Monday, May 14, 2007

Easter Feasting

**I'm sorry it's been so long, things have been busy but I'm back with a guest post from my lovely husband Geoff**

Lamb in the Ashes

For the H and the M Clans camping at Easter is a given. Every year the pilgrimage begins with a 4 hour drive North West of Sydney to a friends property in the Upper Hunter. The camp site has changed a couple of times in the last 30 odd years but the tradition of 'Lamb in the Ashes' on Saturday night has remained the same.

When we were kids it was always the oldies that cooked lamb in the ashes, this all changed a couple of years ago when the old folk started a revolution....... apparently when a child reaches the age of 30 they have to feed themselves....... so the tradition has now moved from the oldies to the kids. It was the first year the M kids had cooked lamb in the ashes and you could feel the tension around the campfire.

Cooking lamb in the ashes is not an overly complicated processes however if it goes wrong you could end up with a blackened Easter meal.

The M's first took time to prepare the campfire by building it up a healthy pile of hot coals through out the afternoon burning big hard wood logs. While the fire was settling down 4 whole legs of lamb were seasoned and marinated with olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, black pepper and salt. Once the lamb is seasoned the legs are covered thoroughly in foil. This is crucial process as if the legs aren't completely wrapped and sealed they will dry out. The next step is to wrap the legs in a second layer of damp newspaper.

Now the fun part, All the hot coals from fire are dragged to one side and a hole is dug in the base of the fire twice the depth of the lamb. Quickly the wrapped lamb legs are placed in the pit and covered immediately with the hot coals. If you faff about too much your lamb will just go up in smoke. Once the legs are buried leave the lamb to cook for 2 hours. Its always a bit of guess work as to when the lamb is cooked, over the years 2 hours has been found to be about perfect.

And that's it, the M's made a awesome sauce of olives, fetta, garlic and lemon rind to go with the lamb and accompanied by baked veggies and corn. It was an awesome meal one of the all time Lamb in the Ashes. There is something special about a roast dinner cooked without any of the usual creature comforts, served on the finest of plastic plates without a matching piece of cutlery as far as the eye can see......... pure camping bliss.

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