I spent Saturday night at my friend Mara’s pre-birthday celebration dinner. It was a “B” themed dinner, the highlight of which was the Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder, which we all fondly came to know as Baa Baa Black Sheep, to keep the letter theme in order.
These are the remains of the first shoulder brought out and slow-roasted to perfection. I’m a noob cook and not great with the oven so this was seriously impressive to me. The lamb was tender, tasty and really just perfect which explains why it was completely wiped out in less than an hour.
Thankfully, Mara was well-prepared and brought another shoulder out. She told me she based her recipe off a simple one she found from Jamie Oliver and that it was pretty simple to make. And that all you really needed apart from the lamb was some olive oil, fresh rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper and the patience to leave it roasting in the oven for a good four hours. Isn’t it beautiful? The meat literally fell off the bone and was a pleasure to devour. Found myself going for fifths in terms of servings.
This is another welcome essential when it comes to enjoying roasts. Full bulbs of garlic, kept in the oven until brown and pasty. The garlic itself ends up creamy in consistency and so full of its natural flavor. Just watch out for bad breath.
There was Baba Ganoush served with crackers and homemade bread. I’ve always preferred Baba Ganoush to Hummus so being served a huge bowl of this at the party made my taste buds soar. It had just the right mix of tahini, garlic and lemon and was completely balanced out by the crisp strips of bread. Coming from someone who isn’t so into bread, homemade bread makes all the difference. I like how it tasted so fresh and not starchy at all. I wish I had a better photo of the Baba Ganoush.
We also had Buffalo Wings to start us off. These were homemade as well and can rival the likes of Hooters. They were drenched in spicy sauce but stayed juicy underneath. Really good but served best with Blue Cheese dip.
I mentally thanked Mara for the return of this Mushroom Canneloni dish when I hopped on the buffet train. This made an appearance at our “P” dinner under the guise of pasta and certainly was good enough to bend the rules at “B”. Doused in a bed of cream, the giant noodle (I think it is a noodle cause it’s made of the same thing) packs a load of chopped dark mushrooms. Were they portabello? I’m not sure. These were homemade too but from someone else’s house! I wish I could order them for myself. I’ll ask Mara if this is possible.
For dessert, there were cupcakes, bread pudding, brownies, Ferrero and this oven-baked Blueberry Crisp, Mara made herself. It was served with vanilla ice cream and was inexplicably good. I haven’t tried anything like it and I enjoyed that it wasn’t too sweet. I haven’t been feeling sweets lately. The oatmeal crisp top struck a perfect balance to the tart, juicy blueberries especially when topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
There was a bunch of other food I didn’t get to try or photograph, like the beet salad with goat cheese or the burgers topped with gorgonzola but wow, everything was good and it was so nice to know that Mara prepared practically everything. At this rate, she can rival the likes of Barefoot Contessa. I’m seriously looking forward to the next one. Maybe I should try my hand at hosting as well. Consider me inspired.