Some Spring dishes

Easter being early this year I feel is going to give us a longer feeling of spring and summer, so that can’t be a bad thing.

Easter being early this year I feel is going to give us a longer feeling of spring and summer, so that can’t be a bad thing.

Easter weekend is the start of the New Year for so many places. Gardens open up as do a lot of the visitor centres so after the long cold winter we have the great promise of New Life.

Potato & Leek Soup

1lb/450g Leeks, trimmed & washed

8oz/225g Sliced Potatoes

2oz/56g Butter

2 pints/1.2litres Chicken or Vegetable Stock

1/8 pint/70ml Cream or Milk

Bouquet Garni

Salt & Pepper

Cut the leeks into ½” slices. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the leeks and cook slowly in the butter with the lid on till soft. Add the stock & potatoes, season with salt and pepper, add bouquet garni, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes approx. Puree the soup in a liquidizer or use a moulimix, add the cream and serve in warm soup bowls or plates with some fresh bread. You can serve a teaspoon of cream on top of each portion with some chopped parsley or chives.

Tip: A teaspoon of pesto on top of each bowl of leek soup works very well.

Roast Leg of Spring Lamb

Easter is early this year so the lamb might be a bit scarce, but don’t worry because a leg of autumn lamb will have a better flavour, also known as hogget (lamb under 1 year old).

1 leg of Lamb

Salt & Pepper

1 pint Chicken Stock

2tbsp Flour

Mint Jelly to serve

Ask your butcher to remove the aitch (H) bone from the leg; it will make it easier to carve. Season the skin with salt & pepper. If you are using hogget you can make small cuts in the outside of the lamb and stick in some small sprigs of rosemary & slivers of garlic.

Place the lamb in a roasting tin and roast in the oven at 180º for 1½ hours for rare lamb, 2 hours for medium & 2½ for more well done. When the lamb is cooked to your taste remove from the roasting tin and place on a warm plate.

Make the gravy: Remove excess fat from the tin, stir in the flour and form a roux, whisk in the stock, check the seasoning. Your might need to add a few drops of gravy browning , I like to add a spoon of redcurrant jelly to the gravy , it gives a nice sweetness to it.

Serve the lamb with some buttered carrots, green beans and some new potatoes or creamy mashed to which you can add a crushed clove of garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil.

Gratin Dauphinois

Gratin Dauphinois are a very nice side dish of potatoes to serve with roast lamb.

1pt Milk

2-4 Cloves of Garlic

2lb Potatoes peeled & thinly sliced

½tspn Grated Nutmeg

¼ pint of Pouring Cream

1oz Butter

Put the milk, garlic and potatoes in a saucepan and bring to the boil, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and simmer for 10 minutes, don’t let the milk boil over. Butter an oven dish and spoon the potato mix into the dish and pour over the cream, dot with butter and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Rhubarb Sponge

For me the real dessert on Easter Sunday has to be something with rhubarb. Those bright pink stalks make me want to make a tart or crumble or sponge or something, so here it is:

2lb/1kg Rhubarb, cut into 1” slices

4oz/112g Sugar

Juice and Rind of 1 Orange

Sponge Mix:

4 Free Range Eggs

4oz/112g Sugar

4oz/112g Flour

Place the rhubarb, sugar, rind and juice in a saucepan, put on the heat and bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes, then place in a greased ovenproof dish. Place the egg & sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until double in volume and the mix holds the mark of the whisk, fold in the sieved flour. Pour over the rhubarb, place in the oven and bake at 170ºC for 20 minutes.