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Palm Sunday

Liturgical colour: red.

For Palm Sunday (and the beginning of Holy Week), Mass began with a procession and the blessing of palm fronds and crosses outside; and ended with a rousing chorus of 'Happy Birthday' for our parish priest, who will be 52 tomorrow. The church was filled to the rafters for the occasion, but I've noticed in the last few weeks that even on ordinary Sundays, attendance here is high - such a difference to how things were in my old parish. After Mass, I participated in a sponsored walk across The Hague to the ICC, to raise money for providing a proper healthcare in Kenyan refugee camps as part of our Lenten campaign. At the ICC, we were given a short but very interesting presentation about the Court and the cases that are brought before it. There are 4 crimes within the Court's jurisdiction, namely: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes committed after July 1st, 2002 and, under certain circumstances, the crime of aggression. The ICC differs from the ICJ in that here cases are brought against individuals, rather than against nations. There are currently 7 investigations and 8 preliminary examinations underway; all in all, 15 cases have been brought before the Court since it was established in 2002, of which 6 are currently at the trial stage.

I got chatting to one of my fellow parishioners, and she turned out to be working in HR. She's asked me to mail her my cv, which I will do...but without expecting too much at this stage.

But now: a recipe, courtesy of one of my French Facebook friends, one that I will certainly try next time I have a dinner party - although it's actually a traditional dish for Easter (apparently).

A traditional French casserole for Easter:

2 1/2 - 3 lb shoulder of lamb, bone removed
olive oil
2/3 c of white wine
5 large firm potatoes
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
several sprigs of rosemary
salt and ground black pepper

The night before the meal:
slice the cloves of garlic into smallish pieces and insert them into little incisions made in the lamb. Then massage it with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and rosemary. Wrap tightly in clingfilm and put in the fridge overnight.
preheat oven to 230C/450F; peel and slice potatoes crosswise, somewhat thin. Do the same to the onion.
Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil and spread the potatoes over it evenly. Spread the onion rings on top, pour in the wine. Season with salt and pepper. Unwrap the lamb, lay it flat on the top and put the dish in the middle of the oven. After 15 mins, lower the temperature to 175C/350F; continue to roast for 10 mins per pound for medium rare (the preferred European way), or 15 mins per pound for well done. If at any point in the process, the lamb gets too dark, cover with aluminium foil for the rest of the oven time. Remove the lamb for cutting and let it sit while you put the vegetables in a serving dish. Use a slosh more wine to scrape up all the browned bits and drippings for gravy, thickening with a bit of cornstarch, if necessary. Serves 4-6, depending on appetite.

Accompany with a simple salad with vinaigrette dressing (made with walnut oil, if possible) and garnished with walnut halves and crumbled roquefort. A cabernet sauvignon is perfect for this delicate meat.


( 8 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Apr. 1st, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
That lamb does sound good - even though I'm not a big lamb fan.

Church over the past two days for me has mainly involved painting eggs and waving paper palm fronds!
Apr. 1st, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
Funny, I'm not too keen on lamb, either; but I think I will try this and see if I can't change my mind ;-)
Apr. 1st, 2012 04:41 pm (UTC)
I studied the ICC and ICJ for one of my law classes, and I found it fascinating.

We went to Palm Sunday service today as well, and it was a real pleasure.
Apr. 1st, 2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
I've taken a tour of the ICJ a couple of times, which is truly amazing; and today's presentation of the work of the ICC has given me a whole new insight...and a renewed confidence in the global willingness to promote justice and peace throughout the world.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 12:14 am (UTC)
That looks like a great recipe. I have a leg of lamb in the freezer that my sister brought to me a couple of weeks ago from her farm.... would have cost about $40 in the shop...
Apr. 2nd, 2012 01:10 pm (UTC)
Bon appétit!
Apr. 2nd, 2012 11:03 am (UTC)
Lamb is wonderful for so much, and quite popular in this country up until the last couple of decades, as a cheap alternative to beef. Darren and I eat quite a lot of it.

As a child we ate a lot because lamb (especially mutton and god forbid, hoggett - only good for stews and mince) was cheap - I remember my parents buying a whole lamb from an abbotoir and driving for 200km with it in the boot of the car, before giving half to a mate and spending the rest of the day (and probably the next) butchering it themselves. We ate soooo much lamb that year. It's a wonder I still like it, but I do. :)

I'll save that recipe away until it's a little cooler. Sounds divine.
Apr. 2nd, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
Awww - your icon!

We don't go in for lamb or mutton much in The Netherlands, which is odd considering the number of sheep you'll see grazing in the fields. We seem to keep them for their wool more than anything...OTOH, we do eat horse meat, the thought of which fills most of my Anglo-Saxon friends with dread.
( 8 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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