Roast Lamb with Cyprus Potatoes


I love cooking the potatoes this way – they are totally delicious.  This is a no-fuss, special dinner.

We bought the salt marsh lamb and potatoes from Booths’ supermarket in Carnforth.  Booths is a north-western phenomenon, which has proud little stickers all over the shelves, declaring ‘I’m from Yorkshire’ or ‘I’m from Lancashire.’  It’s a wonderful shop where I always spend far too much money.

You’ll need a joint or two of lamb (leg or shoulder), about 8 Cyprus potatoes, peeled and halved lengthways, one sliced onion, six cloves of garlic, sliced, a tin of tomatoes, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, dried oregano, olive oil and the zest and juice of a lemon.  You might also want some spinach and fresh parsley or coriander.

Cut deep gashes into your lamb and marinate it for 2-4 hours in garlic (6 cloves), 2 teaspoons dried oregano, half a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of ground coriander, the zest and juice of a lemon, salt, pepper and a good glug of olive oil.

After the marinade time, pop a lid on and give the lamb an hour’s head start in a hot oven (180-200 degrees).

Now, stick in your potatoes – underneath, around and on top of the lamb.  Sprinkle over a sliced onion and a tin of tomatoes.  Sprinkle an extra couple of teaspoons of ground coriander and some salt over the dish.Turn down the oven and cook in a medium oven (160-180 degrees) for a further 90 minutes; for a larger joint, you will need longer.

If you like your potatoes crispy, like in the photo, take them out with a slotted spoon and cook on a non-stick tray in a hot, hot oven for 15-20 minutes while the lamb rests.

Serve on a bed of spinach with plenty of fresh parsley or coriander.

The starting point for this recipe was


Chicken with Lemongrass, Coconut and Spiced Mushroom Rice


Fry a chopped onion with a large green chilli until soft.

Add 2 whole cloves of garlic, 4 peeled, finely chopped lemongrass stalks and half a tablespoonful of chopped ginger.  Allow them to soften in the pan for a couple of minutes, then remove them from the pan and set aside to cool.

Turn the heat up under the pan and add a little more oil.  Sprinkle 4 chicken breasts (skin on or off, as you like) with salt and pepper.  Fry on high for about a minute or two each side, until really golden, then turn the heat down.

Meanwhile, skoosh up the garlic, onion etc to a paste in the mini-processor.

When the sizzling in the chicken pan has subsided, add a teaspoonful of turmeric, a tin of coconut milk and the garlic, onion, lemongrass, ginger paste.  Stir well, put the lid on, then leave to simmer for 20-25 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked, add the juice of a lime and plenty of fresh coriander.  You will probably need to add a teaspoon of sea salt.

Spiced Mushroom Rice

Start making this fifteen minutes before your chicken is ready.  You need a smallish, lidded saucepan for this.

Fry a small red onion in 3 tablespoons of oil with 5 cardamom pods, a couple of roughly crushed cloves, a teaspoon of cumin seeds and three large, sliced chestnut mushrooms.  Let them all sizzle around happily until the mushrooms start to brown.

Take the pan off the heat and turn the heat down to low.  Add half a mugful of uncooked basmati rice, a teaspoon of turmeric and two teaspoons of sea salt and stir.  Then, add a whole mugful of boiling water, stir again, pop the lid on and leave to cook on a low heat for about 10-12 minutes.  When the time is up, fluff up the rice and stir some coriander through it.  If you want to make dinky little timbales, just use a ramekin.  It might encourage your children to eat it if they’ve had the opportunity to practise their sandcastle-making skills beforehand.




Flatbreads with Spiced Lamb



You only need an hour, start to finish, to make this.  Begin by making your flatbread dough.  I use Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe (The River Cottage Family Cookbook ‘Easy Flatbreads’).  Here it is.

