Leg of Lamb, in dark beer, honey, and spices
1 leg of lamb, bone in (mine was a monster 7 pounder for Easter dinner)
2 cups dark beer, such as stout or porter
1 cup honey, divided in half
1 Tbs. juniper berries, crushed
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. whole cloves
Preheat the oven to 375F. Combine the beer, honey, juniper, bay leaves, and cloves in the bottom of a deep roasting pan, then set the leg of lamb on top. Season the lamb liberally with salt and pepper. Cook approximately 15 minutes per pound, basting every 10-15 minutes or so. The interior temperature of the lamb should reach 130F, at which point it should be done.
Remove from the oven, cover loosely with tin foil, and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
Strain the drippings into a separate bowl, and skim off as much of the fat as you can. You can either serve the remaining mix straight with the lamb as a sauce, or simmer gently with a bit of fresh mint.
Modern Elderflower Fritters
Cook’s Note: Bonus Points if you can get a hold of an elderflower cider, such as Angry Orchard makes! Also, try using smaller clusters of flowers for easier frying and eating.
1/2 bottle sparkling hard cider (6 fl. oz)
pinch of dry yeast
pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 lemon or orange
1 cup flour
6 elderflower blossom clusters, or more, as desired
oil for frying (I used canola)
sugar, for sprinkling
Mix together all ingredients except the elderflowers and oil, tweaking as necessary, until you have a nice runny batter. Bring the oil up to a nice medium heat. Gently dip a cluster of elderflowers into the batter, holding the stem upright. You can wiggle it around until all the blossoms are covered. Let any excess batter drip off, then carefully lower the battered flower into the hot oil. You should be able to cook each fritter almost entirely on this side, although you may find flipping it to finish the top side is helpful. When the fritters are golden brown, remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with some sugar, and enjoy!
Spruce Tip Shortbread Recipe
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/3 cup cane sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh spruce tips
Preheat oven to 325. Beat the butter and sugar together, then add the remaining ingredients, mixing until it’s crumbly. You may need to fiddle with the proportions a bit- too soft and the shortbread will melt, but too dry, and it won’t hold together. Chill for at least an hour. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Roll out your dough to about 1/4″ thick, and cut into shapes with cookie cutters (Christmas tree cutters would be cute- I didn’t think of that). Place the shortbreads on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, then bake for around 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are just starting to turn golden. Let them cool