Before we went on holiday a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t really cooked anything new for a while. I was massively struggling with inspiration and didn’t have the motivation to come up with anything new. Holidays are great to not just recharge, but also to ‘reassess’ where you are and what you want to do. I say reassess lightly as it can just be about making little changes to improve things that you’re not necessarily happy with. One of mine is cooking new things and spending less time at the pub! The weather lately has made it difficult to do both. When I’m cooking all day in a hot kitchen, the last thing I want to do when I get home, is to cook even more.
The day we flew home from Mallorca, it was Tom’s birthday and after eating out for 10 nights, I thought it would be nice if I cooked a nice meal rather than going out. Where we live, there’s not a huge amount of nice restaurants to choose from. Lamb is something I hardly ever eat. I don’t mind it in a curry or tagine as it takes on lots of flavour and is very tender if it’s slow cooked. Roast lamb has always been my least favourite. It is a strong, rich flavour but can be quite fatty, and if it is overcooked, it’s so dry and tasteless. When I watch cooking shows, a lot of the chefs cook racks of lamb and they always look so delicious and succulent – they actually make my mouth water. So I went to the butchers and got one, it was a bloody bargain too, it only cost £13.40!
As it’s summer, I didn’t want to just roast it and have it with plain, boring mint sauce. I’ve never cooked meat using a crust, but thought I would give it a go. It turned out to be a super easy meal and so quick to make. I think the rack would be big enough for four adults, depending on the sides you serve with it. I made some Moroccan style rice and also toasted some flat-breads.
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.
- 1 rack of lamb.
- 1 tbsp green pesto.
- 150g goats cheese.
- 100g grated Parmesan.
- 2 red chillis.
- 2 cloves of garlic.
- 1 bunch of spring onions.
- 50g pine nuts.
- 1 lemon – zest and juice.
- Handful of basil leaves.
- Handful of fresh mint.
- 2 slices of white bread.
- 1 tbsp olive oil.
For the rice:
- 250g rice – I used microwave rice as it is so much easier and the perfect quantity for what you need.
- 1 large brown onion, diced.
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped.
- 2 red chillis finely chopped.
- 100g pine nuts.
- Large handful of sultanas.
- 50g dates chopped.
- 3 large mushrooms diced.
- 1 tbsp tumeric.
- 1 tsp ground coriander.
- 1 tbsp ground cumin.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Cover the lamb in olive oil and rub into the skin both sides.
- Put all of the ingredients for the crust in a food processor and blitz up. Rub the crust over both sides of the lamb.
- Heat up some oil in a griddle pan, and sear both sides of the lamb.
- Transfer the lamb to a roasting dish and put in the oven for 25 minutes. The lamb will be rare so cook it for longer if you want it cooked more.
- While the lamb is in the oven, cook off the ingredients for the rice.
- In the same pan that you seared the lamb off, heat some oil up and add the garlic, onion, mushrooms and chilli. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the onion has browned and softened.
- Add the pine nuts, dates and sultanas. Cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add all of the spices, season with salt and pepper. Cook on a low heat until the lamb is almost ready.
- Cook the rice and then mix it through the other ingredients.
- Carve the lamb and lay on top of the rice and serve with tzatziki.