Maple Syrup Lamb and…Band Practise

Yes, this post has Archie written all over it.

I had a really busy day scheduled today so wanted to organise dinner ahead of time.  I didn’t want to break the tradition of a Sunday night family dinner (and I always schedule an early dinner so the family night of significance is over in time for me to watch Downton Abbey).

This doesn't need carving.  It can be pulled apart with tongs.

This doesn’t need carving. It can be pulled apart with tongs.

Because my day was going to be frantic I bought a large leg of lamb and found a recipe on-line where I could put the joint into the oven at noon and slow-cook it until dinner time.  I lovingly prepared the leg and just as I was covering it in foil to put into the warmed oven, that Arabella came in and said she was leaving.

‘Where are you going?’

‘Oh come on mum, you’re not losing it are you?’

‘You’ve been to work, what else do you have on?’

‘Sound Wave, mum.  I won’t be back until midnight.  See you then.’  That would be some sort of music festival we bought tickets for at least nine months ago.  Apparently this was an essential teenage rite of passage.

‘Sound Wave’s tonight?  I didn’t know that was tonight.  What about this slow-roasted leg of lamb and the family dinner?’

‘Next week, mum.’

‘Right then.  Okay, well have a good time and we’ll see you soon’.

Then she walked out the door as Archie walked in.  ‘I thought you were working all day’.

‘Me too.  But it’s the weather.  No one goes to the cafe in this rain.  I’ve been sent home early’.  I tried not to sound disappointed but it’s just I was hoping for a couple of hours of the house to myself – an increasingly rare thing.

‘Mum, you know how my band is in that competition on Wednesday?  We could win sponsorship and everything.  I’ve invited the band here to rehearse from 5.30 until 8.30.  Is that okay with you?  That’s okay, isn’t it mum?’

‘So they’re all coming?’

‘Yeah, they can all make it.  Isn’t that great!’

‘Sure, Archie, yes, that’s great’.  And then I retreated to my ‘office’ which is really just an ethereal space where I do home duties.  And I was getting my chores done one by one when Archie came in.’

‘Mum, I forgot to ask.  What’s for dinner?’

‘Can’t you smell it?  It’s a slow-roasted leg of lamb and I’m serving it with roasted vegetables and some steamed asparagus’.

‘Lovely, that sounds lovely.  Is it okay if the band stays for dinner?  It’s just they’ll get a bit hungry.’  Musicians are always hungry.

‘Yes, okay.  They can stay for the traditional Sunday night roast’.

‘Thanks, mum.  I already told them it wouldn’t be a problem.’  And I went back to my chores thinking about the weight of the leg of lamb and the increased numbers and wondered if I could pad out the meal with a few extra vegetables.  But just as I had finished recalculating the portions, Archie reappeared.

‘But there’s a problem, mum’.

‘You’re not going to tell me one of them is a vegetarian are you?’

‘Emma, the new band member, she doesn’t eat meat.’

‘Well that’s a vegetarian, isn’t it’.

‘Mum, if you could just hear her violin playing, it wouldn’t bother you that she’s a vegetarian’.

‘It doesn’t bother me that she’s a vegetarian, Archie, it bothers me that I didn’t know until I put an animal into the oven’.

‘Have you got anything else?’

And I looked at him.  Was this a trick question?  Was it meant to make me feel inadequate?  If I’m cooking lamb what up-my-sleeve vegetarian ‘extra’ would I have prepared?

I went back to the shops, walked into the patisserie and bought a quiche.  Problem solved.  Came home and all hell had broken loose.  ‘I don’t have any spare guitar strings.  Can I take the car to the music store?’ Archie cried.

‘Your father’s taken the car to a rehearsal for a gig he has coming up’.

‘Really?’ exclaimed Archie like he couldn’t believe we could be so selfish as to drive our own car.  ‘What about dad’s car?  Can’t I drive that?’

‘I told you it’s at the mechanics’.

‘Well can’t we go and get it?’

‘The mechanic has the keys, Archie, and he’s not there on a Sunday’.

‘So I have a rehearsal and I have no strings?’

