Spring lamb with mint pea puree and balsamic reduction – gluten free, grain free, dairy free, clean and paleo friendly.
I knew when I started this blog, it meant I would be sharing things about myself to you all. Being a private person, It’s not easy to be open in general but I think the longer I practise, the easier it will become. After all, sharing involves the bad along with the good.
So today I want to share with you the loss of my 16 year old cat, Pooshie. She was put to sleep yesterday by a very kind and compassionate vet called Kathy.
There are plenty of dog lovers out there who don’t care for cats and I respect that. I too am a dog lover and cats can be perceived as aloof and unloving creatures but for me this was simply not true.
Pooshie came into my life 16 years ago, the only survivor of a litter of 3 and so tiny, I had to wait 2 weeks longer than normal before she was big enough to be taken home. I lived in South Cronulla at the time and the first night she slept with me I was so scared I would squash her. Over time she grew bigger and stronger but was always smaller than other cats. Living in a unit with a kitten can drive you nuts when night falls as all they do is run around. I remember many nights hearing the sound of claws being dug in and out of the furniture.
Pooshie loved my company and always had to be in the same room as me. If I walked into another room, she appeared moments later every time. She seemed more like a dog in so many ways. I used to take her to the park in the early days for a play and even tried to walk her down the streets of Mortdale with a harness/leash one time but this proved to be an epic fail as she walked like a stiff crab.
Years later I moved into a house with my friend Nicole, who brought home a kitten called Smudge. At 5 am every single day we awoke to the sound of both cats sprinting up and down the wooden floorboard hallway.
I moved that many times over the years and always dragged Pooshie along with me. She spent a lot of time hiding under the bed for the first few days in every new place. I even made her share a house for 6 months with a Border Collie called Thomas. Over time she got used to all the moves and eventually explored her new surroundings within 10 minutes of having moved. She even put up with getting carted off to a friend’s house for the day whenever my 6 monthly rental inspections were due.
She greeted me at the door every time I came home from work and woke up with me in the mornings and talked back to me.
Always behind the scenes on the days I did my food photography for my blog, she would watch intently and even got herself into some shots, as you would have noticed on my kid’s gluten free banana cake recipe.
I finally moved back to South Cronulla a year ago, just up the road from my old place Pooshie had spent her first months in as a kitten. She had aged rapidly in this time so I knew her last days would be spent here. This week when she stopped eating and couldn’t walk anymore, I knew it was time to let go. It’s never easy to say goodbye to a family member no matter how prepared you are. I’ve spent most of this weekend so far in tears.
When I took the photos for today’s recipe, I kept expecting Pooshie to come running over and hang out with me. I guess that will happen for a while.
So I dedicate today’s Spring recipe to Pooshie: A reminder of the cycle of life. For every new beginning, there is always an end so make the most of what’s in-between.
RIP Pooshie. xxx
Today’s Spring lamb with mint pea puree recipe might look a bit fancy – I had the urge to plate up like a wannabe Masterchef contestant but you can plonk it on a plate however you see fit.. It has the taste of Spring through it and I tried to make it look like lambs in a grassy field. I’ve used lamb backstraps but you can use any cut of lamb you want whether it’s lamb chops or cutlets etc. I’ve also used a simple balsamic reduction to add some sweetness and tartness to the dish.
WARNING: Make sure your windows are wide open when cooking down the vinegar as there will be fumes!
It is an intense flavour so If you’re not a fan then simply omit the reduction as the pea puree will act like a thick sauce to the meat. I’ve used radishes as they are also a Spring vegetable and add some visual interest but any vegetable you prefer will do. The puree itself isn’t the silky smooth type you might see in a restaurant. It’s rustic and that’s the way I like it.
Why this is so good for you
Lamb helps prevent cardiovascular disease, reduces inflammation, aids in metabolic reactions in the body, helps produce red blood cells; and helps support normal cell division and healing of wounds.
Green peas help prevent stomach cancer, strengthen the immune system, are anti-aging, help prevent arthritis, bronchitis, osteoporosis, help prevent type 2 diabetes, and help prevent candida.
Onions strengthen the immune system, help regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of gastric ulcers, help fight asthma, chronic chronic bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, inhibit stomach cancer and detoxify the body from heavy metals.
Garlic has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant properties, supports the circulatory, digestive and immune systems, helps lower blood pressure, assists in detoxification, prevents formation of blood clots, reduces blood pressure, helps with asthma, regulates blood sugar levels in diabetics and lower the risk of most types of cancer.
Mint helps promote digestion, helps soothe indigestion, helps prevent cancer, helps give relief to respiratory disorders, stimulates mental alertness, freshens breath and helps inhibit harmful bacteria growth in the mouth.
Asparagus helps prevent bone, breast, lung, larynx and colon cancer, helps slow down the ageing process, helps fight cognitive decline, aids in digestion and helps prevent constipation, helps reduce coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes, helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects in newborns and helps prevent osteoporosis.
Radishes help purify your blood, are a powerful detoxifier, help treat jaundice, aid digestion, ease constipation, heal the symptoms of piles, help treat various urinary conditions, protect the respiratory system from infections, help reduce blood pressure, relieve inflammation from fevers and keep your body hydrated.
Balsamic vinegar protects the body from heart disease, strengthens the immune system, aids digestion, helps slow down the ageing process, helps fight cancer and helps control diabetes.
* Open your windows wide to let the vinegar fumes out.
* If balsamic sauce is too thick, add some more vinegar back into it and reheat
* Sauce will thicken more on cooling
- 500 - 600 grams lamb back straps
- Fine pink Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper, for seasoning.
- 4 cups frozen or fresh green peas
- 1 large brown onion, roughly chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped mint leaves plus extra mint leaves, for garnish
- 2 bunches asparagus spears, ends trimmed
- 2 - 3 radishes, washed and sliced thinly
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Steam peas till tender. Keep covered and set aside. While peas are cooking, heat a medium frying pan and add a little oil, the onions and garlic, cooking until soft and translucent. Set onion mixture aside in a small bowl and wipe frying pan clean to be used for the lamb.
- Brush lamb with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium high heat for 4 - 5 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate and cover for 5 minutes.
- Cook asparagus in the same pan for a few minutes (asparagus should still have some crunch)
- Place peas, onion mixture and the mint leaves in blender or food processor along with 1/2 cup of water and blitz till pureed. Season with salt and pepper.
- When lamb has rested well, slice.
- Place vinegar in a medium saucepan on medium high heat
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until sauce has reduced and mixture starts to coat the back of a spoon.
- If you want a thicker sauce, continue simmering further.
- Grab a spoon and place a large dollop of puree on a flat plate or tile. Use a knife to smear it across.
- Place the lamb slices strategically along the path of the puree Add the sliced radishes, asparagus and extra mint leaves. Drizzle around the outside with the balsamic reduction.