It feels like Spring is in the air! The daffs and crocuses in our garden are in full bloom and the evenings are getting longer. I love this time of year and Easter always feels like a real turning point in the seasons. Enjoy this fantastic Roast Garlic & Rosemary Leg of Lamb with Rich Red Wine Gravy and Simnel Cake for a perfect Easter Sunday Lunch! Listen to the podcast here (40mins in)
Roast Leg of Lamb
1 leg of lamb
3 Cloves Garlic, sliced
A couple of rosemary sprigs
1 carrot cut into chunks, no need to peel
1 onion quartered, no need to peel
1 stick of celery cut into chunks
A few drops of soy sauce
A few drops of Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper
For the gravy:
A knob of butter
1 small onion, finely diced
A teaspoon of tomato puree
A tablespoon of flour
250 mls lamb stock
A dash of red wine
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C
- Placing the lamb on a board, use the sharp tip of a small knife to make incisions about ½ a cm deep all around the lamb. Brush with a little rapeseed oil.
- Poke the garlic and the rosemary into the holes.
- Season the lamb generously.
- Place the carrot, onion and celery into a roasting dish and add a little soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and a cup of water. Place the lamb on top and place in the oven for 2 hours.
- For the gravy, make the roux by melting the butter in a saucepan and adding the flour. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the tomato puree and stir for about 30 seconds
- Add the wine and allow to bubble up until almost evaporated
- Add the lamb stock and reduce to a simmer for at least 30mins, stirring every now and then
- When the meat is done, remove the lamb to a warmed dish to rest (for at least 10 mins) and pour the juices from the roasting dish into the gravy.
- The gravy should now be rich and flavourful. Pour through a sieve for a smoother finish (optional)
175g/6oz butter or margarine
175g/6oz soft brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
175g/6oz plain flour
½ tsp ground mixed spice (optional)
350g/12oz mixed raisins, currants and sultanas
55g/2oz chopped mixed peel
½ lemon, grated zest only
1-2 tbsp apricot jam
1 free-range egg, beaten for glazing
1kg Marzipan or Almond Paste
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated and then sift in the flour, salt and mixed spice (if using) a little at a time. Finally, add the mixed dried fruit, peel and grated lemon zest and stir into the mixture.
- Put half the mixture into a greased and lined 18cm/7in cake tin. Smooth the top and cover with the circle of marzipan. Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top leaving a slight dip in the centre to allow for the cake to rise. Bake in the preheated oven for 1¾ hours. Test by inserting a skewer in the middle – if it comes out clean, it is ready. Once baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.
- Brush the top of the cooled cake with the apricot jam. Divide the remainder of the almond paste in half; roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake with one half and form 11 small balls with the other half.
- Place the circle of paste on the jam glaze and set the balls round the edge. Brush the cake topping with a little beaten egg.
- Preheat the grill to high. Place the cake onto a baking tray and grill for 1-2 minutes, or until the top of the marzipan begins to brown. Alternatively, lightly heat the cake topping using a cook’s blow torch, until the marzipan is golden-brown.
White Chocolate & Raspberry Cupcakes
175g Plain Flour
110g Caster Sugar
110g Butter, softened
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Baking Powder
55g White Chocolate, chopped
100g fresh Raspberries, chopped
For the Buttercream Icing:
150g Butter, softened
150g Icing Sugar
To flavour: any type of extract you wish such as vanilla, lemon, strawberry or almond & any food colouring
To decorate: Sprinkles, toppers, marshmallows etc… We have coloured sugarpaste & cut out mini stars
Preheat the oven to 190˚C, or 170˚C Fan
With a whisk, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one by one and then the milk.
Add the flour and baking powder and mix until just combined.
Pour the batter into the paper cases and pop a little white chocolate & raspberry into each one.
Bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown and firm on the top.
To make the Buttercream:
Whisk the butter until light & fluffy then add the icing sugar. Stir in a few drops of flavour essence & food colouring.
Use a piping bag to decorate the cupcakes with the buttercream icing.
Our lunch at today’s Easter Kid’s Cookery Camp is Quesadillas with Guacamole & Sweetcorn Salsa. This is a more-ish dish and I love it as a quick supper in front of the TV. Much healthier & tasty than a take-away!
For each quesadilla, you will need:
2 corn tortillas
Some grated cheese (about 50g)
A tablespoon of sour cream
A selection of fillings such as: ham, spring onion, peppers, chilli, leftover chicken, coriander
Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a tortilla. Sprinkle your filling over it evenly and top with the second tortilla.
Toast gently for a couple of minutes, using a spatula to check the underneath is not burning.
When the cheese has melted, it will be easier to flip the quesadilla over in the pan to toast the other side.
When it is golden brown all over, remove to a chopping board and cut into wedges.
Serve with the sour cream.
1 avocado, ripe & chopped roughly
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of ½ a lime
Small handful of fresh coriander
Red chilli, deseeded & chopped finely. How much is up to you!
A pinch of sea salt flakes
Mash all the ingredients together in a bowl until all are combined. Taste of seasoning and adjust the balance if necessary
1 small red onion chopped VERY FINELY
2 tsp white wine vinegar
Optional: chopped green chilli
A glug of olive oil
½ a teaspoon of sugar
Combine all ingredients in a bowl at least 10 MINUTES before serving to allow the sugar to dissolve and for the flavours to develop a little. Stir well and serve with the quesadillas.
We are in the middle of our Easter Kid’s Cookery Camp and this morning’s healthy snack was these mini frittatas. They are easy & fast to make and are a perfect lunch box of picnic staple. They want down a treat with the kids today as they were all able to choose their own fillings!
