Now, I don't know if it is because I am Australian and Paul is South African, and we're required by law to eat lamb, or if it is because we are old, but lamb has never fallen off our shopping list. I don't know the actual reasons for the decline and the AHDB representative didn't really suggest anything concrete but I suspect there may be several reasons. I wonder if people who were children during the devastating 2001 foot and mouth outbreak remember the horrifying news footage too clearly? Or if they associate lamb with mystery meat kebabs, takeaway curries and grey Sunday roasts rather than considering it something to quickly and economically cook at home? Perhaps the value-added options at the supermarket haven't been so tempting or as diverse as for other meats. Or maybe it is the price - lamb doesn't lend itself to factory farming, so the price hasn't been pushed down to pennies the way intensively-reared pork and chicken has been. I absolutely refuse to accept the "they don't learn cooking at school" argument because I didn't learn anything of value in school cooking classes almost 30 years ago and yet here I am, moderately competent.
|Cyrus Todiwala - passionate ambassador for British lamb|
They were all very good, but I was particularly intrigued by the lamb breast. We cook boned breasts of lamb on the barbecue quite often, because with a long, slow cook the (copious) fat renders out and you are left with layers of crisp skin and meltingly tender meat. These canapes were made in quite a different way which again rendered out the fat and just left succulent meat behind: it was slowly cooked then chilled and pressed before being cut into slices and tossed in a hot pan.
|Breast of lamb and cauliflower|
|Mini dosa. Even at a lamb dinner not everything is meaty.|
|Samosa of spiced liver, kidney and sweetbreads|
|One mini burger on a bun, the other on a light tomato sauce|
|Cannon of lamb|
The finishing touch was a dessert of kulfi and figs stewed in marsala. Pervin Todiwala was wandering around making sure all their guests were happy while Cyrus cleaned up his station, and she explained that the kulfi was so good because they make it in house. It was definitely the creamiest and most pistachio-y of the pistachio kulfis I have tried, and the almond and saffron one was also lovely - just subtle and perfect. Reminds me I need to dig out my kulfi moulds and have a go with Felicity Cloake's perfect kulfi recipe and see how it compares.