Love New Zealand Lamb

If you're living in the northern hemisphere no doubt you'll be unpacking summer clothes and getting ready to cook and dine outdoors and generally enjoy la dolce vita. Lucky you, but spare a thought for us downunder, buttoning up our collars and tucking our hands into our coat pockets; winter is upon us. The great thing about Auckland, the city I live in, is that it never gets really cold, not for long at any rate, and gloriously crisp sunny autumn days such as we have had this past week are a delight. But what we start to focus on at this time of year is the shortest day, which is just over a month away, because no matter how cold or foul the weather, you know as each day ticks by, you're getting one day closer to summer. The recipe I'm sharing with you this month is one of my favourite lamb recipes (this is a theme you'll hear often in my newsletters, but it's never a lie, it's just that I LOVE lamb and have a lot of lamb recipes I'm really keen on!); lamb racks with lemon and honey crust. This dish is quintessentially a summer one lemon freshness says it all but it's also great for us in the southern hemisphere because it's at this time of year that our lemon trees start producing bright yellow juicy meyer lemons, which are perfect for this dish.

I wish, wherever you are in the world, that you could buy New Zealand lamb. I'm not biased just because I come from the land of 60 million sheep (mythical we're eating them at a fast rate and we're down to around 40 million of the fluffy things now) but because it is the best in the world. It is fine-grained, sweet and very tender. Well, failing New Zealand lamb, buy the freshest lamb you can.

Finally, just a few word of thanks to all of you who have signed up for the newsletter. The response has been terrific! If you're enjoying my site, don't forget to pass on the details to your friends and family. Till next time, happy cooking!


Recipe: Lamb Racks with Lemon and Honey Crust

Cooking Techniques: More on Lamb

Short Tips: Honey; Quick Breadcrumbs

Ingredients Explained: Lemons

Tricky Words: Burghul - Bulgur

Q&A: NZ equivalent for Fontina cheese?

Blog: The Cookbook Corner

MAY 2008

Recipe Stash 

Lamb Racks with Lemon and Honey Crust
Usually, one tries to avoid the white pith on the interior of lemon rind, but in this dish it is tempered by the sweetness of honey and creates a bitter-sweet flavour which is part of the dish's magic.

Cooking Tips


More on lamb
I buy the racks with the fat removed and peel off the silverskin, the thin stretchy sheath that is to be found under the fat and on top of the meat. One of the attributes of lamb is the sweetness provided by the fat.[...]
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If the honey is firm, loosen it in a microwave for a few seconds, or in a small bowl immersed in warm water. For quick breadcrumbs, use Japanese panko crumbs, available from stockists of Asian food. [...]
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Many famous foodies list lemons as one of their indispensable ingredients. For me, they're right up there along with garlic and mint, something I always have on hand. I love the way the sharp fresh flavour of lemon cuts through desserts which would otherwise be cloying, and the way they give savoury dishes a lift.[...]
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Tricky Words Burghul - Bulgur
Hulled wheat which is partially cooked by steaming, then dried and finely or coarsely ground.
More Tricky Words

Q & A

  Q: Greetings Julie. Can you please suggest the NZ equivalent for Fontina cheese?
It is used extensively in overseas recipes, but am uncertain which NZ cheese I should use as a substitute.
Many thanks,

A: Hi Mavora. There are a few cheeses you can try, depending on the end use, but none is an exact equivalent. If you are wanting the lovely melting quality of fontina, raclette, a semi-soft cheese made from cow's milk (like fontina), could do the trick. Gruyere, also made from cow's milk, but much a much firmer cheese, is often given as a substitute and can be used for grilling and in fondue. It's possible to use fresh mozzarella in some recipes that call for melted fontina, though the flavour profile will be very different (mozzarella is milky and bland, but you could add an acid tang with lemon or balsamic vinegar). Fontina has a fat content of around 45%,[...]

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