‘Apparently’.  And Archie wasn’t pleased but this truly wasn’t my problem.  And he stormed off into his room to start rehearsing with the five strings that weren’t broken ahead of the rehearsal.  He lifted the lid of his guitar case and then I heard a bunch of expletives I never knew he knew.

Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb

Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb

‘What’s the problem now?’

‘Someone’s stolen my guitar strap’.  And it was true.  On his last day of Uni last week, someone with light fingers had opened his guitar case and stolen his guitar strap.  He will have to buy another one before his next gig this Wednesday, as well as new strings.

It’s tough for a struggling musician to come out in front.

Update:  They’re all here rehearsing.  The meat eaters loved the lamb with the onion gravy.  The vegetarian was very happy with her store-bought quiche.  The rehearsal is continuing and there’s a lot of laughs and great music coming from the verandah at the front of the house that is Archie’s favourite place to rehearse – just ask the neighbours!

And yes – the vegetarian violin player is very talented – do I get a prize for putting that many ‘vees’ into a sentence!

Maple Syrup Lamb

Maple Syrup Lamb

Maple Syrup Lamb:

Serves:  6-8

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  I paid less than $25.00 for this leg of lamb and it came from a reputable butcher who buys quality grass-feed meat.  I think this is a fair price for a meal that will serve our family plus the band!

  • 2.5kg leg of lamb on the bone
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 6 French shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Bunch fresh thyme
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Bunch of parsley to serve

Preheat oven to 150C or 135C fan-forced.

Season leg with salt and pepper.

Brown all over in a frying pan.  Place in a roasting dish.  Pour wine and stock over lamb.  Scatter shallots, garlic, thyme and lemon rind.  Pour maple syrup over lamb.  Season again.  Cover with foil and place in the oven for 3 hours.

Remove from oven and baste with juices.  Return to the oven and cook for a further 2 1/4 hours.

Remove from the roasting dish and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Drain fat from roasting dish and make a gravy from the juices.  I used 1 tbspn cornflour stirred over high heat until browned, then added some stock to desired consistency.

I served the lamb with roasted kipfler potatoes and purple carrots and steamed greens.

Maple Syrup Leg of Lamb

Maple Syrup Leg of Lamb

This recipe has been adapted from Best Recipes.

PS:  And when they weren’t looking I recorded a few minutes of their rehearsal, out on the verandah under a warm but windy summer’s evening.  Archie would be furious if I shared this with you but as long as we keep this to ourselves, he’ll never know!  Click on the link below…



  1. Hello, here I sit up late waiting to go to collect Giant Teen from the train station. Was out at Soundwave myself earlier in the day too. Feeling very antiquated. Ah, slow cooked lamb, how I love thee. And funny stories too.

    My husband is veggie and can’t bear the smell of lamb so we’ll have to wait until he buzzes off back to Kurdistan. The little lamb, you will not die in vain.

    I love the thought of a regular Sunday night family meal, but have to admit that it’s a bit of a dream… we have some dreadful family mealtimes. Less than in the past, but the terrible twins can turn any social event into a bloodbath!

    • Don’t think for a moment that the Sunday night family roast is smooth sailing around here – ours is most often a blood bath too and it’s not because we like our meat rare!

  2. Omg lamb!! I absolutely looove lamb but usually have no idea where to get it. Haha. Mmm roasting with maple syrup gives it a sweet and succulent flavour! How delicious! And so sweet of you to buy a quiche for the girl 🙂

  3. You poor thing! You never seem to get a minute to yourself hehe you’re kids are always bringing you all sorts of issues 🙂 But it’s okay you always manage to pull through and even though I don’t eat lamb, this roast seems lovely and it’s so nice for you to have bought the violist a veggie quiche ~

  4. At least your food gets eaten! I am done making dinner on the weekends… I cook and it sits in the fridge for a week because my children have plans. Why don’t I have plans?
    The lamb looks really great and it’s a decent price too for such a quality piece. It’s expensive in the US.
    I have a a vegetarian child and she throws a spanner in the works all the time.


