Saturday, 30 April 2011

NOT THE ROYAL WEDDING SUPPER

My republican stance was quickly toppled when Kate Middleton stepped out of the limo, and we all caught the first glimpse of The Dress. She looked lovely, and the dress, with its unmistakable nod to Grace Kelly's wedding dress, was divine, understated and elegant. I watched the entire ceremony, and hung on until the moment of The Kiss, or rather The Kisses, before sloping off to the kitchen to prepare a celebratory supper. It was supposed to be a "Not The Royal Wedding" supper, but in the end, we toasted the happy couple, and watched the highlights on the telly before sitting down to dinner.

The main course, lamb in a honey glaze on giant couscous, was my version of something we ate at The Bull on Easter Saturday. I used shoulder of lamb as it lends itself to slow cooking. Before marinading it, I made slits in the underside of each joint and slipped in pieces of garlic. I made a simple marinade from honey, lemon juice and cumin, plonked the lamb on some sprigs of fresh rosemary in a Le Creuset casserole, and poured over the marinade. And forgot about it until 6pm, when it went into a hot oven for 2 hours. (Keep an eye on it, as the marinade tends to caramelise quickly.)

Honey roast lamb with giant couscous
Giant couscous, sometimes called Israeli couscous, or Moghrabieh, is readily available in supermarkets (M&S, Waitrose) or specialist food suppliers (e.g. Merchant Gourmet), and is a great alternative to ordinary couscous or pasta. You can use it in the same way as soup pasta, and it makes an excellent base for Middle-Eastern salads and other dishes. And, like ordinary couscous, it carries other flavours very well. Cook it according to the instructions on the packet, drain and then rinse in cold water, to keep the grains separate. I roasted aubergine cubes and chunks of red onion until soft, and added these to the couscous, with a pot of sunblush tomatoes (from M&S). I added some cumin and chilli and a little grated lemon zest, and a good slug of fruity olive oil. Just before we were ready to eat, I carved the lamb and laid it over the couscous, covered the whole lot with tin foil and put it back in the oven to warm through. Finally, I garnished it with pomegranate seeds and chopped fresh coriander. At the table, it was greeted with enthusiastic oohs and aahs, and my friend Sarah (an ardent royalist) said, "I love coming here for dinner and I love your food", a wonderful compliment. We ate the dish with Belazu Rose Harissa and Ottolenghi's Yoghurt Sauce.

Not the Royal Wedding Cake!

For pudding, we had Nigella's Lemon Polenta Cake, which I renamed Not The Royal Wedding Cake, simply served with a nice dollop of creme fraiche. Afterwards, I played some Liszt, not the best idea on 4 glasses of wine, but I doubt my guests noticed any of the muffed notes (surprisingly few, given the intake of alcohol!).


Merchant Gourmet Giant Couscous

Franz Liszt - Sonetto 123 del Petrarca

1 comment:

  1. sounds yummy! We all love Israeli couscous, especially my daughter Sophia.

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