The perfect dinner party menu

Lamb burger
Between Come Dine With Me and the barbecue season everyone is busy cooking for family and friends.

Between Come Dine With Me and the barbecue season everyone is busy cooking for family and friends.

I watch the show every evening and I find it very interesting, seeing how disorganised some of them can be while others just take it in their stride. It can make you want to have a family meal or a get together with friends. If that’s the effect it has on you here are some tasty recipes which you can prepare ahead of time to enjoy your guests.

Roast Chicken

2tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from stalks

2tbsp thyme leaves, stripped from stalks

8 garlic cloves

1 medium chicken cut in half

3 carrots, unpeeled and cut into chunks

3 courgettes, peeled and cut into chunks

6tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2tbsp honey

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F gas mark 6. Finely chop the rosemary, thyme and garlic with a sharp knife. Make several cuts in the skin of the chicken and stuff the herb mixture into the cuts. Place the vegetables in a roasting tin, drizzle with honey and 3tbsp of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Lay the chicken on top of the vegetables, skin side up, drizzle with remaining oil and roast in the middle of the oven for 45minutes. After 25minutes, baste the chicken with the cooking juices from the bottom of the tin.

To check that the bird is cooked, pierce each half with a skewer; if the juices run clear, its ready.

Remove the chicken from the tin, cut each piece in two and replace on top of vegetables. Roast for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 10minutes to allow the meat to relax and become more tender.

Place the vegetables and meat on a serving dish and enjoy with some good Italian red wine.

Lamb Burgers

For the burgers

500g minced lamb

½ red pepper, cored, deseeded and finely chopped

½ onion, finely chopped

1tbsp sweet chilli sauce

4tbsp chopped freshly flat leaf parsley

2tbsp extra virgin olive oil


For the relish

1tbsp olive oil

½ onion, finely chopped

½ red pepper, cored, deseeded, chopped finely

1 ripe plum tomato, deseeded and diced

1tbsp sugar

½ tsp chili powder

1tbsp red wine vinegar

2tbsp chopped fresh flat leave parsley

1 Ciabatta loaf, halved lengthways

Place the minced meat in a large bowl with red pepper, onion, sweet chilli sauce and parsley. Season with salt and mix well until combined. Divide the mixture into four balls and shape each one into 3cm thick burgers.

To make the relish, heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion, pepper, tomato, sugar, chilli powder and vinegar. Season with salt and cook over a medium heat for 3minutes until thickened. Stir in the parsley and set aside to cool.

Heat the extra virgin oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the burgers for 6minutes on each side for a medium burger or for 8minutes on each side for well-done.

Meanwhile, place the ciabatta on a hot griddle pan and cook until golden and crispy on both sides.

Cut in half and arrange on warmed serving plates with the lamb burgers on top. Spoon over the relish and serve with a few salad leaves.