I would like to say that it has been a relaxing weekend around here and I guess for the most part it has been. The downside is that my husband has had to work the whole time and without family and friends around, it has been a bit lonely. We did make it to the farmer's market to listen to some Marimba and off to the beach for some crab hunting which was fun. Easter itself though, hmmm, a little exhausting.
I knew my kids would be up at the crack of dawn, but 3:30am seemed a little extreme. Little L wouldn't go back to sleep, so by 6:30 I had to get up, and honestly, I wasn't happy about it. I mean, did they really think I was going to let them eat chocolate at that time of day anyway? I love this holiday as much as the next person, chocolate, renewal, girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, OK, maybe that was a bit much, but I do love to see the little ones dressed up. But the sugar fest that it has become is all a bit much. Luckily the Easter bunny brought some fruit leather and little gifts instead of just chocolate this year.
So after a day of Easter egg hunting at home and abroad (by which I mean at the local park event), it was time to settle in an make something really yummy, something not just for the kids, but for the grownups as well. Greek lamb chops with lemon and herbs, good Greek salad, home made tzatziki, pita's warmed in the oven with good olive oil and Easter egg cake.
Now, I know that lamb isn't for everyone. I have traumatic memories of it as a child. My mother used to take lamb chops, put them in the oven without seasoning, maybe salt and cook them until they were as thick and tough as 100 year old shoe leather. Then she would serve it with mint sauce that was a nuclear shade of green. I cried every time. But there is something about lamb, something redeeming about this delicate, but often misunderstood meat. My great grandmother used to say that if ever someone was ill or weak, that lamb was strengthening and I believe it. I always feel so good when I eat it. So when I found this recipe, everything changed. Even little L, who carried on the tradition of crying at the sight of lamb, asked for seconds last night. Not only a culinary achievement, but also a parenting one.
And then for dessert, Easter egg nest cake. Making this cake is a deeply satisfying experience, mainly because it is super easy and the more it crumbles and looks like you've done something wrong, the better it is. It is flourless, full of good chocolate and the nursery charm of it really is irresistible. The day definitely ended on a high note and after that good supper, my early riser slept all night long and slept in. Maybe my great grandmother was right, lamb is strengthening and good for the soul. I think I'll add this cake in that saying as well.
Greek lamb chops with lemon and potatoes
adapted from Nigella Lawson, Kitchen
1 1/2 lbs lamb shoulder stew
2-3 russet potatoes cut into chunks, skins left on
2 cloves garlic chopped
small handful fresh mint
sprinkling of dried chilli flakes
good sprinkling Maldon salt or regular sea salt
2 lemons-zest and juice of
small handful of chopped fresh dill and parsley
Good olive oil
Preheat oven to 400F. Put all ingredients together on a baking sheet and get your hands in and toss it all around, coating the lamb and potatoes with all the beautiful herbs and lemon. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and put in the oven.
Cook for at least 1 hour a bit longer if you like, don't stir it while it is cooking, just leave it.
So, so yummy with a good salad and some pita. Better than going out by far!