Now, I'm not a professional chef - you might say I cook by instinct. (I taste it, if it tastes good I've got the proportions and seasonings right) so a lot of this will be up to your own 'taste'.
MAKE AN ENGLISH SUNDAY LUNCH
LEG OF LAMB
Dry the meat and with the tip of a sharp knife make little slits in the skin. Tuck slivers of garlic into these slits. Brush meat with olive oil and (if using fresh) place a couple of small sprigs of rosemary under the roast and one on top. (This is my personal taste, I find that fresh rosemary is very strong and can overwhelm, this for me is just right). Season with salt, pepper and a good pinch of rosemary (if using dried).
Place in preheated 400-degree oven and after ten minutes turn heat down to 350). Roast for 1 hour, to 1 hour 15 minutes for rosy pinkness. Take out and leave to stand (at this point you can turn up the oven heat back to 400 to crisp the potatoes)
PUDDINGS (serves 8-10)
Sift salt into flour, make a well in the middle and break one egg into it, stir in with wooden spoon. Add other eggs, stirring after each one. Add milk gradually, stirring until smooth, then whisk. Whisk in enough of water to make a thin smooth batter. You can prepare this batter ahead of time and allow to stand.
Heat oven to 400-degrees (it must be a very hot oven) Put a small knob of margarine (or butter or pan drippings) approx. a flat tspn)l into each of segments of muffin tins. Put muffin tins in oven for a couple of minutes until sputtering hot. Remove and put a couple of dessert spoons of batter in each segment. Put back in oven, bake for approx l0 minutes until the puddings have risen over the top of the pan and are puffy and brown . Serve IMMEDIATELY. There will be a slight indentation in the top of each pudding - that's where you pour your gravy.
Here's the secret - you par-boil the darn things.
Idahos or Russets.
Peel potatoes and cut into smallish pieces, (i.e. about 2 inches but don't get hung up on it, just 'smallish' is right) Place in pan, cover with water, add salt and bring to boil. Turn down heat to medium and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain.
Now, you can use olive oil or any other oil, if you wish, but I prefer to use margarine (specifically I Can't Believe It's Not Butter) - though of course the ideal is to cook them around the roast. A word of warning, if you do that they will not get as crisp. I usually siphon off some of the fat and juices from the roast pan and add them to the potatoes.
Dot a roasting pan with the butter or pour in a little oil (you may need 2 roasting pans or cookie sheets for this). Add the par-boiled potatoes in a single layer, salt and pepper them, and stick the whole thing in the oven on the shelf under the meat, or in a separate oven if you have two (which I always do because as I said, everyone will have seconds) roast for 45 minutes approx.
When lamb comes out of oven, turn up heat to 375-degrees so potatoes can crisp up (another 15 mins approx. which means 60 minutes in TOTAL cooking time).
Meanwhile, make the GRAVY: Place roast lamb on a platter, then drain most of fat from roasting pan. Add l tbsp. flour to roasting pan and stir in until it turns into a paste, scraping up all those good brown bits from bottom. Cook over a low heat, stirring for a few more minutes - flour will begin to cook and turn brown. Add a glass of red wine (or if not wine l cup of stock) and stir until smooth (no lumps). Turn up heat to reduce liquid then gradually add two cups of stock (its not easy to find lamb stock so I usually use chicken). Whisk until smooth then pour into a small saucepan and let simmer for a while. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Trim stalk end and remove any damaged leaves. With sprouts this small there is no need to cut them in half. Bring water to boil (just enough water to cover) add a pinch of salt and the sprouts. Bring water back to boil and reduce heat to a brisk simmer. Cook for approx. five minutes then test with a fork. They should feel firm and just beginning to turn tender. If not, allow to cook for another couple of minutes. 'Springy' is what you're looking for. Remove from heat and strain. Put the sprouts back in the pan and place over a low heat, shaking pan gently (this steams the sprouts and removes all water, leaving them crisp and crunchy. Salt and pepper to taste and eat as soon as possible because like all vegetables, they are best straight from the pan. Of course if you have given up on worrying about the fat content by now, you can add a knob of butter. (I'm told every French chef still cooks with tons of butter and cream-that's why it tastes so good)
CAULIFLOWER WITH PARMESAN CRUST
Cut cauliflowers into florets, Bring water to boil in large saucepan (just enough to cover the cauliflower). Add salt. Add cauliflower, bring back to boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 4 mins. (maybe longer but anyhow until still crisp). Strain. Butter a Pyrex large enough to hold the cauliflower (I use the same margarine as before) sprinkle a layer of breadcrumbs, add cauliflower florets, season with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of dill weed, dot lavishly with margarine (or butter if you are feeling reckless) sprinkle on a coating of breadcrumbs and top with a good coating of grated parmesan. Cover with foil, place in 325-350 oven for half an hour, remove foil, bake at 350 for another 20 mins. or until tender and the crust is brown.
A variation on this which is really good, but only if you have the time, is to add caramelized onions in a layer under the cauliflower. To make caramelized onions: Slice onion thinly, put in saute pan with a very little olive oil or butter or margarine and allow to cook on a slow heat, tossing every now and again, until the onions soften and turn a rich brown, This usually takes half an hour. And they taste pretty good too.
bunch of fresh mint (you know what I mean, you just buy it in the market
and use whatever amount it is) sugar
Finely chop mint with sugar. Scrape into a small glass bowl and add a little of vinegar, just enough to make a thick consistency. Now taste it to see if it's too sharp and vinegary, if so add more sugar. Not exactly haute cuisine but so good with the rich lamb.
& BUTTER PUDDING Serves 8.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. If you have 2 ovens, heat second to 400 degrees. Place the slices of bread out to crisp up a bit. Turn them over when one side is done. This takes about half an hour but it makes it a lot easier to butter, otherwise the bread rips. (i.e. essentially you want stale bread)
Soak raisins in port or sweet wine of some sort if you have it, if not then just soak in a drop of wine, (it's not necessary but it adds a nice flavor) and if not that, then use water to plump them up. (Approx 30 minutes)
Using softened butter, (i.e. not straight from refrigerator) butter slices well. Cut off crusts and cut into three segments (or four).
Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat well until frothy. Add the milk bit by bit and keep beating. The more you beat, the lighter it gets. Add of goodly slug of the vanilla - until it smells good to you. I think I use 3 or 4 tsp., sometimes more. Butter well an 8 inch souffle dish (bottom and sides). Sprinkle with sugar. Place a layer of bread pieces on bottom. Sprinkle quite well with sugar, and then a few raisins (maybe 10) and broken pecan halves. Continue layering in this way. On final layer, sprinkle lavishly with brown sugar (it will turn a nice golden color when cooked). Pour milk over and press bread gently into it, so it soaks it up. Cover and leave in cool place (if you put in fridge, take out one hour before you intend to bake it)
You need a Pyrex baking dish large enough to hold the pudding souffle dish. Approximately 45 minutes before you intend to serve it, add an inch of hot water to the Pyrex (this is called a bain marie- don't ask me why) Stand the pudding souffle dish in Pyrex (bain marie) and place in 325 oven.
After 40-45 mins (when the main course has been devoured and before the table is cleared is a good moment) just transfer the whole thing into the hot oven and bake for l5 mins until it has risen and is puffy and golden.
Carry it quickly to the table to show your guests and take your applause (because it looks terrific at that moment, all golden and puffed up like a souffle-and not so terrific on the plate). Serve in bowls, with heavy pouring cream or not, according to your taste and calorie count, though by this time, who cares-and anyhow this is Sunday lunch. Time for reality on Monday morning.