Lamb and vegetable casseroles have always been a staple dish in Australian households. From early on lamb was readily available and any vegetable could be added to bulk the dish out to feed a family. Originally it probably came to Australia as a Lancastershire Hot Pot, but whether you call it that or like this recipe Lamb & Vegetable Hot Pot it is always a hearty dish topped with potatoes.
When I was growing up the one thing that that Dad always had growing in the garden was rhubarb. Its giant green leaves and red stalks filled one corner of his veggie patch and never seemed to die off. Luckily Dad liked eating it so Mum stewed it up with some sugar and served it with custard for dessert – quite often. I don’t know about my brothers, but it was never one of my favourites and I’ve been greatly surprised to see that it has come back into fashion – who would have thought? I think this recipe at least would be sweet enough to counteract some of the tartness I didn’t like.
Using condensed milk to make slices was a lot more common back 1980s than it is today, but it certainly makes a nice slice. The first time I cooked with pecans was around that time as well. I made an ‘exotic’ American Pecan Pie, using pecans and the hard to obtain ingredient, corn syrup. I think this slice recipe probably dates from a little later than that, especially as it comes from an ad for Riverside an Australian company which urges readers to join the All Australian Pecan Club.
I couldn’t resist sharing this recipe. While the roast and glaze sound great, it’s the picture I love. The table decoration, the mugs and the vegetables all just scream 1970s. It’s on the back of a calendar dated June 1976 and I’m guessing it was a calendar Mum got from her brother who was a butcher. Enjoy.
Like most Australian families when we were growing up Mum cooked a roast once a week. As there were five of us in the family it was usually a large piece of meat and there was always some left over for school lunches or to have cold with a salad. Another way Mum would use it up was to make Meat Fritters. This recipe has the meat being minced, but Mum just used to slice it and coat the pieces in the batter before frying. And of course we always had tomato sauce with it.
Back in the 1990s these would often be handed around at a party or before dinner. I haven’t made them for a long time, but I think they’d still work well today. I like the tip of converting the recipe into sausage rolls if you don’t want to use them as savouries.