Warmth from within

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What’s really great is when you plan a series of late summer salads and then life gets in the way and the season catches up with you and what you want to write about becomes totally inappropriate. I concede, I can’t go on pretending that autumn has not arrived. My thermostat has started kicking in in the mornings, my shearling slippers are back on and the casserole is calling me. But just before I hunker down and eat my own body weight in apple crumble, here’s one last salad, that’s very bloody delicious and goes extremely well with the previous two if you ever felt inclined to serve up a Middle Eastern inspired spread.

Carrot and coriander is a classic pairing, but one that has never really done it for me in soup form. (Soup rarely does if I’m honest.) But combined raw and tossed in a warm dressing so the carrots absorb all the flavour, they make a slaw type thing that is so moreish this bowlful above was demolished within moments of taking the photo. Even my slaw-suspicious 10yo is a fan (so long as you don’t call it slaw).

Try it alongside a shoulder of lamb into which you have first liberally massaged a blend of warming chilli and Middle Eastern spices before slow roasting it until it falls off the bone. So good, you won’t care what the weather’s doing outside.

Harissa carrot slaw

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This recipe was inspired by this from Smitten Kitchen but I have ramped up the coriander content in a nod to that ubiquitous soup of the 1990s. The feta, as before, is optional, although never in my house.

Serves 4 as a side

  • 500g carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp harissa (more if you like things hot)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted in a dry pan, then roughly crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • small bunch coriander, roughly chopped, stalks ‘n all
  • salt and pepper
  • sprinkling of nigella seeds and crumbled feta to garnish
  1. Put the grated carrots in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a small frying or saucepan, gently warm together the oil, harissa, spices, garlic and sugar until the sugar has melted and the garlic cooked but not browned – a minute or two. Take off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and pour over the carrots with a good pinch of salt and some black pepper. Use your hands to toss the carrots in the dressing to ensure it is evenly distributed. If you can, leave the carrots to absorb the dressing for about 10 minutes.
  3. Toss in the chopped coriander, then crumble over the feta and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Best served at room temperature.

Slow-roast spiced lamb shoulder

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If you are making this for four people or fewer, you could buy half a lamb shoulder and halve the marinade amounts. I tend to buy a whole shoulder, which will feed about eight, because the leftovers are fantastic, for example, reheated and served in flatbreads with hummus and minty yogurt.

  • 1 shoulder of lamb (about 2kg)
  • 2 tbsp harissa
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (fan).
  2. Rub the lamb all over with a splash of oil then season with a good amount of salt.
  3. Mix all the other ingredients together to form a paste then rub this over the entire surface of the lamb.
  4. Put the lamb in a roasting tin and roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 140°C and roast for a further 3 1/2 hours until the meat is soft and yielding. If it looks like the marinade is burning, cover with foil.

 

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