Peter Gordon: Roast lamb with festive flavour
I'm planning on cooking roast lamb for Christmas lunch, but often have trouble with roasting it for too long. Is there a rule of thumb for how long to cook one, based on its weight, and at what temperature? Also, would you mind sharing your favourite lamb stuffing recipe? - Sandra
You're always better to cook for a little less time than planned and then rest the lamb, covered tightly with foil and a tea towel, to let the juices stay in the meat. Lamb stuffing for me for a New Zealand Christmas would include rosemary, feta, dried sliced dates and a little paprika. To replace the usual mint sauce, try plain yoghurt with lots of shredded mint leaves, a little grated raw garlic, and a dash of extra virgin olive oil.
Where am I going wrong with my short pastry? I use about 200g of butter to 2 cups of flour and mix it in a food processor. It turns out like a cross between flaky and tough pastry. Am I kneading it too long? - Joy
I'd use 200g unsalted butter (diced, cold from the fridge) and 230g plain flour. Rub the butter into the flour along with a pinch of fine salt (food processor is fine but don't turn into a paste), then mix in 1 Tbs cold water or milk and just combine it, don't overwork it. The less handling the better.
I have a simple fabulous toffee nut brittle recipe: 1 cup caster sugar, 3/4 cup water. Simmer 10-12 minutes, then pour over a cup of roasted nuts. If I get it right I have crystal-clear toffee but if I don't, the toffee can become cloudy. Why is this? - Susan Ewen
Usually cloudy toffee is caused by stirring it while it's boiling, causing sugar crystals to crystallise. The trick is to use less water, say 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water. Bring to the boil slowly, stirring with a metal spoon (wooden spoons can contain impurities from the last thing you cooked or the dishwasher) until the sugar dissolves. Then turn to a rapid boil and cook without stirring (you can gently shake the pan to help it cook evenly) until dark caramel.