  5. Fantastic! I guess being a Mum you have to be this adaptive. The roast looks lovely. And we won’t tell Archie that the band is super good and all your fans now know it.

  6. I love their band – really! They’re very good.

  7. The lamb looks beautiful, and I applaud your food and otherwise resilience :). It sounds like a wonderful Sunday, all in all.

  8. Downton Abbey is kinda addictive, isn’t it? Great looking roast – although I usually roast lamb so it’s rare, there’s an awful lot to be said for a long, slow cooking. It gets incredibly tender, and the flavor might be even better. I haven’t done one this way in ages – I need to again. Fun post – thanks.

  9. Your lamb came out so great! I am addicted to Downton Abbey, it is my new favorite show! We watch one or two episodes every night, but will be running out soon 🙁

  10. I like lamb very much but the imported New Zealand is so pricey and I never seem to be around/aware when they’ve got the home grown Ontario lamb. The flavours sounds delicious and would make a change from the usual boned-out rolled leg of lamb I’ve made in the past with basil/pine nut or more usually parsley with a bit of basil/walnut pasta spread over the inside before it’s tied up.

  11. A saint, Charlie, I repeat, you are a SAINT. And the lamb looks and sounds delicious. Absolutely delicious. The band was smart to grab onto Emma, she is talented indeed and adds a nice new dimension to the music, which was already great. I love to see clips of the kids–they are talented, have a great sound, and should go far. Kudos to Archie. And to you.

  12. Oh my gosh, you worked hard to get there but it seems you did get that slightly family dinner 🙂 – your determination is pretty amazing!
    And LOVE Downton Abbey, just do not get to watch it often!


  13. Ok, i’m officially in love with your son and his band!!!!! They’re really REALLY good!!! If they ever come to Spain, I’ll be in first row for sure, and the lamb looks great too!!

  14. Oh, I felt so sorry for you reading the post. Your patience is to be admired, and that is one nice looking leg of lamb.

  15. I am not a lamb person but I think this will be good using pork shoulder. Will make when the kids come to visit.
    Glad all worked out well in the end. Love the video, I will not tell Archie about it.

  16. All I can say is you are a great mum and as for Downton Abbey. God he;p anyone who comes between my self and that show. I love it. Did you know rumour has it, that a major player will be killed off at the end of the season? I have no idea who though.


  17. MiddleC is off to Herr annual music pilgrimage to Side Wave today, apparently this is somehow cooler than Sound Wave, and she gets to hear more of her favourite band this way or something
    With the touch of cooler weather we also had a 6 hour slow baked lamb shoulder, so yummy!
    Your vegetarian violin virtuoso should have been veritably victorious with her vegetable quiche, but I hope she got a bit of vicarious enjoyment from your very delicious roast… That’s 8! BestI can do before coffee in the morning 🙂
    Love the band, maybe they’ll be at Sound Wave next year, after winning this competition on Wednesday and getting a sponsorship deal and all. Good luck guys! Xox

  18. Looks delicious Charlie, entertaining story too – as always! D xo

  19. Wow what an eventful lead up to dinner. I’m glad everything worked out well. I don’t know how you stay so composed all the time. Two thumbs up for that. Love roast lambs, I prefer it over beef. There’s just something about the meat falling off the bone… ahhh.

  20. Fabulous looking recipe Charlie! Leg of lamb is one of my faves to cook but I’ve never attempted it in the oven yet, just the slow cooker. Will have to give this recipe a try 😀

  21. That clip makes me so happy. Thank you for posting it. Thank the stars for passionate young musicians with a true “voice” and sounds all their own, completely a world away from derivative churned-out-by-the-industry schmuck.


  22. Lovely leg of lamb Charlie! At least it didn’t go to waste. I thought Archie was going to tell you he’d be out for the night too.
    Love the sneaky video! I won’t tell!

  23. You get a prize for being a great Mum.

  24. I think you definitely deserve a prize! That roast of lamb took me back to the farm when we always had a roast of lamb for lunch on Sundays. I didn’t realise for ages that not everyone did that.
    Cute video and a great place to rehearse.

