Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday is on the horizon, gang. And of course, the number one question on everyone lips this week is going to be - 'Mum, what do you want for Mother's Day?'
Now, depending on your beloved Mum, that could be asking for trouble. Just the other day, word got to us about a Mum in particular, who was very good at emailing out spreadsheets - with suggestions listed and designated according to appeal and price. This is very efficient but also highly unusual.
Because most Mum's will simply say 'Oh, I don't need anything.' Or 'Surprise me!'
Thus leaving you with the situation of playing last minute gift roulette. Or worse still, a weary trudge up to a petrol forecourt for dull flowers. And let's face it, your Mum deserves much better than that.
If you are feeling stumped though, rewarding the woman who brought you kicking and screaming into the world with a slap up, homemade meal, is probably far better than any shop bought present you can give. You know. Something seasonal, something delicious, something meaty.
I asked my very own Mum just recently, as to what she might like for me to cook for her this coming Sunday - and after a little bit of too-ing and fro-ing, she said that she rather fancied some lamb. Cutlets in particular. Which was great! As you can't beat a decent rack of lamb for impressing, and also for ease.
Having run a test this weekend, I think this is going to be just the ticket. A few flourishes here and there, including a herb crumb, simple cauliflower purée and some wilted wild garlic - which can be found in abundance down your local wood or park right now - and boom, this is going to be a dish fit for a Queen.
If you like the idea of serving up the same, the only side of caution you might want to err on, is regarding the doneness of your lamb. Blushing pink isn't to everyone's tastes. So when it comes to temperatures, remember medium-rare comes in at 60°C. For medium, 65°C.
That's presuming you have a temperature probe to hand. If not, ask your Mum if she has one lurking around the house.
You probably bought her one last year.
- First, make the herb crumb by putting the bread and herbs into a food processor and blitz until you have breadcrumbs.
- To make the cauliflower purée, cook the florets in simmering water until soft. Drain and add back to the saucepan with the cream, and then puree until smooth with hand blender. Season to taste and keep warm.
- Heat your oven to 180°C and place the red onion halves, flat side down onto a baking tray and drizzle with some olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes until soft and the flat side has crisped up a touch. Leave to cool.
- Make your port reduction by adding the shallots and thyme to a saucepan, with a knob of butter. Place on the heat and sweat the shallots and herbs down for 15 minutes, then add the port and reduce by half. Then add the lamb stock and reduce again by half. Pass through a sieve into a clean saucepan.
- Place your potatoes into a wide pan and cover with chicken stock. Pop onto the hob and bring up to a boil, before gently simmering for 20 minutes - you want the chicken stock to evaporate.
- Turn the oven up to 220°C and place the rack of lamb into a roasting tray, skin side up. Season generously and roast for 10 minutes. Take it back out of the oven and leave to cool a touch, before thinly coating the skin with some Dijon mustard and pressing the crumb mixture on so that it is nice and even.
- Roast for another 8 minutes or until the lamb is cook according to your liking. Rest the lamb in a warm spot for 10 minutes.
- To finish, quickly wilt your washed wild garlic in a pan and add a small knob of butter to coat. Bring your port gravy up to the boil before taking off the heat - and again, add a small knob of butter to stir through for some sheen. Check on your potatoes and add a splash of oil so that they crisp up towards the end and separate the red onion halves into cups of varying sizes.
- To serve, spoon a good amount of the cauliflower purée in the centre of the plate and then place some of the wilted wild garlic on top. Dot around the outside of the purée with the potatoes and red onions. Slice the rack of lamb up into cutlets (2 or 3 per person) and place into the middle. Then drizzle over a good amount of the port gravy.