Garlic, herb and lemon slow roasted lamb

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Now here is a recipe that is too good not to share- my garlic, herb and lemon slow roasted lamb. This can be used for either lamb leg or shoulder and it is ideal for a lazy Sunday roast dinner or for entertaining. Lamb is now in season in the UK so it is the perfect time to get your hands on some and make the most of it. I recently cooked this for Easter lunch and it went down a storm! For 4 people I used a half leg of lamb which meant that everyone was well fed but there were certainly no leftovers! If you have large appetites, want leftovers or if you are feeding the 5,000 then by all means use a larger joint and cook for longer until the meat is falling off the bone.

If you have time then you can prepare the lamb the night before you want to start cooking it by following the first step, covering tightly and leaving in the fridge to allow the flavours to infuse.

Ingredients- serves 4
Half leg of lamb
Handful each of fresh thyme and rosemary
2 bulbs of garlic
1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
300ml water or white wine

1. If preparing the meat either the night before or the morning of cooking then all you need to do is find a deep tray that will comfortably fit the half leg in and pop it in. Peel around 4 cloves of garlic, cut them into quarters and use a sharp knife to make slits in the lamb; pop a sliver of garlic into each slit. Scatter the remaining garlic cloves around the lam in the bottom of the tray. Drizzle the lamb with a little olive oil and rub so it is well coated; season well. Cut the remaining bulb in half width ways and place in the tray cut side up. Scatter the herbs too. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the lemon rind and place on and around the lamb. If preparing in advance, at this stage cover well and refrigerate. If cooking then and there, read on…

2. Preheat the oven to 140c/ 120 fan. Pour the water or wine, depending on what you are using, into the tray. Cover tightly with foil and place on the middle or low shelf in the oven and cook for around 4-5 hours. The time will depend on the size of the joint so check and baste from time to time. If the bottom of the tray becomes too dry then add another splash of water. When the lamb is nearly ready, remove the foil and allow the lamb to catch some colour and turn golden. The juices should run clear and the meat should come away from the bone with ease. Remove from the oven and rest whilst you make other accompaniments.

Garlic, herb and lemon slow roasted lamb- a sure fire crowd pleaser that’s packed with flavour but that needs very little care!

 

Spiced lamb kofta with quick pickles and yogurt dressing

When the sun starts coming out, minds start turning to BBQ weather and when the first opportunity will be to eat al fresco. Well fingers crossed this will happen very soon but in the meantime there is no reason you can’t enjoy these lamb kofta indoors. Kofta are easy to make and children can also help out! I served the lamb kofta layered on warmed flatbread along with pickled cabbage, carrot and chillies drizzled with a cool, refreshing yogurt dressing. I will admit that I did use shop bought flatbreads on this occasion to save time but feel free to make your own if time allows.

I have separated the recipe into its constituent parts so you can plan ahead. the dressing and pickles can be made ahead of time. The dressing can sit in the fridge overnight but I would tend to make the pickled carrot and cabbage on the day so they retain some crunch.

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Ingredients- serves 4
For the kofta
400g lamb mince- I used 20% fat mince
1 small red onion
2 garlic cloves- crushed
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp chilli powder (optional)
Large handful of fresh mint leaves- finely chopped
Salt and pepper to season

For the pickles
1 small red cabbage- shredded
1 large carrot- grated
3 tbsp.white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
Jarred mild to medium green chillies

For the yogurt dressing
100ml plain Greek style yogurt
Handful of fresh mint leaves- finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves- crushed
1/2 tsp salt

1. Get started by making the dressing. All you need to do is combine all the ingredients, cover and leave in the fridge  until you need it. Simple!

2. Again, the kofta recipe itself is also straightforward. Take a pan and a very small amount of vegetable oil over a medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Remove from the heat and cool. Take the mince and add the spices. mint and seasoning to it. Chilli can be added if you like a bit more heat but it is delicious without so you can taste each spice. When the onion and garlic mixture is cool, add this to the mince and use your hands (clean of course!) to squidge and squish it until firm. Cover and place in the fridge for half an hour whilst you do the pickled veg.

3. I pickled each vegetable separately so each retained its colour. Take two bowls and add the cabbage to one and the carrot to the other. Add 2 tbsp white wine vinegar and 1 tbsp sugar to the cabbage and 1 tbsp vinegar and 1/2 tbsp to the carrot. Mix well to combine and set aside for at least half an hour; stir from time to time.

4. When you are ready to get cooking simply shape the kofta into small balls or sausage shapes; make sure they are as unform in shape and size as you can so they cook evenly. Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the kofta and cook for around 10 minutes until golden on the outside and cooked through. Sometime I like to start them off on the hob and then finish them in the oven which also frees a bit of hob space up if you need it. For this heat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan and cook to finish them off.

5. Now for the assembly! Take 4 flatbreads and reheat either in a dry, hot pan or griddle. Place one on each person’s plate and layer with the pickled vegetables, kofta and yogurt dressing. This is perfect for feeding a crowd as everyone can load up their own flatbread as they like. A little crumbled feta is also a delicious addition!

Flatbreads loaded with spiced kofta- roll on BBQ season!

