A Kilner jar is useful for infusing the oil, but something with good seal so that you can shake the bottle without fear of any spillage.
Strip leaves from the rosemary and lightly bruise them in a mortar with a pestle to release the oils. You can add a little oil to help lubricate this.
Put the bruised rosemary into the jar and add decent olive oil to cover. Put in a warm place for a week, shaking the year each day. After a week strain through muslin into a clean bottle.
BONED LEG OF LAMB COOKED OVER THE FIRE
I normally prefer my meat cooked on the bone but in this recipe any loss of flavour seems to be more than compensated for by the delicious flavour that cooking over wood gives. It also allows you to cook a leg of lamb in a remarkably short space of time.
Leg of lamb (about 6 months old is perfect) – ask your butcher to remove the bone and open the meat out into a flat piece.
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsps olive oil
Cut the garlic into slivers and use a sharp knife to cut incisions in the meat to insert the garlic slivers and sprigs of rosemary. Grind black pepper and salt over the meat and rub in the oil. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Remove from the fridge whilst the fire is getting hot so that it comes back to room temperature.
When the fire is white hot position a rack just a couple of inches above it. Lay the lamb on the rack skin side down. The fat will drip down causing the flames to flare up and envelop the meat. Cook for 7-8 minutes and then turn the meat over to cook for a further 7-8 minutes if you like it pink. For well done lamb cook for 12 minutes a side.
Serve with redcurrant or rowan jelly, salad and potatoes.
ROSEMARY CRÈME ANGLAIS
4 good sprigs of rosemary
½ pint (250 ml) full cream milk
4 egg yolks
1½ oz caster sugar
Wash the rosemary and put it in a saucepan with the milk. Heat the milk to simmering point, then remove from the heat, cover the pan and leave to infuse for half an hour.
Whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar until pale and creamy. Strain the milk through a sieve onto the egg yolks and mix well. Return to the cleaned pan and cook over a low heat, stirring the whole time, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not be tempted to turn the heat up to speed this up or the mixture is liable to curdle.
Serve with a rich chocolate pudding.
This Italian bread is eaten on its own, and is ideal for barbecues or parties. In Italy it is often made with semolina flour, which is unfortunately quite difficult to obtain here but the bread works perfectly well though with ordinary strong bread flour.
15g/½ oz fresh yeast
1 tsp. sugar
15g/½ oz sea salt (preferably Maldon)
450g/1lb strong flour (or half semolina flour, half bread flour)
300ml/½ pint tepid water
2 tbsp. olive oil
Topping: Fresh rosemary, rosemary oil and sea salt
Mix the yeast with half the water and the sugar. Leave to stand for 5 minutes until a froth on the top of the liquid shows that the yeast has started working.
Meanwhile tip the flour and salt onto a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture, into the well you have made. Using only one hand, gradually draw a little of the flour into the liquid. When this liquid is absorbed into the flour add the other half of the water and olive oil. Continue mixing in this way until all of the flour is incorporated.
Now knead the dough by stretching it away from you and folding it back over on itself. Knead for about 8-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. When prodded with your finger, the dough should spring back into shape.
Lightly flour your hands and the top of the dough. Shape the dough into a round and place it in a clean mixing bowl. Score the top of the dough, this helps it to rise, cover it, and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour).
After the dough has risen, knead it again briefly to knock out all the air, and then roll it out until it is about ½” thick (the finished bread will rise to about 2”). Lay the dough on a greased baking sheet and then press sprigs of rosemary into the dough with your fingertips until the dough is dimpled all over. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a light scattering of your chosen topping. Leave to rise again, heating the oven to 230C/Gas 8 whilst it rises, and bake for about 15 minutes until golden.
When it comes out of the oven remove burnt rosemary and feed the top with a little more rosemary olive oil plus salt if required.