The Big Four-Oh

Yup, it happens to everyone eventually. Natural selection has worked in my favour so far, and I have reached 40 years of age.

On Saturday 20th December 2008 I planned to hold a party with my neighbours’ support and their shed. I wanted to do something a bit special and something I hadn’t tried before, so I decided to spit-roast a whole lamb. I spent most of the Sunday before fabricating and a couple of evenings finishing off the spit. My neighbour, Gordon, or ‘Frog’, is a stainless steel fitter and welder. He has a lot of second-hand stainless kicking around and new stock left over from jobs.

On the day it was very windy and three sheets of mild steel were welded together as a wind-break- very effective. We had pine, macrocarpa and peach wood to burn for embers. The spit design needs some fine tuning, but we got the lamb on their and stuffed with slashed lemons, garlic bulbs, onions and herbs, followed by a good quantity of the olive oil and lemon juice based marinade. The cavity was stitched up and the spit placed on the stand as soon as the flames died down to good hot embers.

lambandshed.jpg
Lamb on a shiny stainless steel spit. The shed and guests in the background.

Work colleagues and friends with kids turned up mid-afternoon to enjoy the pleasures of the ‘lifestyle block’. The more hardcore party types pitched up later for the food and drink.

neighboursandkids.jpg
My neighbours house with kids on the lawn. My wee cottage in the background.

Cooking the lamb took considerably longer than I expected. I was determined not to burn the outside and I suspect the wind didn’t help despite the shelter. Anyway, an hour and a half after my upper estimate of 8.00 pm, at 9.30 pm the lamb was ready.

cookedlamb.jpg
Mark and I take the lamb to the table for carving. You can see the lemons, onions and garlic inside the beast and the stitched cavity.

We let the cooked lamb rest for 10 minutes or so before carving.

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Phil was a chef in a previous life. It was a pleasure to watch him work and I carved the pieces as they came off the carcase.

There were a few people hovering and picking, but Moony grabbed the first available leg-bone for a good gnaw.

moonyknawslegbone.jpg
Moony caught gnawing on a leg-bone at the back of the shed.

I guess there were fifty-or-so people there, so one lamb, two rabbits and some venison, plus some sausages for the kids doesn’t go that far.

notmuchleft.jpg
The remains of a whole lamb with happy guests. The dogs, pigs and chickens will be happy for many days to come!

TBC…

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