As a child Easter meant only one thing, chocolate for breakfast, chocolate for lunch and chocolate for every meal until I couldn’t bear the sight of foil wrappers and egg shaped plastic anymore. But as an adult I’ve developed a taste for other indulgences which I would consider to be just as special on Easter Sunday; getting together with family and enjoying a lovely joint of lamb, with good wine and something sweet for pudding. That’s pretty much as good as it gets for me. So this year I’m sharing my recipe for the perfect Easter Sunday.
For me it isn’t Easter without lamb, but you don’t always have to have a full leg, or even a joint (or if you’re my Greek-Cypriot in-laws, a full lamb on a spit in the garden) to make a delicious main meal. One cut I have always enjoyed more than your standard chops or shank is Lamb noisette, a small medallion made from the muscle of a lamb’s loin. This is a lean and flavoursome cut perfect for 3 or 4 people (or two of you if you’re particularly hungry!). I got mine this year from family-run business Butchers of London Parson’s Nose who deliver every kind of meat, carefully selected preserves and fresh produce nationwide. Their lamb is ethically reared in the Scottish Glens and comes vac-packed so it’s beautifully fresh and ready to cook.
Some of the most basic tips for cooking and joint of lamb at home:
- Bring the meat to room temperature before you cook it, lift it out of the fridge around half an hour before you start preparing it and pre-heat your oven.
- Season the meat before cooking, salt and pepper should be paired with garlic, rosemary, thyme, lemon and any herbs and spices that compliment the meat well.
- Always place the fatty side of the meat to the top of the oven or down on the barbecue to crisp the fat.
- Let the lamb rest for at least 10 minutes when you take it out of the oven.
I like my lamb with lashings of mint sauce, roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips roasted with honey and thyme and a big fluffy and crisp Yorkshire pudding. But I’ll leave the accompaniments to your individual tastes, just remember the key to cooking is in the timing. The lamb takes at least 40 minutes so make sure you plan your other ingredients and courses around that.
To prepare Lamb Noisette:
Place the lamb in a bowl with 3 sprigs of chopped rosemary, 2 sprigs of chopped thyme, 4 crushed garlic cloves, lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil. Let this marinate for about 20 minutes and preheat the oven to 200˚C.
Heat an ovenproof frying pan and caramelise the lamb on all sides, this will take about 5 minutes, then season well with salt and pepper and add a few cloves of garlic to the pan.
Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 8-10 minutes or until pink in the centre (there should be a little springback when a thumb is pressed to the lamb for medium). Cook for longer than this if you like it well done, but please don’t, lamb is best enjoyed pink.
Let it rest in a warm place or cover with foil and leave for 10 minutes.
To make a tasty jus, strain the fat from the pan and add a glass of red wine then reduce by just over half, Add 300ml of your preferred stock and reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Strain through a fine sieve then add a good knob of butter for that glossy finish and rich flavour.
To pair beautifully with the lamb I was sent a bottle of white and red from The Wine Society. I’ll always enjoy a red while I eat my lamb but I prefer to enjoy my starters and afters with a white, and of course not everyone enjoys either so I had to include both. For the red The Society’s California Old-Vine Zinfandel 2019 had cherry cola on the nose, fresh strawberry and tart red cherries coming through on the full soft palate and a hint of vanilla on the finish. A very drinkable Zinfandel that’s incredibly fruity with a silky smooth texture. For the White I was recommended the Grignan-les-Adhémar, Viognier, Domaine de Montine 2021 which was very ripe, dry and rich. A full flavoured almost creamy Rhône viognier with peach and exotic guava flavours. Lovely to enjoy after dinner or perfect with fish or paté.
I always save room for dessert and at Easter you’d be crazy not to, especially when there’s Colomba Easter cake on the menu. I got mine from Seggiano who make authentic artisan Italian food ‘for the joy of eating’, a philosophy I just can’t help but get behind! I love their beautifully packaged Colomba Easter Cake baked in the shape of a dove, the messenger of hope, peace and renewal, it is a light and fragrant leavened cake made with candied fruit and covered with crunchy almond glaze topping.
The cake is so light because of the 40 year old mother-yeast and the amount of times the dough is left to rise. An absolute delight that you can’t help but pick at all weekend long!
As if it couldn’t get any better Seggiano also sent me their range of organic chocolate spreads in a Chocolate lovers Gift Box with Fairtrade or Equosolidale Cacao and Sicilian nebrodi hazelnuts and made the slow way by grinding and sieving to form the smoothest, silkiest spread. The spreads are organic, vegan and made without any palm oil or emulsifiers. Choose from Smooth Hazelnut and Cacao, Smooth Dark Chocolate and Crunchy Hazelnut Cacao or just go between each one and spread it over anything you like (it’s particularly good on plain doughnuts).
There’s no need for chocolate eggs and make believe rabbits when you can have an indulgent, grown up Easter at home with the ones you love. Have a wonderful long weekend!