Slow-cooked lamb, tahini sauce and quinoa salad

This year Mother’s Day coincided with my birthday. Mother’s Day in Australia and North America falls on the second Sunday of May every year. In England, it’s in March, so I’ve never had to deal with such a clash before.

Mr and Mrs Romance - food - slow cooked lamb title

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This unhappy double-booking of the World’s two most important days only happens every so often. The last time was in 2002 when Mrs Romance and I were living in the UK. I’ve peered into the future and it I should brace myself for this celestial alignment again in 2019.

To celebrate such an astrological conjunction, I thought I’d cook for the family – eight people in all! Inspiration for such an excellent idea came at a friend’s book launch. Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella has published her first book and we’re all very proud of her.

While we were busy being proud, I was lucky enough to meet one of her friends and fellow food blogger, Charlie from Hotly Spiced. A quick look at her site showed me the meal I was to cook on Sunday May 12 2013: slow-cooked lamb with a macadamia dukkah and smoked paprika rub, tahini sauce and quinoa salad.

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Mr and Mrs Romance - Quinoa salad from Hotly Spiced 1

Here’s what you need:


  • I used a 3kg leg of lamb but lamb shoulder on the bone is in the original recipe.
  • 3 tbsp ground toasted cumin
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ finely chopped lemon
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp macadamia dukkah – or you can use any type of dukkah or zataar. I made my own, which turned out to be really easy and cost-effective! Here’s the recipe.

Quinoa salad

  • 2 cups of quinoa
  • 1 vegetable stock cube or 4 cups of stock
  • 2 tomatoes – diced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch of mint – finely chopped
  • 2 bunches of flat-leafed parsley – finely chopped
  • 1 onion – finely diced
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season.

Tahini sauce

  • 3 tablespoons of tahini
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic – finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon of ground toasted cumin
  • Water – added slowly
  • Salt and pepper

Here’s what you do:

  1. Heat the oven to 150 degrees C (300dF)
  2. Mix the dukkah, cumin, Dijon mustard, smoked paprika, chopped lemon and sesame seeds together and rub into the lamb. Spread the rest over the top of the meat.
  3. Place the lamb in your roasting pot and carefully pour in a cup of water. Pop the lid on or cover with foil and get it in that oven. The cast iron pot I bought was too small for the gargantuan leg I’d bought, so I had to saw through leg bone with a bread knife to make it fit. Don’t make the same mistake!
  4. Set the timer for 4 hours – more if you have time. Let the good times roll!

For the salad:

  1. Boil the stock and cook the quinoa until you see little rings detach from the main grain. There shouldn’t be any water left either.
  2. Allow the quinoa to cool.
  3. Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl with the cooled quinoa and have ready to serve.

Tahini sauce:

  1. Mix the tahini, garlic, cumin and lemon juice together in a bowl. It will seem as if the mix is seizing like over-heated chocolate, but don’t worry.
  2. Add water to the mix – 2 tablespoons at first and then more until you have a gravy-type consistency.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the lamb is cooked, carefully remove it from the roasting pot, rest it then slice it. Cut with the grain of the meat, so slice along the bone not across it. It should be so soft not much effort will be needed to cut it.

I made the most incredible gravy made from the reduced juices in the bottom of the roasting pot for my sister-in-law. She was very happy!

This dish was so easy (apart from hacking through the bone to get it to fit) and so successful I’ll definitely be cooking this one again.

Image by Mr Romance.

Mr and Mrs Romance - food - slow-cooked lamb before and after 1

We also served it with my special roast potatoes, which a chef friend of mine and his girlfriend always mention since I made them three years ago. I may share with you further down the line!

I should mention Charlie, who shared this recipe with me, gleaned it from her friend, the lovely Tania. Tania runs My Kitchen Stories.

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Mr and Mrs Romance - Slow cooked lamb from Hotly Spiced

Thank you so much, Charlie, for sharing your pictures with us. Our greedy family had started hacking into their lamb lunch before I’d had time to even say the word ‘camera’!


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