Monday 24 October 2016

Reinstating our Date Nights with Pistachio and Orange Crusted Lamb #MiniRoast

Date night in Hastings earlier this year

My husband and I have been married for fourteen years now but together for twenty-two and with three tween and teenage kids it can be hard to find the space to make time for us to just be a couple. 

Sometimes (no idea why) we seem to be better at this than others. If I'm honest we have not been great at carving out time for ourselves in recent months, we've stolen moments after dinner to chat or had the odd cinema night but we've not had a really good long chat for some time. I think the last time might have been the beginning of May when we went for some food and then had a long walk along the seafront in Hastings and visited the new pier. I do love those times when we have no agenda and we just wonder and chat about whatever is on our hearts at that point.

I've realised that I do need to be more intentional again and make sure we are having the opportunity to have those special times together. One of the barriers is how often we are in the house on an evening together. At the moment this is only a Wednesday and Saturday and I have to admit that I love a full family Saturday night with snacky food and trashy TV, so that just leaves Wednesdays but a week night isn't always ideal after dh has been at work all day and the kids have homework. I'll have to be a big girl and give up my trashy Saturday night TV every once in a while as well as making time on a Wednesday.

Now the decision is made, I've put a date in the diary to make sure it happens and I've already got the recipe that I'll be cooking. Both my husband and I adore a traditional British roast and beef or lamb always come up tops but sometimes it is really nice to have something a little different and the new recipes from Simply Beef and Lamb are superb - low on effort but full-on for taste and perfect for a time-pressed weeknight.

Pistachio and Orange Crusted Lamb Mini Roast - Serves 2-3 

Preparation time: 15 minutes 
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes (for medium) 

1 x 400-450g/14oz-1lb lean lamb mini roast 
Salt and freshly milled black pepper 
For the Pistachio and Orange Crust: 
Finely grated zest of 1 orange 
50g/2oz pistachio nut kernels, finely chopped 
Large bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 
Large bunch fresh mint, finely chopped 
30ml/2tbsp rapeseed oil 

1. To prepare the crust; mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. 
2. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4-5, 180-190°C, 350-375°F. 
3. Place the joint on a chopping board, make several slashes over, brush with half the oil, season and press the pistachio mixture over the surface of the lamb to create a crust. 
4. Transfer to a roasting rack in a medium non-stick roasting tin and roast for 25-30 minutes (for medium). Cover with foil if browning too quickly. 
5. Remove the joint from the oven, transfer to a warm plate, cover and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes, 20 if time allows. 
6. Slice the roast and serve with jewelled couscous and flatbreads.

Just look at that lamb above, doesn't it look delicious and it can be prepared and ready in just 50 minutes? I don't think my husband will be able to resist that and I know it will taste great as I'll make sure I am careful when choosing my mini-roast to make sure I look for the Red Tractor mark. Which means the meat can be traced back to the farms the livestock came from and I can be assured that the farmers and suppliers who produce the beef and lamb meet comprehensive standards covering hygiene, safety, environmental protection and animal welfare at every stage from farm to fork. 

These mini-roasts take the hassle out of cooking meat and reduce the cook time by at least half and if you are a small family of three you could get away with one for all the family. I know many people advocate buying a large joint to use over many meals but to be honest I never get a second meal out of a roast, the spare meat just gets eaten cold and that's probably a cost I don't need. So in the future I will have a look at these mini roasts that are available in M&S, Waitrose and from many good Butchers. You can find your nearest by checking here. 

For everything you need to know about beef and lamb, more recipe ideas and information about the Red Tractor scheme, please visit I'm certainly going to as there are loads more recipes for my future date nights, like Teriyaki Beef and Beef Mini Roast with a Sticky Sweet Chilli Glaze. No need for me to ever lack inspiration again!

How about you, are you good at remembering to take time with your partner? If not, then I challenge you, set a date....

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