We had a neighbour round for dinner last night. I had half a leg of lamb in the freezer. As we'd had the other half roast for our anniversary, and then had roast lamb a week later when we were out, I did a curried roast leg of lamb instead, along with a split pea dal, vegetable pilau, cucumber and mint raita and little mini naan breads. For a light dessert I made Strawberry Sorbet, with meringues. It was wonderfully creamy - C actually thought that I'd opted to use icecream rather than make the sorbet.
I can't find where I sourced the recipe, but it was 500g strawberries puréed with 250 g sugar, and then 2 tsp balsamic vinegar added and a lightly beaten egg white. I added a bit of lemon juice too as it tasted overly sweet. But that may have been because - in an attempt to counteract some slightly under-ripe berries by leaving them in the sunshine - I'd almost ended up with cooked strawberries, as Monday was the hottest, sunniest day for a long time.
That's just a bit over a pound of berries, and half their weight in sugar. We have an icecream maker, which certainly makes lovely smooth sorbets. But I used to make them without: just freeze the strawberry and sugar purée till almost set firm. Then put in a processor with the lightly beaten egg-white and blitz till slush and mixed. Return to freezer.
Back to our anniversary: I'd done a big supermarket and butcher shop the previous Wednesday. Wednesday night C made an arrangement for us to go to friends for dinner on Friday. On Friday we were invited out for Sunday. So I had stewing beef sitting in the fridge that had to be used, and no need for a big meal. I tried a recipe for lamb with mint and coriander that was very different to the Hyderabadi one I gave a recipe for a while back. That one was light and zesty and summery. This one was rich and spicy and aromatic. It reminded C of his favourite spicy tomato and apricot chutney. I'm not surprised - that has fennel seeds, vinegar and tomatoes, and this has aniseed, vinegar and tomato. For me the whole point was that it needed marinating overnight in yoghurt, which gave me a day's grace to deal with the meat. And of course, I used beef instead of lamb, as that's what I had.
Lamb with Yoghurt, Mint and Coriander
1/4 pt 2/3 cup yoghurt
3 tblsp chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
2 tblsp chopped fresh mint
1 tsp each garam masala and ground roast cumin
1/2 tsp each ground mace, nutmeg, cayenne and turmeric.
18 oz diced lamb
3 tblsp oil or ghee
pinch of asafoetida - optional
1 tsp each mustard seeds and ground aniseed
1 chopped onion
2-4 cloves crushed garlic
1" ginger root finely chopped or grated
8 oz canned tomatoes
3 1/2 fluid oz / 6 1/2 tblsp wine vinegar and the same of water.
Blend yoghurt and fresh herbs together to a smooth paste. Add the ground spices, and then put in a suitable dish for marinating the meat for several hours or overnight.
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the asafoetida, if using, for just a few seconds, and then add the mustard seeds and fry till they start popping. Add the aniseed and fry till browned. Add onion, garlic and ginger and fry till golden brown, reducing heat slightly. Remove the meat from the marinade and fry till lightly browned. Stir in the remaining marinade and continue cooking for five minutes or so till it's getting a bit dry. Add the tomatoes and cook again till the liquid is mostly absorbed. Add the vinegar and cook again till the liquid is absorbed. Add the water and simmer till meat is tender. C likes wet curries, so I added more water, as this made a very dry one. Serve garnished with with chopped fresh coriander and green chilli and a pinch of gara masala.