My married life, the one in which, from day to day, there are highs and lows, sacrifices and joys, tiny, insignificant spats, colossal problems, infused with everyday learning when you (hopefully) get better at being—and having—a partner.
Initially, we’d argued over what meat to buy for dinner, and then eventually decided on beef. But then, at the groceries last minute, I’d changed my mind to chicken. In a huff, he’d bought the beef instead, and I’d complained to myself that a single cut could cost as much as 9 euros. As insignificant as these little details seem, it can end up ruining a potentially productive, harmonious day and give everyone a very nasty mood.
The husband went to work, and I decided to marinate the beef before taking the kids down to the lake. Tossing it with an Asian-style recipe, the kind where you check what you have in the fridge and spice cupboard, I added everything together with, most importantly, that magic element that is every single Asian dish.
It wasn’t until 7pm at night, when we’d all gotten home, and I found myself thinking that something wasn’t right. The meat I’d marinated looked way too pink to be beef, but didn’t feel quite like a pound of pork either, neither lean enough to be rabbit.
“I think we accidentally bought lamb,” I said. (With a mental “oops”, because I have never, ever in my life attempted to cook lamb. Seems to be such a fancy dish, the kind that scares an amateur cook more accustomed to Asian stir-fries and such.)
“Read the label,” the husband answered. “Lamb is agnello in Italian.”
Of course, I’d thrown the packaging away that morning, so had to go fish it out of the garbage, before seeing that it was, indeed, Agnello– a delightful piece of baby sheep…and, to my dismay, that I’d unintentionally ruined it with soya sauce and honey!
But you know who rocks? Jamie Oliver. I found myself on his cooking site, and his ingredients for a delicious roast lamb were not much different than the ones I’d tossed together. Following his easy, straightforward instructions on how to oven roast a piece of meat with potatoes, I crafted my very first leg of lamb.
It was a complete surprise, how simple this recipe was. The soya-sauce and honey mixture made a perfect caramel crust, glazing the potatoes and carrots exquisitely.
“It’s the Easter lamb,” my husband joked, and we both laughed at not even realizing the timeliness of this themed feast. Accidental deliciousness.
It did turn out to be a feast. I’d served it with a fresh feld salat, tossed with sautéed mushrooms and fresh goats cheese (recipe also below), a liter bottle of vino rosso, Nero D’Avola, grilled corn on the cob and toasted baguettes.
As the husband carved out the meat, the good bits with their sweet but not too sticky flavors left me thinking that this must be the kind of dish that makes the heart sing. Makes you forget the crazies.
I turned up some jazz radio, we lit the table candles, uncorked the wine and enjoyed the glow. Is there anything more rewarding than watching your boys eat to their hearts’ content?
Today, I’ll be poring over these 46 lamb recipes from Jamie Oliver, who, did I say rocks? I hope you, too, had a happy Easter with your loved ones, celebrating the start of Spring and the return of warmth just before Summer.
There are so many important elements to a happy life, but you’ve heard them already. I’ve decided that the most important one, in terms of marriage, is being able to whip up a feast for your man…every single night.
Drizzle of Honey
Dash of Salt and Pepper
Generous amount of olive oil
Fresh Rosemary and Thyme, Sage
Secret ingredient: Soya Sauce
Mix everything into a bowl, and let the meat marinate in fridge for at least 4 hours. I stuffed some of the marinade into a chunky part of the shank, which I sliced to make a pocket before filling.
- Preheat oven to 400/200 degrees
- Place meat on the grilling rack, with a roasting tray underneath to catch the tasty dripping juices and for potatoes later.
- Pour the leftover marinade sauce into this tray
- Boil potatoes (optionally leaving peels on) then let simmer for ten minutes
- When potatoes are done, slice them, drizzle with more olive oil, salt and pepper, then toss them into the tray with fresh sprigs of rosemary and continue roasting
- Optional: Add sliced carrots to the tray of potatoes
- Continue to cook everything for an hour. Set the table.
- Order your boys to sit down. Serve the salad with a glass of wine while the aromatic scent of roasted meat and rosemary fills the kitchen.
- Enjoy each others’ company: quiet the kids with Grissini sticks and roasted, buttered corn on the cob (I’d added the corn to the grilling rack about the same time as the chicken)
- When one side of the potatoes has been slightly caramelized, turn them over
- When the lamb is done, cover it with foil and let stand for 15 minutes
- Transfer to a large plate with the potatoes encircling the meat
- Serve with love and watch your men enjoy
Goat Cheese, creamy variety with a milky flavor and not too sharp or salty
Feld Salat or any salad variety of your choice
Fresh Basil leaves
Saute the mushrooms and garlic in a frying pan of butter and olive oil. And the very end, tear basil leaves with your fingers and add to the mushrooms.
On a plate, arrange the bed of salad, layer this with the mushrooms then top with crumbled goats cheese. Serve while the mushrooms are still warm, with a light prosecco and buttered fresh bread.
Happy Feasting, buona Pascua! :)
P.S. We’ve just moved back to Lombardy, Italy. Here is my new bedroom view every morning. You can’t see in this frame, but it’s magical how the bottom of the mountain touches a serene lake. What a sight to wake up to. I appreciate my life all over again and try to remind myself to always, always, always be grateful.