Well it was a great week last week – weather wise, work wise, life wise! Then it happened, I woke up Easter morning – the reason for the season, thought I overslept as it was brighter in the room, threw open the curtains and was horrified to find snow on the ground!!! Okay let me preface by saying – we are pretty fortunate that for the “most” part, we get reasonably good weather in Toronto (polar vortex not withstanding). I always remember hearing as a kid growing up about the blizzards that would just hammer Buffalo. I’d watch as the school names would flash by on the TV screen “closed” and always wished my school would magically appear on the screen. It never did. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is all the stores have these beautiful spring flowers on display, lilies, hydrangeas, tulips etc. – all signs of spring. And here it is snow on the ground in almost mid-April. Ugh!

Luckily it has all disappeared and I’m sitting at my kitchen table looking at some brown/green grass and a whole bunch of twiggy branches with no leaves to cover up anything. So I think, after the winter we have had, it is going to take a while before I see any green buds appearing – I really hope I’m wrong about this.

We celebrated Easter at my house this year. Really a simple event, half the family was in other parts of the world so a small gathering, but with just as much love, laughter and gratitude as the full house. So I experimented some with the meal, and over the course of the next couple of weeks, you will see some recipes that are new to me – and hopefully, new to you as well.

Now, on to the recipe, the original of which is from the Ontario Meat Products “Best on the BBQ Collection” (but I didn’t bbq it, snow and all – well that’s my excuse anyway). I did modify the recipe slightly – I thought the original called for too much fennel (2 tsp) and cardamom (2 tsp). I typically like baking roasts with the bone in where possible but this time I picked up the boneless leg of lamb. I butterflied it, salted/peppered it well, spread the spice mix all over, rolled it and tied it to get even cooking – plain delicious, super taste. It was baked (using the oven thermometer attachment) to 145f, then removed from the oven and tented with foil for about 15 minutes. Tender, flavorful, just the right amount of spice. As always – enjoy!

2 tbsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. cardamom (powder)
1 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper – cayenne or chili powder
1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. ginger (about 1″ piece) – grated
6-8 cloves garlic – grated
3 lb. boneless leg of lamb, butterflied

To a dry non stick pan, add the cumin, fennel, cardamom powder, crushed pepper powder, black peppercorns – and toast until fragrant
Add to a spice grinder and pulse until a fine powder but before it makes a paste
Remove to a small pot, and add the garlic, ginger and olive oil – stir to make a paste, season with salt and pepper
Taste it, season if needed, and taste again – remember, if it doesn’t taste good at this stage, there is no miracle that will make it taste good on the finished product!
If the lamb has some fat on top, remove the slimy coating to expose the fat, then score the fat with a sharp knife, rub salt and pepper onto the meat and the scored fat
Spread the paste onto the lamb on both sides, massage it into the meat – roll up tightly and tie with butcher’s twine
Let marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight (I marinated mine overnight)
Remove from the fridge at least 2 hours before baking to bring the meat to room temperature
Insert the meat thermometer attachment into the roast (and the oven), pour some more olive oil on top of the meat and bake at 400f in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350f and cook until the oven thermometer beeps
Remove and tent with foil for 15 minutes
Remove the twine, cut and serve
As always – enjoy!
Pictured below – the roast, and my son’s Bloody Caesar creation – Vodka, Caesar mix, Tabasco with Habanero, gherkin, pickled onion, spicy salami, pickled green bean, olive, baked salami shards +++! Perfect pre-dinner/during/post/past-post drink!
Lamb Tikka 2a
Lamb Tikka 1a