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If you are looking for something different for the barbecue, then this is the dish for you. Absolutely delicious recipe from Gill Meller’s lovely new book, Outdoors.

Wine suggestion: We think this dish suits Syrah and Grenache based wines really well, and because we couldn’t choose between them tonight went with a blend from near Carcassone in southern France that also adds a touch of Mourvèdre and Carignan, Domaine Gayda’s Freestyle Rouge. Juicy and medium bodied the added benefit is that the terroir combined with the grapes add a delightful herbal character to sing alongside the herb sauce; win win.

Barbecued lamb & cauliflower with herb sauce – serves 4

  • 2 lamb neck fillets
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 cauliflower, broken into bite-size florets

FOR THE HERB SAUCE:

  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • a small handful of basil, leaves picked
  • a small handful of mint, leaves picked
  • 6 anchovies in oil, drained
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 small clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • about 100ml extra virgin olive oil

Make the sauce first. Put the herbs, anchovies and capers on a large chopping board and finely chop together. Transfer to a bowl, then mix in the garlic, mustard, sugar, vinegar and oil, and season with black pepper.

Get your barbecue going.

Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil over the lamb and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the chilli flakes over the meat, then cook on the barbecue for 8-10 minutes, turning often. The outside of the meat should develop a good dark crust and the internal temperature should be 55-60C. Set the lamb to the side of fire to rest while you cook the cauliflower.

Trickle the cauliflower with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season well. Cook on the barbecue until blistered and charred in places. It will be a little crunchy which is what you are looking for. Arrange the cauliflower on a platter, put thick slices of lamb over the top and spoon over the herb sauce. Give it all another season with salt and pepper and add another drizzle of good olive oil.

(Original recipe from Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2022.)

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This is all you need with some fresh bread and butter. The simple things are the best.

Wine Suggestion: For a wine to work with this dish you need to balance a crisp, acidity to cut through the cream, body to match the depth of flavour and a minerally-savouriness to compliment the briny backbone of flavour from the mussels. If you look to a good Chablis producer or a top Muscadet then you’ll find your solution. We chose Jérémie Huchet’s lieu dit Les Montys le Parc from a very special vineyard in Muscadet that has that extra depth to match this rich, full flavoured dish.

Mussel, bacon and leek soup – serves 2

  • 750g mussels
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a small handful of parsley, leaves picked and chopped and stalks reserved
  • a knob of butter
  • 75g streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 250ml fish stock (or veg stock)
  • 75ml double cream
  • a small handful of chives, finely snipped

Wash the mussels in cold water and remove any beards. Give any open mussels a hard tap and discard them if they don’t close.

Put 75ml of water into a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Add the parsley stalks and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Add the mussels, clamp on the lid, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Give the pan a good shake now and and then as they cook.

Tip the mussels into a colandar set over a bowl to catch all of the cooking juices, you will need the these later so don’t throw them away.

Wipe out the pan and return to the heat. Add a knob of butter, then gently fry the bacon until begining to crisp. Add the coriander seeds, garlic, and leek and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring now and then, until the leeks are nice and soft.

Add the mussel cooking liquid (watch out for the gritty bit at the bottom which you can discard) and the stock, then simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pick the meat out of the mussels but leave about 12 in their shells to garnish.

Add the cream to the soup and bring back to a simmer. Add the mussel meat, chives and parsley and check the seasoning. Serve in warm bowls, garnished with the mussels in their shells and with bread and butter on the side.

(Original recipe from Outside by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2022)

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