilos (yes 2 kilos) of my (very expensive) couverture chocolate being chopped and melted for what seems to be the biggest bake-off of all time. Lucky people who buy that couverture chocolate cookie tomorrow for likely a dollar or so.
I was feeling unusually flat when I arrived home and Ettie has the gift that some possess of tuning beautifully into others. Yes, she may have received a subtle hint as she reviewed my face and the biting of the lip when I saw ‘the bake-off bench’ but it wasn’t about that. Work had been a lot overwhelming with a new website in the making that I was trying to work on, load classes, etc (just for the record I.T guru was not on my hopes and dreams list for when I ‘grew up’) whilst I should have been doing many other things and it was feeling a lot like trying to speak a language I am not at all familiar with. Ettie gave a simple ‘do you need a hug Mum’? as she wrapped her tiny thin arms around my neck. I sure did Ett’s. Someone checking in on you….and you on them. It can make all the difference.
‘R u ok?’
A couple of Fridays ago was especially lovely. My second cookbook has gone off to print. Hurrah!!!
So many emotions through the whole journey with perhaps the highest and not at all the most romantic being exhaustion.
It was a real moment of ‘no more can be done’ as well as a huge sense of pride and love. I have the most special people around me. My family, in particular. There were tears from one middle child when she saw the covers (good tears btw). My husband….so supportive with such a caring heart & I can tell you….he looks mighty handsome on page 251 of the new book (just a little heads up for when it is released).
Thank you for being here with me. This space is one I love dearly. I am not here as often as I like but it seems to be the place where I create space and time for myself without having to bump up against those human heroes I spoke about earlier.
Today is Sunday. I think of family both immediate and extended. I think of shared tables and often, I think of a Sunday roast and so it is with great love and pride that I share with you a delicious and easy roast lamb recipe from my upcoming book, aptly titled ‘FAMILY’.
Happy Sunday beautiful people.
Roasted leg of lamb
A recipe from Relish Mama ‘Family’ cookbook released later in 2017
Growing up, my dad just loved a lamb roast on a Sunday evening. As a mother now, I know just how precious a comforting meal like this is to share with your family at the end of a week and before the new one commences. It is such a beautiful way to share a table, great food and the company of each other.
We enjoyed a lot of roasted lamb, growing up. So much so that I could not eat it for many years when it was time for me to cook for myself (sorry Dad but I think we over-dosed). Much to my carnivorous father’s delight, I have been back cooking and enjoying lamb for years now.
This recipe is no fuss. It is comforting and although my recipe and not Dad’s, it is a very special memory from my childhood and always makes me think of my parents and siblings with much love.
2 kg leg of lamb, on the bone
750 g baby potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed or very finely chopped
1 heaped tablespoon dried oregano
1 heaped teaspoon sea salt, plus a little extra
50 g unsalted butter, roughly cut into pieces
Juice of 2 lemons
Freshly cracked black pepper
250 ml water
Remove lamb from the fridge 1 hour before you wish to commence cooking.
Preheat oven to 220°C or 200°C fan forced.
Parboil potatoes and drain in a colander. Shake the potatoes against the sides of the colander to scuff the sides just a little. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, oregano and salt. Place the lamb in a baking dish (preferably one that has a fitted lid) and rub this mixture all over the lamb. Dot the lamb with butter and pour the lemon juice over. Season with freshly cracked black pepper.
Add potatoes to the dish along with a little extra salt. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes and then turn the lamb over and bake for a further 20 minutes. Spoon the pan juices over the lamb and potatoes and add the water to the dish.
Reduce the heat to 180°C or 160°C fan forced. Place a lid on the dish (or cover with foil) and bake for a further 40 minutes for pink lamb or 1 hour for more well-done lamb.
Allow the lamb to rest, covered, for 20 minutes before serving.
Tips and Variations
This is lovely served with the lemon yoghurt or minted yoghurt.
Any leftover lamb can be used to make shepherd’s pie or is perfect for homemade souvlakis during the week.
The oregano marinade is also lovely rubbed into a whole chicken prior to roasting. Simply rub a 1.6 kg free-range chicken all over with the marinade. Preheat oven to 220°C or 200°C fan forced. Place two halves of the lemons (squeezed in the marinade) inside the cavity of the chicken and roast for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until juices run clear if pierced with a knife or skewer.
Allow to rest for 5–10 minutes before serving.
Thank you to two very special ladies who I had the pleasure of working with again on this second book. Tamara Erbacher on photography and Lucienne Hemingway on styling.