Magic lamb with biblical berries


Prep time
30 minutes to 1 hour
Cooking time
Over 2 hours


  • 1 large leg of lamb
  • handful of lion-bush berries OR a combination of green peppercorns and pomegranate seeds
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and cut into slivers
  • 1 large handful of fresh rosemary
  • 6-12 anchovies in oil, drained


  1. Dig a rectangular hole about two feet deep. Then, pile up enough hardwood nearby to make a large bonfire and set it alight. Leave it to burn down to white coals.

  2. Meanwhile give the leg of lamb a good rub with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Using a sharp knife, cut a number of small holes all over the meat, and place in the holes the lion-bush berries or green peppercorns and pomegranate seeds, the slivers of garlic, rosemary leaves and the anchovies. (Anchovies are a wonderful, subtle seasoning for lamb; it gives a subtle, salty tang to the meat.)

  3. Wrap the lamb in seven layers of aluminium foil, some one way and others the other way; the meat must be completely sealed and dust-proof.

  4. Fill the bottom of the pit with about four centimetres of hot coals from the bonfire; lay the lamb gently on top. Pile the remainder of the coals over the sides and top of the foil-covered lamb. Then bury the lamb with dry sand to ground level. Leave the lamb for about three hours to cook. Something special happens with this way of cooking; maybe it's the all-around heat, but I think that it has something to do with the weight of the sand on top, cooking the meat under pressure.

  5. Serve with a selection of roasted vegetables, such as butternut and gem squash, sweet potatoes, mixed peppers, whole heads of garlic, and half onions, dressed with olive oil rosemary and salt and pepper.

  6. Result: feast!