I have spent the last month’s weekends watching the Rugby World Cup – so two or three on Saturday and perhaps one less on Sunday.
The matches are sequential, with kick offs roughly every two and a half hours from noon. So that has defined my diet – scotch eggs for lunch, sushi as an afternoon snack, an a bouillabaisse for dinner.
Now, at the business end of the tournament, we can see only game a day. This Saturday there is juggernaut of a match: South Africa take on the might of New Zealand.
For this I suggest a smorgasbord of cured African meats (though perhaps only most hardened Boer will insist on preparing this from scratch – I will be looking for a splendid South African deli).
However, most of us lads should be able to create a New Zealand Lamb carpaccio. It sounds complex but is really very easy.
1kg of lamb breast (New Zealand lamb of course) – deboned and in one piece
3 garlic bulbs
4 sprigs of rosemary
1 litre of milk
1 vanilla pod
1 head of cauliflower
Jar of Capers
Marinade the breast on the Friday (though a Thursday eve is fine, if work gets in the bloody way!) morning in finely chopped garlic, rosemary, and olive oil. Cover and leave for at least four hours.
Meanwhile cut the cauliflower into florets, discarding the main stalk, and slice the vanilla pod lengthways removing and keeping the seeds. Pop the milk in a pan adding the cauliflower and all the vanilla pod, including the seeds.
Place a lid on it and cook at a simmer until the cauliflower is tender to a knife prick. Remove the cauliflower from the milk and put in a blender with the butter. Leave blending for three minutes, adding milk little by little until a smooth consistency occurs.
Push the puree through a sieve and pop in the fridge.
The lamb, once marinated, should be popped in the oven at 120c until 77c (when checked with a probe) or for 1 1/2 -2 hours if not. Once it has been cooked and cooled down, a good hour at least, you need to roll the meat into a tube. Lie it on top of cling film and forcefully roll it and wrap it in the cling film until the meat feels tight to the touch.
Refrigerate the tube of meat and potter off to the local for the usual Friday night merriments…
Before the rugger kicks off, slice the rolled breast (without the clingfilm!) with an exceedingly sharp knife or a carpaccio machine if you have one. Warm the pure and spread it over a hot plate in an elegant circle. Then layer the lamb over it. Place a blob of watercress in the middle and scatter the capers over the meat, dress with lashings of olive oil – however a liberal glut of truffle oil will ameliorate the taste further.
Enjoy with a crisp chill kiwi Sauvignon or, perhaps due to the rugby, a cold glass of Lion.