Any fillings you fancy such as grated parmesan, ham, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, herbs, bacon, tomatoes or my favourite combo: feta, mint & sautéed courgettes.
A glug of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180˚C, 160˚C Fan or gas mark 4.
Whisk the eggs with the cream in a jug or bowl with pouring spout. Season & add whatever fillings you fancy.
Pour the mixture about two thirds of the way up to the top of the cupcake cases and bake for about 10mins or until puffed up and cooked through.
Most kids really love these Sticky Chicken Drumsticks! I remember the first time we made these at one of our Kid’s Cookery Camps, the kids went crazy for them and there was a stampede for the last few
Sticky Chicken Drumsticks
8 Chicken thighs
2 tablespoons of soya sauce
2 tablespoons of honey
½ a teaspoon of paprika
½ a teaspoon of ground coriander
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted lightly
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.
- Combine the soy sauce, honey, paprika, coriander garlic & ginger in a bowl.
- Score the skin of the chicken thighs a couple of times and place in an oven proof dish.Pour the marinade over, ensuring all the chicken pieces are coated.
- Cook in the oven for 30 mins and sprinkle with the sesame seeds when fully cooked.
Welcome to our first recipe in our new series, Cooking with Kids! These are really easy and delicious treats that the kids will love. A big thanks to Ramona Farrelly & Irish Country Living magazine for these images.
Meringue Swirls with Lemon Curd and Cream
2 egg whites
A pinch of salt
150g of caster sugar
Red food colouring
¼ tsp of vanilla extract
Lemon Curd (see below) & Whipped Cream
- Pre heat the oven to 140˚C and line a baking tray with baking paper
- Put the egg whites into a large spotlessly clean mixing bowl with the pinch of salt
- Whisk until soft peaks form then gradually add the caster sugar until stiff peaks form
- Add in the vanilla extract
- Using a large spoon dollop the meringues onto the baking sheet leaving space between them
- Place the food colouring in the bowl and dip a skewer into it
- Swirl the skewer into the meringues to give a ripple effect
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the base of the meringues is hard and then switch of the oven
- Leave to cool in the oven if possible
- Mix some whipped cream with the lemon curd and serve with the meringues
For the lemon curd
1 egg yolk
50g (2oz) butter
90g (3oz) caster sugar
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
To make the lemon curd:
In a bowl, whisk together the egg & the egg yolk.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a very low heat.
Add the caster sugar, grated zest, & juice, & then the beaten eggs.
Stir carefully with a wooden spoon, over a very gentle heat until the mixture thickens.
This should take about 7-10 minutes. If the heat is too high, the egg will scramble.
The curd is ready when the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon & leave a definite mark when you push your finger through it.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
For my second Weather Food Cast on LMFM’s Late Lunch with Gerry Kelly, I made a really simple and tasty Chicken & Orange Tray Bake and a super-light Chocolate & Orange “Web” Cake, perfect for getting the kids involved! Listen to the podcast here
Chicken Tray Bake with Green Salad
8 Chicken pieces, a mixture of thighs, drumsticks and skin-on breast on the bone.
Potatoes, washed and cut into 1” chunks
Red Onion, peeled and cut into wedges
1 Orange, cut into wedges
8 Garlic cloves peeled but left whole
1 Courgette sliced into 2” chunks
1 Red or Yellow Pepper, sliced into 2” chunks
A few cherry tomatoes
Woody herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano. Fresh is best but dried can also be used.
Olive oil to drizzle
Preheat the oven to 200˚C, 180˚C Fan, Gas Mark 5
Place the chicken pieces on a large roasting dish and add all the other ingredients to the dish. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
Roast for 30 mins, checking and stirring every 10 mins or so to ensure the top ingredients don’t burn.
Serve with a simple green salad
2 parts Olive Oil to 1 part Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, peeled and bashed with the back of a knife
Salt & Pepper
Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine
Chocolate & Orange “Web” Cake
50g cocoa powder
90ml boiling water
4 tbsp milk
100ml sunflower oil
175g self-raising flour, sifted
1 rounded tsp baking powder, sifted into the flour
250g caster sugar
½ tsp orange blossom water
Preheat the oven to 180˚C, Fan 160˚C and line a 9” cake tin.
Place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, or electric whisk, beat the mixture until smooth and well combined
Add the boiling water to the mixture, a little at a time, until smooth. (The cake mixture will now be very liquid.)
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 mins
When the cake has totally cooled, cut it in half widthways.
Spread over one layer of the filling below on the cake. Place the other layer on top.
For the Frosting:
100g cream cheese
1 orange, zested & juiced
1 tsp vanilla extract
65g icing sugar
For the frosting, beat the cheese and butter until soft and smooth. Add in the vanilla, a tablespoon of the orange juice and zest and sift in the sugar, and beat for a few moments until the mixture is completely smooth.
100g Dark chocolate
15g White Chocolate
Melt 100g of dark chocolate. Pour over the cake evenly. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, melt the white chocolate and place in a piping bag with a very small hole (or use a small freezer bag and cut the hole in the corner) Draw a large circle around the perimeter of the cake, then draw another smaller circle about a centimeter in and another and so forth until you reach the centre.
Place a sharp point such as a skewer or knife in the centre of the cake and draw it through the white chocolate until you reach the edge.
Repeat at regular intervals.
A tasty but easy meal for 2, impress your loved one without slaving in the kitchen! Watch the recipe here