‘love a long lunch’ | grilled lamb salad ~ as featured in the spring 2018 edition of graziher magazine

Does anyone else have a thing for rearranging furniture? I’ve been known to rearrange the entire contents of our living room from time to time, a task that involves dragging round the couches (oh the mess I find underneath) which generally results in a stubbed toe courtesy of our coffee table – ouch!

The real inconvenient part lies in my need to move the telly to it’s new home a couple of metres to the left. I rip out what feels like hundreds of cords, which I never seem to get around to putting back in (much to the households delight) only to change it all back to how it was, within a day or two.

The start of spring is a good time to do a bit of a clean out. Dust off the ol’ cobwebs so to speak. While you’re at it, why not throw a couple of chairs under each arm and lug the table outside looking for a shady spot. I enlist Cork Daddy, my man mountain, who earned his stripes (and beer money) moving furniture around for a removalist company during uni days.

There’s something that little bit special about eating outside and a lazy Sunday at home is a great time to invite some family or friends around for a long lunch. You’ve gotta love a long lunch. Now I’m not talking about some big extravagant affair, just whip up something easy like this grilled lamb and roast sweet potato salad, made even easier by the fact that you can palm off the cooking of the meat to someone on the barbie (there I go again – always delegating.) The quinoa bulks it up a bit and the freshness of the minted yoghurt dressing also works a treat.

The change of scenery will give it that real sense of occasion and you know what they say – a change is as good as a holiday.

Just make sure you get a hand hauling it all back inside.

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grilled lamb salad w roasted sweet potato + quinoa + a mint yoghurt dressing (serves 6)

750 grams of lamb backstrap
1 x large sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 x cup of quinoa
1 x red capsicum, cut in to fine strips
2 x Lebanese cucumbers, peeled and sliced
A good handful of baby spinach leaves
200 grams of feta cheese, crumbled
60 grams of pine nuts, toasted
A good drizzle of olive oil
A good drizzle of maple syrup
A couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves removed (or a sprinkling of dried rosemary)
A drizzle of caramelised balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

mint yoghurt dressing

5 x tablespoons of natural yoghurt
The juice of half a lemon
A good handful of fresh mint
1 x garlic clove, crushed
A light sprinkling of ground cumin
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

  • Place the sweet potato and rosemary in a baking dish, drizzle with maple syrup and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 200℃ for 30-40 minutes or until cooked. (I turn the sweet potato over half way through the cooking time).
  • Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to packet instructions. (I use 1 x cup of rinsed quinoa to 2 x cups of water. Bring it to the boil and then back the heat off to a low simmer for 15 minutes. Leave the quinoa to sit off the heat for 10 minutes with the lid on, before fluffing up with a fork). Set aside.
  • Toast the pine nuts in a dry frypan and set aside.
  • To cook the lamb – season both sides with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Heat a griddle pan or bbq to med-high heat and add the lamb fillets. Sear on the first side for approx 3-5 minutes before turning over and cooking for another couple of minutes of until cooked to your liking.
  • To make the dressing, simply add all ingredients to a large jar or container and using a stick mixer, blitz together until smooth.
  • Just before you’re ready to serve – toss the quinoa, baby spinach leaves, cucumber and capsicum together and arrange on a large platter.
  • Scatter over the sweet potato and pine nuts.
  • Slice the lamb against the grain and lay over the top of the salad.
  • Add the feta cheese and then drizzle some caramelised vinegar and olive oil over the salad. Season with salt and pepper from a height.
  • Pour the mint yoghurt dressing over the top or take it to the table in a jug for your guests to help themselves.

Lo’s tips

  • *Lamb backstrap is a premium piece of meat and needs to be served a little pink. You really need to be careful not to overcook the meat. It is hard to tell you exactly how long each backstrap will take to cook, as it depends on the size of the fillets.
  • You can roast the sweet potato the day before and zap it in the microwave to wake it up a bit just before serving.
  • I use marinated feta from a jar for this salad.

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If you make this lamb salad, please share your comments below. xx

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