“This is one of my favourite Sunday roasts. You can’t get much more British than a leg of lamb, but serving it in this way gives a certain Mediterranean feel and flavour, which makes the dish seem light and fresh. Infusing the lamb with flavourings like rosemary and fennel seeds makes it deliciously tasty. Most side dishes work with lamb, so choose your vegetables according to the season. You might also like to serve new potatoes alongside here, or a potato gratin.
Roasted leg of lamb with ratatouille-stuffed tomatoes
1.2kg boned and rolled leg of lamb
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
handful of rosemary sprigs, leaves only, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
250ml lamb stock or chicken stock
4 large tomatoes on the vine olive oil for cooking
1 onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried herbs de Provence
1 courgette, diced
1 aubergine, diced
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and diced
Place the lamb on a board. In a bowl, mix together the garlic, rosemary, cumin and fennel seeds. Using a sharp knife, pierce little slits all over the surface of the lamb. Using your fingers, push the rosemary and spice mixture into the cuts. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Put to one side.
To prepare the tomatoes, snip them off the vine, but leave the stalks intact. Cut a slice off the top off the tomatoes, removing about a quarter, and reserve these lids. Using a teaspoon, carefully scoop out the juice and seeds from inside, leaving the shells intact; set aside, along with the tops.
For the ratatouille stuffing, heat a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add a little olive oil. Add the onion and cook slowly for 3–4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and dried herbs.
Now turn up the heat and add the courgette, aubergine and some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for a further 3–4 minutes; you may need to add more olive oil as the aubergine will absorb quite a lot. Add the red pepper and cook for a further 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check the seasoning and take off the heat.
To cook the lamb, heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Heat a heavy-based ovenproof pan over a medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Add the lamb joint and colour on all sides, allowing 3–4 minutes. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill the tomatoes with the ratatouille and put the lids back on. Stand the stuffed tomatoes in a small roasting tray. Add the stock, butter and a drizzle of olive oil to the tray.
When the meat has been roasting for 15 minutes, turn the setting down to 160°C/Gas 3 and put the stuffed tomatoes into the oven. Roast the meat for a further 20 minutes, along with the tomatoes, basting these with the pan juices from time to time.
Rest the lamb in a warm place for 10 minutes. Slice the meat and serve with the stuffed tomatoes, spooning over all the pan juices.
“This comforting pasta bake is easy to prepare and always popular. The recipe is based on a Scandinavian dish that my wife Michaela has been making for years. It’s absolutely delicious and has the added advantage that it can be prepared in advance, ready to bake and serve when required.”
Smoked salmon & spinach lasagne
75g plain flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 leek, trimmed, washed and cut into strips
400g baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
400g smoked salmon
300g Cheddar, grated
8–10 lasagne sheets
4 dill sprigs, roughly chopped, to garnish
Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 1–2 minutes. Slowly stir in the milk and cook at a gentle simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
For the lasagne, melt half the butter in a heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat. Add the leek strips, season with salt and pepper and sweat gently for 2–3 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, a handful at a time, along with the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Drain off the excess liquid.
Use the rest of the butter to grease a large square or rectangular ovenproof dish. Cut the smoked salmon into small pieces, roughly 2cm square.
Spoon a layer of the béchamel sauce over the bottom of the dish and layer a third of the lasagne sheets on top. Spoon half of the leek and spinach mixture over the lasagne, followed by a good third of the smoked salmon, then cover with a third of the remaining béchamel and sprinkle some cheese over the surface. Repeat the layers of lasagne, leek and spinach, smoked salmon, béchamel and cheese, then cover with a top layer of lasagne.
Spoon the rest of the béchamel sauce on top and scatter over the remaining smoked salmon and grated cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes until the top is a deep golden colour. To check that the lasagne is cooked, insert a knife in the middle; it should meet with minimal resistance.
Scatter the chopped dill on top of the lasagne and serve, with a crisp green salad on the side.