  25. That was some rost you prepared, Charlie! If the violinist was satisfied with quiche while that roast was on the table before her, she is one dedicated vegetarian. I would have cracked the minute I saw it. Great clip of Archie and his bandmates. He won’t mind. It’s publicity of the best kind.

  26. I did a lamb leg the night before last but I’m sure it didn’t look as good as yours. The video was terrific.

  27. How delicious! And I’m so pleased that it all worked out in the end although I was worried for a moment there. Not about the lamb of course, I knew that would be delicious! 😀

  28. Oh dear! So much for those few relaxing hours to yourself! If it’s any consolation, being a vegetarian, if I turned up to dinner at someone’s house I would be quite happy to make do with the vegetables if they had no advance warning (although, I can’t see myself showing up with no advance warning…) 🙂

  29. WOW!! I would need yoga, Valium and wine to get through all this and have dinner on the table that pleases everyone… actually with the above concoction I probably just wouldn’t care :0 Sheesh…

    This is my favourite winter recipe, I have it on my website also, except that I do mine in the slow cooker… I have never trusted myself to leave it in the oven, I’m always worried I will dry it out.

  30. Love your PS and I hope the band did really well at the band competition. How fabulous to have live music on your verandah and such great music too. The lamb looks wonderful and so perfect for the family Sinday meal. We try to do that too but it’s often fraught with obstacles. Veggies I can understand, It’s when one of the Glam Teens brings home someone who is merely fussy I loose my patience. GG

  31. That should of course have been Sunday meal not Sinday. Obviously a freudian slip!! GG

  32. What a lovely roast Charlie, I bet the house smelled incredible. Such a shame you can’t get a minute to yourself.
    What a great video! Thanks for sharing it.
    We love Downton Abbey too.

  33. I always love reading your stories & your lamb looks beautiful 🙂

  34. Susan Ritter says:

    Great website Charlie will definitely try this recipe!!

  35. Their music is beautiful! You are such a wonderfully accommodating mum! I’m nt sure that I would have been so.

  36. Go Jack Selwyn! One of the finest musicians I know (sax player) is named Selwyn, it’s a great name! Glad the vegetarian was appeased, worth doing as she really is a fine, fine violinist! 🙂

  37. What a succulent lamb dish! I like the maple syrup with this too.

  38. It was the threatened appearance of a vegetarian at a roast lamb dinner that led me to buy my first ever cookbook – Claudia Roden’s Book of Middle Eastern Food – about a 100 years ago!

  39. Such a talented group of kids! They sound wonderful!!! And your lamb looks incredible…the hubby would be thrilled with this for a Sunday night dinner…if I could only find a leg for $25 🙂

  40. Ever since my pure maple syrup experience, I’ve been on the hunt for recipes with it. This looks great!

  41. I don’t think I could ever be as patient with my kids are you are. Gold star to you!

  42. Love it…the music and all.I try to teach people to be prepared for vegetarians and the like!
    Good for you; good for Archie!

  43. I love your lamb and love your stories even better. I loved the clip. The vegetarian violinist is very pretty too!

  44. Well you may not be able to conjure guitar strings out of thin air, but you do a great job with the food. I guess you are the most popular mum around.

  45. What a talented group! Loved hearing them rehearse. The lamb looks absolutely stunning and I’m sure the violin player appreciated your consideration in giving her quiche…but surely she didn’t know what she was missing! Love Downton Abbey, but sad the season is over and the way it ended.

  46. So excited you shared some of their music! I love it!!! Even more amazing with not all the guitar strings 😉 They’re really talented and I hope they all go far.

    This lamb looks great! I wish my husband ate lamb…a leg is definitely too much for just me.

  47. I LOVED the video! You should post more often and we’ll keep quiet, we promise!!! The band looks amazing too! I think you are such a great mom trying to adjust quickly according to kids’ schedule and you make it happen! I told you before but you really are a super mom…

  48. Why Archie would be annoyed at all is beyond me when you’re only promoting his band, after all you did go to all the effort to make sure Emma the violinist had dinner, those wretched thieves at uni who took Archie’s strap! I cannot wait to see the band on Mar 10!

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