Last weekend, on a breezy spring afternoon, we gathered a tiny bunch of good friends on our equally tiny Sydney balcony for a proper feast. The star of that feast was, undoubtedly, my father’s legendary barbecued lamb cutlets, which I have waxed poetic about in my previous post, along with the full back story of what makes this specific dish so incredibly special to me…please do have a read if you’ve got the time!
The preparations started two days before the event, which is always the key to a stress-free gathering in my opinion; the less that has to be done on the day, the better! On the Saturday of the event, I spent the morning slowly and happily setting the table, making everything pretty and marvelling at my newfound discovery that one does not need much space or fancy tableware to set a pretty beautiful scene, even in my minuscule inner city apartment. I thought it looked quite gorgeous!
The weather was grey and threatening to rain all day…but thankfully, it didn’t rain, and the overcast light gave me the absolute perfect giant soft-box situation for shooting! WIN!
My wonderful guests arrived, and were just the most helpful and thoughtful company I could’ve asked for. We gathered around the table laden with all the dishes I had prepared, and immediately started to dig in. There was my mother’s pasta Arabiatta, my favourite black eyed beans, salad, hummus, and of course, that LAMB!
I encouraged all to forget about their knives and forks, and was delighted when everyone was left with sticky fingers and full bellies after finishing. The best part? Not all my guests knew each other at the start of the day, but by the end of the meal everyone seemed to have completely relaxed and let loose, and conversation and laughter flowed as effortlessly as it does with old friends…and I was not even the slightest bit surprised. It is probably my favourite thing about food; that magical, unfaltering power that sharing a good meal has to bring people together…especially meals that involve tossing cutlery and just digging in using one’s bare hands!
After dessert, we ended the meal in true Egyptian style; with a large pot of strong black tea with lots of fresh mint, and we all lingered around for more chats, stories and laughs.
As promised, I am sharing the treasured recipe for my father’s BBQ Lamb Cutlets with you today (secret ingredient and all!), in hopes of inspiring you to give it a go and maybe even host your own little (or big!) gathering, and seeing for your self how amazing it is to watch people bond over good food.
- • 1.5 kg lamb cutlets, un-frenched (also known as ‘ribs’ in other countries, & ‘reyash’ in Arabic)
- FOR THE MARINADE:
- • 2 onions, finely grated or minced in a food processor
- • juice of one large lemon
- • 1.5 tsp salt
- • ¼ cup (60ml) soy sauce
- • ¼ cup (60ml) ketchup
- • ½ cup (125ml) Worcestershire sauce
- • ½ cup (125ml) regular molasses (not blackstrap)
- Place the lamb ribs in a large plastic container that has an airtight lid (if you don’t have a suitable one, you could use a very large ziplock bag). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the marinade until well combined. Pour the marinade onto the lamb and use your hands to massage the marinade onto the ribs, making sure every piece is well coated and the marinade is evenly distributed. Cover the container and place in the fridge overnight to marinate.
- The following day, light up your barbecue; I STRONGLY advise using a proper coal barbecue, as it imparts such an amazing smoky flavour to the lamb, but a gas barbecue will work as well if that is all you have. It may take up to 30 minutes for the coals to properly light up, so be patient and wait until the coals are glowing and hot. Make sure you place the grill onto the barbecue to heat up before you begin to cook the lamb.
- Place the lamb ribs onto the barbecue; they should sizzle as soon as they hit the grill. Leave them undisturbed for 5 minutes, then flip them over and leave them undisturbed for a further 3-5 minutes (keep the bbq uncovered the whole time). After that, continue to cook the ribs, flipping them often and drizzling with the marinade, until you reach your desired doneness. We like ours well done, so we cook it for about 20 minutes or so in total, but you can definitely cook it for less if you like! You can always test a single cutlet to see if it is done. Serve immediately to those you love.
*Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Australian Lamb