Lamb is traditional at Easter and this butterflied leg of lamb recipe is a little bit different. In Italian, tagliata means “cut”. Italians cleverly serve their meat thinly sliced and shared, turning a heavy meat dish into something much lighter that is as great to eat in the winter as it is in the summer, when the lamb could be done on the barbecue. Make sure to get lamb that is Bord Bia Quality Assured.

Rosemary and mint each go so well with lamb and they are both very easy to grow. There are several excellent Irish goat’s cheeses being produced now. I like St Tola from Clare and Ardsallagh Goat Farm in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, makes cheese from its own herd and locally sourced milk.

This hot cross bun pudding continues the Easter theme. I recently visited the McCloskey bakery in Drogheda with the Simply Better team. I was absolutely blown away by its range of breads and cakes. It is great to see a family business that was set up in the 1940s thriving today.

Happy cooking,


Lamb tagliata with Puy lentil and goat’s cheese salad. \ Photography: Philip Doyle. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

Lamb tagliata with Puy lentil and goat’s cheese salad

Serves eight

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1.75kg (3lb 12oz) butterflied leg of lamb, well trimmed (ask the butcher to make sure no piece is thicker than 5cm/2in)

2 tbsp olive oil

Roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

For the Puy lentil salad:

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 shallots, finely chopped

2 x 400g (14oz) cans Puy lentils, drained and rinsed

100g (4oz) sun-dried tomatoes (preserved in oil), drained and chopped

350g (12oz) goat’s cheese log, cut into bite-sized pieces

25g (1oz) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/gas mark 7).
  • 2 Mix together the rosemary, sea salt and pepper. Rub the butterflied leg of lamb with the oil and then press in the rosemary seasoning. Put the leg of lamb on a rack set over a large roasting tin, skin side up, and roast for 25 minutes for medium rare or until cooked to your liking.
  • 3 Rest the lamb in a warm place for few minutes loosely covered with foil.
  • 4 Meanwhile, to make the salad, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a pan and sauté the shallots for 4-5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Tip into a bowl and stir in the Puy lentils with the remaining 3 tbsp of the olive oil and the sun-dried tomatoes. Gently fold in the goat’s cheese and parsley, then season to taste.
  • 5 Arrange in a large bowl. To serve, carve the rested butterflied leg of lamb into thin slices and arrange on a board, then drizzle over any meat juices. Scatter over the parsley and serve at once.
  • Hot cross bun pudding

    Serves six to eight

    300ml cream

    600ml milk

    4 eggs

    50g caster sugar

    1 tsp vanilla essence

    8 hot cross buns

    40g soft butter

    Finely grated zest of one lemon

    3 tbsp chunky marmalade

    Icing sugar, for dusting

  • 1 Heat oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3. Warm the cream and milk in a pan over a gentle heat. Whisk the eggs, lemon zest sugar and vanilla together with a fork in a large bowl, then gradually add the warm cream mixture.
  • 2 Halve the buns and spread with the butter. Arrange in a large shallow ovenproof dish (approximately 25 × 32cm), and brush the marmalade on top.
  • 3 Pour over the cream mixture and set aside to soak for 15 minutes. Press the buns down into the custard mixture as they soften.
  • 4 Bake for 50 minutes until set, then remove and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Dust lightly with icing sugar and serve while still warm. Serve with some lightly whipped cream.
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