We had a lovely weekend at home this Easter, with our sons and two of their girlfriends joining us for most of it. I tried to keep the cooking as simple (but delicious) as possible and had a cooking-free Saturday night when we went to our local Italian to celebrate my birthday the previous week.
For Easter Sunday lunch I ordered a large leg of lamb from the butcher and asked him to remove the bone and butterfly it. My thinking was that it would cook more quickly and carve more easily (although carving is my (surgeon) husband’s job!).
On Saturday afternoon I prepared the marinade, covered the lamb and put it in the fridge to be forgotten about until Sunday morning.
I adapted the following recipe from Diana Henry’s book, Cook Simple.
Indian Leg of Lamb
For about 8 people
1 x 2kg leg of lamb, boned and butterflied
55g blanched almonds
2 onions, roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
a big chunk of fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 green chillies, halved and deseeded
550g plain yoghurt
1 tbsp ground cumin
4 tsps ground coriander
2 tsps ground cinnamon
2 tsps garam masala
salt and pepper
Make deep gashes all over the meat with a sharp knife and put it in a dish
Blitz everything else in a food processor and spread this all over the lamb, massaging it in with your hands. It will look like this:
Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge
On Sunday morning, preheat a conventional oven to 200ºC, take the lamb out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. Place it in a large roasting tin and cover with foil
Aga users: put it in the roasting oven for about 30 minutes, then remove the foil for 5 or ten minutes before placing the lamb in the simmering oven until you’re ready to serve lunch. This was 2pm in our case, so the total cooking time was about four and a half hours. If you’re using a conventional oven, the cooking time is about one and a half hours, with the foil removed for the last 20 minutes or so
Leave the lamb to rest on a board while you reheat the cooking juices, stirring as you go, to make a delicious sauce to be served with the lamb
I served our lamb with a pilaff, carrots roasted with coriander and garlic and two green vegetables
It is said that marzipan is a bit like Marmite in that you either love it or hate it. I absolutely adore it and hence this cake, which comprises a thick layer of the stuff in the middle. This is the reason for the “sticky” in the title. Cakes made with ground almonds tend to be deliciously moist anyway, but the addition of marzipan takes it to a whole new level. I made this cake for my book club last week and received compliments and requests for the recipe. Even my husband, who normally doesn’t like marzipan, loved it.
This cake can also be seen as relief from the relentless EU referendum debate. At last the day has finally arrived and all we can do is cast our votes and wait for the result. In a conversation with a Twitter mate, the other day, we bemoaned how nasty conversations had become, with people who normally share similar political outlooks finding themselves on opposite sides. She and I decided we’d change the subject and discuss recipes instead, and that is how I’ve come to be writing about this cake. So, @soyoprincess, this is for you.
Sticky Almond Cake
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
50g plain flour
150g ground almonds
350g marzipan (white, preferably)
Grease and base-line (with bake-o-glide or parchment) a 23cm springform cake tin
Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and ground almonds in a bowl and beat until thoroughly mixed. I did this in my KitchenAid mixer but an electric hand whisk will also do the job
Roll out the marzipan to the size of your cake tin and using the tin as template, cut in a circle
Place half the mixture in the tin and top with the marzipan, then cover with the remaining mixture
Bake in the baking oven, or conventional at 180ºC. Start to check it at 45 minutes and cover with foil or parchment if necessary. It’s ready when it’s firm to touch. Sorry to be vague but this can take an hour or as long as an hour and a quarter
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then remove to a rack
Dust with icing sugar before serving
This cake keeps for several days; in fact, it improves with age