Mix about 250g plain flour with a teaspoon of salt.  Measure 150ml of warmish water and add a tablespoon of oil to the water.  Pour the water and oil gradually into the flour, stirring with your fingers and making sure that you stop pouring before the dough turns sticky.  If it does turn sticky, add a little more flour.  Knead the dough for just five minutes, then pop a plate over the bowl and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Now, make the spiced lamb.  Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, then add half a cinnamon stick, 3 cardamom pods, a bay leaf, 2 cloves and a teaspoon of cumin seeds.  When the seeds start popping, add two finely chopped onions, turn the heat to medium, and allow to fry for 5 minutes.

Then add a sliced green chilli, a tablespoon of grated ginger, two cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon each of ground coriander, ground cumin, hot chilli powder and turmeric.  Stir well.

Pop in 500g minced lamb, turn up the heat, stir it up and break it up until it’s more or less browned.  Add half a tin of tomatoes, put the lid on and simmer for about 25-30 minutes.

When it’s done, finish off your flatbreads.  Roll the dough into a fat sausage shape and cut into 8 pieces.  Warm another non-stick frying pan (no oil!), then quickly roll out your first bread.  Pass it from hand to hand to remove excess flour, then put it onto the hot pan.  After 30-60 seconds, turn it over.  You may want to turn it over a few times until it has bubbled a little and has brownish spots over it.

Keep the breads warm by covering with a tea towel while you make the rest.  When you’re ready, serve the spiced lamb mince on the flatbread with a good sprinkle of fresh coriander, a wedge of lemon, some yoghurt and perhaps some watercress.  I suppose this recipe should serve four, but I could have eaten much, much more.

You know those magical family baking moments you see in the films?  This was about as close to one of those that we’ve ever come, with Annie rolling out the dough while I cooked the flatbreads.  Thank you, Hugh!



Fry a chopped onion with a crushed clove of garlic in some oil for 2-3 minutes.  Add a carrot (sliced paper-thin), about 100g quartered mushrooms, half a red pepper (diced), 2 sliced green chillis and a dessertspoon of grated ginger.  Sprinkle over some sea salt and soften for a further 5 minutes, adding more oil if necessary.

After 5 minutes, stir in a teaspoon of turmeric and half a pint of boiling water.  Place 2 smoked haddock fillets* over the top and sprinkle them with black pepper; pop the lid on.  Set the timer for 10 minutes and allow the water to simmer gently and the fish to steam.  At the same time, put the basmati rice (about a mugful) on to cook.  When the rice is five minutes away from ready, add a small cupful of peas to the rice pan, and start boiling 3-4 eggs.

When the haddock is starting to break up, take it out of the pan with a fish slice and  break it into large flakes.

Add the drained, rinsed rice and peas to the onion pan, and stir through a tablespoon of cream and a knob of butter.  Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in most of the haddock and some fresh coriander, saving a little back as a garnish.  Boiled eggs placed decoratively on top, a careless scattering of haddock and coriander, and you’re done. Serve with a lemon, or – if you have no shame – some HP Sauce.

* I would only cook the haddock in with the onions if I was pretty sure that there were no bones.  If you’re not sure, it would be better to cook it separately.

Cyprus Potatoes with Chicken


I love Cyprus potatoes with their waxiness and clinging red soil, but haven’t seen them in the shops for years, so when I saw some yesterday, I just had to buy them.  Here’s an easy something to make with them.

Put 4 – 5 large, peeled, quartered potatoes into a large, lined roasting tin with 8 cloves of garlic (halved lengthways) and a sliced onion.  Glug a good couple of tablespoons of olive oil over them and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of ground coriander, some sea salt and some pepper.  Pour over a tin of chopped tomatoes (or use 8-10 fresh tomatoes, if you have any) and give it all a stir.  Bake in a hot oven (200 degrees) for about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle 4 chicken breasts (skin on) with a little olive oil, freshly ground coriander and salt.  After you have given your potatoes a head start, take them out of the oven, and stir it all well.  Nudge the chicken breasts into the tin and give the whole lot another 20 – 25 minutes’ cooking time, adding more olive oil if necessary.

Serve with some raw spinach, fresh coriander and a wedge of lemon.