 

Traditional Welsh cawl

Cawl is a traditional Welsh stew that could not be simpler to make so give it a go. It is made with whatever meat (or meats) and seasonal vegetables were available so there is room for experimentation! The lamb could also be substituted with beef or a ham joint if you prefer. This is a perfect opportunity to try crumbly Caerphilly cheese if you have not had it before so dig in!

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Ingredients- serves 4
450g lamb casserole steak
25g pearl barley
2 sliced carrots
1 onion sliced
1/2 chopped swede
1 leeks in chunks
400g potatoes in chunks
Sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
5 black peppercorns

1. Trim the meat and cut into large chunks. Add to large heavy based pan, top up with plenty of water and bring to a boil. As the meat comes to the boil you will see residue that needs to be skimmed off the top.

2. Next in goes the barley, carrot, onion and swede; bring back to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Bundle together the thyme and bay leaves and drop these in alongside the peppercorns and simmer for 2 hours.

3. When the stew has been simmering for a couple of hours pop in the potatoes and simmer for 20 minutes followed by the leeks which need to be cooked for 5- 10 minutes until tender.  Serve in deep, warmed bowls with a good hunk of Caerphilly cheese and fresh bread.

Simple, warming and authentic!

Garlic, lemon and herb slow roasted lamb

If you think that slow roasting meat means having to be tied to the oven all day then think again! Lamb shoulder is the perfect cut to pop in the oven whilst you carry on about your daily business before coming back to it later when it’s tender and succulent. Slow roasting brings out the best of the flavour whilst keeping ingredients simple and fresh.

I used half a lamb shoulder which will comfortably feed four but if you have more people to serve than buy a whole shoulder and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Remember that lamb tastes better if you have time to marinade it in advance but also don’t keep it in the fridge up until the minute you want to cook it- let it rest at room temperature for about an hour.

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Ingredients- serves 4
Half a lamb shoulder
1 lemon
4 cloves of garlic (or more if you are a garlic fiend!)
Fresh thyme and oregano- dried will work too
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
200ml dry white wine

1.Start the day before if you can so the flavours of the marinade get plenty of time to work their magic. Peel the garlic cloves and cut into halves or thirds, depending on their size. Make incisions into the lamb and slide a piece of garlic into each one. Rub the herbs, oil and seasoning into the lamb all over. I then pared some lemon zest and scattered it all around the lamb before squeezing over a little of the juice. Cover the lamb and pop in the oven to do its thing!

2. When you are ready to cook, bring the lamb up to room temperature and preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. This may seem like a high oven but this is only for the first stage of cooking so don’t despair! Transfer the lamb to a roasting tray with its lemon and all and place on parchment paper. Bring the sides of the paper up before sloshing in a glass of white wine (you could also use water) and wrap loosely. Cook at 200c/ 180fan for 10 minutes before lowering the oven to 150c/ 130fan. Check the timings on the lamb you buy but for half a shoulder you are looking at around 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Some recipes will tell you uncover the lamb for the last hour of cooking but I don’t find this is necessary and I prefer to keep it covered to look in all the flavour.

When the lamb is ready the juices will run clear. Allow to rest before carving and enjoy with roasted potatoes and vegetables. Keep an eye out for little slivers of beautifully sweet roasted garlic- don’t waste them!

Slow roasted lamb with garlic, lemon and herbs- a perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

 

Persian style spiced lamb shank stew

Middle Eastern spices and the richness of lamb are a marriage made in heaven so get cooking this slow cooked lamb shank stew. The flavours are fresh, warming and fragrant so, if this is new to you, this is a great way to try them. I have opted for a balance of spices such as cumin and coriander which bring dishes to life. Give yourself plenty of time for this to slow cook in the oven to allow flavours to develop.

Seeing as it’s autumn and the nights are now cold and dark, I have added colour by serving this with mixed vegetable cous cous but it would be just as delicious with saffron rice.

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Ingredients- serves 2
For the stew
Glug of vegetable oil
2 lamb shanks
1 large red onion- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves- finely chopped or sliced
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp ground turmeric
1/2 ground cardamom
400ml tinned chopped tomatoes
300ml good quality beef stock
Handful of dried apricots- halved if large

For the cous cous
Glug of vegetable oil
200g cous cous
Approx. 300g mixed vegetables e.g. aubergine, red onion, courgette
Pinch of saffron
Fresh coriander- chopped

1. Start by preheating the oven to 140c/ 120 fan. Take a large pan with a well fitting lid and add a glug of oil over a medium to high heat. You need to brown off the lamb shanks so they are golden all over; this will add to the flavour later so don’t rush this. Make sure they are golden all over and remove from the pan; set aside.

2. If you find a lot of fat has come out of the lamb shanks then drain a little off so you have around 1 tbsp left. Lower the heat to medium and cook the onion and garlic until they soften but not colour. I add a pinch of sea salt at this stage to season but do remember to check the seasoning as you go and adjust to taste. Add in the spices and cook for a further minute or two. Stir to ensure that they spices coat all the onion well.

