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
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.
  2. Put the onion, sweet potato, carrot and lamb in a casserole dish or deep baking dish. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the parsley, cumin and olive oil and mix through very well with your hands.
  4. Put the tomato slices on top in a single layer and season lightly with salt.
  5. Dot the butter over the top and pour about 125mL (1/2 cup) of water around the sides of the dish.
  6. Cover with foil or lid and bake for 2 hours, tilting the dish from side to side and spooning some of the pan juices over the top.
  7. After 2 hours, remove the foil/lid and increase oven temperature to 200°C/400°F and cook for another 45 minutes or so, turning the lamb once or twice, until the meat and potatoes are a little browned and the liquid has reduced. Note: after two hours it still looks quite wet but the 45  minutes without the lid reduced the liquid quite substantially so don’t worry!
  8. Serve hot over rice or couscous.
Serves two.

25 Thoughts on “slow cooked lamb, falling cloudberries and a Le Creuset pot in Caribbean blue

  1. I have this book too, stunning, isn’t it?

    (though of course sweet potatoes are very, very wrong 😉 )

  2. Both the pot and the book look gorgeous! Your friend Linh is certainly a gift-giver extraordinaire. But it’s what you do with these gifts that make them even more special. Wow on this slow-cooked lamb dish! I would spare a moment for the bleating little lamb and then dig right in. Delicious!

  3. This sounds absolutely scrummy! I’ve got a few of her books but not this one so I shall go and get it. And well done on the parsley…next stop beth’s place for tabouleh…or not yet ready for such a big step?


  4. Lizzie: it’s a stunning book! And c’mon! We have to get you onto sweet potatoes!!

    Tangled Noodle: LOL I spared half a moment for the little lamb and then dug in, surely that’s enough 🙂

    bethany: Ok, not ready for Beth’s tabouleh yet. Slowly, slowly! 😉

  5. Yummo!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe! I hope it works in a standard pot/casserole dish…would hate to have to drive 2 hours to borrow my mom’s le creuset lol.

    P.S. Thanks for the fahrenheit and cup conversions! (still gotta figure out how much 50g of butter is tho 😉 )

  6. Have the book, do not have the Le Creuset. Deeply envious.
    Great post – love the first line, bwahaha. Back on form!

  7. Yinnie on April 7, 2010 at 3:22 pm said:

    oh man, You OWN a le creuset pot. I want one badly. but they’re so expensive. =)

  8. Jon: 4 tablespoons!! You strange Americans you 😉 And I think it’ll work in any casserole pot, it doesn’t have to be Le Creuset although Le Creusets are just prettier 😉

    Sasa: You need to tell your tall & blonde that you NEED a Le Creuset, like now.

    Yinnie: I know, I’m blessed that I have an awesome friend who gives awesome presents!! 😀

  9. Mmmm, yummy slow cooked tender lamb!

  10. I’ve got this book but have never (criminally you may dare say) cooked anything from it. I’m going to check out this recipe in there though, it sounds fantastic.

  11. I think the food is beautiful in it’s own meaty way! I love this book and the Tava’s great. I have been building up to the Halwa, but haven’t got around to it yet.

    That pot really is beautiful – didy ou know i have this thing about pans. I do. I really do. And i have a lovely saucepan in exactly this colour. I think i love it. Really.

  12. peteformation: definitely yummy indeed 😀

    Sarah: Oh shame on you! Get that book out and try something! I love the Finnish recipes as well – try the strawberry cake.. so simple and delish!

    Grubworm: LOL you are insane, you crack me up! Pots, pans, whatever turns you on 😉 I love the tava, mainly cos it’s so damn easy to cook 🙂

  13. I have Falling Cloudberries too – it is one of my favourites. You made this dish look great – now that weather is definitely getting chillier here it is time for me to start making some dishes like this.

  14. great book and the lamb..be still my heart yum


  15. Couscous & Consciousness: It’s a gorgeous book and thank you for saying my dish looks great! Casseroles etc never look all that pretty 😉 Ah, you’re in NZ? Definitely a good dish for the winter months.

    sweetlife: yummy lamb *nom*

  16. I love Le Creuset. Heavy but they are the best.

  17. I have this book as well and just love reading it and looking at the pictures – so pretty! just as pretty as your sky blue le creuset

  18. OH! I remember when this book was first published I was so in love with the cover and wanted to buy it. Of course, poor student that I am i still haven’t bought it. It looks good though, love that baby blue ribbon sticking out from the pages. And what yum looking lamb.

    Jealous of your le creuset pot too 😛 x

    • The cover, the insides, everything about this book is stunning. And it comes with the baby blue ribbon (not with the hideous blue post-it notes) 😉

  19. you know, when i was younger i thought parsley ruined everything, and now i use it in most dishes. i wonder what changed.

  20. Yay yay. Me, I’m famous! … Gotta get my thinking cap on as to what to get you next year to go with the pot. A ladle maybe? Not heavy enough. I know, an oven! 😛

    Really glad you like ’em. You should try tessa’s roast chicken recipe – always a winner and also very easy.

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