If you, like my friend Antonia, happened to be jogging in St James’s Park early this morning you might have been party to the dress rehearsal, amongst the barriers, big screens and bunting. The city has been combed polished and planted to its best for the biggest day of pageantry in decades. If you’re not sure what I am talking about, do switch off and crawl back under that republican stronghold that is your rock.
I have a bit of an excited feeling in my stomach, even though come Friday I am going to be hundreds of miles from the big smoke, trying to watch the coverage in a tabac in Normandy with a ‘staunch monarchist’ named Colette; we will both be wearing our hats. Although the BSG isn’t fussed and is much more interested in the outcome of the football season and in this evening’s Masterchef final, I am sure he will peek in at some point to have a look…
After last weekend, the weather’s looking dodgy. But, like birds dropping their wares on your head, rain on the wedding day is likely to bring good fortune (well somebody had to present an upside.) I am sure that William and Kate’s giant street-party/bbq will still go ahead unhindered, the two Dads manning the coals. I reckon it’ll be that old favourite, butterflied leg of lamb, rubbed in salt and sumac, and I’ve borrowed Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe from Saturday’s Guardian to go with it. The BSG, his mum and I had it last night with our lamb chops and it was flavour fit for a princess. Call it our dress rehearsal.
Lamb cutlets with sumac, aubergine and green tahini
4 medium aubergines
2 tsp white-wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried mint
1 tsp ground cumin (can make it without this)
Salt and black pepper
For the lamb
2 600g racks of lamb, French trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp sumac mixed with 2 tsp Maldon sea salt
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
For the tahini sauce
60g tahini paste
1 mild green chilli, deseeded (or less, to taste)
40g parsley, leaves and stems
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 pinch each salt and sugar
Pierce the aubergines in a few places with a knife, then lay on a foil-lined tray and place under a hot grill for up to an hour, turning them a few times. They need to deflate completely and the skin burn and break. Once done, remove from the grill. Set the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Cut down the centre of each aubergine and scoop the flesh into a colander. Leave to drain for at least 15 minutes. Chop up the aubergine, add the vinegar, oil, mint, cumin and plenty of salt and pepper, and set aside.
While the aubergines are cooking, start on the lamb. Put a large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Brush the lamb with oil and sear until golden-brown all over. Place on a baking sheet and press sumac and salt all over the flesh. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until cooked but still pink, then leave to rest for five minutes.
Put all the sauce ingredients in a small food processor bowl and work for two to three minutes, until you have a smooth, green paste. Add a little water, if needed, to get it to a pouring consistency.
To serve, carve the racks into individual cutlets and divide between four plates. Spoon over some of the aubergine, followed by some sauce, and top with a dollop of yoghurt.