A Shane Delia night, part 1 …. 12 hour roast lamb

 We had a few friends around to dinner last night and I decided to try Shane Delia’s signature dish – 12 hour roast lamb.

A few years ago, we watched Shane Delia’s Spice Journey on SBS and we were very taken with him.  I bought his book, Maha, and when I was in Melbourne last year with Colette, we had the degustation lunch at his restaurant by the same name.  We thoroughly enjoyed the experience but the main course, this dish, was underwhelming.  As I remember it, I got a small bowl of stringy (much like pulled pork) lamb.  Since then, each time I browse through his cookbook, I pause at the recipe and wonder whether what I had at the restaurant was as good as it gets.  I have doubted it because, it is his signature dish.  So I decided to try it.

Yesterday was the day.  I set the alarm for 7:30am to preheat the oven.  The meat went into the oven at 8:00am in anticipation of an 8:00pm dinner.  Really, if you want to try this, it is a perfect dinner party meal.  There is nothing to do after 8:00am.


  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 2 tbs* of flaked sea salt (I found the lamb to be a bit salty.  I don’t usually use the full amount of salt a recipe calls for but, dammit, in this instance I can’t remember whether I used the full amount or not.)
  • 1½ tbs* cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 2 tbs* ground sumac
  • 2 kg lamb shoulder, bone in.**

*These are 20 mil tablespoons.

** I ordered a 2 kilo shoulder from the local butcher and he sold me about 2.8kg.  Lucky that he did.  There were six of us and we ate, virtually, all of it.  There was a fair amount of bone and, clearly, the meat cooks down  🙂 so … go big.


  1. Crush the garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle until a paste forms.  Mix in the cumin, sumac and remaining salt.
  2. Score the lamb with a sharp knife and generously rub the garlic mixture over the lamb.
  3. Place in an airtight container and marinate in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  4. Preheat the oven to 110°C (fan-forced)
  5. Place the lamb in a roasting tin and roast for 12 hours, basking with the cooking juices when possible (I did it every 2 hours).
  6. Turn the oven up to 200°C (fan-forced) for the last 45 minutes to brown the skin.

Twelve hours is a long time to cook meat.  I have never done it before so I had no idea what to expect but I figured it wouldn’t be too bad, no matter what.

I honestly can’t tell you whether it was successful or not.  It was very tasty, that is for sure.  And it was definitely better than what I had at Shane’s restaurant but I don’t know if it was as good as it could be.  I felt the meat was, possibly, overcooked but I just don’t know. I would love it if someone else tried the recipe and told me what they thought. 

Maus, the critical one, really liked it and gave it the thumbs up.  Everyone at the table said it was great but, people do tend to be polite.

The above photo is what the meat looked like at 3:30 in the afternoon (after 7½ hours – it looks cooked to me).

This is what it looked like at 5:30 in the afternoon (after 9½ hours) – it looks really cooked to me.  Notice how the meat is already coming away from the scapula bone.  I wonder what it would have been like at this point.  I have a feeling this is as good as it gets.

The top photo was what it looked like at 8:00pm after the leg and scapula bones were removed and it had been cut into pieces.  Looking at the photo, it still looks good.  The meat easily came away from the bones and we were then able to cut it into bits.  It didn’t fall apart but still held its shape and it tasted great.  Maybe it was perfect.  Maybe it was overcooked.  I have no idea.

If you have Shane’s book, we served it with the pistachio and green olive tabouleh recipe on the same page; roast kipfler potatoes with aleppo pepper on page 150; and fatoush from Palestine on a Plate by Joudie Kalla.

A sojourn and a recipe

Maus and I have been busy of late (when I say busy, remember, everything is relative) so we decided we needed a break.  Maus chose Augusta, a coastal town 1½ hour drive south west of us.  We had a fab time.

We stayed at the local hotel (which is not recommended but was adequate).  When booking in, Maus picked up brochures for local whale watching tours.  I have had whale watching on my “must do list” for quite a while.  We had intended to go to Albany later this winter for that purpose.  I didn’t even know that you could go whale watching from Augusta. Continue reading

Soaping makes me happy

That title makes me happy too …  because it is true!

Soap is really taking over our house  … and garage.  There is barely enough room in our two-car garage for one car anymore.  I only have one corner as a workshop but it is expanding outwards.

I started off airing soap on top of the fridge, then Maus made me a shelf in the laundry.  One shelf!!  What was she thinking?  Then she acquired this wonderful 5-shelf display stand… and then, not so long ago, we bought another stand from Ikea.  Alas, the Ikea stand is nearly full.  I think it is time for another stall. Continue reading

Lamb meatballs with warm yoghurt and swiss chard and solutions to some recent software problems

Hello, everyone!

This is a post which has been sitting in Drafts for ages.  I just hope I can remember how we made the dish.

I am sorry it has been so long since I have written a post.  One reason has been lethargy and the other is that I have had computer problems or, more to the point, software problems.  I will tell you about them in case you have the same, or similar, issues.  It will save you hours in forums. Continue reading

Target audience

I must tell you about the stall I had at the Easter weekend market.  I have already told you about the success of the passionfruit but I also sold a moderate amount of soap which WAS, of course, the main reason for the stall.

Have I mentioned I am obsessed with soap YouTube videos?  I am guessing I have.  Well, if you watch more than a few thousand then you will, invariably, come across 50 or 500 that tell you how to start a soap-making business.  One of the tips they give is “know your market”. Continue reading