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Aroast meal has an al­lure like no other. Some of my fond­est mem­o­ries are of grow­ing up in New Zealand and look­ing for­ward to Sun­day roasts – usu­ally lamb fol­lowed by a pavlova. A lunch or din­ner roast is about more than just the menu, though. It brings fam­ily and friends to­gether over food and con­ver­sa­tion – and away from their elec­tronic de­vices.

Baby car­rots with cumin, or­ange & thyme

Serves 6 as a side dish

2 tbs olive oil

24-30 baby car­rots, trimmed & scrubbed 1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted & coarsely ground

2 tsp thyme leaves, chopped

Salt/freshly ground black pep­per

3 tbs un­salted but­ter

500ml (2 cups) fresh or­ange juice, strained 1 Heat olive oil in large heavy-based fry­ing pan on medium set­ting. Add car­rots, toss­ing pan fre­quently to al­low the car­rots to colour evenly. Sea­son with ground cumin, thyme, salt and pep­per. 2 Add but­ter and or­ange juice; bring to boil, then re­duce heat and sim­mer for 3-4 min­utes, turn­ing car­rots oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til car­rots are ten­der and liq­uid has re­duced. Trans­fer to large serv­ing plate.  Wine match: 2010 March­esi Mazzei Zisola Nero d’Avola ( $47)

Duck fat roast potato with gar­lic & chard

Makes 6

2 large / 3 small heads gar­lic, bro­ken into cloves, peeled

Olive oil for driz­zling

10 medium kipfler pota­toes or sim­i­lar, washed (not peeled)

100g duck fat

100g swiss chard leaves

Salt flakes & freshly ground black pep­per

20ml chardon­nay vine­gar

100ml ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 1 To slow-roast gar­lic, place cloves on sheet of alu­minium foil, driz­zle lib­er­ally with olive oil (about 40ml) and fold up loosely.

2 To roast pota­toes, pre­heat oven to 200°C. Slice pota­toes in half length­wise, heat large heavy-based roast­ing pan on medium, add duck fat and al­low to melt. Once hot, care­fully add pota­toes, cut side down, and cook for 3-4 min­utes to colour. Add wrapped gar­lic to pan and trans­fer to oven. Bake for 30-40 min­utes, toss­ing oc­ca­sion­ally un­til golden and crisp.

3 When ready, re­move from oven, drain any ex­cess fat and place in a bowl with chard, sea­son with salt and pep­per, driz­zle with chardon­nay vine­gar and re­main­ing olive oil and serve. 

Wine match: 2011 Roberto Vo­erzio Langhe Neb­bi­olo ( $75)

Herb-crusted lamb rack

Serves 6

10 slices stale white bread, crusts re­moved

¼ cup flatleaf pars­ley leaves, chopped

50g un­salted but­ter

2 golden shal­lots, diced

2 gar­lic cloves, crushed Zest of 1 le­mon

2 tsp Di­jon mus­tard

Di­jon mus­tard, ex­tra

3 x 8-fin­ger lamb rack, trimmed, leav­ing a lit­tle fat

Olive oil, for brush­ing

120ml jus, demi-glaze or veal glaze, hot Minted salsa verde: Large hand­ful mint leaves

Large hand­ful flatleaf pars­ley leaves

2 gar­lic cloves, crushed

1½ tbs salted capers, rinsed & drained

3 an­chovy fil­lets, drained, rinsed & dried

2 tsp Di­jon mus­tard

1 tbs red wine vine­gar

2½ tbs ex­tra vir­gin olive oil

Salt flakes & freshly ground black pep­per

1 For herb-crusted lamb racks, process bread in food pro­ces­sor un­til coarsely crumbed. Mix crumbs with pars­ley, salt and pep­per. Melt but­ter over medium heat, adding shal­lots, gar­lic, le­mon zest and mus­tard and cook for 2-3 min­utes. Pour but­ter mix­ture over bread­crumbs, enough to moisten – it should hold to­gether when pressed with your fin­gers. Crust mix­ture can be made in ad­vance and stored in the fridge.

2 Brush lamb racks with a lit­tle olive oil, sea­son with salt and pep­per. Heat a heavy-based fry­ing pan on high, add racks and sear on all sides. Re­move from heat.

3 Brush tops of racks with a lit­tle ad­di­tional mus­tard. Pack on herb crust, firm enough so crust holds in place. Place racks on bak­ing tray and bake for 15-18 min­utes. Rest for 10 min­utes be­fore carv­ing.

4 Mean­while, make salsa verde: pound herbs, gar­lic, capers and an­chovies in mor­tar and pes­tle. Stir in mus­tard, vine­gar and ex­tra vir­gin olive oil. Sea­son with salt and black pep­per. Store in sealed con­tainer in fridge un­til re­quired (will keep for up to 2 days).

5 To serve, carve racks in eight two-fin­ger por­tions. Spoon on salsa verde; serve warm jus sep­a­rately. 

Wine match: 2010 Anti­nori Tig­nanello Toscana ($130)

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