I’m not really sure when my excitement of snow turned into a shivery dread. I remember dancing in the street when the first snow arrived in Oslo… and that childlike fascination certainly lasted for several years. I had skied previously to living in Norway but now we could drive to the local slopes and slide down the mountain by floodlight and how thrilling those evenings were; local teenagers telemark skiing dressed in traditional clothing, wielding a wooden branch in front for balance.

We skied weekends too (no need to travel further afield for week long holidays) and then when the children came along they were put on skies as soon as they could walk and now, as teenagers, they have certainly overtaken us in both style and speed… so when did the change happen? Excuses not to ski (excuses have vanished now, I just say that I’d rather not, unless it is a particularly blue-skied sunny day) and In the middle of this current cold, snowy snap I find that even the simplest chore needs a mountain of motivation. Wrapped in polar fleece I don’t want to venture outdoors unless I really have to (just 2 more radiography sessions and then I’m done) and even my breakfast of choice: red fruit cocktail topped with a tablespoon or so of 0% fat fraomage frais then sprinkled with toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds, is for now, on hold, preferring not to make the 10 minute slither to the high street for fruit. I dream of balmy weather and summer days…

The best solution appears to be to light a log fire (must bring in more logs!) and remain within its vicinity, a glowing warmth at the heart of our home.

Venturing into the kitchen, the appeal of a Sunday roast was something that could take care of itself with the minimum of attention was the order of yesterday and I praised myself (often) for having found a beautifully succulent joint of lamb on crazy, Saturday visit to the hypermarket… perfect for slow roasting and where the odd extra minutes in the oven could only ever enhance it becoming meltingly tender as it cooks; in fact next time I cook this I leave in the low oven for an additional hour to compare the difference.

Slow Roast Lamb with Anchovy and Garlic

Serves 6

Don’t be put off by using anchovy – they melt into the seasoned butter, adding richness and depth of flavour to the lamb. Using a small food processor, the seasoning is incorporated into the butter which melts and bastes the meat as it cooks. As well as producing mouthwateringly tender results, slow cooking allows flavours to develop and reduces unnecessary shrinkage.

  • 1.3kg leg of lamb
  • Few salted anchovies
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • About 50g butter
  • Teaspoon of dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • Kitchen twine

Preheat the oven to 140C

Remove the bone from the lamb by running the blade of a very sharp knife between the flesh and bone – this is easier than it sounds, just easing away the meat as you go. Take this opportunity to remove any prominent fat too. Place in a roasting time.

Whiz together the rest of the ingredients in a mini food processor or by using a hand held blender then smooth into the cavity left by the bone, reserving a tiny bit of the butter to smear over the surface.

Shape the meat and secure with kitchen twine. Add a small glass of water to the baking tin then pop into the oven for 4 hours. If you remember, baste a couple of times and cover with foil if the meat browns too quickly.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a carving plate. Cover with foil and a tea towel before leaving to rest for a good 15 minutes or so before serving.