I have a friend. Wait, don’t clap, that’s not the end of the story.
I have a friend, her name is Linh and she likes to give me really heavy birthday presents.
When I turned 29, she gave me the Falling Cloudberries cookbook, which is not just a cook book but a stunning and beautiful tale of author Tessa Kiros’ life and multicultural upbringing.
But the book weighs a tonne.
And last year, Linh gave me a 20cm Le Creuset casserole pot in a stunning Caribbean teal. It also weighs a tonne.
While I’ve used both gifts separately, I’ve never actually used them together before and really, it shouldn’t have taken so many brain cells to come up with this idea but eventually, I got around to cooking a dish from Linh’s book-gift in Linh’s pot-gift! Brilliant, I am.
Falling Cloudberries is a collection of recipes and stories, encompassing Tessa Kiros’ mixed heritage stemming from Finland (maternal) and Cyprus (paternal). Add to that her Italian husband and the years she lived in South Africa, plus a muse in the form of her Peruvian housekeeper and you have a a killer read.
Romantic, nostalgic, delicious and even has her family tree all sketched out which I loved, because I’m nosey like that.
So out of the book, I chose to cook tava, a Greek (well, Cypriot) dish of slow baked lamb and potatoes, with cumin and tomatoes.
I’d been wanting to use my le creuset to slow-cook anything for a while now and what better to slow-cook than a fresh, gorgeous, juicy leg of lamb from Abel & Cole? I got the lamb with the bone still in tact and it was so fresh that, and I don’t mean to gross anyone out, but I’m sure the lamb was bleating not very long ago.
So with the lamb in the pot, I strayed a little from the “potato” of the recipe and used sweet potato and carrots instead (really wanted to add parsnip too but totally blanked at the supermarket, so no parsnip) because I live with Panu, and Panu and carbs, they aren’t very good friends.
The recipe from here on in is so easy even I could do it. Bung it in the oven, stir it every so often for several hours and for the last half hour or so, cook with the lid off. The result is a ridiculously fragrant, painfully tender and stunningly delicious dish, although not necessarily stunning to look at.
By the way, this meal broke new ground for me. I used parsley and I hate parsley. Except that it complements the flavours in this dish so well that look at that, I even sprinkled some more on top!
Am I growing up?!
|tava (Cypriot baked lamb & potatoes with cumin & tomatoes)|
|1 kg leg of lamb, cut into chunks (about 500grams of flesh)
2 red onions, chopped roughly
2 carrots, chopped
3 small sweet potatoes, chopped
4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 heaps tablespoons cumin or cumin seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
4-5 ripe tomatoes, cut into thick slices
50 grams butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish
Rice or couscous