Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Quick Roast Lamb and Cauliflower Quinoa

We had some lamb rumps to eat tonight; I arrived home late after a seminar and realised I hadn't done any preparation, but that the lamb would be better-tasting today than tomorrow. I browsed the internet looking for things I could make with ingredients I had, but couldn't find anything that I wanted. Eventually I went back to the fridge, looked through and picked out things that I wanted, and that I thought would go well.

In the garden we have a mint plant which grows enormously this time of year, and it has giant, coarse leaves that you can't eat raw. I thought that would go well with some lemon, and chanced some green olives and coriander in a quick herb rub. We had potatoes last night, and I didn't have time for brown rice, so I decided to break out the quinoa - I'm always pleased when I cook it, but often forget that I have it! With some fattened raisins and some quickly stir-fried vegetables, it made a pleasing accompaniment to constrast the lemony herb rub and deep savoury lamb. A delicious, entirely improvised meal that took just half an hour to prepare.


  • 400g lamb rump
  • a few green olives
  • a small handful of mint
  • a small handful of coriander
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 200g quinoa
  • a small handful of raisins or sultanas
  • 2 spring onions
  • 5-6 cauliflower florets

Preheat the oven to 220 C. Remove any large pieces of fat from the lamb rumps, and place in a small oven-safe dish. Blitz the olives, mint, coriander, lemon juice and cumin seeds very briefly in a blender, to make a coarse rub. Scrape this over the lamb and turn the pieces in it, pressing it in and making sure they are all covered. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning once, until cooked on the outside and pink on the inside. Rest for 5 minutes before slicing into bite-sized pieces.

Meanwhile, set the quinoa cooking according to its packet instructions (I use 2:1 water:quinoa, simmer for 10 minutes then switch off and allow to absorb the remaining water). Soak the raisins in a little boiling water for 5-10 minutes until plump, then drain. Finely slice the spring onions into strips, and the cauliflower into thin slices. Stir fry in a little olive oil for 6-7 minutes, keeping on the move the whole time so that the vegetables cook through, and remove from the heat once they pick up a little colour on the edges. Combine the quinoa, vegetables and raisins, and serve the lamb on top, with any juices from the pan drizzled over.

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