A stuffed leg of lamb at Easter is a winner, though indeed it is a bit special at any time of the year. Make sure you get Bord Bia Quality Assured lamb. For this recipe, ask your local butcher to bone the leg of lamb for you, but to leave the shank end intact. This improves the flavour while making it easier to carve. This stuffing recipe is also delicious with roast chicken or with pork.

I have always been a great fan of tiramisu ever since my sister, Sharon, introduced me to it in London. I never eat it without thinking of that first time in Covent Garden when I was still a teenager and had probably never even heard of it. Once I tasted it, one wasn’t enough. I had to have a second one!

To this day, I almost always make it when we have a family occasion. The combination of espresso and alcohol is what gives it the “pick me up” nickname. You could also try it with Kahlua or Coole Swan. It is a beautifully light dessert that can be made ahead.

Happy cooking,


Stuffed leg of lamb with herb and pine nut stuffing

Serves 6

50g (2oz) butter

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

175g (6oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

50g (2oz) toasted pine nuts

15g (½oz) fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves stripped and finely chopped

2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 x 2.25–2.75kg (5–6lb) leg of lamb, boned but with shank end left intact

1 large onion, thickly sliced

2 carrots, cut into thick slices on the diagonal

2 celery sticks, cut in half

1 tbsp olive oil

200ml (7fl oz) white wine

Sea salt and freshly ground

black pepper

Crispy roast potatoes, to serve

Gravy, to serve

Mint sauce, to serve

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).

2 To make the stuffing, melt the butter and cook the shallots and garlic for a few minutes, until softened. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and stir in the shallot mixture with the toasted pine nuts and herbs. Season to taste.

3 Press the stuffing inside the boned-out leg of lamb, then tie up securely and neatly with string. Place the sliced onion, carrots and celery in a roasting tin and season all over, then drizzle with the olive oil and pour in the wine to the side. Place the stuffed leg of lamb on top and cover loosely with foil, then roast for 1½ hours.

4 Remove the foil and baste well, then return the lamb to the oven and roast for another 30 minutes, until just tender. If you like your lamb more well done, give it another 30 minutes. To check that it’s cooked to your liking, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the meat, then watch the juice run out – the pinker the juice, the rarer the meat.

5 When the lamb is cooked to your liking, transfer to a carving platter and leave to rest on a warm plate for 30 minutes.

6 When the lamb is rested, cut away the string, then carve into slices, holding the shank end of the bone. Arrange on warmed plates with the roast potatoes and spoon over a little of the gravy and mint sauce to serve.

Classic tiramisu. / Philip Doyle

Classic tiramisu

Serves 8–10

4 large eggs

100g (4oz) caster sugar

250g mascarpone cheese

250ml (9fl oz) cream

250ml (9fl oz) freshly brewed strong espresso coffee (left to cool)

150ml (¼ pint) Tia Maria liqueur

30–40 sponge fingers

Cocoa powder, to dust

1 Separate the eggs and put the yolks in one bowl with the sugar and the egg whites in another.

2 Using an electric whisk, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy, then mix in the mascarpone cheese until well combined. Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then fold into the egg and mascarpone mixture.

3 Using clean beaters, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold this into the mascarpone cream. Spoon a third of this mixture into a 32.5cm x 23cm (13in x 9in) dish that is at least 6cm (2½in) deep.

4 Pour the coffee into a shallow dish and stir in the Tia Maria. Dip in enough of the sponge fingers to make an even layer on top of the mascarpone mixture. It’s important to only dip the sponge fingers in as you go along so they don’t soak for long and become difficult to handle.

5 Cover the layer of soaked sponge fingers with another third of the mascarpone cream, then add the rest of the soaked sponge fingers in an even layer on top. Spoon over the remaining mascarpone cream to completely cover the layer of sponge fingers, then cover with clingfilm and chill overnight to allow the flavours to develop and the dessert to settle.

6 To serve, give the tiramisu an even dusting of cocoa powder and place in the middle of the table so that everyone can help themselves.

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