AUDREY’S SPRING LAMB
ROASTED RHUBARB, BURNT VANILLA CUSTARD
Chef Scott Pickett is pleased to share two spring recipes which are close to his heart for you to try at home.
The recipes are inspired by his Grandmother Audrey, and he fondly recounts that she is the reason he began cooking. He is especially excited to share these recipes after the recent announcement of his new restaurant ‘Audrey’s’ as part of Hotel Continental in Sorrento, opening this summer.
These recipes (and many more) can be found in Scott’s second book: Marriage of Flavours, available to order here. We suggest you pair Audrey’s roast lamb main and roasted rhubarb dessert with a starter of Scott’s ‘Smoked ham hock & pea soup, mint creme fraiche’ and sides of ‘Duck fat roasted potatoes, herb salt’ and ‘New season’s asparagus, broken egg, black truffle.’
Audrey’s roast lamb is perfect for the whole family to enjoy, so gather everyone around the table for a beautiful spring feast, and don’t forget to share your creations with us!
We would love to see your creative flair, share your lamb or rhubarb image and tag us on Facebook or Instagram (tag @estellenorthcote and @scottpickettchef) – for the chance win a personalised copy of each of Scott’s books, and a $150 voucher to dine in at any of Scott’s restaurants when we reopen. There will be two winners chosen on Monday, 25th October.
Roasted Leg of Lamb Rainbow Chard, Sauce Paloise
“Roast lamb, roast potatoes…that was my grandmother’s cooking and my first lasting recollection of food. My grandmother, Audrey, used to cook a Sunday roast, usually lamb. It was cooked for hours until it was falling apart and I remember fighting with my little brother over the crunchy shank-end. She roasted the potatoes the old way, boiling them first, dipping in flour then roasting in dripping. Sunday roast was a real part of our lives.”
1 x 2 – 2.2kg leg milk-fed lamb, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, 150 ml extra virgin olive oil, finely grated zest of 1 lemon, 1⁄2 bunch rosemary, leaves chopped, 1⁄2 bunch thyme, leaves chopped, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard & 10 cloves of garlic
2 bunches rainbow chard (washed thoroughly), 100ml extra virgin olive oil, 50g butter or lamb dripping, 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced, finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon & pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
6 egg yolks, 50ml tarragon vinegar, 50ml warm water, juice of 1⁄2 lemon, 250g butter melted (still warm), 1 bunch mint leaves, picked and finely chopped, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
When I think of spring, my first thought is lovely new-season lamb. We like to use Flinders Island milk-fed lamb: the flavour and quality are unsurpassed. This dish also takes me back to my childhood when my mum and my grandmother, Audrey, used to cook us a Sunday roast dinner as a family treat, with all the trimmings, and if we were lucky, dessert too! Sauce paloise is one of those great derivatives of hollandaise, a classic egg emulsion sauce rich with butter and spiked with mint.
For the lamb, preheat the oven to 160°C. Use kitchen string to tie the leg up tight so it holds its shape and is firm to the touch. Season well with salt and pepper.
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and sear the lamb until it is golden all over. Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan.
Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, mustard and garlic. Brush all over the lamb, keeping some to use later. To cook the meat to blushing pink, roast for 1 hour, occasionally brushing with the reserved oil mixture. Test with a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, but not touching the bone. The temperature should be about 55°C. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
To prepare the chard, separate the leaves from the stems. Keep the leaves whole and trim the ends of the stems on the diagonal. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-based pan over medium heat until the butter foams gently. Add the garlic and cook until golden and fragrant. Add the chard stems first and cook for 1 minute, then add the leaves and let them wilt down, adding a splash of water if needed to create steam, for a few minutes or until nearly tender. Add the zest and juice, grate some nutmeg over, and season to taste. The stems should be tender and the chard green with a delicious citrus flavour.
To make the sauce, put a pan of water on to simmer. In a heatproof bowl that will sit comfortably over the pan, combine the egg yolks, tarragon vinegar, warm water and half of the lemon juice. Place the bowl over the pan (make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and whisk until the mixture is this and forms a ribbon when drizzled back over itself. Remove from the heat. Slowly add the butter in a steady stream, whisking constantly until incorporated. If it looks too thick, add a touch of warm water. Mix in the mint and the remaining lemon juice, and season well with salt and pepper. Serve the sliced lamb drizzled with sauce paloise, with chard on the side.
