Spring began about two months ago now. It’s May, the happy month of first warmth after treacherous April, the month that stabs you in the back with snow when it gets the chance. Exams are drawing to a close and people are starting to plan stuff to do over the holidays. I myself have been invited for a barbecue, the first of the year for me. Unfortunately, I live in Scotland and I have a nasty feeling that this barbecue could go horribly wrong, because over the past few weeks the weather in Glasgow has been pretty much like this:
and the forecast for barbecue-Friday is pretty much this:
Picture the scene. The sky is grey. The majority of the invitees has arrived. The kitchen is a land of confusion already, as everyone has haphazardly placed their beers, baguettes and family-packs of burgers on any available surface, forcing the few people that are still trying to add the finishing touches to their salads to balance their salad bowls on piles of bottle openers and plastic plates.
Despite the clouds, outside the hostess does a brave attempt to light the barbecue. People congregate around it, not so much to roast meat as to get warm, since the temperature is stuck at a woeful 12 degrees.
The barbecue won’t light properly because of the wind and people are getting tired of waiting. Some start tucking into the baguettes and open another beer. Those of the ladies who are wearing a dress for the occasion start wishing they had brought jeans and a jumper.
Then disaster strikes. It starts to rain. The small crowd hurries across the garden to get inside. One person trips on an extension cable that was powering the ipod-dock, which is dragged down in the fall of the unfortunate casualty. Glasses shatter, the lawn is covered in tomatoes and salad dressing, and meanwhile the rain pours down, chasing all of the mildly inebriated guests into the house and extinguishing for evermore the timid fire that was starting to glow in the barbecue. We move through to the living room, which is too small for 15 or so recent graduates sitting about, waiting for their turn to use the frying pan.
Of course it might turn out fine. I’m hoping for the best. But the weather’s so unpredictable. For this barbecue, therefore, I shall have to plan carefully. It’s a bring your own food and booze barbecue, so I should bring something that I can stick on the barbecue in case the weather’s OK, or, if it’s not, that I can prepare in the oven, to avoid queueing for the frying pan. Lamb chops it is! The weather allowing, I’ll cover them with olive oil and ground cumin, then have them with the couscous salad that someone is inevitably bringing. If the weather’s shite, I’ll make oven roast lamb chops with garlic and olives (and some other stuff, but more ingredients make my recipe name sound less catchy).
Quantities on estimate, use your own judgement. For one person:
- two lamb chops
- 3 cloves of garlic
- a handful of black olives, pitted
- a tomato
- a sprig of rosemary
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Put the chops in an oven dish. Peel the garlic and slices the cloves in half. Stick them in the oven dish with the meat. Halve the olives and add them, too. Slice the tomato into wedges and place them in strategic posts on top of the lamb. Chop up the rosemary and this to the meat, too. Now sprinkle over a fairly generous amount of olive oil, some salt and some freshly ground pepper. Stick your dish in the oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes.