I couldn’t agree more : ‘modern cooking is so exquisitely contrived that the chunky, rustic-looking dish, inelegant and apparently thrown together, is something of a rare treat’. Don’t get me wrong: I love cooking ‘good looking’ food, and coordinating flavours and colours, arranging the dish on the place so people gasp. But in the end I want my cooking to be eaten and people to enjoy it and say ‘boy, that was good food!’. I am definitely not hunting a Michelin star, as that’s not what I do for a living … but I love cooking. And I love cooking so that the house smells of aromas, the food is rich and tasty, and everyone asks for a second serving. Or maybe I am just going through my one pot fits all phase. You never know!
Needless to say, I am taking again about an ‘inelegant’ dish, this time around baked lamb. I can assure you though I have rarely had such tasty traditional rustic, hearty food. Maybe the fact my job is closely linked to business lunches and dinners, sometimes I just crave simple, stodgy food.
The other day, on my way home, I bought lamb chops (initially I was thinking of going for a steak dinner …). At home I decided that my approach will be only to use ingredients I already have in the house. And for inspiration I reached out for Nigel Slater.
On the 19 September he suggests exactly what I was looking for: an inelegant dish of baked lamb. So, besides the aubergines, I followed the recipe as described:
8 small potatoes
4 plum tomatoes
a large aubergines (left out in my dish)
2 medium onions
6 large cloves of garlic
5 tsp olive oil
4 bushy springs of rosemary
4 lamb chops
The process of preparing the dish is too easy, really. I pealed the potatoes, and sliced them in half, the same for the tomatoes and onions. The garlic peeled, left whole, and all tossed together with some olive oil and seasoning. I tucked the rosemary among the vegetables and all went in the oven, uncovered, for 30min at gas mark 6.
On to the lamb, I rubbed it with olive oil, lemon juice and again seasoned it well, then placed it on top of the veggies. The dish stayed in the oven another 30min, till the lamb was golden brown on the outside, and slightly pink inside.
Now what can I tell you? Seconds were asked for, and nothing but a big pot was left to clean. This was truly, cooking with heart and soul.