A special treat for the birthday girl

Celia Holman Lee


Celia Holman Lee

A special treat for the birthday girl

This Persian lamb is a feast fit for a king... or queen

Welcome to all about food. Lamb is at the peak of its seasonal cycle at the moment so why not celebrate with a feast fit for a king…. or queen.

Ask Gingergirl

Hello Gingergirl,

Our mum is a big fan of your column so we thought we’d ask you for a recipe for the birthday dinner we are planning for her. She loves trying new foods and is a fan of pork and lamb.

Many thanks,

Laura and Sarah.

Hello Laura and Sarah,

How thoughtful of you both! This lamb recipe is one of my favourites and perfect for a special dinner.

Shoulder of lamb is a very good cut of meat for slow roasting because it is interlaced with layers of fat, which melt and keep the meat moist during cooking. It is also inexpensive in comparison to leg of lamb and is currently at its seasonal best.

The beauty of this dish is its simplicity – once the ingredients are combined it is merely a matter of time – 3 ½ hours – until you have wonderfully flavoursome, melt in the mouth feast.

I like to serve this with a bowl of Greek yoghurt, topped with a couple of tablespoons of harissa, a sprinkle of cumin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil.

Slow Roast Persian Lamb

4 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

The juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 shoulder of lamb, weighing about 1.6kg, lightly scored

For the salad

The seeds of 2 pomegranates

A handful flat-leaf parsley leaves

100g of watercress

1 small red onion, finely diced

1 tablespoons of olive oil

Flatbreads, to serve

Heat oven to 160ºc/140ºc fan. In a bowl, mix the honey and balsamic vinegar with the cumin, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Scatter the onion over a deep roasting tin. Place the lamb on top of the onions. Pour the glaze over the lamb and pour 200ml of water around the lamb.

Cover the dish with a large piece of foil. Roast the lamb, undisturbed, for 3 hours, then remove the foil and continue to roast for 30 minutes to give the lamb colour. Once cooked, pour off the juices, remove as much fat as possible then pour the juices back over the lamb.

Just before serving, simply toss all the salad ingredients together. Serve the lamb with its sauce, the salad and some warmed flatbreads.

Carrot and Orange Salad

An equally delicious salad for the lamb: Using a peeler, slice four carrots into ribbons and into a bowl. Dress them with the juice of half an orange, a glug of extra virgin olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, mint leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper, then toss and serve.

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email: helen@gingergirl.ie

Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

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