Anzac day is turning 100 today, of all the holidays in this fair country, this is the one that I connect with the most. Not simply because us Kiwi’s share the day with our Aussie neighbours, but because of the brotherhood set in stone between our two nations by this event, and the blood that was spilled that has now become the mortar holding this century old relationship together.
Both of my grandfathers served in the war, naturally neither of them would ever speak of it to a nosey child with no capacity to process the full weight of what they might have to say. However being of purely immigrant lineage in New Zealand, a country of immigrants (even the Maori migrated to Aotearoa) this holiday, this one day that our countries share, gives us a certain cultural identity in a land where many (myself included) feel a certain lack thereof.
The title of this blog entry may seem offensive to some, but remember that on the 25th of april 1914 over 11,000 young men from New Zealand and Australian families bled, died in the mud, and ultimately gave made the greatest sacrifice at Gallipoli so we may enjoy the liberties and freedoms we take for granted every single day. Rather than being offended I hope that this statement will throw into light the stark reality of what these men sacrificed. As there is nothing Kiwi’s and Aussies love more than lamb, I offer up my sacrificial dish pairing lamb, with a bit of a turkish flair, in remembrance of those who served.
Fig stuffed lamb belly
- 20g garlic peeled and chopped finely
- 6g rosemary finely chopped
- 100g olive oil
- 200g fresh figs
- 2x lamb belly
Preheat your oven to 180ºc (I did mine on a charcoal BBQ). Combine your garlic, rosemary and olive oil and mix well. Lay lamb bellies fatty side (skin side) down on your chopping board and over lap so that you form a rough square. Liberally brush your oil mix on the lamb. Figs are amazing when they are all ripe and jammy, but fucken average if they aren’t right. To choose good figs go for the really soft and heavily fragrant specimens. Using a sharp knife take the little stem of the top and then thinly slice the figs lengthways. Lay the sliced figs evenly across the surface of the lamb. Next, and this is the tricky bit, roll your bellies into a log. Using cotton string tie the roll tightly, and firmly, don’t worry if a bit of the fig filling spews out the end, that will happen. Heat a fry pan with oil until smoking. Season the outside of the lamb log with salt and pepper and brown the meat in the pan all over. Then chuck that bastard in the oven and cook for 3 hours. After 1 hour add your potatoes.
- 400g baby gourmet potatoes
- 10g rosemary picked
- 6 cloves of garlic peeled by whole
Spread all the ingredients evenly around the roasting pan and season with salt. Cook for the final 2 hours of your roast and turn every 30 minutes.
Pomegranate Balsamic Glaze
- 150g balsamic vinegar
- 50g cider vinegar
- 85g brown sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- seeds of one pomegranate
Combine all ingredients and a small pot and bring to the boil. Continue to boil until you have a nice thick syrup. During the last half hour of your roast brush the lamb all over with your glaze evey 5-10 minutes until the lamb is almost black and very sticky. If the glaze starts to dry out too much spoon some of the roasting liquids over the top.
I haven’t mucked around with this one too much as I feel the flavour speaks for itself. Remove the string and slice across the belly, serve with the potatoes, slap a bit of rosemary on there if you are feeling a bit lardy dee da, stick it in our gob and just let the magic happen.