A leg of lamb can be roasted like this at any time of the year, but is best with spring lamb which in this part of the world appears at Easter time. Spring lamb for the table, coming from lambs born around Christmas, is sweet, mild and subtle, hence the absence of flavourings here other than sea salt and freshly ground pepper. The skin on spring lamb when roasted gets particularly crisp and delicious, so do not be tempted to trim any off before roasting the meat. Strongly flavoured herbs and spices will overpower the delicate flavour of the early or new season lamb so I wait until at bit later in the season before introducing those.
A dazzling combination of flavours.
This Middle Eastern chickpea purée or hummus is great served with toasted pitta bread, with super fresh and crisp vegetable crudites or as part of a selection of hors d'oeuvres. Hummus should be kept chilled if you are keeping it overnight and used up within 2 days of making.
This is a terrific cake and in its simplest form as listed here, it is perfect with a cup of tea. I don't see any reason, though, why you couldn't serve it as a dessert cake, still very slightly warm from the oven, with a bowl of sweet strawberries and softly whipped cream or Crème Anglaise. The cake is best on the day it is made, ideally before it gets completely cold, which is possible with this cake, as it is neither iced nor filled, just sliced and eaten. It is still excellent the next day and will happily keep for a few days after that stored in an airtight container.
A great treat.
The time is worth it.
When it comes to steak, the T-bone satisfies most people. You get some sirloin, fillet and crisp fatty bits as well, and all cooked on the bone for extra flavour. One T-bone is enough for two people, and if you ask your butcher to cut the T-bone twice as thick as normal, you have a handsome piece of meat which will be sufficient to feed four people. This is a most convenient way to grill beef for several people as you have one piece of meat, rather than four individual steaks. The two sauces suggested here are classic and expected, but what might seem unusual is that they are served together. They combine beautifully to give a freshness and vibrancy of taste that works brilliantly with the rich beef. Both sauces are an essential part of your repertoire, and you will use them with lots of other dishes.
For those among you who don't possess a deep-fry, but long for chips, these potatoes are perfect. The scrubbed potatoes are left unpeeled and cut into large wedge-shaped chips, with each wedge having some of the skin attached. The skin on each piece of potato is important as it prevents them from sticking to the roasting tray and, of course, also has a delicious crispy flavour. When buying potatoes, if possible, buy them unwashed as the soil will keep in the flavour and nutrients. Serve the potatoes with roast and grilled meat, poultry or fish. They are a great accompaniment to a warm salad, and you can ring the changes with the use of different herbs.
These cucumbers are immensely popular. Serve with cold meats, pates and terrines, smoked fish, sandwiches, spiced beef and with a sharp and mature cheddar cheese. The pickle keeps well in the fridge, though it does lose its bright green colour. I like to slice the cucumbers and onions really thinly for a more melting and tender result. There will be some of the pickling liquid left after the cucumbers are eaten. I like to save this and use it for sprinkling on thinly sliced onions for an instant pickle.