On Monday I cooked supper for Beatrice, Sophie, Jules and Archie; we had rack of lamb with roast potatoes and cannelloni beans, followed by homemade cheesecake with blackcurrants – all from Joanna Weinberg’s brilliant, brilliant, Feed Your Friends With Relish. I have stacks and stacks of cookery books - too many - but at the moment hers is the only one I want to cook from. She has the same views as me on not matching plates, and cooking roast chicken a lot, and drinking wine out of tumblers, and always having flowers around even if they're from the petrol station, and eating by candlelight... Last week we had her macademia and raspberry brownies; her walnut and roquefort pie and her poached plums. Here’s her lamb recipe:
For the lamb:
6 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with salt
4 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
1 tin anchovies
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 racks of lamb (about 18 cutlets) – ask for French trim but leave off the white hats
salt and black pepper
For the potatoes:
6 large or 12 medium potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
4–6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 or 3 sprigs rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the beans:
2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, drained with a few tablespoons of liquid reserved
* Mash together the garlic, rosemary, anchovies and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
* Rub three-quarters of the mixture generously in and around the lamb racks, getting into any crevices between the meat and bone that you can find or would like to make. Leave to marinate for as long as you can.
* Preheat the oven to 220C/430F/gas mark 7.
* In a large roasting pan, toss the potato cubes, garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs thoroughly in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Make space in the middle to stand the lamb, bones pointing up.
* About 45 minutes before you want to eat, roast for 22–26 minutes depending on how well done you like the lamb (22 will be a deep rose, 26 the medium side of rare. I like mine on the nose of 24).
* Take out the lamb and wrap it with foil, making a baggy but firmly sealed packet, and leave to stand somewhere warm (such as on top of the oven or hob) for 20 minutes. * Give the potatoes a good shake and return them to the oven for a further 20 minutes, checking and turning once more during cooking.
* Meanwhile, in a saucepan, gently fry the remaining garlic-rosemary-anchovy mixture for a couple of minutes until it softens and tempers.
* Add the drained beans and reserved liquid and warm through, stirring and mashing so that some of the beans break up.
* Add a little extra olive oil if you’d like to. Turn off the heat (the beans can be served warm or at room temperature).
* After 20 minutes, the potatoes should be golden all over. Divide them between serving plates, or empty into a bowl for people to help themselves.
* Unwrap the lamb and carve into individual cutlets, which should be a perfect pink inside.
* Serve with the cannellini beans, redcurrant jelly and mint sauce, and a soft green salad or vegetable.