Allow me please to introduce my friend, fellow cook and food blogger, Jane Smith a.k.a. The Shady Baker. Jane lives with her husband, Terry, and their young family on a sheep property in Western New South Wales. Jane and Terry are both fourth generation sheep farmers and their main family business is in wool, beef and lamb production. On the property, sheep are slaughtered and prepared by Terry for the family's own consumption, while Jane has a keen interest in baking bread and growing fruit and vegetables.
I'm delighted that Jane has agreed share her method for roast lamb served with summer vegetables, hummus and sourdough rolls with us, just in time for the weekend. So, let's take a drive out into the country with Jane and Terry, and enjoy a baked dinner with them. Read more about Jane and her love of food at her lovely blog.
'These long summer days provide my family with the perfect opportunity to prepare meals with home produced meat, vegetables and bread. Recently we dedicated almost an entire day to replenishing our meat supply and cooking in our wood oven. Dinner that night resulted in these succulent roast lamb rolls.
I prepared, baked and removed a batch of sourdough from the wood oven earlier in the day to allow plenty of time for the lamb to slowly roast in the residual heat of the oven. We then broke down a whole hogget into various cuts for the freezer. Terry prepared a piece of meat especially for the rotisserie by removing the bone from a fore quarter and rolling the remaining meat into a neat roast, held tightly together with butcher’s string.
This roast was around 4kg and cooked in around three hours on the rotisserie in the wood oven. We would normally season lamb with salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic and, in a rolled roast like this one, we put the seasoning inside the roll while we are preparing the meat.
When the unmistakable aroma of roast lamb started to waft from the wood oven the idea of making lamb rolls came to me in an instant. I roughly chopped up some capsicums, zucchinis, tomatoes and garlic all freshly picked from the garden and roasted them slowly with a little olive oil until just tender.
To serve, I spread the little rolls thickly with some homemade hummus and then layered the roast vegetables and roast lamb, topping it all off with plenty of freshly cracked pepper and salt.
This meal could be easily adapted using other types of meat and good quality store bought bread. In Australia’s hot summer, it's a more casual way of enjoying roast meat without the heavy extras of root vegetables and gravy.
There's something special about cooking with fire isn't there? It's really about getting back to basics with cooking.
However, given the extreme weather conditions we've been experiencing in Australia this summer, it’s important to observe all local fire restrictions in your area when lighting fires. My baked rolls, roast lamb and baked vegetables can of course be cooked in a conventional oven, or on a gas or electric BBQ, too.
In closing, thank you Lizzy for giving me the opportunity to appear on your blog.'
- Cheers, Jane.
Lizzy says: 'The pleasure is all mine, Jane, I love your work and am very pleased to share it with my readers of Good Things.'
And a post script from Lizzy...
Jane tells me her blog name 'The Shady Baker' started out as a business name. About ten years ago, she and Terry planted over 200 olive trees around their sheep yards and wool shed to provide shade and shelter for sheep and humans. The intention was to sell olives or oil if they ever had a sufficient crop and the pair had planned to label their oil 'Shady Yards' (as in shady sheep yards). In the meantime, Jane started a small business cooking cakes and sourdough for a café in her local district and named her business 'Shady Yards Trading'. Hence, The Shady Baker was an extension of that. In 2011, Jane and Terry pressed and bottled their first olive oil. The crop was very small and not worth picking in 2012. Jane says this year is looking promising so far. Finger's crossed. Jane's cooking business in now in hibernation to allow more time for her to home school the children through the Broken Hill School of the Air.
NB: All of the above images appear with the kind courtesy of Jane Smith and are copyright to Jane Smith and The Shady Baker blog.
So, what's cooking at your place this weekend readers? Does your menu include roast vegetables and/or lamb?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.