Recipes from the Grapevine Cottage

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Spice Crusted Lamb with Couscous

This recipe comes from a collection of recipes designed by Australian chef Lindey Milan to showcase the [Yellow Tail] wines. We have converted the metric measurements wherever we could, but "backstrap" of lamb is still a mystery. See more recipes and learn about the Casella Family Winery at:

Serves 8


4 lamb backstraps, approx 800 grams (30 ounces - and we think a backstrap is Australian for a rack)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon paprika


200 grams couscous (7 ounces)
250 milliliters beef stock (1 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs, e.g. parsley, coriander
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon or zest of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons capers
salt & pepper
50 - 100 grams butter or olive oil (about 1/4 cup+ little of olive oil is our preference)


500 milliliters beef stock (2 cups)
125 milliliters cup Yellow Tail Shiraz (1/2 cup)

Spicy Chickpeas

1 can chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
175 milliliters tomato pasta sauce (3/4 cup)

Mix together cinnamon, cumin, coriander and paprika. Rub lamb with spices and set aside. Reserve the remaining teaspoon or so of spices.

Pour beef stock over the couscous and leave to swell. Combine couscous, herbs, preserved lemon or lemon zest, capers salt & pepper.

Preheat oven to 200 celcius (400 degrees). Heat a frypan with some olive oil and when very hot seal the lamb filets well on all side. (The lamb can be prepared to this stage earlier in the day or immediately prior to cooking). Remove from the pan and place in the hot oven for only 5 minutes. Check by pressing the meat gently with your finger to see if it is cooked sufficiently. Remove from oven to a warm place to rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the other two cups of beef stock and wine into the pan which was used to seal the lamb. Boil rapidly and reduce by half. This will take around 5 minutes.

Drain the chickpeas. Heat in a pan with turmeric, chili powder, and the remaining cumin/coriander/cinnamon/paprika spice mix. Add tomato sauce and bring to the boil.

Melt the butter (or warm the olive oil) in another pan. Add the couscous and heat, stirring to coat the grains with the butter or oil.

To serve, place a mound of couscous in serving bowls. Slice lamb and add any juices to the sauce. Serve a couple of spoonfuls of chickpeas beside or on top of the lamb. Serve the sauce in a jug and pass separately.

Tagliatelle with Spinach, Soy & Garlic Cheese

Serves 4

8 ounces tagliatelle
8 ounces fresh leaf spinach
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 ounces garlic and herb cheese
3 tablespoons milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Boil the tagliatelle according to package directions and drain. Return pasta to the pan.

Blanch the spinach in a tiny amount of water until just wilted, then drain very well, squeezing dry in a colander with the back of a wooden spoon. Chop roughly with kitchen scissors.

Return spinach to pan and stir in the soy sauce, herb cheese and milk. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until smooth. season to taste with salt & pepper. When the sauce is ready, pour over pasta. Toss pasta and sauce together well and serve hot.

Note: The secret is serving this dish hot. Goes great with Italian bread brushed lightly with extra virgin olive oil a sprinkle of garlic salt and toasted under the broiler!