Monday, June 29, 2009

Superfast Honey Lamb Skewers With Almond Couscous

As every parent knows, the early evening is when the most stressful time squeeze of the day occurs. Before I had kids, it didn't really matter if we didn't eat dinner till after 9pm. But once you have kids, there is definite pressure to get the meal on the table by a reasonable hour - whatever that may be - depending on the age and stage of your kids. Somewhere between 6-7pm is regarded as reasonable around here. Not sure why. If you are a working parent, and not getting home till about six, or you have been out at some after school activity, the squeeze is even harder. If you haven't yet worked out what is for dinner, harder still. And don't imagine your only focus is dinner. If your life is at all like mine, you will also find yourself:
- suggesting the children to do their homework
- feeding the dog
- looking for the netball skirt
- putting on a load of washing
- hanging out some drying
- reminding the kids to do their homework
- unloading the dishwasher
- signing permission notes for school
- answering the telephone and trying not to swear at some poor call centre guy in India
- attempting to find the chequebook
- yelling at the kids to do their homework
This recipe is for those nights. Buy some narrow backstraps of lamb (look out for them on special because they can be hellaciously expensive). Cut each strap into 4 or 5 pieces and thread them onto skewers. The kids might even help with the threading if the homework is done. Mix up honey, lemon rind and rosemary (if your kids hate herbs, go lightly on the rosemary or leave it out altogether). Brush the marinade onto the skewers, whack them under the grill, and they are ready in a couple of minutes. Served with couscous that also takes 5 minutes, and whatever vegies you have on hand, and it makes a delightful meal. If you want to be fancy, you can even toss some toasted almonds through the couscous and serve the lamb with some greek yoghurt as a sauce. But probably you just want to sit down.
This recipe comes from the 20 minute section of "Food Fast" by Donna Hay. I especially like Donna Hay in general, and this book in particular for recipes for my most frantic nights. And
I think she is being generous with the 20 mins - if you tried you could get it down to about 15 minutes at the most. (Incidentally, this fed two adults and two kids; if you are big eaters, you may want more lamb).
Honey Lamb Kebabs
from "Food Fast" by Donna Hay
500g lean lamb loin or fillets or backstraps
2 tbl honey
2 tsps grated lemon rind (with a rasp grater, you can do this in less than a minute)
1 tbl rosemary leaves
Black pepper to taste
Cut lamb into cubes and thread onto skewers. Combine honey, lemon, rosemary and pepper. Spread onto kebabs, then grill them for 1-2 mins each side.
1 cup instant couscous
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbl good olive oil
toasted almonds, to serve
Heat stock in a small saucepan to boiling. Tip in the couscous, remove saucepan from heat and cover. Let sit for five minutes. Fluff up couscous by raking with a fork. Stir through olive oil. Mix in almonds and serve.

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