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Are you eating properly?

I get asked this rather a lot, from which I can only assume I must be looking pretty haggard still! I think the honest answer to the question is “I’m trying to, though it’s not always easy”.

There’s a canteen at work, and I try to have a cooked meal there most weekdays – except if I have a lunchtime meeting, which happens all too often, when I just grab a sandwich. At least if I’ve eaten a reasonable meal during the day, it doesn’t matter so much if I don’t feel like cooking in the evening.

Evenings are more difficult – not least because Christopher used to do almost all the cooking in our household. When he was taken ill, I had to learn fast how to cook, and I’m still climbing up that learning curve. We always enjoyed good food, and I don’t want my standard of eating to drop too far, but now it’s entirely up to me…. I’ve been trying to cook at least one new (to me) recipe each week to try to expand my repertoire. I’ve found that if I’m spending an hour in the evening trying to follow a recipe, that’s an hour when I’m not sitting on my backside moping and feeling sorry for myself, so that’s got to be a good thing.

Two recipe books I’ve found to be very good (and almost foolproof) are Leith’s Cooking for One or Two and Delia Smith’s One is Fun – if you can get past the excessively patronising title (I do not find that one is much fun at all at the moment!). I suspect that my technique is not favoured by the experts – indeed I could often swear that I can hear Christopher’s voice saying in his very exasperated tone “I really must teach you how to chop an onion!”, but it’s effective (if slow) and gets the job done.

So here, on a positive note, is the recipe for my mother’s foolproof slow-roast lamb mini-joint, a dish I’ve recently learnt how to cook.

Preheat oven to 190C. Place a sheet of tinfoil in a small roasting dish. Make a bed of rosemary sprigs (if using the ones taking over the garden, shake off the inch of snow first). Put a boneless lamb mini leg joint on the rosemary. Season with salt & pepper. Put another sheet of tinfoil over the top, and scrunch the edges loosely together to make a parcel. Shove in the oven, and immediately turn it down to 170C.   Leave for three hours minimum, while the aroma of roasting lamb and rosemary fills the house. It’s absolutely delicious.

{ 8 } Comments

  1. Richard P | 19 December 2010 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Top tip about removing the snow from rosemary!
    Hopefully we can compare notes on Leith et al before long.
    All the best,

  2. JoanLil | 20 December 2010 at 3:54 am | Permalink

    Wish we had snow to slow down the growth of our rosemary! We cut it back severely a month ago and it’s now even more rampant – it loves the heat. Next time you cook that lamb add some garlic and lemon slices – even more yummy. Very best wishes for Christmas to you – I know it will be hard.

  3. Gillian | 20 December 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Joan. Even in snow, the rosemary runs rampant! I’m really glad to see that you were able to enjoy your daughter’s wedding -it looked like a lovely day

  4. Anna Martin | 20 December 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I am a librarian off work today with a cold and I have spent the day listening to the Letters of Abelard and Heloise as read by your Christopher, the Internet would suggest (Icy Jumbo on Voxlib.) I wanted to write to him to say “thanks” but it seems I was too late. But thanks anyway. He reads it nicely.

  5. Gillian | 20 December 2010 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Anna. Christopher was always pleased to hear from people who enjoyed listening to his readings. I’ve not managed to listen to them myself yet – too painful – but I look forward to the day when I’m ready to.

  6. PaulD | 22 December 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I’d also be careful with Rosemary if you or neighbours have a cat 🙂

  7. David A | 5 January 2011 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    The lamb sounds good – and our rosemary probably needs a prune anyway 😉

    We quite like the Nigel Slater recipe books because he isn’t too prescriptive and gives you lots of ideas for variants, which is handy when you haven’t quite got the right ingredients.

  8. Gillian | 5 January 2011 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Yes I agree – my whole family is a fan of Nigel Slater. Good ingredients, cooked quite simply and as you say with lots of ideas for varying it depending on what’s in the fridge. I particularly like his florentine fish – fillets grilled with a topping of spinach, creme fraiche and nutmeg. Yum.