3. Pour in the tomatoes and stock before adding the shanks back to the pan. Bring to a gentle boil before covering with the lid and placing in the preheated oven. Cook on a low heat for 2 1/2- 3 hours; when the lamb is ready it will come away from the bone really easily. At 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time the apricots need to be added; if they are put in at the start they will disintegrate but if you put them in near the end they add a wonderful sweetness.

4. When you are nearly ready to eat, start making the cous cous. This could not be easier! Take the vegetables you have chosen and dice so they are in pieces that are easy to mix through the cous cous. Add a small amount of oil in a pan and gently cook the vegetables. Vegetables such as onion, squash and aubergine go well with the richness of the lamb. Season and remove from the heat. For the cous cous, boil a kettle and, in a measuring jug, add some water and the strands of saffron. Pout over the cous cous to cover it and place a tea towel over the top to allow the cous cous to absorb the water. Fluff with a fork and add a drop more water if you need. Toss through the vegetables, a liberal sprinkling of chopped fresh coriander and it is ready to serve with tender lamb.

Delicately fragrant Persian style spiced lamb shank stew- a true winter warmer!

 

 

 

 

 

Warming chickpea and lamb kofta tagine

Treat yourself to this chickpea and lamb kofta tagine this week for a Middle Eastern flavour fix. This recipe is simple but packed with spices and vegetables which the whole family will enjoy. When you think of tagines you tend to think of fluffy cous cous which is served with it but with the chickpeas all you need is a fork! Flatbread is also delicious with it and a perfect scoop for the sauce.

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Ingredients- serves 4
For the lamb kofta
400g lamb mince- I used 20% fat
1 large red onion- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves- crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

For the sauce
1 red onion- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves- finely sliced or crushed
1 red pepper- finely sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp harissa
1 tin of chickpeas- drained and rinsed
2 tins of chopped tomatoes- blended with a hand blender
1 bag of baby spinach
1 block of feta- approx. 200g
Fresh coriander to serve

1. Start off by simply combining all the ingredients for the kofta, making sure you season it well. I don’t use egg or breadcrumbs because if you are using a good quality mince it will hold together in koftas after working it in the bowl. Get your hands into the mixture and start working the mince until it comes together and firms up. Shape into small sausage shape koftas. Take a frying pan and heat a little vegetable oil over a medium heat; fry off the kofta in small batches until they are golden on the outside. Remove from the pan and set aside; repeat until all have been fried.

2. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan for later. Now for the sauce! Take a large frying pan and heat a little vegetable oil. Cook the red onion, garlic and red pepper over a low to medium heat until softened and getting a little colour. I like to add salt to the onion at this stage to draw out some the moisture from the onion. Add in the cumin, coriander, paprika and cayenne and cook for a further minute before stirring in the harissa. I then add the rinsed chickpeas into the pan and toss in the spices so they get a lovely coating.

3. Add the tinned tomatoes in the pan and bring to a simmer. I blended the tomatoes using a hand blender for a smoother finish but you can keep them chunkier if you prefer. Shred the spinach roughly and add into the pan in a couple of batches to wilt it down. Next, pop the kofta in the pan and make sure they are covered with some tomato so they don’t catch in the oven. Top with crumbled feta and cook in the oven still in the frying pan for around 30 minutes until the kofta are cooked through and the feta is getting some colour. Finish with a sprinkling of fresh chopped coriander and away you go!

Chickpea and lamb kofta tagine- a warming and hearty meal perfect for a midweek dinner! One more photo? Go on then!

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Lamb, beetroot, feta and mint koftas with homemade tzatsiki

Go Greek this summer with these lamb, beetroot, feta and mint koftas. Ideal to make and enjoy straight away but also delicious cold as well as freezing well. Dig in for dinner or pack for a picnic! Every for kofta need a killer dip so I’ve given you my homemade tzatsiki recipe too- don’t say I don’t treat you!

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Ingredients- serves 4-6
400g lamb mince
2 medium beetroots- peeled and grated
1 small pack of feta
1 small pack of fresh mint- finely chopped
Ground cumin and coriander
Salt and pepper

For the tzatsiki
Natural Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber- grated
Handful of fresh mint- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves- crushed
Olive oil
Ground cumin

1. Start off by placing the lamb mince in a large bowl and add in the grated beetroot, crumble in the feta, chopped mint and season well. Add 1 tsp of the ground cumin and 1 tsp ground coriander. Work the mince with your hands so it becomes firm and binds together. Decent mince shouldn’t need an egg or breadcrumbs to help it along so give it a little time and form small sausages with the mixture. Place the kofta on a baking tray and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour or until you need them.

2. Meanwhile make the tzatsiki by grabbing a bowl and pouring the yogurt in followed by the mint, cucumber,garlic, a glug of olive oil, pinch of salt and a good pinch of ground cumin. Cover and chill.

3. When you’re ready to enjoy the koftas, simply heat a little oil in a large nonstick frying pan and fry in batches over a medium heat. Serve in pitta bread with salad, pickled chillies and top with the tzatsiki. If you have leftover kofta then they are delicious cooked in a tagine style with a base of tomato- http://wp.me/p4O5jd-e3.

Greek lamb, beetroot, feta and mint kofta with homemade tzatsiki- a summertime winner!