A time of year, that is perfect for cooking and baking up a storm, not forgetting all the chocolate to be eaten! From old favourites like Hot Cross Buns, to…
Lamb Ribs With Nigella And Cumin Seeds: Stop what you’re doing: I bring you important news. Lamb ribs, almost unknown in Britain, are one of the most delicious ways of eating lamb, and certainly the least expensive. Not that they taste bargain-basement: everyone who’s eaten these has said they’re the best spare ribs they’ve ever had.
WARM SHREDDED LAMB SALAD WITH MINT AND POMEGRANATE You do need to serve this lamb salad warm rather than cold (a bit of fat provides flavoursome lubrication at anything above room temperature; once cold we're talking congealed, waxy whiteness - not such an attractive proposition), but if you keep the lamb tented with foil once it's out of the oven - should you need to hold it for longer than an hour or two - that shouldn't pose problems.
BUTTERFLIED LEG OF LAMB WITH BAY LEAVES AND BALSAMIC VINEGAR A roast, boned, butterflied leg of lamb is just about the easiest, speediest way to cook a joint of meat. Plus, you dispense with all the difficult carving (I am an embarrassingly inept carver myself) as all you need to do is slice the boned meat once it’s cooked, which even I can manage without stress.
Simnel Cake Originally, this cake was made for Mothering Sunday, but it has for a long, long time been an essential Easter confection, the marzipan balls on top representing the apostles: eleven in total as, for understandable reasons, Judas is persona non grata. I make this a very light fruit cake, totally different in taste and texture from the damp, dark offerings of Christmas.
Hot Cross Buns: I know you'd think, indeed I'd have thought, that it would be pointless to make something at home when the bought versions can be so good, but I find it peculiarly satisfying to make these, and although they look slightly ramshackle and unprofessional, they do have the edge on any shop-bought stuff.
Roast Lamb for One: I know that I am often regarded as somewhat odd for cooking entire meals just for myself, alone. I wouldn't think of apologising. On the whole I am not someone either good with her own company or with a gift for solitude, but when it comes to eating, I am all for solitary pleasures. I like the quiet tinkering about in the kitchen; I like the reward later.
Kedgeree Risotto: This is a strange hybrid of a recipe: kedgeree cooked as if it were a risotto, that is to say Anglo-Indian influence, Italian method. I admit, however, that Italians may look askance at this recipe: after all, it calls on spices entirely alien to the Italian kitchen. But the cumin, coriander and turmeric are there to evoke that great dish of the Anglo-Indian empire, kedgeree, in which smoked fish, rice and spices are bound together.
Lemon Meringue Cake: In all honesty, the origin of this cake is simply that I cannot make a go of a lemon meringue pie. This, then, is the easy option. After I'd made this a couple of times, it occurred to me, that if I were to fill the cakes with passionfruit curd, in place of lemon curd (which I buy, but it must be a good one) it would be particularly appropriate for Eastertime.