Lamb shnitzel with mint sauce (or maybe in a sandwich with tomato ketchup)


The trans-Tasman comradery and a good piece of lamb

I am not sure the reason, but whatever it is, we as Australians always seem to be able to afford ourselves the time for a big old cross seas pointing of the finger and a laugh with our neighbours the Kiwis (and them to us I’m sure). It might be the spirit of the ANZACS? A strange, unexplainable, X-Files-esque trans-Tasman chemistry? Or maybe it was a morning where we awoke next to each other after a heavy night of drinking and realized we were in the games room at a retirement home and we smell like potpourri and denture adhesive? (Please, stick with me here). Wherever the connection may lie, the average Australian has a penchant for a good solid joke with the Kiwi’s, aka New Zealanders.

But today we shall not be discussing jokey time. No, no, no. This shit is serious as having face herpes at your final high school ball. It is time to say once and for all; the sheep f**cking (should read fucking) must stop!

K? K.

Now, lamb rump is probably so popular because butchers were smart enough to call it something other than “lamb’s ass”. But let’s face it; it is a lamb’s ass cheek. Now (back to the finger pointing) a good, tender lamb’s ass is a point of national distraction for a Kiwi (I know I said there would be no more jokes about coital union with a sheep but…). A bit of the old “nah mate, it was caught in the wire fence and I was just trying to push it through”. But a good, tender lamb rump… well that’s something I’m going to be happy to put in my face anytime. And that is indeed what I did

Pounded lamb rump and a few other bits and pieces

A little pile of shnitzels and mint sauce. A photo that may or may not appear in a book I have been working on.

LAMB SHNITZEL
(Serves 4)

8x 90—100 g (3—3½ oz) lamb rump steaks, pounded a little bit to flatten
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
125 g (4½ oz) plain flour
3 eggs, whisked with a splash of water
200 g (7 oz) panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Crushed potatoes, peas and mint sauce (recipe below), to serve
Or maybe white bread and tomato sauce, to serve
Mix the breadcrumbs with the herbs, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Dust the lamb rumps in flour, then egg wash, then breadcrumbs to coat.
Shallow fry the schnitzels in medium-hot oil for 1 minute each side.
Drain on absorbent paper for 1 minute.
Serve with mint sauce and vegetables or whack it in between two slices of white bread white a little tomato ketchup and you have yourself a fucking cracking sandwich. The sandwich thing works super well with cold schnitzels too.

MINT SAUCE
125 ml (4 fl oz) apple cider vinegar
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
A big handful of mint
Salt and pepper
Warm the vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.
Add chopped mint leaves, or add them whole and then hit it with a stick whizz.
Season with a little salt and pepper.
That’s it.
Tell yourself some things really can be that easy.

Black Rock Camping Day 2… banana cake and lamb in the camp oven (not at the same time though)

camp oven lamb
Black Rock Camping Day 2

It was a bit of a broken sleep last night as I was awoken numerous times by the pitter patter of a good hit of rain dropping to us from somewhere above. *Fun camping fact #1 – although the sound of rain dropping on a tin roof is nice, and somewhat therapeutic, the sound of rain dropping on the family tent is not.

I got up, mildly freaking out as to whether we had stowed our camera and other water resistant items. All good… we are getting a little wiser with age apparently.

Camp breakfast was one of many pans of bacon, eggs and sausages and pots of coffee and tea, all consumed to a background rendition of “let’s yell and scream heaps even though it’s only 6:30am” as recited by the Unruly Monkey-like Special Needs Children Choir. Beautiful. Welcome to the bush, fellow campers.

The kids were more than happy to clean the bowl… no washing up for us
The kids were more than happy to clean the bowl… no washing up for us

The cake in it's new home amongst the coals
The cake in it’s new home amongst the coals
That is some good looking shit right there
That is some good looking shit right there
And yes, it did taste as good as it looks
And yes, it did taste as good as it looks

Banana cake in the camp oven was next on the agenda, as we had never attempted cooking a cake in the coals before and let’s face it, if you need to subdue a group of unruly monkies what better way to do it than with bananas or a product that is a derivative of said bananas. We were prepared for this uprising of small monkey-like children and feeding time at the zoo went down a treat! This cake was kick-ass.

Chalk one point up to the clearly smarter adults. That’s one-nil suckers!

The unruly crew
The unruly crew

The men folk drank away the afternoon while the ladies made the tents look pretty and started to prepare our next meal… well, maybe it didn’t go down exactly like that… or even remotely like that, but I did get my ass into the kitchen (camp table near the fire) because I give not a fuck about the location, I just know that being in the kitchen is my time to shine. The cooking begun, we did manage to encourage a sneaky beer or two past our bearded lips just for the sake of it. We may have been glanced that “what the fuck are you doing” glare from a wifey or two but there was five of us men folk so that really didn’t mean a thing to us right now – power in numbers, strength of the brotherhood, dib dib dib and all that shit. We would face our respective lectures on our drive home I was sure but for now, another beer please my good man.

And then the wind and rain came suddenly and mercilessly as if I had just deemed their prize winning turnip nothing but a fraudulent, fiberglass butt-plug. They worked in unison swiftly to dampen our spirits and our spare underwear, but we battened down the hatches in a fashion worthy of a “sea farers hatch battening badge”, and then the rain left us and I finished cooking my camp oven roast lamb. But it wasn’t just camp oven roast lamb; it was camp oven roast lamb, adorned with camp mint sauce and root vegetables, worthy of a “damn tasty assed camp lamb roast award”. But I’m sure you don’t really give a shit about my crappy awards now, do you?

A few herbs make all the difference
A few herbs make all the difference

Oh dear good lord
Oh dear good lord
Ready to go
Ready to go
The mint sauce really lifted this meal way out of the realm of sausages, white bread and tomato sauce
The mint sauce really lifted this meal way out of the realm of sausages, white bread and tomato sauce

LAMB SHOULDER IN THE CAMP OVEN (for 4)

1 small lamb shoulder (about 1.5kg), bone in for the flavour and to give the kids something to gnaw on
2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaf
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 bulb garlic, sliced through the middle horizontally
A couple of handfuls of root vegetables, all cut similar size
Mint sauce, to serve

• Rub the lamb down with the herbs, spices and seasoning
• Put it in the camp oven with ½ cup of water and cover with lid
• Move a few coals out of the fire and nestle the camp oven into these, shovel a few more coals on top. Leave it for 2 hours, occasionally turning camp oven and replacing coals
• While the lamb is getting sexy, make some mint sauce just so everyone knows how much of a bawsss you are
• After 2 hours add vegetables and garlic to the bottom of the camp oven and return to the coals for another hour or until everything is tender and delicious
• Carve it up and eat it with mint sauce, washed down with the finest booze your esky has to offer

CAMP OVEN BANANA CAKE (with dubious measurements)

4 eggs
250g unsalted butter, softened by the morning sun
4 cups self raising flour
4 super ripe bananas, chopped or mashed
1 cup sugar
Milk to make it into a thick cake batter consistency – probably about 1-2 cups

• Get the kids to mix this one up so as to keep them occupied for a few minutes
• Cream sugar and butter
• Add eggs
• Add bananas
• Add flour
• Add milk
• Bake on low coals in a lined camp oven for 45 or so minutes or until cooked. I’m sure a cake tin and domestic oven will do the job just fine, too

K.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some more camp goodness.

*If you like the idea of camp oven cooking and you want to know more, there are some fine folks who have created a facey page that is all about the answers you seek. You can find it here