Spiced up leg of lamb

"I think this might be the best lamb you have ever made!" is what my husband said to me when he finished his meal :) And I think he might be right. You can serve it like I did, with a Beetroot and sweet potato salad, roast potatoes or even stuff it into pita bread.

As you can tell from this little page of mine, I love roast lamb. It is just so great to be able to cook something that is going to last for at least one more meal. So it can be put into the lunchbox or made into something completely different the next day like this Shepherds pie. You can also take the bone, throw it into the oven and roast for an hour. Put it into a large saucepan with some vegetables and let that simmer for 3 hours to make a delicious lamb stock.

1 large leg of lamb

4 cloves of garlic

1 thumb size piece of ginger

1 red chilli

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 fresh bay leaves or 3 dried

4 whole cloves or 1 teaspoon ground

zest and juice from 2 limes, preferably unwaxed

50 ml olive oil

salt and a generous grinding of black pepper

Start by peeling and roughly chopping the garlic and ginger and put into a blender or a bowl if you are using a handheld stick blender. Roughly chop the chilli, keep the seeds in or take them out if you don't want this to be spicy. Add all the other ingredients and blend to a smooth paste. Rub this all over the lamb and let it sit for at least 20 minutes but if you have got more time that would make a big difference.

Put the lamb on a roasting tray and into an 180° fan oven. The cooking time depends on how you like your meat cooked. I like it medium/well, nice and cooked this for an hour and 15 minutes. If you like it less or more cooked you should adjust the cooking time accordingly. A meat thermometer is always a handy tool when cooking meat and recommend getting one if you don't already have one. When the meat is cooked to perfection, remove it from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes before carving into it.

I decided to serve this with a good salad and a cold yoghurt dressing and it was absolutely delicious! If you would like to make a gravy with this you would take the juice from the roasting tray, add a little chicken stock, let that simmer and reduce a little bit, season to taste and use a roux or cornflour mixed with water to thicken it.

Sweet potato and beetroot salad

This is a great side dish but can also be a brilliant lunch dish with a good crusty bread.

1 red onion

white or red wine vinegar

water

1 teaspoon sugar or honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

2-3 beetroots, depending on size

balsamic vinegar

3 cloves of garlic

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 sweet potato

1/4 block feta cheese

salad leaves

small handful mint leaves

olive oil

Start by cutting the onion in half and slicing it as finely as you possibly can. Put it into a small bowl or I would use a small jar. Cover halfway up with the vinegar and fill up the rest with water. Add the honey/sugar and salt and give a good shake or mix. Put this to one side while you prepare the other ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 180° fan. Take some tinfoil and make like a little bowl. Peel the beetroots and put into the foil. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, throw in the whole garlic cloves, season with salt and pepper and close tightly. Put this into the oven for 1-1/2 hour. Poke it with a skewer and if you can easily go through the beetroot it is ready. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the foil and cut up into bite size pieces.

Peel the sweet potato and cut into bite size pieces. Put on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until they are nice and soft on the inside and have taken on a light golden colour.

Now it's just about assembling the salad. Get a bowl and put into it some salad leaves of your choice. Add the beetroots and sweet potato. Get the red onion and put some or all of it into the salad. I ended up not using all of it so that's where using a jar is a good thing because you can just put the lid on and keep it in the fridge. Crumble in the feta and throw in the mint leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Yoghurt dressing with lime and herbs

300 ml Greek or natural yoghurt

small handful coriander and mint

1 small clove of garlic

juice from 1/2 lime

1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup

pinch of salt

olive oil

Put yoghurt into a bowl. finely chop the herbs and add to the yoghurt. Grate or crush in the garlic, squeeze the juice from the lime, add a little honey and season with a pinch of salt. I always put a little drizzle of olive oil when I make cold dressings. It adds some good fats and makes it a bit richer in flavour. Give this a good mix and if you have got time it is great if this gets a few minutes for the flavours to develop.


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