When cooking larger cuts of meat, if possible it’s always better to cook the meat on the bone. It stays juicier and doesn’t shrink as much and also seems to have a better flavour. Try it and you’ll see the difference.
This is an incredibly versatile dish that can be paired with a number of different wines. The most important thing to consider here is savouriness. Steer away from wines that have a sweeter fruit profile. Try cabernet sauvignon-based wines from Medoc in Bordeaux or mourvèdre-based wines from areas like Bandol in the south-west of France.
It’s always better and cheaper to buy produce when it’s in season and at its peak, and lamb is no exception. Ask your butcher for the best new-season lamb they have, ensuring it’s a nice pale pink for milk-fed, or rosy red for grass-fed lamb. If you want to truss or tie your lamb, ask for some butcher’s (kitchen) string too. Choose chard that is vibrant, crisp and fresh.
Roasted Rhubarb, Burnt Vanilla Custard
“For dessert it was usually rhubarb from her garden with no sugar, so it was really tart and it came with custard or ice-cream. One of my fondest memories from childhood is Audrey’s stewed rhubarb and custard. If we’d behaved (which wasn’t that often, to be honest) then we had the option of ice-cream. She never added too much sugar, and the sharpness of the fruit is without a doubt the one thing that really reminds me of her tart red compote. On occasion it would make its way to join some apples and pears for the perfect crumble, a natural end to her slow-roasted leg of lamb and all the trimmings. I still yearn for Nan’s stewed rhubarb and custard.”
1kg rhubarb 100g caster sugar, finely grated zest of 2 limes or lemons & finely grated orange zest, to serve
Burnt Vanilla Custard
550ml cream, 200ml milk, 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped, 150g egg yolks (about 7), 100g caster sugar
Oat Biscuit (optional)
200g oats, 50g plain flour, 100g caster sugar, 2 tablespoons honey, toasted flaked almonds to serve
Rhubarb and custard! What an absolute classic, memory-filled combination. I’m sure everyone has their own interpretation of this dish, and mine is an old family favourite that’s been refined over the years. You could even add a bit of granola or muesli to this recipe and you’ve got a decadent breakfast dish too.
For the rhubarb, preheat the oven to 200°C and place a roasting pan in the oven to heat. Place a tray in the freezer.
Wash the rhubarb thoroughly, then use a small knife to peel and remove the fibrous skin. Cut into uniform 5 cm long batons. Toss in the sugar, then place in the hot pan in a single layer. Roast for 5 – 7 minutes until tender.
Transfer rhubarb to the freezer until completely chilled, but not frozen. Sprinkle rhubarb with the lime or lemon zest.
To make the custard, preheat the oven to 175°C. Place the cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan and heat to 80°C (just below boiling point). Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until pale and creamy. Pour the hot milk mixture over the yolk mixture, stirring gently to combine. Pass through a fine sieve into a deep baking tray (20 cm x 20 cm x 5 cm).
Bake for 40 minutes or until the top of the custard is golden and caramelised. Remove from the oven and leave to cool from 20 – 30 minutes, to warm room temperature. Transfer to a food processor and puree for 45 seconds on high, until smooth.
Meanwhile, make the oat biscuit, if using. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to a large baking tray lined with baking paper, and bake at 120°C until golden brown. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
To serve, spoon 2 tablespoons burnt custard onto each plate. Arrange rhubarb nicely on the custard and top with 2 teaspoons oat biscuit, toasted flaked almonds & freshly grated orange zest.
Everybody likes their rhubarb cooked differently: some like it stewed until it’s falling apart, whereas my preference is to have it just a fraction past al dente. In my opinion, perfectly cooked is with a little bit of texture and bite. Leaving it in the syrup is always a good idea too, as it keeps the rhubarb moist and juicy – if left in the fridge, it will last for a good couple of weeks.
What to Drink
Whenever I think of rhubarb I think of ice wine made from the cabernet franc grape. This grape highlights the earthy character of rhubarb and made into an ice wine, the wine retains high natural acidity that is perfect for cutting the richness of the custard. Inniskillin winery based in Ontario, Canada produces an incredible ice wine from cabernet franc.
When sourcing rhubarb, try to find the reddest possible as it will be sweeter. Forced rhubarb is a great way to go if you can find it – this is the out-of-season variety that is grown indoors and has crimson stalks. Don’t eat rhubarb leaves as they are toxic!