Thursday, January 26, 2006


***Don't forget to post any questions you may have for me regarding the project here***

Australia Day is not, as many foreigners mistakenly believe, “the day you guys gained independence from England, yeah?”, but the day the first fleet from England arrived in Australia. We’re still part of the Commonwealth, and we’re still under the Queen.

And speaking of which… this morning, my family went to watch the first session of Brokeback Mountain, which was absolutely fantastic. I urge every single reader out there to go and see this magnificent film. It was very appropriate to watch this film on Australia Day, because it stars Australia’s very own Heath Ledger!

And speaking of which… we had a delicious Australian hunk of meat for lunch.

257. Braise-roasted lamb with Caper Sauce (Weekend Lunch)
258. A Summer Lemon-Meringue Pie (Weekend Lunch)

You really can’t not eat lamb on Australia day, but you know what? This is the last roast lamb recipe in the book! I couldn't believe it. The point of this recipe is the caper sauce, so it really doesn’t matter what flavourings (if any) you add to the lamb itself. Forgetting that butchers would be closed today, I had to get my meat from the supermarket, and was not confident enough to have it plain. So, I rubbed it with a garlic-rosemary-oil mixture, à la Nigella’s roast shoulder of lamb, before putting it in the oven at 250C (yes really!) for 15 minutes, then adding 400ml of water and half an onion to the tin. This liquid forms the base of the caper sauce.

halfway roasted

Then you turn the heat down to 200C for 16 minutes per 500 grams.

In the meantime, I decorated the summer lemon-meringue pie. This is basically a pavlova, (again, very Australia Day appropriate), covered with whipped cream, lemon curd and fresh raspberries. I made the shell last night whilst making the lemon curd, and it didn’t crack as much as my last attempt, but it was still cracked enough for me not to want to flip it over to decorate it. One day, I will develop the courage and skill to do so, but today was not that day.

less-cracked pav

Once the lamb is roasted, you can make the caper sauce. For this, you mix the water from the roasting tray with milk, and make a white sauce with it. Then add capers and freshly chopped parsley.


caper sauce

I served them with green beans because that is what I had in the freezer, generously dressed with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

green beans

sparse but delicious

That caper sauce is brilliant! I would never have thought to serve that type of sauce with roast meat, but it’s highly addictive - rich and tangy and cheesy and fresh all at once. I started off carefully drizzling sauce on the meat, then piling it on, then dunking the meat straight into the sauce bowl, and finally eating it by the spoonful. Normally whenever you make gravy or sauce or dip or whatever, it never gets finished. This one was gone in no time.

This pavlova was much improved on my last attempt, much more solid and presentable.

I love the rigid billowiness of the sides, piled with soft cream and lemon curd. With the sunny yellow topping and gleaming raspberries, it looks like some sort of offering to the pie gods. (Or would it be to the lamb gods? I’m not sure). All the elements of the pav-pie come together wonderfully – the sour tang of the raspberries and the lemon curd against the sweet meringue bass. What bliss!

One slice gone

While mum and I were getting second helpings, Daniel got up from the table and said,

Daniel: Sarah, I’m going to get some of that cherry pie. This one is good, no, it’s great, but this is fresher, so I should eat the rest of the cherry pie first.

Clever boy! One thing my brother and I share is an insatiable appetite for pie.

Happy Australia Day everybody!


Fiona xoxo said...

He Sarah!

Australia Day is also called Invasion Day as the first white settlers had little if any respect for the original inhabitants of this land...

You keep finding recipes I must have skipped over and now can't wait to cook!

I have some pickled pork in the fridge and was thrilled when some people left some ridgy didge coke (I only drink diet!) so I will do it on the weekend!

After your project I am tempted to cook my way through Forever Summer. Until recently this was the book I used least, now I find myself using it more and more!


domesticgoddess said...

that's ace, mate! the caper sauce does indeed look great. and that pavlova looks stunning. clever nigella for thinking up of these things. and clever sarah for her success with it.

happy australia day!

Lisa said...

Happy Austalia Day! I have never seen such a beautiful pav! Those toppings sound really good -- tart & tangy. Thanks for the heads-up on that caper sauce -- another recipe I must try now that you've opened my eyes to it.
And lastly, Cheers to Heath!

Niki said...

Ohmygod, you sat down to a roast dinner on a 38 degree day?? You are TRULY AUSTRALIAN!
The pav looks so good I nearly fell off my chair. And I agree Fiona that I used to ignore Forever Summer but I'm cooking from it everyday at the moment!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah

This sounds delicious! I have reading your blog for a few months and I think it's brilliant - I dunno where you get the time or energy for this project!! I've only cooked a handful of recipes from How to Eat but I'm going to cook a lot more now, you've inspired me!! Orla

Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

Yum. The pav looks great!

And we saw Brokeback Mountain on Aust Day too. Wasn't it a moving story?

markii said...